India: Language                                                              

  • Hindi is the most widely spoken language and primary tongue of 41% of the people.
  • There are 14 other official languages: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit.
  • Hindustani is a popular variant of Hindi/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India but is not an official language.
  • English enjoys the status of subsidiary official language but is an important language for national, political, and commercial communication. (2001 census)


Can you name some possible challenges that might arise in a nation with so many languages?


How do people communicate and do business? 

Above is a language map of India.


India: People                                                                  

What do Indians look like?


India is a very diverse country with many ethnicities represented. There is no single Indian “look.”

Indo-Aryan                           72%

Dravidian                             25%

Mongoloid and other              3% 


Note: Review the section entitled “Historical Overview” to understand the different influences on the people of India.