For long, the Indian Government has ignored the importance of local languages in governance. Maybe, they have woken up well in time and since last year there has been a huge push towards spreading information about major development initiatives in Indian languages.
Language Diversity in India
Language diversity is well known in India. Officially, India has 22 languages apart from English. To give an idea of the spread, see image below:
The graph here depicts 12 Indian languages that constitute more than 90% by speaking population and 5-7% make up the rest of the languages.
The Next Natural Question: What % of India Speaks English?
Here is the myth buster – less than 10% of India speaks English and for most of them English is not their first language!!
Surprised? It’s true – refer any website that talks about language spread in India and they will validate this.
2nd Next Natural Question: How did the Myth Spread so Widely?
Well, I will deal with this separately in another blog but to cut a long story short, we in India are to blame for it. Over a period of several years our BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) and Software community has been publicizing this myth to gain more business from the West realizing little that this strategy came with great risks. “Everyone in India speaks English” is what seems to have gone out as a message.
In the light of this background information, I think VikasPedia is a great initiative in India. (http://vikaspedia.in)
Currently focusing on spreading information in 9 major Indian Languages, this looks like a welcome change towards governance and a good understanding towards what can work in India and with better pace.