- G.S. Paper 1,2,3
- The issue
- Problem with the language data
- Significance of ‘right to its language’
- Importance of knowing the language data
- The language data of the census have not been made public by the government since the 1961 census.
The problem with the language data
- The information related to language data is handled by the Home Ministry.
- During the colonial times, language was treated as a ‘sensitive’ subject and was seen as a cause for breakdown of law and order.
- In 1961, a complete list of languages claimed during the Census as ‘mother tongues’ was disclosed as 1652.
- From 1971 onwards, the Census decided to disclose names only of those languages which had more than 10,000 speakers.
- The rationale behind this move was not specified.
- As a result, the list of 1971 had only 108 language names.
- 2001 language data put together several languages under a single category, undermining their diversity.
- The 2011 language data has not been released yet.
Significance of ‘right to its language’
- UNESCO has been promoting the idea of language as an inalienable cultural right.
- India is a formal signatory to the charter.
- It has already built it into the charter of sustainable development goals.
- The community’s right to its language becomes a non-negotiable right to cultural possession.
- Similarly, the state’s obligation to secure and protect this right too becomes a non-negotiable duty.
The Importance of knowing the language data
- It is important for those who belong to the linguistically minority communities.
- It helps them to take necessary action to preserve their language.
- Longevity of multiple language is essential for maintaining the cultural diversity of the country.
- Imparting education to children through their mother tongue is scientifically considered to aid full development of their cognitive and emotive faculties.
- So the data will help the government to identify the needs of various regions so that it can provide supportive materials in their mother tongue.
- The neglect of a community’s language and its language loss are among the most important reasons for induced migration.
- So the data will help in understanding the demographic transitions like language induced migration to avoid urban sprawl.
- Hence, the disclosure of data related to languages should be made as a primary obligation of the state.