Languages of India:
- Most of the languages spoken in India belong either to the Indo Aryan and Dravidian families of languages though some Indo-European languages are also spoken and understood.
- The Indo-Aryan languages including Hindi, Rajasthani, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Sanskrit, Kashmiri, sindhi and Punjabi
- The Dravidian languages include Telugu, tamil, kannada and Malayalam.
- Of the Indo-European languages English is the most widely used one.
- The Indian constitution, in 1950, declared Hindi in Devanagari script to be the official language of the Union.
- 22 Major languages are specified in the eighth schedule of the constitution. Those are Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarathi, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Punjab, Sanskrit, Santhali, sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali and Oriya.
- According to the constitution parliamentary proceedings may be conducted in either Hindi or in English.
- The Constitution provides that all proceedings in the Supreme Court shall be in English.
- Languages so far declared to be classical based on the recommendation of a committee of linguistic experts constituted by the Ministry of Culture, GoI are Tamil (2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada and Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013) and Oriya (2014).
Major Religions of India:
- India being a secular country does not recognize any religion as state religion.
- India is the birth place of four of the world’s major religious traditions, namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.
- The other religions in India are Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Bahai faith.
- Hinduism is world’s third largest religion after Christianity and Islam.
- The sacred texts of Hindus are the Vedas, Upanishads, the Gita, the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha.
- Jainism rejected the authority of the Vedas and Vedic rituals. It didn’t believe in the existence of God but believed in Karma and the transmigration of soul (Nirvana). The early jains discarded the Sanskrit language and adopted Prakrit language.
- The states of Gujarat and Rajasthan have the highest concentration of Jain population in India.
- Though Buddhism originated in India, now there is less than 1 % of the India’s population.
- 85% of all the Buddhists in India are concentrated in Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh and the higher Himalayan habitats of NW India.
- After originating in India, Buddhism spread throughout the Central Asia, Sri Lanka, Tibet, China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
- Sikhism is a younger religion. Sri Guru Nanak Dev started the Sikh religion. He was the first Guru of the Sikhs. Their largest concentration is in Punjab.
- In India, about 12% of the population follows the Islam religion. The ratio of Muslim population exceeds the national average in Lakshadweep Islands, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and West Bengal.
- The Muslim population in India is the third largest in the world. The shrines of some of the most famous saints of Sufism like Moinuddin Chishti and Nizamuddin Auliya are in India. India is also home to some of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture like the Taj Mahal and the Qutub Minar.
- Christianity is the third most dominant religion in India. They are highly concentrated in Goa, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
- Zoroastrianism has an ancient history in India. Most of the Parsis live in Mumbai and the rest in Gujarat.