Languages of India: Classical and Scheduled Indian Languages

Indian Languages belong to several language families, the major ones being the Indo-Aryan languages spoken by 78.05% of Indians and the Dravidian languages spoken by 19.64% of Indians. Languages spoken by the remaining 2.31% of the population belong to the Austroasiatic, Sino-Tibetan, Tai-Kadai.

The Official Languages Act, 1963, allowed for the continuation of English alongside Hindi in the Indian government indefinitely until legislation decides to change it. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union were supposed to be the international form of Indian numerals, distinct from the numerals used in most English-speaking countries. Despite the misconceptions, Hindi is not the national language of India. The Constitution of India does not give any language the status of national language.

Indian Languages

Classical Languages of India

In 2004, the Government of India declared that languages that met certain requirements could be accorded the status of a “Classical Language in India”Over the next few years, several languages were granted the Classical status, and demands have been made for other languages, including Marathi.

Languages thus far declared to be Classical:

  • Tamil (in 2004)
  • Sanskrit (in 2005)
  • Kannada (in 2008)
  • Telugu (in 2008),
  • Malayalam (in 2013)
  • Odia (in 2014)

Scheduled Indian Languages

The Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India, as of 1 December 2007, lists 22 languages, which are given in the table below together with the regions where they are used.

Language Family
Assamese Indo-Aryan
Bengali (Bangla) Indo-Aryan
Bodo Sino-Tibetan
Dogri Indo-Aryan
Gujarati Indo-Aryan
Hindi Indo-Aryan
Kannada Dravidian
Kashmiri Indo-Aryan
Konkani Indo-Aryan
Maithili Indo-Aryan
Malayalam Dravidian
Meitei Sino-Tibetan
Marathi Indo-Aryan
Nepali Indo-Aryan
Odia Indo-Aryan
Punjabi Indo-Aryan
Sanskrit Indo-Aryan
Santali Austroasiatic
Sindhi Indo-Aryan
Tamil Dravidian
Telugu Dravidian
Urdu Indo-Aryan