India is a land of cultural and linguistic diversity. As many as 30 languages are spoken by a million-plus population each and 122 languages were identified and being spoken by 1000 plus population and about 1599 languages are considered as dialects spoken by specific regions.
About Eighth schedule
Eighth schedule contains the list of languages recognized by the Constitution. Originally, Eighth Schedule consists of 14 languages later 8 more languages (Sindhi was included in 1967; Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali in 1992; Dogiri, Bodo, Maithali, and Santhali in 2003).
Currently, 22 of Indian languages are listed in the eighth schedule including Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. These languages are also called Scheduled languages.
Constitutional provisions relating to Eighth Schedule
- Article 344(1): It provides for the constitution of a Commission by the President on expiration of five years from the commencement of the Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of ten years from such commencement.
- Article 351: It provides that it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule.
Demands for inclusion in Eighth Schedule
As many as 37 languages including Angika, Banjara, Bazika, Bhojpuri, Bhoti, Bhotia, Bundelkhandi, Chhattisgarhi, Dhatki, Garhwali (Pahari), Gondi, Gujjari, Ho, Kachachhi, Kamtapuri, Karbi, Khasi, Kodava (Coorg), Kok Barak, Kumaoni, Kurak, Kurmail, Lepcha, Limbu, Mizo, Magahi, Mundari, Nagpuri, Nicobarese, Himachali, Pali, Rajasthani, Sambalpuri, Shaurseni, Siraiki, Tenyidi, and Tulu are demanding the government to include them in Eighth Schedule.
Advantages of Scheduled Status to Languages
Scheduled status to a languages bring with it a lot of advantages. Some of the major advantages include:
- It will be mandatory for the government to take all measures to develop the scheduled language so that it grows and evolves into an effective means of communication.
- A scheduled language will later be considered as an official language of the nation.
- When a language included in the eighth schedule, Sahitya Academy will start recognizing the language and translate the books of the language into other languages recognized in India.
- In state assemblies and parliament, MPs and MLAs can converse in this language.
- Candidates will be able to write the competitive exams like Civil Services Exams in a scheduled language.
- Including a language under Eighth schedule will place it on equal footing with other official languages which will provide equal status and opportunity to that language.
There are some practical administrative difficulties observed in listing more languages under schedule eight. These include:
- According to the constitution, it is mandatory for the UPSC to include scheduled language as one of the qualifying papers, besides English paper.
- RBI must represent the denomination of currency in that scheduled language etc.
However, constitution guaranteed the protection and promotion of the equality of status and opportunity to all people and all languages. Indian republic must accommodate the demands mounting up from the speakers of the languages spoken by minority.
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