Figures released by Census reveals that 27% of Kannada speaking people are bilingual whereas only 12% of Hindi speakers can speak another language. The Census figures say that people having their mother tongue as Hindi or Bengali are the least multilingual.
Only 3.2 Crore Out Of 52 Crore Hindi Speakers Are Multilingual
Out of 52 crore Hindi speakers, only 3.2 are multilingual with most of the bilinguals having English as their second language. Similarly, out of the 9.7 crore Bengali speaking people only 18% or 1.7 crores are bilingual.
The languages that top the list of bilinguals in India are people with mother tongue Urdu or Punjabi. People speaking either of these languages have more than half of the people speaking another language. 62% of Urdu speakers are bilingual whereas Punjab speakers stand second at 53% in the most bilingual group.
Smaller Language Groups Tend To Be More Multilingual
The Census says since the smaller language groups are segregated to specific regions they are more multilingual. When such people have to work or live outside their community, they do not have any other option but to understand the other more prevalent language in their surroundings. It is more due to the urban-centric migration.
The figures also give an insight into the way people have migrated from one region of the country to the other. For example, out of the 52 crore Hindi speakers, 60.5 lakh can speak Marathi. It is an indication of the migration that took place from north India to Maharashtra. The census also reveals that 82% Konkani speakers and 79% of Sindhi speakers know another language.
These figures are highly vital in the current scenario especially after the uproar was caused due to the revised draft of the National Education Policy presented by the National Ministry of HRD. The draft made it mandatory for the non-Hindi speaking regions to compulsorily study Hindi.
After an uproar on social media by Tamilians and Kannadigas, the suggestion in the draft was dropped.