Hindi emerged as the fastest growing language in India at 25.19 per cent, adding close to a 100 million speakers between 2001-2011.
Kashmiri (22.97 per cent), Gujarati (20.4 per cent), Manipuri (20.07 per cent), and Bengali (16.63 per cent) rank second, third and fourth on the list, respectively, according to new census data. Hindi (520 million speakers) and Bengali (97 million speakers) remain the top two most spoken languages across the country.
There are now 260,000 people who deem English as their mother tongue; up from 226,000 in 2001, an increase of 14.67 per cent. Most English speakers are from Maharashtra (104,000), followed by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Sanskrit remains the least spoken among the scheduled languages, with only 24,821 speakers despite an increase of 76 per cent from 2001.
Two scheduled languages have witnessed a drop in the number of people referring to them as their mother tongues — Urdu declined by 1.58 per cent and Konkani by 9.54 per cent.
Of the 99 unscheduled languages, Bhili/Bhilodi continue to have the most speakers (104 million), up from 95 million in 2001.
Gondi retained its second position with 29 million speakers, up from 27 million in 2001. “Ascertaining the number of native speakers of a particular language by using census data can be misleading,” Ganesh Devy, founder-director of the Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, told IndiaSpend.