In 2001, the percentage of Indian population with Hindi as their mother tongue has risen to 43.63% from 41.03%, according to data on language released on Tuesday as part of Census 2011. Bengali remains the 2nd most spoken language while Marathi has replaced Telugu in 3rd place. Sanskrit was the least spoken of the country’s 22 scheduled languages.
With just 24,821 people listing it as their mother tongue, it was slotted below Bodo, Manipuri, Konkani & Dogri languages in terms of a number of speakers. Among the unscheduled languages, around 206 lakh people listed English as their 1st spoken language in the 2011 census, of which 10.6 lakh were in Maharashtra.
Tamil Nadu had the 2nd highest number of people with English as their mother tongue, while Karnataka was a close 3rd. Bhili/Bhilodi spoken in Rajasthan was the most spoken unscheduled language with 1.04 crore speakers, followed by Gondi with 29 lakh speakers.
While the percentage of people in India who listed Bengali as their mother tongue went up to 8.3% of the total population from 8.11% in the 2001 census, Marathi speakers as a percentage of the population grew from 6.99% in 2001 to 7.09% in 2011. Those returning Telugu as their mother tongue were down from 7.19% to 6.93%.
Urdu was ranked 7th, down from sixth sloth in 2001. Gujarati, with 4.74% speakers, replaced Urdu in the 6th spot. While 96.71% of the country’s population returned one of the 22 scheduled languages as their mother tongue in the 2011 census, 3.29% returned other languages as their mother tongue.