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Maithili speakers on the rise in city

By July 3, 2018No Comments

Source : The Tribune

Those speaking Punjabi, Marathi and Telugu show a dip, finds 2011 Census report

Chandigarh has witnessed a rise in people with Maithili, Urdu, Hindi, Odia, Nepali and Bengali as mother tongue while there is dip in those speaking Gujarati, Malayalam, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.

The Census defines mother tongue as the language spoken in childhood by the person’s mother to him or her. If the mother died in infancy, the language mainly spoken in the person’s home in childhood will be the mother tongue.

As per the Census 2011 report on languages and mother tongue, which has been recently released, in the decade from 2001-11 the population of Maithili speakers has seen the highest jump in Chandigarh at 153.5% as their population jumped from 1,248 to 3,164. On the other hand, Gujarati speakers witnessed the maximum dip at over 54% as their number reduced from 3,461 to 1,573.

English, Sanskrit as mother tongue

As many as 436 people have returned English as their mothertongue whereas in 2001 Census, the figure was 356. So, the speakers have risen by 22.5%.

“Only Anglo-Indians should return English as their mother tongue, which has a minuscule population in India. If others are returning it as their mother tongue, then it must be because they are status conscious,” said Prof Aswini Kumar Nanda, Population Research Centre, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID), Chandigarh.

Just 13 people returned Sanskrit as their mother tongue in the city, whereas in 2001 Census there were 22 people.

“Sanskrit cannot be a mother tongue. It is artificial if it is returned as mother tongue,” said Prof Shankarji Jha, who teaches at the Department of Sanskrit and is also Dean of University Instructions (DUI) at Panjab University.

“When intercultural marriages take place, the first casualty is the native language. Such couples prefer Hindi or English with their child. The overall gainer will be Hindi. Mother tongues are being ignored,” said Prof Nanda.

Hindi sees a jump, while Punjabi dips

The city has maximum people with Hindi as their mother tongue, which witnessed a rise of over 27.7% in 10 years – from over 6 lakh to 7.8 lakh, which is attributed largely to migration. It is followed by Punjabi, which showed a dip of 7.4% as speakers reduced from 2.5 lakh to 2.3 lakh. Urdu is the distant third but its speakers have risen by 46% from 7,254 to 10,595 in 10 years. Nepali is at the fourth place. It has witnessed a rise of 21.4% in speakers. Then comes the Bengali speaking population that has risen by 13.6%.


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