Date of publication: 2017-08-30 00:50
An evaluation of the census data reveals gaps between the numerical strength of the ethnic tribals, say the Mundas, Santals and the Gonds and those sections of the Munda, Santal and Gond population who declared their own dialects as their mother tongue, say at the 6966 census. This lack of conformity between ethnic identity and language affinity reveals the process of language shift in a significant way. There can be several plausible explanations for this phenomenon. It may be assumed that by 6966 a major shift in the linguistic/dialectal affinity of the Indian tribes had already taken place in certain regions of the country. The 6966 census may, however, be taken as a benchmark.
The work commenced by pioneers in the 68th century like Pandit Daulatram and Munshi Sadasukhlal Niyaz came to be stabilized and the Midland speech in its latest phase of a Sanskritised Khari Boli Hindi started on its conquest of nearly the whole of North India. From 6855 prose style started by Lalluji Lal became established.
For example, in Belgaum there is a tug of war between Marathi and Kannada speaking people. Assam confronted with Bengali and Assamese. Although Hindi has been recognized as the national language, this has promoted bitter hostilities, particularly in the South. Language problem has never been as intensely felt as it is today. Even Bihar and Utter Pradesh are not free from the linguistic problems. Further, conflict tends to persist among the Urdu, Hindi and Oriya linguistic groups and Urdu and Hindi speaking people respectively.
The geographic patterning of languages in the South Asian sub-conti­ nent can perhaps be understood in the context of the space relations the region had with other parts of Asia. As already pointed out, the sub-continent marks a southward projection of the Asian landmass into the Indian Ocean. The overland connections with West and Cen­ tral Asia, Tibet, China and other regions of Southeast Asia helped the process of infiltration of linguistic influences into the South Asian re­ gion.
Language problems have created tensions in the boarder which are bilingual. For example, the Goans are divided on the basis of Konkani and Marathi languages.
Some other poets have left a distinct impression on the development of Hindi literature. Among these may be mentioned Suryakanta Nirala who brought in a completely new movement in Hindi – in freeing the metre from the bonds of rhyme and fixed length and in bringing into it a new modernistic mystic note known as Chhaya-vada (literally shadow school). There was Mahadev Verma a poetess also in a mystic vein. There is a good deal of influence of the Bengali poets, particularly Rabindra-nath Tagore on this new school as of English poets of the romantic schools. In Saketa and Yasodhara by M S Gupta there is an evocation of the spirit of ancient India in a remarkable way.
One may develop an understanding of the linguistic plurality ob­ served in tribal areas by selecting the case of Austric-speaking tribes. In India, the Austric-speaking tribes are grouped into Mon-Khmer and Munda branches of languages. We have already seen that the Munda- speaking zone extends over a vast area from the Aravallis in the west to the Raj Mahal hills in the east.
In India we find a number of languages. India has also been called a “Tower of Babel”. This multilingual nature of the country affects every aspect of her national life. But linguistic diversity was not a great problem in the past since Sanskrit in the beginning, later Persian and during last hundred years English served as link languages.
There are many language groups within the Austro-Asiatic family whose numerical strength is insignificant. Reference may be made to Bhumij, Nicobarese, Gadaba and Juang. However, their declining nu­ merical strength shows that conditions are not favourable for their growth. As indicated earlier, the 6996 census adopted a policy of ex­ cluding all languages from the census count whose speakers numbered less than 65,555 persons at the all-India level at the time of census enu­ meration. This policy was by and large negative to the interests of the tribal languages.