The Importance of Learning Regional Languages in India


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Regional language is a term used to refer to a language that is spoken by a sizeable number of people but is not the de facto language of communication in the rest of the country. A language is considered regional when it is mostly spoken by people who reside largely in one particular area of a state or country.

The status of regional language is often given to languages that satisfy two main criteria:

  • The language is used by people who have a population less than the majority of the state or nation
  • It is not the official language of the country.

Regional Language

What are Regional Languages

Regional languages are languages spoken in specific regions or areas within a country. They are distinct from the official or national languages of the country and are often used to communicate within a particular geographic region. Regional languages may vary in vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and writing system compared to the official languages. These languages play a significant role in preserving local cultures, traditions and identities. Next, let’s look at the number of regional languages in India.

How many Regional Languages are there in India

Even though Article 343(1) of the Indian Constitution states that “the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari Script”, there are 22 officially recognized regional languages in India which include:

01. Assamese
02. Bengali
03. Bodo
04. Dogri
05. Gujarati
06. Kannada
07. Kashmiri
08. Konkani
09. Maithili
10. Malayalam
11. Manipuri
12. Marathi
13. Nepali
14. Odia
15. Punjabi
16. Sanskrit
17. Santali
18. Sindhi
19. Tamil
20. Telugu
21. Tulu
22. Urdu

Significance of Regional Languages Pre-Independence

The vernacular press was crucial in the Indian Freedom Struggle. The first organized insurrection against the British by patriotic Indians, mainly credited to Mangal Pandey and the ‘Sepoy Mutiny,’ was the first organized revolt against the British by patriotic Indians. With the establishment of the first vernacular press only 1 year shy of 4 decades ago, regional language newspapers and other written media began to substantially propagate the same nationalistic zeal through vernacular media. This grew into a significant movement, and many local Indians began to speak out. In order to curb this rising tide of nationalistic enthusiasm, the British passed the Vernacular Press Act in 1878, which Indians termed “the Gagging Act” since it regulated the press freedom in the country and applied to the vernacular medium alone. However, it was repealed in 1882, following which the nationalistic fervor of the country steadily grew. Some of the most popular vernacular media at the time include the Bengal Gazette, Kesari, Paridasak, and Moon Nayak, among others.

The importance of Regional Language

Regional languages in India hold vital roles in different aspects. The preservation and promotion of regional languages alongside the official languages to maintain linguistic diversity and uphold the cultural fabric of society. Let’s understand what’s the importance of regional language in brief:

  • Cultural identity: Regional languages in India are closely tied to the cultural heritage and identity of specific regions or communities. They preserve and transmit unique customs, traditions, folklore, literature and oral histories that contribute to the rich cultural diversity of a country.
  • Communication and Inclusion: Regional languages serve as a means of communication for millions of people who may not be fluent in the official or national language. They enable effective communication within local communities, fostering social cohesion and inclusion.
  • Education and Literacy: Learning in one’s mother tongue or regional language has proven benefits for education and literacy. Children tend to grasp concepts better when taught in a language they understand well, this is one of the importance of regional language in education. Regional language instruction also helps preserve indigenous knowledge and encourages the development of bilingualism or multilingualism.
  • Economic Development: One of the importance of regional language is the role it plays in economic activities within specific regions. It facilitates local trade, commerce, tourism and cultural industries, contributing to the overall economic development and growth of the region.
  • Political Representation: In countries with diverse linguistic communities, recognizing and promoting regional languages can ensure political representation and participation from different regions. Regional languages in India empower local communities, giving them a voice in governance and decision-making processes.
  • Preserving Linguistic Diversity: Regional languages represent the linguistic diversity of a country or region. Protecting and promoting regional languages is essential for maintaining the richness of human languages and ensuring their survival for future generations.
  • Emotional Connection: Regional languages in India often evoke a sense of belonging, emotional attachment and pride among speakers. They foster a deeper connection to one’s roots, heritage and local community, strengthening individual and collective identities.

Why regional languages should be taught in schools?

In an era when the entire world is quickly globalizing, what role does regional language play? Shouldn’t we be focusing on educating pupils to speak global languages like English and Spanish? This is a compelling question, but the answer requires careful pragmatic analysis of the spread and reach of those languages in the inner workings of a country, as well as how much effort needs to be put into retraining the majority of the working population in that language – which requires not only an additional blog, but also a lot of linguistic and cultural research, which is not the subject of this blog.

This is presented not as a counterargument to the claim mentioned above, but rather as an alternative approach to its opposite paradigm – what’s the advantage of learning regional languages?

Helps People Connect With The Language’s Culture

Every regional language has a rich complex history, especially in a multicultural culture like India with a history of over 5000 years. People who do not speak this language and are not familiar with its culture are completely cut off from it. Teaching regional languages to pupils allows them to gain an insider’s perspective on the secret knowledge and culture concealed beneath the veil of that language.

In this context, culture includes more than simply literature; it also includes dance, music, sculpture, architecture, and other arts.

Easier Communication for Education

Education has the strange dichotomy of being structured on an industrial scale while still being profoundly individualized in nature. This produces a mismatch in thinking among pupils, particularly those who are not comfortable with English as a medium of instruction. Regional language can address this gap by having the teacher describe the subject in the student’s native tongue so that the student can understand the main notion and replicate it in the exam in their own words.

Easier Communication for Education

Knowing an Extra Language

The more languages you know, the more people you will be able to communicate effectively with. There is no shame associated with either knowing or not knowing a language, but it would be better to know as many languages as possible for a more wholesome and holistic all-round education.

Are regional languages mandatory in schools?

In India, the language policy for schools varies depending on the state and region. The Constitution of India recognizes both regional languages and the official languages of the country, which include Hindi and English. The respective state government decides the inclusion and teaching of regional languages in schools.

Many states in India do include regional languages as a compulsory subject in the school curriculum. In these states, students are required to study the regional language as a subject alongside the language they are pursuing their education. The importance of regional language in education is to ensure cultural continuity and provide education in the mother tongue or the language of the local region.

E.g. Students in Maharashtra pursuing their education from the State Board of Maharashtra- Learning the Marathi language is a must.


As you can see, regional languages have played, continue to play, and will continue to play a vital role in a nation’s socioeconomic, political, and educational growth. It has the potential to bring people together and help them connect with one another better.

This is not an attempt to glorify a specific regional language or downplay the importance of national languages; rather, it is a reminder to connect with one’s roots and understand the cultural relevance and historical significance of something that is simply considered one’s mother tongue – knowledge has a lot more power than meets the eye.

FAQs related to the Importance of Learning Regional Languages

What are the important regional languages of India?

India is a linguistically diverse country with numerous regional languages spoken across its different states and regions. Some of the important regional languages in India as in chronological order, the first ranking is Hindi -52.83 crore speakers followed by the others i.e. Bengali – 9.72 crore speakers, Marathi – 8.30 crore speakers, Telugu – 8.11 crore speakers, Tamil – 6.90 crore speakers, Gujarati – 5.54 crore speakers, Urdu – 5.07 crore speakers, Kannada – 4.37 crore speakers, Odia – 3.75 crore speakers and Malayalam – 3.48 crore speakers

What is the importance of Local language in India?

The importance of regional language holds immense significance in India for several reasons. Firstly, it plays a crucial role in preserving the rich cultural heritage and diverse identities of various regions. Secondly, it enables effective communication and fosters inclusivity within local communities. Lastly, it contributes to education, economic growth and political representation by providing a medium for imparting knowledge, facilitating local trade and empowering regional voices in governance.

Why is language important in education?

Importance of regional language in education as they facilitate better understanding and comprehension of concepts, leading to improved learning outcomes. Additionally, learning in one’s mother tongue promotes cultural preservation, identity and inclusive education.

What is the regional variety of language?

The regional variety of a language refers to the specific form or dialect of a language that is spoken in a particular region or geographic area. It encompasses the unique vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and expressions used by speakers in that specific locale, distinguishing it from other regional varieties or dialects of the same language. Regional languages may differ in terms of accent, vocabulary choices, and certain grammatical structures, reflecting the linguistic diversity within a language.


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