Hindi etc.

gail at utxvms.cc.utexas.edu gail at utxvms.cc.utexas.edu
Sat Nov 30 23:33:36 UTC 1996

On Fri, 29 Nov 1996, Narayan S. Raja wrote:

> You keep calling Hindi a "minority language" --
> which it is (like every other language in
> India).  But let's beam back to Planet Earth
> and look at some numbers:
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> Population of India (approx)          --  900 million
> Population of "Hindi belt" (approx)
>    (UP+Bihar+MP+Rajasthan+Haryana+HP) --  280 million
> Subtract non-Hindi-speakers, esp. in
>    Bihar and MP                       -- - 40 million
> Add Hindi-speakers in other parts
>    of India                           -- + 50 million (at least)
> TOTAL Hindi-speakers                      290 million (approx)
> %ge of Hindi-speakers in Indian pop.  ~~   33%

You get this percentage by including speakers in the Hindi belt -- the 
status of Hindi as a lingua franca should depend on its use in the 
*non-Hindi* belt. Judging by your figures that is only 8.07% (50 million 
speakers of Hindi outside the Hindi belt out of a population of 620 
million outside that belt). But I assume you've given figures only for 
native speakers of Hindi, so the ones for second language users may be 

> Hmmm...  seen in this way (33% Hindi-speakers, as
> compared with 8% for the next-largest language group
> in India), I can easily understand that many foreigners, 
> if they could pick only one modern Indian language, 
> would pick Hindi.

Well, only if they want to limit their interaction mainly to the Hindi 
belt in India.

I'm not against learning Hindi -- I'm just against unrealistic attempts 
to impose it on Indians and futile, pseudo-nationalistic opposition to 


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