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Urdu language at a low, decrease in people who refer it as their mother tongue: Census

NEW DELHI :  There is a decrease of about 1.58% in number of people who refer to Urdu as their mother tongue as per the latest Census data released this Friday.

Urdu -a language often associated with Indian Muslims- dropped from the 6th place in 2001 (51 million speakers) to the 7th place in 2011 with 50 million people mentioning it as their mother tongue.

Interestingly, the number of Urdu speakers has fallen despite the Muslim population increasing by around 30 million between 2001 and 2011.

Meanwhile, Gujarati, which was ranked 7th in 2001 with 46 million speakers, moved ahead of Urdu to occupy the 6th spot with 55 million speakers in 2011.


Hindi was the fastest growing language in India at 25.19% adding close to a 100 million speakers between 2001-2011. Kashmiri (22.97%), Gujarat (20.4%), Manipuri  (20.07%), and Bengali (16.63%) are the second, third and fourth fastest growing languages, respectively, the latest Census data said.

There are now 260,000 people who refer English as their mother tongue – up from 226,000 in 2001 and an increase of 14.67%. The most number of English speakers are from Maharashtra (104,000) followed by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Sanskrit remains the least spoken among the scheduled languages – officially recognised – with 24,821 speakers despite an increase of 76% from 2001. Marathi speakers on the other hand, went up to 7.09 per cent from 6.99 per cent.


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