Exploring Linguistic Diversity in India: A Spatial Analysis
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In the context of the modernization debate, social scientists have argued that there is a negative association between linguistic diversity within the country and economic development. India is a land characterized by “unity in diversity” amidst a multicultural society. This is represented by variety in culture such as different languages religions, castes, house types, dance forms, and dietary patterns (Noble and Dutt, India: cultural patterns and processes. Westview Press, Boulder, 1982). Of these cultural traits, language is an important instrument of cultural identity since it is through this medium that different groups of people identify and communicate with one another and the world and express a sense of identity to a place. Often social tensions emerge when a certain segment of society feels ostracized from social and economic processes of development due to lack of knowledge of the dominant and prevalent language. Also, it is argued that the most linguistically diverse states in India are more literate and highly educated and have a positive sex ratio. Given this background, this research addresses the following three research questions: (1) What is the extent of linguistic diversity in India during 1971–2001 decades? (2) What factors explain the geographical patterns in linguistic diversity in India? (3) Are linguistic diversity patterns symbiotically related? This study utilizes spatial analytic techniques such as index of diversity and GIS analysis. The data on language were collected from Census of India for analysis.
KeywordsIndia Languages Scheduled and nonscheduled languages Index of diversity
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