50 years of existence as an independent nation has produced
convictions, attitudes and fears which are real, tangible and, more
important, identifiable. An exhaustive India Today-ORG-Marg
Independence poll sought to track and interpret some of these.
L A N G U A G E
OUTSIDERS have traditionally denied India its nationhood because of its
inability to communicate with itself. With at least 18 recognised
languages, not to mention dialects, India seems a linguistic cacophony.
Yet, the survey found that Indians are actually anxious to have a
common language. Predictably, Hindi does not find favour in the south
and the east. But after 50 years of Bollywood, a staggeringly large
number of Indians confess their ability to understand Hindi. This
includes a significant 79 per cent in the east and 30 per cent in the
Do you speak, read, write and understand Hindi?
[Speak North 94 South 24
Understand North 94 South 30]
English does not fare too badly either. Contrary to the census myth
that English is the language of a microscopic minority, the poll
indicates that almost one in three Indians claims to understand
English, although less than 20 per cent are confident of speaking it.
This has monumental implications: India can capitalise on it like no
other country in the world.
Do you speak, read, write and understand English?
[Read Urban 53 Rural 28
Understand Urban 49 Rural 25]
Do you think there should be one language across the nation?
YES 61 NO 33
Rest: Don' t Know / Can't Say
HINDI 77 ENGLISH 8
Hindi: North 97, East 83, West 75, South 31
All figures in precentage]
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