In the state of Orissa, where he was collecting language samples from tribal areas, a driver who worked in a government office was accustomed to writing down new or strange words he heard from villagers. “He did this for the rest of his life, without knowing if his ‘research’ would ever be useful,” Mr Davy said. “He gave me all his office, his treasure.”
While Hindi is India’s most common mother tongue, Mr. Dewey said the current government is increasing all of them, and that he says there are about 50 separate languages listed under the “Hindi” flag.
“Bojpuri – spoken by more than 50 million people – is portrayed as ‘Indian’ with its own cinema, theater, literature, vocabulary and style,” he said.
Amit Shah, India’s powerful interior minister, has often done so Promoted the idea of using Hindi instead of English As the true national language of communication.
“If there is one language that can unite the nation, it is Hindi,” Mr. Shah said in 2019.
The Indian constitution designates both Hindi and English as official languages for public business, but teaching Hindi in public schools is not mandatory in some states and millions of Indians do not speak it.