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Multilinguism in India and Bihar

Multilinguism in India and Bihar

India is a multilingual country with a rich diversity of languages and dialects. The Constitution of India recognises 22 official languages, including Hindi, English, and various regional languages. Bihar, a state in eastern India, is also known for its linguistic diversity. The state has a significant population of speakers of languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi, and Angika, among others.

The multilingual perspective in India and Bihar has both advantages and challenges. On the one hand, the diversity of languages and cultures in India is a source of pride and strength. It reflects the country’s rich heritage and promotes social and cultural harmony. Multilingualism allows people to communicate with a wide range of people and build bridges between different communities.

However, on the other hand, the multilingual environment also poses some challenges. It can sometimes lead to linguistic barriers and conflicts, especially in education and governance. For instance, in Bihar, where there are many languages spoken, it can be a challenge to provide quality education in all languages. Often, the focus is on the dominant language, and other languages may be marginalised.

In recent years, there have been efforts to promote multilingual education in India, including in Bihar. The National Education Policy 2020 emphasises the importance of a multilingual approach to education. It recognises that children learn best in their mother tongue or home language and encourages the use of multilingualism as a tool for learning.

In Bihar, there have also been efforts to promote the use of local languages in education. The state government has launched various schemes and programs to support multilingual education, including the establishment of language labs in schools and the provision of textbooks in local languages.

However, despite these efforts, there is still a long way to go in promoting multilingualism in India and Bihar. Many schools and educational institutions still do not have the resources to provide quality education in multiple languages. There is also a lack of trained teachers who can teach in different languages.

In conclusion, the multilingual perspective in India and Bihar has both advantages and challenges. While it reflects the country’s rich heritage and promotes social and cultural harmony, it can also pose challenges in education and governance. It is essential to recognise the importance of multilingualism and to promote it as a tool for learning and communication. Efforts should be made to provide quality education in multiple languages and to train teachers who can teach in different languages. Only then can we fully harness the potential of multilingualism in India and Bihar.

Dr Nitu Chauhan

Asst. Professor

Department of Education,

PWC