Countries where Indian Languages are Spoken (Hindi, Tamil, Bhojpuri etc.)
India is a multilingual country. As per 2001 census 122 number of major languages and 1599 minor languages are spoken and understood. There are two major language families in India: Indo-Aryan languages and Dravidian languages. Indo-Aryan languages which include Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Assamese etc are spoken by 75 % of Indian population. The dravidian language family which consists of Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam, Odia etc spoken by 20% of population. There are 22 official languages of India including Hindi and English. There are at least 5 countries where Indian languages has got the official status. These 5 countries are Bangladesh, Fiji, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore. In total there are at least 11 countries where Indian languages are widely spoken. Due to immigration and other reasons Indian languages travelled to different countries of the world along with Indian diaspora. This article enlists all those countries where Indian languages are spoken and understood. The list is prepared keeping in mind of sizable and significant proportion of population of a country speaking Indian languages.
Countries where Indian Languages are Spoken : Bangladesh
The official and national language of Bangladesh is Bengali. Bengali is the only official language of Bangladesh. 98% population of Bangladesh is fluent in Bengali and this language serves as the lingua franca. Bengali language is a part of Indo-Aryan language family has got its ancestral roots deep inside India.
Countries where Indian Languages are Spoken: Brunei
National and official language of Brunei is Malay. A great chunk of Indian population is found in Brunei. The Indian community is mostly South Indian and Tamil speaking. Out of total population of 423,188, the strength of Tamil speaking Indians in Brunei is 7500 which is 1.7 % of total population.
Countries where Indian Languages are Spoken: Fiji
Hindi (Fiji Hindi) has got the honour as one of the official languages (out of 3) of Fiji. The other two official languages are English and Fijian. 37% of total population speaks a dialect of Hindi known as Fiji Hindi. Out of total population of 892,145 the strength of Hindi speaking population is more than 3,30,000 which is significantly high. During the colonial period a great number of contract workers from India were brought here which is the reason of spread of Hindi in this island country.
Majority of the population of Mauritius is Indo-Mauritians. People of Indian origin makes 68% of total population. Bhojpuri which is a dialect of Hindi is second most spoken language in the island country of Mauritius. In terms of religious demography, 40% of population is of Hindus. 5.3% of total population speaks Bhojpuri. Out of total population of 1,283,485, strength of Bhojpuri speaking population is 68,000. This is note that at least 3 presidents of Mauritius (Ariranga Pillay, Anerood Juganauth and Rajkeswur (Kailash) Purryag) belong to Indian origin. Prime Ministers like Pravind Juganauth, Navin Ramgoolam and Seewoosagur Ramgoolam also belong to Indian origin.
Nepali is the official language of Nepal. Nepali is also the constitutionally approved one of the 22 official languages of India. Nepali is the lingua franca of Nepal where it is spoken by 44.6% of population. Second and third most spoken languages of Nepal (which also belong to India) are Maithili and Bhojpuri. Maithili is spoken by 11.6% and Bhojpuri is spoken by 6% of total Nepal’s population. Maithili although greatly spoken in north India specially in Bihar gained the status as the official language of India through 92nd constitutional amendment in year 2003. Bhojpuri which is also popularly spoken in north India specially in Bihar, Jharkhand, north MP, eastern UP etc doesn’t holds the status of official language of India.
Urdu is Official and National language of Pakistan. Although Urdu is spoken by 8% of population, the main lingua franca of Pakistan is Punjabi which is spoken by 44% of the population. Both of these languages (Urdu and Punjabi) have deep roots in India. Urdu is commonly spoken in Jammu and Kashmir while Punjabi is spoken prominently spoken in Punjab and Haryana.
Qatar is a multi-cultural country with Arabic as the official language. A significant 13.8% population is of Indians who speaks different Indian languages like Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu prominently.
Tamil is one of the four official languages of Singapore. The other three official languages of Singapore are English Malay and Standard Chinese (Mandarin). As per 2010 population census of Singapore, 9.2% of population is of Indians. Of all these Indian population 36.7% speak Tamil as their primary language. The Indians who speak other languages (except Tamil) are 13.6% of total population and speaks languages like Malayalam, Telugu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Hindi and Gujarati.
Sarmani (Hindustani) is the recognised regional language of Suriname. It is a variant of Bhojpuri which is prominently spoken in Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. This language was brought to Suriname by Indian immigrant workers during colonial regime. It is third most spoken language in Suriname after Dutch and Sarnam Creole.
Tamil is one of the official language of Sri Lanka along with Sinhalese. Tamil language is prominently spoken by Sri Lankan tamils and other immigrants from near by Indian states. About 4.7 million people are Tamil speakers out of total 16.6 million population of Sri Lanka.
Trinidad & Tobago
A significant 18.3% of total population (1.36 million) belongs to Indian Hindus. The Indian community is formed by the early immigrants who came here during British colonial period as contract workers. The majority of Indians speaks Trinidadian Hindustani (Bhojpuri). Bhojpuri is the third most prevalent language in Trinidad and Tobago after Trinidadian Creole and Tobagonian Creole.