Video | “Nations don’t make us human – languages make us human”: Ganesh Devy – People’s Linguistic Survey of India


The census of India says the country is losing languages at an alarming rate. But the People’s Linguistic Survey of India seems to say there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Wherever the colonial power was played the local languages were destroyed completely: in Australia, in United States, in Canada. In this country so many languages remained alive despite a long spell of colonial rule. So the people of this country deserve the credit for all this work. [3:57]

Those links in turn get relinked. I mean, they go up to Armenia, to Turkey. Now this is one route: Turkey to China to Tibet to Bhutan to India.

The other route is Armenian, came through Iran, to India and became Sanskrit. The language of Zenda Vesta became subsequently – after many, many centuries, after nearly a gap of 800 to 1,200 years – the early version of the Sanskrit of the Vedas. So languages are linked globally. [5:25]

Nations don’t make us human – languages make us human. But languages make us behave like civilised beings. [7:48 min.] November 25, 2017 – view the full video (duration 8 min.) here:
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Photo © BBC news >>

Ganesh Devy undertook 300 journeys in 18 months to explore India’s languages […] Seven years ago, he launched his ambitious People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI), which he called a “right-based movement for carrying out a nation-wide survey of Indian languages as people perceive them”.

As the indefatigable language hunter turned 60, he undertook 300 journeys in 18 months across the length and breadth of India to search for more languages. He paid for his trips using money he earned by delivering lectures in universities and colleges. He travelled night and day, revisiting some states nearly 10 times, and religiously kept a diary. […]

“Our languages have survived tenaciously. We are truly a linguistic democracy. To keep our democracy alive, we have to keep our languages alive.” – Prof. Ganesh Devy, “The man who ‘discovered’ 780 Indian languages”

Read the full story by Soutik Biswas, BBC News 27 (October 2017) >>

Photo: Rabindranath in Santiniketan – Source: The Better India

The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” – Rabindranath Tagore >>

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Tip: click on any red marker for details on endangered languages in a particular region of India. This map is bound to be incomplete as recent surveys in-depth studies on this subject have revealed. 

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