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.]

Source: “The Curious Case of India’s Dying Languages”, (YouTube 5 February 2018)
Date Visited: 24 December 2021

All States and Union Territories of India are listed here | Interactive map >>

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) >>

Images © Catalogue
Order a publication on any of the languages covered by the
People’s Linguistic Survey of India search >>

Tips: discover publications released by Indian publishers and institutions by typing “tribal language” in the search field; refine your search by including the name of a tribal community (e.g. “Bhili language”, “Gond language”, “Santali language”, “Toda language”, “Warli language”), an Indian State or Union Territory (e.g. “Andaman”, “Jharkhand”, “Telangana”, “Tripura”, “West Bengal”), a region (e.g. “Bastar”, “Narmada”, “Nilgiri”, “Northeast India”, “Wayanad”), author, publisher, or preferred language.

Find up-to-date information provided by, for and about Indian authors, researchers, officials, and educatorsMore search options >>
Search tips: in the search field seen below, combine the name of any particular state, language or region with that of any tribal (Adivasi) community; add keywords of special interest (health, nutrition endangered language, illegal mining, sacred grove); learn about the rights of Scheduled Tribes such as the Forest Rights Act (FRA); and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, women’s rights, and children’s right to education; specify any other issue or news item you want to learn more about (biodiversity, climate change, ecology, economic development, ethnobotany, ethnomedicine, global warming, effective measures to prevent rural poverty, bonded labour, and human trafficking).

For a list of websites included in a single search, click here. To search Indian periodicals, magazines, web portals and other sources safely, click here. To find an Indian PhD thesis on a particular tribal community, region and related issues, click here >>

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 >>

Related posts

Tip: click on any red marker for details on endangered languages in a particular region of India.
Please note: the facts and figures cited (via hyperlinks) links call for updates and fact checking >>
Learn more: Endangered languages: Peoples’ Linguistic Survey of India >>