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

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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) >>

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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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Adivasi (Adibasi)

Adivasi Academy & Museum of Adivasi Voice at Tejgadh

Adverse inclusion | Casteism | Rural poverty

Anthropology | eBooks, eJournals & reports | eLearning

Bhasha Research and Publication Centre: Giving ‘voice’ to Adivasi communities in India and inspiring projects in other states

Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) Mysore

Colonial policiesDenotified Tribe vs. “criminal tribe“ | Imprisonment & rehabilitation

eBook | Adivasi Stories from Gujarat – Bhasha Research and Publication Centre (Vadodara)

eBook | Background guide for education

Endangered language |

Ganesh [G.N.] Devy | Publications | Lecture “A View of Higher Education in India”

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Human Rights Commission (posts) | (Government of India)

India’s Constitutional obligation to respect their cultural traditions

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Literature and bibliographies | Literature – fiction | Poetry

Multilingual education is a pillar of intergenerational learning – Unesco

Museum & Society – A re-evaluation of Adivasi Heritage by Prof. Ganesh Devy

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People’s Linguistic Survey of India | Volumes (PLSI) |

Scheduled Tribes | Classifications in different states


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Tribal Arts in India: The National Inventory of Tribal Museums – an invitation for researchers and institutions engaged in conservation of tribal culture

Video clips taken at Tejgadh and related information

Video | “Nations don’t make us human – languages make us human”: Ganesh Devy

Video | Tribes in Transition-III: “Indigenous Cultures in the Digital Era”

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 >>
Cultural invisibility – India’s 600 potentially endangered languages | Linguistic Survey of India (official website) >>