There has been a lot of buzz lately regarding the recognition of Rajasthani as a language under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
Last month, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had flagged off “Rajasthani Rath Yatra”, a campaign demanding the inclusion of Rajasthani under the Eighth Schedule.
According to claims made by pro-Rajasthani language activists, Rajasthani, a member of the Indo-Aryan language family, is spoken by nearly 20 million people. The number, they say, would be 50 million if Marwari were to be included.
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According to the Linguistic Survey of India, 79 languages and 138 mother tongues were found to be spoken in Rajasthan. (Last available data 2001)
After Hindi, Rajasthani is the most spoken language in the state. Among the other popular tongues, Marwari, spoken in the desert regions, leads with the most number of speakers, followed by Mewari, which is spoken mostly in southern Rajasthan, in areas bordering Madhya Pradesh. Interestingly, more people spoke Harauti, (Kota-Bundi region) than Dhundhari, spoken mostly in and around Jaipur. This despite the fact that the former is a sub-dialect of the latter.
Interestingly, among mother tongues, Jaipuri, retained by less than 10,000 speakers, did not appear in Census 2001. The data for Jaipuri last appeared in the Language Census 1961.