Will Indian languages die one day?

As B and I sat eating the lunch buffet at an Indian restaurant the other day, there were four Indian professionals at a table eating, chatting, and generally having a good time. As we eavesdropped on their conversation, B said something that got me thinking. He said that if this was a group of four Chinese people, or German people, or French, they would be talking in their native languages. But this was a group of Indians and that’s why they were talking in English. I said to him that maybe they all are from different parts of India and possibly may not understand each others mother tongue, so they chose to talk in English which is their common ground. Just as I said that they switched to Hindi for a brief moment and then back to English. B said that they could be talking in Hindi, because it is in fact the national language. Why not Hindi? Why English?

It is true. You go shopping in Mumbai and speak Hindi at a nice department store and they look at you like you are an alien. They look at you like you come from an uneducated family. India as a whole is moving towards English. I mean look at me? I know how to write a blog post in English better than in Hindi or even Gujarati which is my mother tongue. My generation probably speaks and understands English better than their mother tongue or the national language of India. My little brother’s generation understands even little. So one by one, each generation of Indian children will speak less and less of their native language? Even now, when you watch the news, the Hindi news is never entirely in Hindi. It is more in Hinglish with a generous splatter of English words. So then, in a hundred or even two hundred years from now, will the Indian language die one after another? Indians already don’t speak their native tongues entirely, will English slowly eat away all of it? I wonder…

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