Indian Languages marginalized

English is overwhelmingly the dominant language on the web. However, Indian languages are one of the most marginalized languages on the internet if we take into account the vast number of people that speak them.

If you look at this popular infographic, Hindi has the 4th highest number of speakers after Chinese, English and Spanish. Bengali comes at 6th. Linguistic Distribution of the World Linguistic Distribution of the World

However, if you look at distribution of online content by language, one finds that Hindi has a minuscule share of 0.02%. The other Indian languages are even lesser.

Internet Share

The educated, urbanized India is rapidly letting go of the Indian languages. If one looks at Amazon India website and looks at their selection of books by language.

Language # Books
English 14333137
Hindi 38035
Kannada 11083
Tamil 9839
Malayalam 9743
Telugu 7102
Bengali 4499
Marathi 4196

If we make a pie-chart of the same, we get

This graph shows an overwhelming domination by English language books. Amazon obviously has most of its books from its already humongous database compiled internationally. However, the picture of just Indian writing on amazon is only slightly better.

Indian Fiction Amazon

Even in Indian writing, books written in English are in overwhelming majority. Since amazon mostly caters to more urbanized, richer, more educated people we need to see why Indian languages hold such a small share in their reading.

Is it lack of good content in Indian languages? Are they not able to meet the urban tastes? Is our education system creating citizens who don’t like to read in their mother tongue but prefer reading in English?


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