Is Hindi language the major reason behind dividing India into north India and south India culturally?




Rakshith S Ponnathpur, studied Public Policy at National Law School of India University, Bangalore (2020)

Yes! Not culturally, but linguistically.    

Reasons for cultural division: 



The Hindi heartland of India was under one common dynasty or ruler for most parts of modern history, and the other parts of India, the North-East, the East, the South and the South West were under different rulers and dynasties and were not under a single ruler/dynasty. 


Due to this and a variety of other reasons, while all the regions mentioned above had their own distinct languages and cultures which flourished under the respective rulers and dynasties, the Hindi heartland saw similar cultures and languages grow under the common dynasties and the rulers they had. 


What about Hindi?


While the other parts of India had no similarities with the other territories of the same region, the Hindi heartland had a lot of similarities with other territories of the same region. This made Hindi the most spoken language in India since the entire stretch of Hindi heartland knew and talked in Hindi, which has a heavy influence of Urdu and Hindusthani. 


On the other hand, since the other languages and cultures were restricted to their own territories, they were less spoken than Hindi though the number of speakers were considerable. 


Demand for making Hindi our national language 


Since many prominent political leaders were from the Hindi heartland, they were strictly rooting for Hindi to be made the sole national language of India, as it was the most spoken language of India. But this was opposed by many territories within India which had their own languages widely spoken by people in their territories. 


The logic of making Hindi the national language because it was the most spoken in India, was rubbished by a parliamentarian from Madras who said and I quote "If you are saying that Hindi should be made the national language of India because it is the most spoken language in India, then by your same logic, why have you made the peacock the National Bird of India, and not the crow?", receiving thunderous applause from the house. 


Anti-Hindi Sentiments and struggles


In the 1960s, when Hindi was to be made the only National Language in India, there were huge anti-Hindi protests in South India, and especially in the state of Tamil Nadu where the Congress, which dominated the state with Bharat Ratna K Kamraj at the helm, lost to an anti-Hindi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Even Kamraj lost in his own constituency to some trade union leader. 

在1960年代,印地语是印度唯一的官方语言,南印度爆发了许多反印地语抗议,尤其是国大党管辖下的泰米尔纳德邦,当时该邦的领导是获得印度国宝勋章的K Kamraj,输给了一个反印地语的Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam。甚至连Kamraj也在自己的选区输给了某个工会领袖。

The Government cancelled the plans of making Hindi the sole National Language of India. But still, even after 50 years of the event, no national party has been able to get back power in the state of Tamil Nadu, from the regional Dravidian parties which rose to dominance because of the anti-Hindi struggle. 


This has been the level of resistance offered to the imposition of Hindi by the other regions of India, especially the South. 


Why always South India?


Some other states of other regions have also been against Hindi imposition, but the noise is always created by the Southern states and so, Hindi has always been a controversial topic of debate between the Northern Hindi heartland and the Southern Diverse Linguistic Region, or in your words, has divided South and North India based on language and culture. 


What the South Indians think of Hindi and what we would like to say to everyone?


Hindi always brings mixed emotions to us. While we all have nothing against the language, all our strong reactions have been/will be to safeguard our historical, classical languages and stop Hindi (another historical, classical language) from sidelining them. 


What we do not want is the forceful imposition of a language that we don't actually require, that we aren't actually used to, especially at the cost of sidelining our own languages. Same can be said about our culture. 


We are not against Hindi. We respect Hindi and we have no problem with any Hindi speaking person. All we want is the reciprocation of the same from others. We want our languages to be recognized and respected, and we want our languages to be the languages of our respective states. We want them to have the same status as any other language in India has. Thankfully, that is the status quo as of now. 


Last but not the least, Hindi is not the National Language of India. Please don't tell that to us.


译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/49324.html 译者:Joyceliu


Aravind K, Interested in how languages develop and influence each other

The cultural division isn’t so much the division between Hindi and the major South Indian languages so much as that between the Indo-Aryan languages in the South and the Dravidian languages in the South. Hindi, along with most major North Indian languages, is an Indo-European language. As such, it’s closely related to Awadhi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, etc., less closely related to Farsi, Pashto, Balochi, etc. and related, although somewhat distantly, to English, German, Latin, French, and a huge number of European languages. Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and a variety of other (smaller) languages spread out around India (there are a few in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh as well) are from a wholly unrelated language family. There’s no genetic connection, then, between Tamil and Sanskrit, Malayalam and Bengali.


But the distinction isn’t even this; not really. It’s much more about the fact that there hasn’t really always been very close cultural contact between the two parts. Obviously, we’re all Indians, and we’re similar in a million different ways, but we in the South have for long periods of time had the privilege of living in cozy isolation.



Sumiteshwar Choudhary, Lawyer in Delhi Courts for last 16 Years at Delhi

Hindi is not the national language but official language or Rajbhasha along with English. English was made official language for 15 years only but it continued to be used till date to communicate with States who are not comfortable in Hindi.


Hindi is not any divisive factor as there is not only North India or South India but India can be divided into 6 principle zones: North India, South India, East India, West India, Central India and North East.


All of them have govt. recognized regional languages. Besides all 5 South Indian States have different regional languages of their own and there is no uniformity of languages among them as well. Same goes to other States/Parts of India. There is nothing common between the language of Kashmir with language of Punjab although they are neighbours and technically belong to the same block of North India. Same holds for Gujarat and Rajasthan or Bihar and Bengal or Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.


Hindi became a subject of controversy or rather jealousy due to its prime dominance in India and Indian administration and politics. States of Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, Uttarakhand,  Chattisgarh,Delhi, Haryana, Himachal and Rajasthan are all connected via land and have Hindi as their primary language with a bit of regional twists.



Jayasangar Narayanan

Yes, North Indian people were forcibly converted into Pakistani language people i.e. Hindians after their state go nments abandoned Indian language and took up the Pakistan Islamic origin language Hindi.


South, East and partially the West of India retained their Indian language, but East and West India also mugged up Pakistani language Hindi and converted themselves into Pakistani language people.


Before the South becomes also Pakistani language states, the people need to oppose the Hindi traitors tooth and nail.


Pakistani language Hindians abandoned their Indian culture and took up Islamic culture.


Indian culture is now only being mostly retained in the Non-Pakistanified parts of India, which is mostly South of India and also North East



Harpreet Singh Kahllon, my rooots

it is not the major reason but plays a small part in it.


historically power has been concentrated with the north and Hindi evolved from the languages spoken in these regions


and South India was like a combinations of various cultures,(quite similar to the northeast) , and both the civilizations evolved separately, and the British also started from the north and a majority of the independence activities happened in the north and this the north and south are culturally divided just like every other state in India which has its own unique language, culture, etc, but we are still united as one nation



Puneet Sapaliga, Software Engineer

Yes. Even today people complain about each other for not knowing the language(Hindi). We (Indians) give more priority to English since landing in to a good job requires us to speak, write, read and understand English well. If you are living in a region/city where a common language other than English and the local language is required for day to day communication then Hindi can be used ( for eg: Mumbai, Pune).


We Indians keep quarrelling, complaining, etc over such petty issues. We must remain united.



Ashutosh Jha, Games the ppl play

Its Dravidian and Aryan race-> Dravidian languages vs Indo- European languages -> South and North. Last time I checked India was united. North and south India is just for discussions sake. And singling out a single language for that folly is going a bit too far. 


So my answer is a plain no.


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