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Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Vol 1
Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Vol 1

Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Vol 1

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In the language map based on the 1971 census and published in the first volume of the ENCYCLOPAEDIA, the percentage of people who speak the four (English speaking natives are negligibly few) out of the seven languages, additionally recognized by the Sahitya Akademi, has been mentioned. The two languages excluded in the ‘map are Maithili and Rajasthani. Maithili, according to the 1961 census report is spoken by 49.84 lakhs of the people of Bihar and its contiguous areas, though Sir George A Grierson had put the number of Maithili—speaking people at 1.02 crore in 1911. The 1971 census report is silent on this score. Whatever the actual number there is no denying the fact that Maithili is spoken by the third largest group of people in Bihar.

The number of Rajasthan speaking people is difficult to ascertain for a special reason. Rajasthani was not perhaps entered as the mother tongue by the natives of the place in any census and the percentage of Rajasthani-speaking people is difficult to come by from any authentic source. It may, therefore, be presumed that most of the natives of Rajasthan speak Rajasthani.

In the chart showing the scripts used by different Indian languages (Vol.I) we have only scripts which are currently in use. There may be scripts used in ancient time by some languages, but they are, if at all, very seldom used by modern writers. Maithili and Manipuri, for instance, had different scripts in the past, but they are no longer in popular use. Relevant information about these old scripts is, however, given in the entries on ‘Alphabet’ in the first volume. It may also be noted that the restriction about the date of birth of an author (born in or before 1947) has been relaxed only and very rarely in the case of the Sahitya Akademi award winners.

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