This article is about the language. For other uses, see Hindi (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Hindu, Hindko, or Hindki.
Hindi devnagari.png
"Hindi" in Devanagari script
Pronunciation [ˈɦin̪d̪iː]
Region India
Native speakers
551.4 million [1] [2] [3] (2001)
L1: 422 million [1] [2] [4] [5] [6]
L2: 98.2 million [1] [2]
L3: 31.2 million [1] [2]
Early forms
Standard forms
Devanagari Braille
Signed Hindi
Official status
Official language in
Regulated by Central Hindi Directorate [8]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 hi
ISO 639-2 hin
ISO 639-3 hin
Linguist list
Glottolog hind1269 [9]
Linguasphere 59-AAF-qf
Language region maps of India.svg
States and union territories of India by the most commonly spoken first language. [10] [a]

Hindi ( Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST: Hindī), is an Indo-Aryan language, one of the official languages of India, and the first language of the majority of the populace in the Hindi Belt. [11] Outside India, Hindi is an official language in Fiji, [12] and is spoken in significant numbers in Mauritius, South Africa, Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. [13] [14] [15] [14] Modern Standard Hindi is the standardised and Sanskritised register of Hindi.

Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish, and English. [16] As of 2001, Hindi has more than 551.4 million speakers in India alone, or 54% of India's population. More than 422 million Hindi speakers are native and 129 million are second or third language speakers. [17] [1] [18] [2]

Official status

Part XVII of the Indian Constitution deals with Official Language. Under Article 343, official language of the Union has been prescribed, which includes Hindi in Devanagari script.

Article 343 of the Indian constitution states

(1) The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals. [19]

Article 351 of the Indian constitution states

It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages. [19]

It was envisioned that Hindi would become the sole working language of the Union Government by 1965 (per directives in Article 344 (2) and Article 351), [20] with state governments being free to function in the language of their own choice. However, widespread resistance to the imposition of Hindi on non-native speakers, especially in South India (such as the those in Tamil Nadu), Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, led to the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1963, which provided for the continued use of English indefinitely for all official purposes, although the constitutional directive for the Union Government to encourage the spread of Hindi was retained and has strongly influenced its policies. [21][ citation needed]

At the state level, Hindi is the official language of the following Indian states: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Each may also designate a "co-official language"; in Uttar Pradesh, for instance, depending on the political formation in power, this language is generally Urdu. Similarly, Hindi is accorded the status of official language in the following Union Territories: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, National Capital Territory.

National-language status for Hindi is a long-debated theme. An Indian court clarified that Hindi is not the national language of India because the constitution does not mention it as such. [22]

Outside India

Outside Asia, Hindi is an official language in Fiji as per the 1997 Constitution of Fiji, [23] where it referred to it as "Hindustani", however in the 2013 Constitution of Fiji, it is simply called "Hindi". [24]

Hindi is also spoken by a large population of Madheshis (people having roots in north-India but have migrated to Nepal over hundreds of years) of Nepal. Hindi is quite easy to understand for some Pakistanis, who speak Urdu, which, like Hindi, is part of Hindustani. Apart from this, Hindi is spoken by the large Indian diaspora which hails from, or has its origin from the "Hindi Belt" of India. A substantially large Indian diaspora lives in countries like The United States, United Kingdom, The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and few other countries, where it is natively spoken at home and among their own communities. Outside India, Hindi speakers are 100,000 in the United States; 485,170 in Mauritius; 250,292 in South Africa; 232,760 in Yemen; 107,000 in Uganda; 3,000 in Singapore; 8 million in Nepal; 20,000 in New Zealand; 20,000 in Germany.