Nagaland is the most diverse state in India, language-wise: Report

Nagaland is the most diverse state in India, language-wise: Report
A group of people in different traditional attires are seen performing a cultural play in this file photo from The Hornbill Festival (Morung File Photo)

 

Morung Express News
Dimapur | July 11

Nagaland has been dubbed as the most linguistically diverse state in India, and Kerala the least diverse, according to an analysis carried out by Mint, an Indian financial daily newspaper published by HT Media, a Delhi-based media group.

 

Mint used facts and figures based on the linguistic data of the 2011 census and employed a concept from industrial economics known as the Herfindahl-Hirschmann Index (HHI).

 

Originally developed to quantify the degree of monopoly or competition in an industry, the HHI is defined as the sum of the square of the market share of each company in an industry. For an industry with perfect competition (a large number of companies, each with infinitesimal market share), the HHI comes close to zero. For a monopoly, the HHI is one.

 

It stated that inverting the HHI gives an estimate of the “effective number of firms” in an industry (one for a monopoly, infinite for a perfectly competitive industry), a concept that has been extended to other fields of economics as well. For example, the inverted HHI formula is used a measure of the “effective number of parties (votes)” in an election. Similarly, it can be used to examine the effective number of languages in a state.

 

Consequently, the 2011 census gives language at two levels, which the census describes as “language” and “mother tongue”, but which can also be described as “major language” and “minor language” or “language” and “dialect” (bringing to mind the old adage that a language is a dialect with an army and a navy). Here, the diversity of each state in India both at the language and the dialect level is taken into account.

 

Hence, the Mint report maintained that Nagaland is the clear winner on the diversity stakes in both the language and dialect axes, as the chart further demonstrates. Based on the 2011 census data, Nagaland effectively has 14 languages and 17 dialects with the largest language (Konyak) having only a 46% share.