India: Regions where Bengali is spoken, including Kolkata
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Publication Date||20 January 2011|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, India: Regions where Bengali is spoken, including Kolkata, 20 January 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dd0cb7a2.html [accessed 19 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Bengali is one of the official languages of India (US 3 Jan. 2011; India 2001a). Statistics from India's 2001 census indicate that there are 83,369,769 people whose first language is Bengali, accounting for 8.11 percent of India's population (ibid.). Only Hindi, which is the first language of 41 percent of India's population, is more common (ibid.; US 3 Jan. 2011). According to the 2001 census, 68,369,255 Bengali speakers, the majority, live in the state of West Bengal (India 2001b). However, there are Bengali speakers in all Indian states, and over one million speakers in the states of Tripura, Assam, and Jharkhand (ibid.).
Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta) is located in the Indian state of West Bengal (India 12 Nov. 2009). Kolkata reportedly has a diverse population (BBC 13 Jan. 2003; Kolkata Education.net n.d.; INDFY n.d.). According to the official website of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, the majority of the population of Kolkata speaks Bengali, which is the official language of Kolkata (India n.d.). According to a 2003 article by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 40 percent of Kolkata's residents do not speak Bengali as their mother tongue (BBC 13 Jan. 2003). Several sources indicate that other languages commonly used in Kolkata include English (ibid.; India n.d.; Kolkata Education.net n.d.; INDFY n.d.) and Hindi (ibid.; Kolkata Education.net n.d.; BBC 13 Jan. 2003). In addition, the website Kolkata Education.net indicates that Bhojpuri, Oriya and Urdu are also spoken in Kolkata (Kolkata Education.net n.d.).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 13 January 2003. "Sign Language Decree in Calcutta."
India. 12 November 2009. Government of West Bengal. "West Bengal." <
_____. 2001a. Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner. "Census 2001: Statement 4. Scheduled Languages in Descending Order of Speakers' Strength - 2001"
_____. 2001b. Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner. "Part A: Distribution of the 22 Scheduled Languages - India/States/Union Territories - 2001 Census."
_____. N.d. Kolkata Municipal Corporation. "Basic Statistics."
India for You (INDFY). N.d. "Languages of West Bengal."
Kolkata Education.net. N.d. "Facts and Figures about Kolkata."
United States (US). 3 January 2011. Central Intelligence Ageency (CIA). "India." The World Factbook.
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sites, including: Factiva.