At a time when the government at the centre is trying its best to grant citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis, Assam’s ethnic groups, their languages and culture has come under serious threat as subsequently, the number of Assamese speaking population including people from various ethnic groups has reportedly gone down.
In the past decade, the population of Assamese speakers, inclusive of Bodo, Rabha and Sautal have immensely gone down in Assam.
According to 2011 census reports, the Assamese speaking population in the state is only 48.38 percent at present which is not even half of the entire population.
However, the Bangla speaking and Hindi speaking populations have seen to follow a rising trend. The Bangla speaking population is 28.91% or rather 29% whereas the hindi speaking population is 6.73%.
Clearly, the state’s one third of the population is occupied by Bangla speaking population. In addition, it may be noted that, at a time when the Assamese speaking population is declining, at the same time Hindi and Bangla speaking population is tremendously rising.
As per the reports from census, in the past two decades, Assamese speaking people have decreased by 10 %. According to 1991 census, the population was 57.81% which sank to 48.80% in 2001 and further to 48.38% in 2011.
On the other hand, Bangla speaking population in 1991 was 21.67%, however, in the 2001 cencus reports it increased to 27.54% and to 28.91% in 2011.
It is noteworthy that government at the centre had released reports based on religion and other criterias but restrained from releasing reports based on language terming it as a sensitive issue.
Significantly, as per 2011 census reports, the total population of Assam was 3.11 crore whereas in 2001 it was 2.66 crore. It may be mentioned here that however, the total population of Assamese speaking people in 2011 have increased as compared to the population in 2001 by 15.27% but when compared to the total population in Assam, the Assamese speaking population has decreased.
Also in the national level, the number of people identifying Assamese as their mother tongue has decreased.
As per the reports of the census, out of the 22 languages of the country, Hindi has stood at the first place with Bangla in the second and Marathi in the third. Assamese has been successful in grabbing the 12th slot.