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Read the following text

(1) India is a country of many languages. The constitution recognises 22 languages officially, but over 121 unique languages have been identified in the country. 

(2) To preserve and encourage the literary function of language, the government introduced 'classical languages' in 2004. According to the Ministry of Culture, a classical language is one that is at least 1,500 years old and has ancient, valuable literature recorded in it. Further, such a language is original and not derived from another language. Based on these guidelines, six languages have been classified as classical languages: Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Odia. 

(3) The following graph shows the percentage of Indian people whose mother tongue is a classical language. This is as per data collected by the census of 2011. The census was not conducted in 2021 due to the pandemic.

(4) According to the graph, around 6.7% of the Indian population are native speakers of Telugu, whereas Sanskrit has been identified as a mother tongue by only 0.002% of the population, which is around 24,821 people. Malayalam has the second lowest number of native speakers, making up about 2.9% of Indians. 

(5) The 2011 census data also noted that a majority of the native speakers reside in the area that their mother tongue originated from. For example, 93% of Kannada speakers live in Karnataka. Similarly, 93% of Malayalam speakers live in Kerala. 

(6) Balancing preservation of culture and inclusivity is a delicate equation for a heterogeneous country like India. With growing awareness, concepts like 'classical languages' may help us achieve harmony. 

Glossary: census - a survey that is conducted every ten years to collect information about the population of the country

Answer the following questions, based on the passage above

i. Which of these pieces of information can be confirmed by reading the passage? 

(I) the number of people in India who speak Tamil 

(II) where the majority of native Sanskrit speakers live 

(III) the reason Malayalam is considered a classical language 

(IV) when the idea of classical languages was introduced in India 

A. Only (I) 

B. Only (IV) 

C. Only (I) and (II) 

D. Only (III) and (IV)

ii. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate option from those given in brackets. Based on the passage, the __________ (functional/historical) value of a language is of utmost importance while (preserving/categorising) it as a classical language. 1 

iii. Imagine that a committee was formed to ensure that classical languages have more native speakers by the time the next census is conducted. In 40 words, answer the following questions to help the committee achieve its objective. 

(1) Which classical language needs its attention most urgently and why? 

(2) Which classical language would be THIRD on its priority?

iv. State an example from the passage that shows that India is a 'heterogeneous country'. Answer in one sentence.  

v. Why has the writer stated the following line in the passage? Give a reason. The census was not conducted in 2021 due to the pandemic.  

vi. Complete the sentence based on information from the passage. If Tamil originated from Tamil Nadu, we can infer that __________ of the native Tamil speakers would be living in Tamil Nadu.

vii. Which of these hypothetical situations would help India achieve harmony? Justify your answer in about 40 words. 

(a) if the majority of Indians who speak a classical language are settled abroad 

(b) if more languages from remote and tribal areas of India are identified as classical languages

(c) if the percentage of Indians who are native Telugu speakers increases to more than 10 percent viii Which of these sentences uses 'delicate' in the same way as paragraph (6) does? 

A. She looked beautiful in the dress with the delicate floral pattern. 

B. He was frequently admitted to the hospital due to his delicate health. 

C. This discussion will require careful consideration as it is a delicate matter. 

D. Please handle these delicate items carefully during transportation as they break easily

1 Answer

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Best answer

(i) D. Only (III) and (IV) 

[The passage mentions the basis on which a language can be categorised into a classical language, and it also mentions that the concept was introduced in 2004. Therefore, both these pieces of information can be confirmed by reading the passage.]

(ii) historical; categorising 

[The passage states that a classical language is one which is at least 1,500 years old and original. Therefore, this historical value is important. The passage does not talk about how these languages are preserved; it only mentions how these languages are categorised.]

(iii) (1) Sanskrit, as it has the lowest percentage of people who identify it as their mother tongue 

(2) Odia

(iv) India is considered a heterogeneous country because: (any one) 

  • a country of many languages 
  • over 121 unique languages identified in the country 
  • a variety of mother tongues that are different from each other

(v) Possible inferences (any one): 

  • to justify why data from a census as old as 2011 has been used  
  • to state that newer data is not available 
  • because readers would expect the next census to have been conducted in 2021 (10 years after the 2011 census) for more recent data 
  • to give a disclaimer to readers in case they find updated information in recent times that contradicts the stated data


  • most  
  • a majority 
  • any percentage that shows majority: 80% or above 

[Paragraph 5 of the passage states that a majority of the native speakers were found to be living in the place that their mother tongue originated from. Therefore, most native Tamil speakers would have been living in Tamil Nadu.]

(vii) (b) if more languages from remote and tribal areas of India are identified as classical languages

Justification (any one): 

The passage mentions that preservation and inclusivity are important. Therefore, including languages that are native to people who live in lesser-known areas of India would lead to more harmony. 

The recognition of lesser-known languages as 'classical languages' would make certain cultures and languages more nationally acceptable for citizens of the country. 

It would increase our awareness about our own country, which would lead us to understand unique cultures and languages with more curiosity than judgement.

(viii) C. This discussion will require careful consideration as it is a delicate matter. 

[In the passage, 'delicate' implies that the equation would require a lot of consideration since India is such a heterogeneous country. The given sentence correctly captures this meaning of 'delicate'.]