Unpacking the Controversy Surrounding India’s “Ugliest Language”




India is home to over 1,600 languages, each with its unique history, culture, and beauty. However, in recent years, a disturbing trend has emerged in some parts of India where certain languages are deemed “ugly” or “inferior” to others. One such language that has been at the center of this controversy is Chhattisgarhi, a regional language spoken in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. In this article, we will unpack the controversy surrounding Chhattisgarhi and explore why labeling it as the “ugliest language in India” is not only offensive but also misplaced.

The Context:

The controversy surrounding Chhattisgarhi and its supposed “ugliest language in India” dates back to the early 2000s when the state government of Chhattisgarh decided to make it the official language of the state. This decision was met with resistance from some quarters who argued that Chhattisgarhi was a “dialect” and not a “language” and therefore, did not deserve official status. Moreover, some individuals also expressed their distaste for the language, calling it “crude,” “harsh,” and “unpleasant” to the ear.

The Controversy:

The labeling of Chhattisgarhi as the “ugliest language in India” has sparked outrage and condemnation from language activists, linguists, and Chhattisgarhi speakers worldwide. They argue that such a characterization is not only hurtful but also inaccurate. They point out that Chhattisgarhi, like any other language, is a complex system of communication that has evolved over centuries and has its unique grammar, vocabulary, and syntax. Furthermore, they argue that such a labeling is based on prejudices and biases that have no basis in linguistic science.

The Reality:

Contrary to popular belief, there is no objective measure of the “beauty” or “ugliness” of a language. Linguistic diversity is a hallmark of human society, and every language has its beauty and value. In fact, linguists have long recognized that each language has its unique sound system, rhythm, intonation, and structure, which contribute to its distinctiveness and beauty.


The controversy surrounding Chhattisgarhi and its supposed “ugliest language in India” highlights the dangers of linguistic prejudice and discrimination. It is essential to recognize and celebrate the diversity of India’s linguistic heritage and acknowledge the value and beauty of each language. As individuals and as a society, we must reject any attempt to denigrate or marginalize any language and work towards promoting linguistic inclusivity and respect.

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