The Hindi Belt or Hindi Heartland is a loosely defined linguistic region in North and Central India where varieties of Hindi in the broadest sense are widely spoken, either as primary or secondary languages.  It is sometimes also used to refer to states whose official language is Standard Hindi.
Sometimes it is also used to refer to states whose official language is Hindi. Only Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh has Hindi as official language outside Hindi Belt, while in the southern state of Telangana the mutually intelligible language of Urdu is official. It is not necessary that their mother tongue is Hindi or Urdu. For instance Rajasthani people speak Rajasthani language, which has roots in Old Gujarati and to communicate with outsiders they use Hindi. In Uttar Pradesh people speak Hindi languages (including Awadhi and Braj Bhasha) and Bhojpuri. In Bihar people speak Hindi, Bhojpuri, Magahi, Maithili and Angika. In Haryana people speak both Hindi and Haryanvi. In Himachal Pradesh people know both Hindi and Pahari. In Madhya Pradesh, a large number of people speak Hindi and the second most important common language is Marathi. Other common languages include Malwi, Punjabi and Sindhi. It is also interesting to note that people from these states are mostly bilingual. For instance, there is a large population in Bihar that speaks both Hindi and Maithili and there is a significant population which is well versed in English, making them bilingual & multilingual.
- Uttar Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- Himachal Pradesh
|Bihar||Hindi (Angika, Bhojpuri, Magahi, Maithili and Vajjika)|
|Uttar Pradesh||Hindi (Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Bagheli, Braj bhasha, Bundeli, Kannauji, Khari boli)|
|Haryana||Hindi (Haryanvi), Punjabi and Rajasthani language in some parts|
|Rajasthan||Rajasthani language Punjabi|
|Himachal Pradesh||Pahari Punjabi|
|Uttarakhand||Kumaoni, Garhwali, Hindi Punjabi|
|Chhattisgarh||Chhattisgarhi language, Hindi|
|Madhya Pradesh||Hindi (Bagheli, Bundeli, Khari boli, Malvi)|
The National Capital Territory of Delhi also lie in this belt.
The states of Indo-Aryan languages Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir are not regarded as a part of the Hindi belt for their official language is not Hindi but one of the other Indo-Aryan languages .
The heartland supports about a third of India's population and occupies about a quarter of its geographical area. The population is concentrated along the fertile Ganges plain in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar.
Although the vast majority of the population is rural, significant urban cities include Chandigarh, Panchkula, Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi, Indore, Bhopal, Patna and Ranchi. The region hosts a diverse population, with various dialects of Hindi being spoken along with other Indian languages, and multi-religious population including Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs along with people from various castes and a significant tribal population. The geography is also varied, with the flat, alluvial Gangetic plain occupying the northern portion, the Vindhyas in Madhya Pradesh demarcating the southern boundary and the hills and dense forests of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh separate the region from West Bengal and Odisha.
Location and geography
The heartland is located in North and Central India. The highly fertile, flat, alluvial Gangetic plain occupies the northern portion, the Vindhyas in Madhya Pradesh demarcate the southern boundary and the hills and dense forests of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh lie in the east.
The region has a predominantly subtropical climate, with cool winters, hot summers and moderate monsoons. The climate does vary with latitude somewhat, with winters getting cooler and rainfall decreasing. It can vary significantly with altitude, especially in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
Over years political development in some of these states are dominated by caste based politics. In several parts, upper caste people had a disproportionate hold on political life. But this trend has changed in recent years.
- B.L. Sukhwal (1985), Modern Political Geography of India, Stosius Inc/Advent Books Division, "... In the Hindi heartland ..."
- Stuart Allan, Barbie Zelizer (2004), Reporting war: journalism in wartime, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-33998-7, "... located in what is called the "Hindi heartland" or the "Hindi belt" of north and central India ..."
- B.S. Kesavan (1997), Origins of printing and publishing in the Hindi heartland (Volume 3 of History of printing and publishing in India : a story of cultural re-awakening), National Book Trust, ISBN 81-237-2120-X
- Fatihi, A.R. (September 9, 2003), "Urdu in Gujarat", Language in India 3, retrieved 2007-07-16
- Madhya Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- Facts about Marathi language
- Indore Culture
- Maithili linguistic research
- Language, Religion and Politics in North India By Paul R. Brass
- "BJP sweeps out Congress in Hindi heartland". PTI - The Press Trust of India Ltd. December 4, 2003.
- The Rise of the OBC in Hindi Belt