Tamil Declared as "Classical Language" in India

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Mon Sep 20 12:13:53 UTC 2004

3. Tamil Declared as "Classical Language" in India


NEW DELHI, INDIA, September 17, 2004: The Centre on Friday decided to
declare Tamil a "classical language," the first to be recognized so in the
country. The Union Cabinet, which met on Friday morning, decided to create
a new category of "classical languages" and put Tamil in this category.
After the Cabinet meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister, S Jaipal
Reddy, said the government would consider putting Sanskrit and other
languages in this category, depending on their "heritage and legacy." An
Expert Committee of Sahitya Akademi, which had been set up to look into
it, has suggested strict criteria for declaration of languages as
classical languages, he said. The declaration would be made through
Government notification and there was no need for any change in law, Reddy


[Editorial note, the newly-elected Central government in India
agreed to this demand, requested by Mr. Karunanidhi, head of the DMK
party, in exchange for their agreement to participate in the coalition
government. (hs)]

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