India: Telugu, Kannada to get classical language status

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Dec 31 15:45:52 UTC 2008

Telugu, Kannada to get classical language status

Amitabh Sinha
Thu, Aug 14 02:28 AM

The Government has approved the proposal to grant classical language
status to Telugu and Kannada, meeting the four-year old demand of
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. A committee of linguistic experts
appointed by the Culture Ministry had examined the merits of the
demands of the two states at a meeting last week and recommended that
both languages fulfil the criteria laid down by the Government for
recognition as classical languages, sources said. Telugu and Kannada
will join Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit and Tamil which have already been
given the classical-language status.

However, the implementation of the recommendation may take a while as
a Chennai-based advocate has filed a public interest litigation in the
Madras High Court questioning the expertise of the committee members.
The PIL has requested the court to quash the decision and ask the
Government to set up a new committee headed by a retired judge of the
high court or the Supreme Court.

Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka had been demanding this status for their
respective languages ever since Tamil was recognised as a classical
language in 2004.  Recognition as classical language ensures
opportunities for scholars to undertake widespread research in the
origin and history of that language with an effort to fill in gaps and
missing links. To be classified as a classical language, the language
must fulfil four criteria laid down by the Government. Among them are
that the language must have a recorded history of at least 1,500-2,000
years and its literary tradition be original and not borrowed from any
speech community.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at


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