Indian Government grants classical language status to Telugu, Kannada

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Nov 1 12:28:42 UTC 2008

Centre grants classical language status to Telugu, Kannada Special

The decision is subject to Madras High Court verdict on a petition

NEW DELHI: The Union government on Friday gave classical language
status to Telugu and Kannada; bringing them into a league presently
occupied by only Sanskrit and Tamil. The announcement was made here by
Union Culture Minister Ambika Soni on the eve of the Rajyotsava day of
both Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka on Saturday.

However, the Minister added, the decision would be subject to the
verdict of the Madras High Court on a writ petition pending before it.
The Centre, she said, had moved in the matter to have the petition
disposed of. As to how the Centre had moved ahead with the
announcement, the Minister clarified that the court had not issued any
stay on the matter and the government was informed that it could go
ahead with the process subject to the final decision.
The decision to accord classical language status to Telugu and Kannada
was taken on the basis of the recommendation of the nine-member
Committee of Linguistic Experts. The matter had been referred to the
committee in view of the long-pending demand of the two States. Ms.
Soni said representations were received from a wide spectrum of
political and civil opinion in both the States. Only languages which
have a proven antiquity of over 1,500 years can qualify for this

Earlier, the UPA government had granted similar status to Tamil as per
a commitment made in the National Common Minimum Programme.

The Hindu Nov 01, 08

 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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