Haritha V. Kumar, this year’s Civil Services examination topper, had chosen Malayalam as one of her optional subjects. This was lauded by speakers at a programme organised by the Kerala State Institute of Languages in her honour here on Tuesday.

O.N.V. Kurup, Jnanpith awardee, who draped Ms. Kumar with a shawl, expressed his concern over the dwindling use of Malayalam. We need more bureaucrats who have a genuine love for the State’s culture, he said. Professor Kurup spoke at length about the language not getting classical status. Haritha’s success brought some respite to a language that was increasingly neglected, he said.

“There are so many reasons for why I am so grateful. For one, when almighty decided to bring the top rank back to Kerala after 1991, he granted that to me. Also, I achieved this distinction by completing a paper in Malayalam,” Ms. Kumar said, expressing hope that more students in the State would make it their optional.