Through the columns of The Hindu, on behalf of the Centre of Indian Languages, Jawaharlal Nehru University, I wish to greet the organisers and delegates of the World Classical Tamil Conference. The convener of the conference, Professor Rajendran, came to our Centre extending an invitation for the conference and held discussions with the JNU faculty last year. Our Centre is represented by our Tamil Professor K. Nachimuthu at the conference.
On this happy occasion, I wish to share two concerns with the delegates. First, not only Tamil but all the Eighth Schedule Indian languages, in particular Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam from the south, Gujarati and Marathi from the west, Assamese, Bengali and Oriya from the east, and Punjabi, Urdu and Kashmiri from the north, should be immediately designated as court languages for the respective High Courts in these language areas, as Hindi has been designated and is being used in the four Hindi-speaking States of the north. The Constitution does not make any difference in the status of Indian languages in this regard.
Secondly, Tamil should be treated on a par with Sanskrit as a classical language in all respects. Though Tamil and perhaps some more Indian languages have been designated as classical languages by the Central government, the budget for Sanskrit is many times more than the meagre budget for the other equally significant classical language, Tamil. The conference should focus on the issue that classical languages, particularly Sanskrit and Tamil, must be treated on a par in all respects, and in budgetary allocations, in particular by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Professor Chaman Lal,
Centre of Indian Languages,
J.N.U., New Delhi
My compliments to The Hindu on bringing out a supplement on the World Classical Tamil Conference. I take the opportunity to request the people to do their bit for Tamil. They should endeavour to talk in Tamil, not English; give their children Tamil names; teach Tamil as the main language in school; display Tamil boards boldly, not just for following the law; ensure that the use of Tamil in temples goes beyond a mere commitment on paper; develop the Tamil culture; hail the antiquity of Tamil; acquire a sound knowledge of Tamil grammar; and translate, not transliterate, all important works in Tamil.
The Tamil Conference is a big step forward in preserving, enriching and spreading Tamil culture. The rich biodiversity of the Dravidian land is being revived. The Tamil Nadu government has set an example for other States, which are equally rich in culture, to follow. The conference will help in inducing pride and awareness among the young on the rich cultural heritage they have inherited but are hardly aware of.