Centre providing ‘handsome’ funding only for Sanskrit: Ramesh

Ramesh sought to know if the Maharashtra Government would have to resubmit its application to meet these new criteria for recognition of Marathi as a classical language

Published - July 09, 2024 10:17 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference at AICC HQ in New Delhi. File

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference at AICC HQ in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: ANI

The Congress claimed on Tuesday that the Central government is providing “handsome” support only for Sanskrit among classical languages.

In a post on X, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said giving classical language status to a language was one thing, but supporting that status with financial aid for further research and development was another.

“So far, the Centre has supported only Sanskrit handsomely. That is fine. But what about the other classical Indian languages, which are not merely regional but are national languages as well?” Mr. Ramesh said.

Taking note of The Hindu story on the government planning to change the criterion for classical language classification, the Congress leader sought to know if the Maharashtra Government would have to resubmit its application to meet these new criteria for recognition of Marathi as a classical language, which has been pending for a long time now.

Stalling recognition?

“For 10 years, the Indian National Congress has been demanding that Marathi be declared a classical language”, he said. During Dr. Manmohan Singh’s tenure as PM, six languages, namely Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, and Odia, were declared classical, but during the tenure of Prime Minister Modi, “zero languages have been accorded that status”.

“The Government is now likely to change the criteria for classical language classification. There is no clarity on what the new rules are, or what the new procedure for applying for classical language status would be.

“Will the Maharashtra Government have to resubmit the application to meet these new criteria? Is this an attempt to stall the recognition of Marathi as a classical language? Is this a bid to extract vengeance on the people of Maharashtra after the NDA’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections?” he asked.

The Hindu reported on Tuesday that the central government has decided to tweak the criteria for granting classical language status to various tongues.

These are the current criteria evolved by the Government: early texts should be of high antiquity and have a recorded history over a period of 1,500–2,000 years; there should be a body of ancient literature or texts that is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers; the literary tradition should be original and not borrowed from another speech community. Other criteria were that the classical language and literature should be distinct from the modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

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