Monday, June 07, 2004
Tamil to be declared classical language

A stupid measure, I would say. Now, one would, at the first shy, be surprised that, given all my rantings against equating Hindi and India etc, I should oppose this. Let me explain.

1. Okay, now it is a classical language officially (it has de facto been one for a long time). So what? Is it going to be of any real use? AFAIK, there is no such classification in the Constitution, or, for that matter, the law. It's like calling somebody a neta - sounds cool... but is of very little real consequence.

2. Now that Tamizh is a classical language, why would the Telugu folks, whose bidda is bound to be offended by the exclusion of their language keep quiet? Expect a delegation of the 30-something UPA MPs from AP marching to PM Manmohan Singh's office/house to petition him to include Telugu in that list. Soon, there would be Muslims demanding that Urdu be included... and every language in the Eighth Schedule would be a "classical" language! And there would have been so many bandhs, marches, political point-scoring... all for what? No one would know.

I think the only sane thing to do is for the Union Govt to just declare that at the state level, the state govt would decide the official language, while at the national level, there would be a bilingual system - with both Hindi and English being used. In states where the official language is not Hindi, offices would also entertain the local official language.

And, the official agenda of moving towards Hindi as the only official language should be dropped, officially.

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