Mumbai, Jan 16 (UNI) Maharashtra Non-Conventional Energy Minister and President of Jansurajya Party, which is a coalition partner of the Congress-NCP government in the state, Vinay Kore today urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to hold a ''national debate'' on the issue of giving languages the status of classical language.
He also exhorted that the Government should appoint a committee to consider the matter in all its aspects.
Mr Kore, MLA from Kolhapur district of Maharashtra bordering Karnataka, wrote a four-page letter to the Prime Minister yesterday and sent a copy of the same to Cultural Affairs Minister Ambika Soni.
The letter stated that the UPA Government had sought to create a new category of ''classical language'' by according the status of classical language to Tamil in 2004.
Initially, only Greek and Latin languages had the status of classical languages but, in 1921, Sanskrit, Arabic and Chinese were added to the list.
Recently, several influential leaders from Karnataka, Chairman of Administrative Reforms Commission Veerappa Moily and Union Minister of State for Planning M V Rajshekharan have been canvassing for getting the same status for Kannada, he added.
The Minister further alleged, ''The Government has divided the citizens of the country into two categories classical language speakers and non-classical language speakers. In this situation, the former would assume that they are culturally first-class citizens while the rest of the countrymen are second-class.'' He said this divide holds a serious threat to integration of the country.
Mr Kore also wrote that giving classical status to a language should not be on the basis of ethnic consideration.
The Government might have thought that Sanskrit - a language of Aryan origin - had got the status of a classical language and therefore Tamil - a language of Dravidian origin - should be given the same tag.
The Minister said if ethnic considerations are reckoned, then a question may come up why not religious consideration.
He added that if the Muslims in this country press for a classical tag for Urdu, would the Government refer the matter to Justice Rajinder Sachchar.
''A situation may arise in the near future when the activists of the classical language may challenge the continuance of Hindi as the national language on the ground that it is the language of second class citizens,'' he said.
Mr Kore said he was not against Kannada getting the status of a classical language but, only against the Government handling the matter in an ad hoc and too piecemeal a manner.
UNI JM NM SW RAI1902