Kerala demand for classical language status for Malayalam

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 14 (PTI) Kerala has stepped up itspressure for conferment of classical language status toMalayalam with an expert committee of scholars set up by thestate government claiming that the language meets all theparameters set by the Centre for granting the coveted honour.

Malayalam, spoken by over 30 million people, is the onlySouth Indian language that has been denied the classicalstatus, which Tamil, Telugu and Kannada enjoy.

The panel headed by Jnanpith laureate O N V Kurup, in thereport submitted to Education Minister M A Baby yesterday,said Malayalam met all criteria of a classical language likeantiquity, centuries of oral and written literary traditionand epigraphical and grammatical systems.

The report claimed that Malayalam has a history of 2300years against the norm that a language should be at least2000 years old to claim the classical position.

The language would also meet other norms set by the Centrelike evidences to prove its history and evolution and theliterary tradition and works that served as cultural guidancesfor generations.

The report claimed that one of the earliest references toKerala and its language could be found in the edicts datingof Emperor Ashoka.There are many other concrete evidences likethe inscriptions of the rock cave at Edakkapl in Wayanaddistrict which corroborated the antiquity of Malayalam.

The language had over the centuries developed withscholars enriching its written form by rendering all majorliterary, scientific and political classics into it.

For instance,Kautilya''s "Arthasastra",considered a masterpiece on state craft, had been translated into Malayalam asback as the 10th century AD and the Hindu philosohopic classicBhagavad Geeta in 14th century, the report said.

The state Government had last year submitted a memorandum toPrime Minister Manmohan Singh urging his intervention forgranting classical status to Malayalam.

Academic, writers and researchers from the state have saidit is gross injustice to have denied the status to Malayalamalone among the south Indian languges.

Following this, the experts panel was set up to reinforcethe claim with concrete historical, linguistic and culturalevidences.

Other members of the committee included linguist NaduvattamGopalakrishnan, writer and academic Pudussery Ramachandran andpoet Sugathakumari.

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