There were demands that since Odia, one of the oldest languages, has no resemblance to Hindi, Sanskrit, Bengali, and Telugu and similar other languages it should be declared as a classical language. With this, Odia will join the exclusive club of Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, which have already been declared as classical languages.
Once a language is granted a classical status, a 'Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Languages' can be set up, an official statement said here. The University Grants Commission can also be requested to create a certain number of professional chairs for classical languages, for scholars of eminence in the concerned language.
A committee of linguistic experts, appointed by the Culture ministry, had recommended that Odia be made a classical language. Odia is billed as the first language from the Indo-Aryan linguistic group.
The criteria for declaring a language as classical requires high antiquity of its early texts and recorded history over a period of 1,500-2,000 years. Also a literary tradition that is original and not borrowed from another speech community is a must.