Kerala demands 'classical status' for Malayalam

A cultural delegation led by state Education Minister M A Baby presented a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi on Wednesday making a strong case for inclusion of Malayalam in the list of 'classical' languages like Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu.

The decision to send the cultural delegation, comprising, among others, leading scholars O N V Kurup and Sugathakumari, had the mandate of all the political parties in the state.

According to Baby, Malayalam has all the qualification for the classical status and there was no justification for denying it the honour which had been conferred on Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages.

According to academic sources, a language in India is declared classical if it met such criteria as it should be at least 1000 years old, rich in ancient literature and independent literary tradition.

Since some of these norms, evolved by Kendriya Sahithya Akademi years back, are rigid it was important for the state to seek some relaxation in and make them liberal, sources said.
If a language is accorded classical status, it would benefit from generous financial support from the Centre for academic activities, they added.

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