Press Information Bureau
Government of India

08 August 2006
  Ministry of Tourism  

  18:17 IST  
  Rajya Sabha

The Minister of Tourism & Culture, Smt. Ambika Soni told the Rajya Sabha today that a new category of languages as `Classical Languages’ was created by government, and the following criteria were laid down to determine the eligibility of languages to be considered for classification as a `Classical Language’:-

i) High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years.

ii) A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers.

iii) The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community.

iv) The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.

Only two languages, viz. Tamil & Sanskrit have been declared as `Classical language’.

The Government of Karnataka and several other organizations have represented to declare Kannada as a classical language. These requests were forwarded to the Sahitya Akademi for the consideration of the committee of Linguistic Experts, the Minister added.

This information was given by the Minister in reply to questions by Shri Janardhana Poojary and Shri K.B. Shanappa.