TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2006 (ID. 2006-10-u1-a-x)
What we said?
In the June 2004 issue of Tamil Tribune we wrote, “… with so much noise about the classical language demand, there is about a 60% chance that the new Congress-led Indian Government may recognize Tamil as a classical language. This is an easier way to appease Tamil Nadu politicians and continue with Hindi imposition.” [Reference 1]
In the same article we said, “Ask the Indian Government not only to recognize Tamil as a classical language but also make sure that any Indian Government order or legislation on Tamil as classical language also stipulates that Indian Government’s annual budget for Tamil development would equal the budget for Sanskrit. If Tamil Nadu politicians can get that done, then it is something to celebrate. Without such a measure, merely passing an order or legislation that Tamil is a classical language does not bring much benefit to Tamil. I am 99% certain that the Indian Government would not bring such a legislation or order on budget for Tamil development.”
As expected the Indian Government did declare Tamil as a classical language a few months later in 2004. Also, as we expected, the Indian Government was in no mood to consider Tamil as equal to Sanskrit. They put “Tamil’s classical language implementation” under the Department of Culture instead of under the Department of Human Resources Development. Many Tamil scholars and political leaders immediately protested it saying that the former does not have the necessary resources. They pointed out that Sanskrit development and propagation is under the Department of Human Resources Development, and wondered why was not Tamil also put under that department. No response came from the Indian Government. In essence, as we said in our June 2004 article, Indian government just made a declaration that Tamil is a classical language but relegated Tamil to a secondary status compared to Sanskrit. Funds allocated to Tamil during 2005 and 2006 are not even one-tenth of those allocated for Sanskrit.
Just one more instance of how the Indian government is treating Tamil as some type of a second-class classical language compared to Sanskrit. Just two months ago, in August 2006, Indian government awarded certificates of honor to a number of scholars in other languages it considers as classical languages; 15 Sanskrit scholars, 3 Persian scholars and 3 Arabic scholars received certificates of honor. No such honor for Tamil scholars. Is it because, in the eyes of the Indian government, there are no Tamil scholars that deserve such honour, or is it because it considers Tamil as a classical languages one step below Sanskrit and others? This is a humiliation of Tamil language, Tamil scholars and Tamil people.
[NOTE: If Tamil Nadu politicians apply sufficient pressure India may move Tamil from Department of Culture to Department of Human Resources Development. They may even award a few certificates of honour to some Tamil scholars. The real test is, “will the Indian government allocate the same amount of funds for Tamil development as it allocates for Sanskrit?” We do not expect that it would happen. India will continue to treat Tamil as a second-class classical language while lavishing Sanskrit with huge funds for its development and propagation.]