A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s praise for Tamil as an ancient language, the opposition DMK has demanded that Tamil be made one of the official languages of the country.
DMK President MK Stalin said that since the Prime Minister himself has accepted that Tamil is the oldest language in the world, the Centre has the responsibility to recognize the language.
He further said his party wholeheartedly welcomed the prime minister’s statement on Tamil’s antiquity.
PM Modi, on his arrival at the Chennai International Airport, on Monday had said that “Tamil has become a talking point in the US” after his UN speech.
“During my USA trip when I said something in Tamil, when I told the world that Tamil is the world’s ancient language, the language became a talking point in America,” said Modi.
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, PM Modi had quoted Sangam-era Tamil philosopher Kaniyan Pungundranar to underline that a fragmented world is in nobody’s interest.
Later, in his address at the 56th annual convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, PM Modi spotlighted that Tamil Nadu is home to one of the oldest languages in the world.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Tamil Nadu’s Chennai for the first time after retaining power in this year’s Lok Sabha polls.
The prime minister’s remarks were a joy not only for Tamils in the State but across the world, Stalin noted.
Emphasising that his party had all along batted for official language status to all the 22 languages in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution, he sought official language status for Tamil.
As a first step towards bestowing official language status to all languages in the schedule, Tamil should be made one of the official languages of the Union of India,considering its antiquity over and above the rest of the languages, he said.
The DMK chief also wanted Tamil to be recognised as the court language in the Madras High Court.
According to the Constitution and the Official Languages Act, Hindi and English are the official languages of the Union.
Tamil had the status of one of the official languages in a couple of foreign countries, while it is not so in India, its place of birth, he said.
Tamil is one of the official languages in Singapore and Sri Lanka and is spoken in nations including Malaysia and South Africa by people of Tamil origin.
PM Modi’s appreciation of Tamil comes at a time when the opposition in Tamil Nadu has objected to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s pitch to make Hindi India’s official language.
Shah’s comments created a huge uproar with several opposition parties slamming him for trying to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states.
Earlier this month, the DMK had argued that Tamil was more suited to be made the common language for India.