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Classical Language Status

2023 JAN 13

Preliminary   > Art and Culture   >   Literature   >   Language

Why in news?

  • The West Bengal government will appeal to the Centre for granting 'classical language' status to Bengali.

About Classical Language Status:

  • At present, there are six Indian languages that have been classified as ‘classical’
  • Tamil was the first language to be declared classical in 2004, followed by Sanskrit in 2005, Kannada and Telugu in 2008, Malayalam in 2013 and Odia in 2014.
  • The Ministry of Culture has defined a set of guidelines to declare a language as classical.
  • A language is declared classical if it fulfills the following criteria as provided by the culture ministry in the Rajya Sabha in 2014:
    • (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.

How do classical languages benefit?

  • The Ministry of Education establishes two major annual international awards for scholars of eminence in classical Indian languages.
  • A Centre of Excellence for studies in Classical Languages is set up once a language is declared as classical.
  • The University Grants Commission is requested to create, to start with at least in the Central Universities, a certain number of Professional Chairs for the Classical Languages so declared.
  • University Grant Commission (UGC) also awards research projects for promoting these languages.


Which of the following languages in India has Classical Language Status?

1. Tamil

2. Odia

3. Sanskrit

4. Hindi

5. Urdu

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1,2 and 3 only

(b) 3 and 4 only

(c) 1,2 and 5 only

(d) 1,2,3,4 and 5