Chennai: A controversy erupted on Monday with opposition DMK and PMK alleging that Tamil was ignored by the Centre while inviting nominations for Presidential Award for Certificate of Honour and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman from scholars of classical languages. Although the parties alleged that Tamil language was omitted, an announcement by the Central Institute of Classical Tamil on its website here invited nominations. “I strongly condemn ignoring Tamil in the Presidential Awards (for scholars of classical languages) and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman awards,” DMK working president M. K. Stalin said.
Citing a circular reportedly sent to educational institutions by the Union HRD Ministry seeking recommendations for awards in this regard, the DMK leader said classical Tamil did not figure in that communique.”Only Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Arabic, Persian, Classical Oriya, Classical Kannada, Classical Telugu and Classical Malayalam finds a place and not Classical Tamil. This shows the BJP-led Centre's deep-rooted hate and discrimination for Tamil,” he claimed. “Ignoring classical Tamil language, is an unpardonable betrayal by the BJP-led Centre,” he alleged.
The DMK leader, who is the leader of Opposition, said the Centre desired to place Sanskrit in a “golden cradle,” while slighting Tamil. “I urge the Centre to immediately take steps for honouring Tamil scholars through the Presidential Award and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman,” he said and added that the circular must be amended to include Tamil language. The DMK has often accused the BJP of seeking to promote its Hindutva politics by trying to “impose” Sanskrit. Stalin demanded that a fresh communique be sent to educational institutions seeking nominations for Tamil as well.
PMK leader Dr Anbumani Ramadoss said, “Tamil being ignored in the honour awards is shocking, disppointing and it is condemnable.” “Is it fair to not give awards for Tamil (scholars) while honouring other languages (including Kannada and Telugu) which were bestowed the classical status after Tamil? Is this not a deliberate conspiracy?” Ramadoss, the Dharmapuri Lok Sabha MP asked.
Noting that Tamil language was revered as the mother of all Dravidian languages, he demanded that it be included in the list of languages for which the presidential awards are to be given. The deadline for sending nominations for the award ended today, the PMK leader said and sought a month's extension so Tamil scholars could apply. Both the DMK and PMK also hit out at the AIADMK government for not taking up the issue with the Centre.
Dravidar Kazhagam, which is the parent outfit of the DMK, too assailed the Centre over the issue, and asked the Tamil Nadu government to take up the matter with the Union HRD Ministry to ensure “respect and recognition” for Tamil. Central Institute of Classical Tamil, an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Human Resources here, however, invited nominations under its “scheme of Presidential Awards for Classical Tamil,” for 2016-17.
Seeking to honour eminent Tamil scholars by conferring the Tholkappiyar Award, Kural Peedam Award, and Young Scholar Award, the CICT said the first two honours carried a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, the third came with s 1 lakh. According to an announcement tagged ‘new’ on the CICT website, the institute said the deadline to submit the nominations was April 7, 2018. According to the Union HRD Ministry, President's Award of Certificate of Honour was introduced in 1958 to honour Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian scholars. The scheme was extended to Pali and Prakrit in 1996. The annual distinction is conferred on the eve of Independence Day. According to the PMK, Oriya, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam were added to the list this year.