Chennai: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's repeat praise for Tamil as an ancient language, DMK chief M K Stalin on Tuesday welcomed it and demanded that Tamil be declared as one of the Central government's official languages.
Stalin, the leader of the opposition in Assembly, said his party wholeheartedly welcomed and lauded the Prime Minister for his comments on Tamil's antiquity.
The praise for Tamil came from Modi at the recent United Nations General Assembly, at the IIT convocation, and his remark that Tamil echoed in the US (both on Monday here), he said in a statement.
The Prime Minister's remarks were a joy not only for Tamils in the State but across the world, he 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 langugages in Singapore and Sri Lanka and is spoken in nations including Malaysia and South Africa by people of Tamil origin.
Referring to Modi's praise for Chennai's hospitality and food items like idli, dosa and vada, Stalin said: "Tamils are renowned not only for hospitality, but also for their sense of gratitude."
Prime Minister Modi, addressing a gathering of students and researchers at the Singapore-India Hackathon event at IIT Madras Research Park had praised Chennai's hospitality and its food items like idli, dosa and vada.
If the prime minister fulfilled the demand, Tamils will forever be grateful to him and it will honour the memory of Dravidian ideologue C N Annadurai and late DMK chief M Karunanidhi who were its votaries, he said.
Quoting a couplet of saint-poet Tiruvalluvar, (that meant that wisdom is all about discerning the true import of utterances; whoever might have spoken it), Stalin said Tamils were aware of it and hence expected action.
People expected the prime minister to put into action his "constructive care," for Tamil, Stalin said.
Modi's praise for Tamil is seen as an attempt to reach out to the people of Tamil Nadu after a row broke out with Home Minister Amit Shah's pitching for Hindi as a common language which was condemned as "Hindi imposition," by parties in the State.