Classical Language

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Recently, the West Bengal Chief Minister urged the central government to include ‘Bengali’ as a classical language.

About Classical Language

  • Criteria evolved by Government of India to determine declaration of a language as a Classical language is as under:-
    • High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;
    • A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;
    • The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community;
    • 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.
  • Currently, six languages enjoy the ‘Classical’ status: Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).
  • The benefits it provides once a language is notified as a Classical language:
    • Two major annual international awards for scholars of eminence in classical Indian languages.
    •  Centre of Excellence for studies in Classical Languages is set up.
    • 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.”

Key facts about Bengali Language

  • It is an official language of West Bengal.
  • It is the second most spoken language in India and the seventh most spoken language in the world.
  • The Bengali people have a rich heritage and culture dating back to prehistoric times.
  • Bengali is written from left to right.

Q1) What is University Grants Commission (UGC)?

The University Grants Commission of India is a statutory body under the provisions of UGC Act, 1956.It is responsible for coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education. It provides recognition to universities in India, and disburses funds to such recognized universities and college.

Source: Mamata asks PM to officially list Bengali as ‘classical language’