Tamil Nadu is synonymous to temples. For the food lovers, it is a haven, it is a ‘tamarind city’. For the saree sympathisers, it is a divine destination. Tamil Nadu is much more than idli-sambar, definitely more than the Kanjeevaram silk sarees and the jasmine flowers; it is a state which is extremely fond of the regional language Tamil. For people from other states, Tamil Nadu is much more than Rajnikanth movies and the white ash on foreheads.

Cinema and politics are like the bread and butter ( or should I say idli and sambar!) of the state, so much so that the Tamil cine industry has produced many Chief Ministers – Annadurai, M Karunanidhi, M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, to name a few. There are many actor-turned-politicians in the state, including Kamal Hassan and director Seeman. Cinema from the yore days has played a great role in protecting and nourishing the language. The state has produced many Tamil scholars and writers.  

Tamizhuku Amuthendru per” (Tamizh is called honey) said ace Tamil poet Bharatidasan. In the entire song, the poet gives many synonyms to the language. This song captures the emotion every Tamilian feels for the language. The 2500-year-old language has various forms; as one travels across the length and breadth of the state, one will discover how differently it can be spoken. 

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Tamil is more than just a language for Tamilians. It is a feeling which gives them a sense of pride and belonging.

It is as special as Jallikattu (bull taming) or even more. 

I strongly believe that one’s mother tongue is definitely close to one’s heart and should be revered. My heart bleeds to see some people refusing to teach their mother tongue to their ward, imposing the rule of speaking only English instead. 

It has been 15 years since Tamil was awarded the “Classical Language” status by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre. The recommendations of an expert committee of the Sahitya Akademi resulted in the Tamil language gaining the honour of being the first to get into this category. Tamil diaspora across the world welcomed this decision. Remember, there is considerable amount of Tamil population living in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Canada… to name a few. 

Thanks to the heritage and legacy, Tamil was the first living language to be given this official status. While awarding the status, the committee considered the fact that Tamil is a language having early texts or recorded history of at least one thousand years and an original literary tradition. Many Tamil writers and scholars are of the view that the Tamil language has always been enjoying a special status in many universities and research organisations in several countries. Even before Tamil was declared a Classical language,  many institutions were already instituting chairs for Tamil students in their departments for Classical Indian languages. 

A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers, said Mahatma Gandhi. So, remembering today as a milestone for the Tamil language, let’s protect our culture, traditions and languages, too! 

Preetha Kadhir

Preetha Kadhir is a Journalist with 15+ years of exp in national and international newspapers. She has penned rhymes for children and loves writing about education, parenting and societal issues.

The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.


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