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Do you know which Indian languages are accorded the status of a Classical Languages in India

A classical language is a language with a literature that is classical. The languages are generally taken to have a "classical" stage. Such a stage is limited in time and is considered "classical" if it comes to be regarded as a literary "golden age" retrospectively. The Government of India in 2004 declared that languages to meet certain requirements could be accorded the status of a 'Classical Languages in India'.

Criteria for the status of a 'Classical Languages in India'

1. High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years.

2. A body ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers.

3. The literary tradition is original and not borrowed from another speech community.

4. The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between language and its later forms or its offshoots.

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List of languages declared as the 'Classical language' by Government of India

The 22 languages which are listed in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India are Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Out of 22 official languages, the Government of India listed six Indian languages as the 'Classical language':

1. Tamil

It is belongs to Dravidian language group and considered as the oldest language and pure language. It is spoken by significant minorities in the four other South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Government of India declared this language as the 'Classical language of India' in 2004.

2. Sanskrit

It is belongs to the Indo-Aryan Group of Languages. It is normally written in the Devanagari script, but other scripts continue to be used. It is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Government of India declared this language as the 'Classical language of India' in 2005.

3. Telugu

It is numerically the largest spoken language among the Dravidian languages. It is spoken in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and the union territory of Puducherry. It is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Government of India declared this language as the 'Classical language of India' in 2008.

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4. Kannada

It is belongs to Dravidian language group. It is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Government of India declared this language as the 'Classical language of India' in 2008.

5. Malayalam

It is belongs to Dravidian language group and considered as the smallest and the youngest language of the Dravidian language group. It is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Government of India declared this language as the 'Classical language of India' in 2013.

6. Odia

It is belongs to the Modern Indo-Aryan Group. It is one of the 22 languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Government of India declared this language as the 'Classical language in India' in 2014.

[* The Government has been criticised for not including Pali as a classical language as experts argue that it fits all above mentioned criteria.]

Benefit of declaring Indian language as the Classical Language

The resolution of Government of India opines that the following benefits will accrue to a language if they declared as the 'Classical Language'.

1. Two major international awards for scholars of eminence in Classical India Languages to be awarded.

2. A 'Centre of Excellence for Studies in ‘Classical Languages' will be set up.

3. The UGC (University Grant Commission) will be requested to create and to start with at least in the Central Universities, a certain number of Professional Chairs for Classical languages from scholars of eminence in Classical Indian languages.

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