Declare Tamil as official language of India: Tarun Vijay

Source: VSK, Chennai07 Sep 2013 15:56:13

undefinedChennai, September 7: Tamil Nadu MPs in the Rajya Sabha were in for a surprise when Tarun Vijay, BJP MP representing Uttarakhand, demanded that the Centre declare Tamil the second official language of India.

"It is the arrogance and the feeling of a self-styled supremacy of some of my fellows in the north that we have not been able to fathom the real glory and importance of one of our greatest languages which is Tamil, its glory and influence can be felt across seven seas and caressing the highest peaks of the classical influence since ages and in all times," Tarun Vijay, a former editor of Hindi weekly 'Panchajanya', said in a special mention in the House on Thursday.

Tarun Vijay, one of the national spokespersons of the BJP, also said special scholarships, salary benefits and promotions be provided to government officials who gain a working knowledge of Tamil and demanded that Tamil chairs be established in all central universities.

Tarun ijay, 52, said the Centre must start a scheme to propagate Tamil in all north Indian schools and colleges.

He said Tamil scholars had in the past visited Hindu holy places like Kedarnath and built links between the northern and southern parts of India. He buttressed the point about national integration with a mention of poet Subramania Bharati who, he said, "wore a north Indian turban and became an icon of national unity and cultural renaissance".

He wondered if Tamil, "which has become the vehicle of a new Indian renaissance and cultural change", was ever given the respect and status it deserved. Tarun Vijay, who is learning Tamil, greets MPs from Tamil Nadu with a 'vanakkam'.

Expectedly, his unexpected eulogy for Tamil was welcomed by MPs from Tamil Nadu. CPI's D Raja said leaders living in north India acknowledging Tamil was very significant and they (MPs from TN) appreciated what Tarun Vijay said.

Tarun  Vijay's promotion of Tamil is interesting as it also reflects a maturing of the approach towards languages in the country, especially within the Sangh Parivar. Outfits like Jan Sangh, the precursor of the BJP, and the RSS have been staunch proponents of making Hindi the sole national language. It was the aggressive championing of Hindi at the expense of regional languages that led to anti-Hindi protests and forced the Centre to continue with English as the second language for official purposes.

According to the Official Languages Act, 1963, Hindi is the official language of the Union of India with English as a second language for use of official purposes of the Union and for use in Parliament.

However, the Constitution allows states to adopt its own official languages. According to the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, there are 22 official regional languages.