Odia, the first language of Odisha will soon get classical language status. Once achieved, Odia will be the sixth in India to get this status after Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Sanskrit and Tamil. . The State has been making the demand ever since Tamil was recognized as a classical language in 2004.
Yesterday, the Committee of Linguistic Experts, appointed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, recommended Odia for classical status in New Delhi. The Culture Ministry will soon place the committee’s recommendation before the Union Cabinet for final approval.
Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, noted litterateur and founder director of Central Institute of Indian Languages presented a 500-page report on behalf of Odisha government in support of its demand for classical status to Odia language before the Linguistic Committee in New Delhi Yesterday. The report was prepared by a panel of eminent litterateurs, linguists and historians earlier this year.
Pattanaik reportedly advocated in the meeting that since Odia is found in Natya Sashtra of Bharat Muni of 4th century BC and as some pillar inscription of King Kharvela and Ashoka resembles with Odia, the language is at least 1000 to 1500 year old.
The meeting was reportedly attended by Chairperson of Centre for Linguistics of Jawaharlal Nehru University Anvita Abbi, eminent linguists like K V Subba Rao and Uday Narayan Singh and head of the Department of Modern Indian Languages and Literary Studies of Delhi University Prakash Patnaik besides Debi Prasad Pattanaik.
A language needs to have a recorded history of 1,500 – 2,000 years and its literary tradition must be original and should not have been borrowed from any other language. These are the requirements to get the classical language status as per the criteria laid down by the government.
“Grating the status was a long standing demand of the state. We hope the Union Cabinet would take steps to accord the status soon” said a statement from Odisha Government in this nexus.