Classical Tamil Institute to come up in Chennai


New Delhi : A Central Institute of Classical Tamil is to come up in Chennai to preserve and develop one of the world’s oldest and most widely spoken languages.

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A cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday gave its approval to a proposal by Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh, Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters here.

“The main objective of this decision would be the preservation and development of Classical Tamil, which is an integral part of India’s composite heritage,” Dasmunsi said.

The cabinet also decided to designate the chief minister of Tamil Nadu as the institute’s ex-officio chairperson.

With 2,200 years of history, Tamil is an ancient language that about 77 million people speak all over the world, dominantly in India.

It is the official language in Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India and also in Sri Lanka and Singapore.

Large numbers also speak the language in Malaysia, Fiji, South Africa, Suriname, Guyana, Mauritius as well as Trinidad and Tobago besides several Western nations where hundreds of thousands Sri Lankan Tamils live.

The Indian government has declared Tamil a classical language.

Minister Dasmunsi said that about 17 acres of land will be provided free of cost by the Tamil Nadu government for the institute.

He said the central government would spend up to Rs.763.2 million, extended over a period of four years, on the institute. The central government will also bear all its recurring and non-recurring costs.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and M. Karunanidhi of DMK, a key constituent of the Congress-led government, has been pressing Arjun Singh to set up the institute.