Classical languages in India - UPSC Prelims (Art & Culture Notes)

Art and culture is an unavoidable part UPSC IAS Prelims Examination. Indian culture is a sundry topic. It incorporates cultural phase from ancient, medieval to modern times. UPSC aspirants always find it difficult to solve the questions from the Culture segment is quite factual in nature. Indian culture includes of Art, Literature, and Architecture.

Aspirants should try to try to find relevant current issues from newspaper and prepare it. In recent times, few languages were added to the class of classical languages, so UPSC asked a question in 2014.  In such a manner there are a lot of literary festivals of national importance are conducted. In this scenario, it is important to know about the classical languages of India.

According to Article 343, the official language of India should be Hindi in the Devanagari script. As per the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, we have 22 languages. In 2004 it was decided by the Indian Government to proclaim Indian Languages meeting certain requirements as “Classical Language”. Here we are giving the details about the classical languages in India.

Classical Languages of India Criteria

The idea of Classicism had its origin in Europe. According to information provided by the Ministry of Culture in the Rajya Sabha in February 2014, the guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are listed below. The Government tracks the following criteria to define the eligibility of language to be considered for classification as “classical language”:

  • Extraordinary antiquity of its early transcripts or verified history over a period of 1500-2000 years.
  • A body of ancient literature or texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers.
  • The literary tradition should be original and unique, and certainly not hired from another language community.
  • The classical language and literature being diverse from modern, there may also be a discontinuity among the classical language and its later forms or its sprouts.

Classical Languages

  • In 2004, the Government of India declared Tamil as the Classical Language of India.
  • In 2005, right after Tamil, the government declared Sanskrit as a Classical Language of India. These two languages are undeniably parental sources for several languages belonging to the Indo-European family and the Dravidian family of language groups.
  • The government gave the classical language status to Kannada and Telugu in 2008.
  • Malayalam was declared as a classical language in 2013 and in 2014, Odia was also given the status of the Classical language.

Also See:

List of Languages in the 8th Schedule
Official Language Resolution

Classical languages in India:-  Download PDF Here

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