Leaders of two major political parties - the DMK and PMK - on Monday condemned the BJP-led central government for "insulting" Tamil language by neglecting Tamil scholars for the Presidential Award of Certificate of Honour and Maharishi Badrayan Vyas Samman.
Condemning the Central government's action, DMK leader MK Stalin said the BJP leaders are playing a drama, claiming that they love Tamil language and citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement that he loves the language and is sad that he is not able to speak more than 'Vanakkam' in it.
"All these are just to cheat the people of Tamil Nadu...," he said in a statement.
Incidentally Tamil was the first language to be accorded the classical language status by the central government in 2004 and it was followed by Sanskrit (2005). Only after these two languages, did the government confer classical status to other languages.
There are two kinds of awards given by the Indian President to language scholars - a Certificate of Honour for scholars aged 60 and above; and the Maharishi Badrayan Vyas Samman for scholars between 30-45 years of age.
Scholars in the following languages - Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Arabic, Persian, Classical Oriya, Classical Malayalam, Classical Kannada and Classical Telugu - are eligible.
Former Union Health Minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss expressed his shock at the glaring omission of Tamil language.
He said these languages have got the classical language status, hence the scholars are awarded, also adding that of all the south Indian languages, Tamil is the oldest - older than Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.
The PMK leader said that Sanskrit language is no way better than Tamil as while Sanskrit is spoken by just around 2,000 people, over 10 crore people have Tamil as their mother tongue.
Ramadoss also faulted the Tamil Nadu government for not bringing the glaring anomaly to the notice of the central government.