Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa today opposed a CBSE's directive to celebrate 'Sanskrit Week' in schools in the state in August.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she asked for a modification of the directive to focus instead on celebrating a 'Classical Language Week' in each state grounded on the linguistic heritage of that state. (Read letter here.)
"As you are aware, Tamil Nadu has a rich cultural heritage based on the ancient Tamil language. There has also been a strong social justice and language movement in the State. Hence, any official celebration of 'Sanskrit week' in Tamil Nadu is highly inappropriate," Ms Jayalalithaa wrote in her letter to Mr. Modi.
"It would have been much more appropriate to have organized a Classical Language Week in each State based on the linguistic heritage of that State," she added in her letter.
The directive came under intense disapproval by the Dravidian parties in the state who have always seen Sanskrit as a Brahminical language.
MDMK Chief Vaiko was the first leader to express criticism against the circular saying that "Sanskrit is seen to be a language of one group and Tamil Nadu will never permit this imposition."
The DMK called the directive an "RSS agenda that would lead to disintegration of the country."
"Only 14,000 people speak Sanskrit in the country according to government statistics and this is an attempt to impose Sanskrit-based culture," said PMK Chief Anbumani Ramadoss.
Similarly last month, the central government's directive to government departments to allow more usage of the Hindi language especially on social media websites had kicked a furore in the state.
Imposition of the Hindi language has often met resistance in Tamil Nadu where regional parties contend that since India is a linguistically diverse country and that there cannot be a one-language policy. The state has a history of anti-Hindi agitations dating back to the sixties, against the then Jawaharlal Nehru-led administration. Mr Nehru later assured that English would continue to be the link language between the central government and non-Hindi speaking states.