Betraying a sense of caution, the Union cabinet has decided to set up a Group of Ministers to discuss how best to tackle the issue of enumerating caste in the ongoing census. On balance, the positives of undertaking a caste count do not outweigh the negatives. There are essentially two major problems in enumerating caste with the exercise itself and the thinking behind the process.
Given the fluid nature of caste as a social marker, trying to collect accurate data is unfeasible. The British faced precisely this problem when they attempted a caste census, leading to the abandonment of the exercise in 1931. When one combines this with the unenviable task of documenting castes among ...view middle of the document...
Even as things stand, rigid labour laws mean that the private sector has little incentive to create formal sector employment on a large scale. That's a major reason why Indian growth isn't inclusive enough. Further political intervention in the job market would only strengthen this skew. Besides, politicians should realise that fragmenting the electorate along caste lines will erode the vote base of not just the big national parties, but smaller caste-based parties as well. Prudence calls for an enlightened approach, and the implementation of policies that lift all boats.
World Classical Tamil Conference – a perspective
Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Although Tamil and a few other languages such as Greek, Latin and Sanskrit enjoy the status of classical language in the academic world thanks to their antiquity and rich literary heritage, Tamil is the first living language to be given the official status of a classical language.
— Photo: A. Rajesh
He wrote the theme song for which A.R. Rahman composed the music.
Our sagacious leader, Arignar Anna [C.N. Annadurai], conducted the Second World Tamil Conference in Chennai in 1968, during his tenure as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, on a very grand scale with the participation of lakhs of Tamils from all over the country and abroad. The First World Tamil Conference, held in Kuala Lumpur in 1966, the Third in Paris (1970), the Fourth in Jaffna (1974), the Fifth at Madurai (1981), the Sixth again in Kuala Lumpur (1987), the Seventh in Mauritius (1989), and the Eighth in Thanjavur (1995) were, relatively speaking, on a moderate scale.
Following our success in getting the rightful status of Classical Language for Tamil declared and notified by the United Progressive Alliance government – a landmark achievement in the development of Tamil and in the restoration of its prestige and glory – succeeding in our efforts to establish the Central Institute of Classical Tamil in Chennai, and facilitating the award of the President's ‘Kuralpeeda Award' and ‘Tholkappiar Award' on nationally and internationally renowned Tamil scholars, we thought it fit to conduct the first World Classical Tamil Conference. We decided to hold it for five days from the 23rd to the 27th of June 2010 at Coimbatore in a grand manner.
Demand for classical status
For more than 150 years, Tamil scholars and those conscious of their Tamil heritage have been demanding that the classical character of Tamil be recognised. They claimed that Tamil has rich and hoary literary and grammatical traditions, its own script system, and an unbroken lengthy history. In addition, the language has continuously been a spoken language at least for more than 2,000 years in Tamil Nadu. It has essentially kept its age-old character intact, even though it is an effective modern language.
The demand for classical status arose in the context of the British Indian administration treating Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic as...