Demanding the enactment of a ‘’comprehensive legislation’’ by the State Assembly for making Malayalam the first language and also the language of court proceedings, noted writer and administrator of the Thunchan Smaraka Trust, K P Ramanunni, on Monday launched an indefinite fast supported by litterateurs and intellectuals such as O N V Kurup and Sugathakumari. ‘’In neighbouring Tamil Nadu, the government has brought out a clear cut language policy and has enacted a piece of legislation making Tamil the first language and also the language of courts. Rival political parties in Tamil Nadu united when it came to giving their mother tongue the respect it deserves,’’ said ONV while inaugurating the fast. The Kerala Government should also take a cue from its neighbour and enact a comprehensive piece of legislation, he said adding that Malayalam writers and intellectuals had brought out a blue print on drafting the Bill.
The writers and intellectuals, who had assembled under the banner of ‘Aikya Malayala Prasthanam’ on the University College premises, also demanded that the government should allow candidates to write entrance exams in Malayalam. A separate department should be set up in the Secretariat for Malayalam and a Directorate should also be constituted to promote the language, they said. Speaking on the occasion, poet Sugathakumari said that though the previous LDF Government and the present UDF Government made many declarations on making Malayalam the first language, no concrete steps had yet been taken.
‘’Unless a comprehensive law is enacted, Malayalam will continue to be neglected and will only have a second-class language status,’’ she said. K P Ramanunni said he was undertaking the fast as a representative of thousands of people who want to see Malayalam get the rightful place it deserves. ‘’I am only a body encompassing the spirit of thousands of people who love the language,’’ he said. Noted sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman, poet Puthussery Ramachandran, dramatist Pirappancode Murali and writer-critic P K Rajasekharan gathered to extend moral support to Ramanunni’s indefinite fast.