Move to merge Central Institute of Classical Tamil with Tiruvarur central varsity ?
After the furore over alleged imposition of Hindi and Sanskrit, the Centre is wading into another controversy with a proposal to merge the Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT), Chennai, with th
CHENNAI: After the furore over alleged imposition of Hindi and Sanskrit, the Centre is wading into another controversy with a proposal to merge the Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT), Chennai, with the Central University of Tamil Nadu (CUT) at Tiruvarur.
This, detractors say, would reduce the autonomous institute of higher research functioning under the Ministry of Human Resources Development into just another department with limited functional flexibility.
The proposal was mooted by the central think-tank, Niti Aayog, which the MHRD has forwarded to the university.
Sources told Express the executive council of the CUT that met last week discussed this as part of the agenda.“The Niti Aayog has floated this idea for many institutions, and CICT is indeed one among them. The HRD ministry had sent this proposal to the institutions, but it is only at the discussion level; a final decision is yet to be taken,” sources said.
When the matter came up for discussion, one of the executive council members of CUT reportedly cautioned top officials that this move would trigger vehement protest from Tamil Nadu. When contacted, the office the VC of the CUT was tight-lipped about it.
It was the UPA government, in which DMK was among the biggest partners, that accorded classical language status to Tamil in 2004. From March 2006 to May 18, 2008, the institute was functioning from the Central Institute of Indian Languages campus in Mysuru. Then it was called Centre for Excellence of Classical Tamil. After much efforts by the then CM and DMK president M Karunanidhi, it was shifted to Chennai, and upgraded into the Central Institute of Classical Tamil from May 19, 2008.
Karunanidhi was the first chairperson of CICT, and now Chief Minister ‘Edappadi’ K Palaniswami occupies the position.
“The CICT has powers to undertake many a research works in topics as varied as agriculture, epigraphy, folklore, anthropology etc., and the governing council of the CICT has powers to take policy decisions. In short, the autonomy of this institution will go,” said Dr R Kothandaraman, former Senior Fellow of CICT, explaining the drawbacks of the proposed merger.
Though the four Dravidian languages, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, got classical language status, this is the only institute that is exclusive for a language, he added. “This identity will be lost if it becomes part of the Central University of Tamil Nadu,” said the 81-year-old expert. VCK general secretary and writer D Ravikumar told Express that merging the CICT with CUT would curtail the administrative and financial autonomy of CICT.