Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government's "attempt" to rescind an order making a proficiency test in Malayalam lanuguage mandatory for getting jobs in its services has irked writers, cultural activits and opposition parties who termed the move as a "disgrace" to mother tongue.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, however, has clarified that the controversy over the issue was without any basis and the state cabinet only discussed the complaints and apprehensions put forward by linguistic minorities.
He had said representations had been received from linguistic minorities expressing their concern over making Malayalam mandatory for getting jobs and wanted government to reconsider the decision. This came up for cabinet discusssions and no decision was taken on it, Chandy had said.
As per the existing order, proficiency in Malayalam has been made mandatory for those who are at the entry cadre. And those who had not studied Malayalam till tenth standard, a diploma course under Malayalam Mission prior to probation was a must.
Well-known poets Vishunarayanan Namboothri, O N V Kurup and Sugathakumari have come out against the government's move and said it was humiliating to Malayalam language.
Writer Puthussery Ramachandran termed it as 'foolishness' and said people of Kerala would not allow the move.
CPI-M alleged that the Cabinet had decided to repeal the order and dubbed it as an insult to the language.
Those speaking Tamil and Kannada have the right, freedom, and facilities to complete education in their mother tongue in Kerala, the CPI-M said.
Along with that, the condition is that they should gain proficiency in Malayalam for seeking a government job in the State. An order making a working knowledge in Malayalam compulsory for linguistic minorities was issued in 1974 and that was still in force, the party pointed out.
Criticising the government attempt, Opposition leader Achuthanandan has said that the ruling UDF had revealed its mindset towards Malayalam. He urged all those who love their mother tongue to start a joint fight against the government's flawed decision.
Pro-Malayalam outfit 'Malayalam Aikya Prasthanam' has decided to hold a dharana in front of the secretriate here tomorrow protesting any move to rescind the order.
For Malayalam to become the administrative language, it should be used in all government offices and those handling the problems of 96.4 per cent of the people speaking Malayalam should have the knowledge of the language, the outfit said.
The government should implement the proposal approved by the Public Service Commission and pilot a legislation for making Malayalam compulsory in education and in administration and the judiciary, the Prasthanam said.
Meanwhile, according to official sources Chief Minister has called a meeting of linguistic minorities next month to discuss the matter.