Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami has requested PM Narendra Modi through a Tweet to make Tamil an optional language in other states. The Tweet comes in the wake of news that the Centre is trying to make Hindi as the optional language or the third language in all the states.

"Request Hon'ble PM @narendramodi ji to include Tamil as an optional language for study in other states. This will be a great service to one of the most ancient languages of the world."

The Centre had recommended making learning Hindi mandatory in schools in non-Hindi speaking states with its Draft National Education Policy and three-language formula.

This policy was met with strong opposition from leaders of South Indian states including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka.

The draft National Education Policy 2019 spoke about a three-language formula where English and Hindi will be mandatory apart from the student’s mother tongue in all non-Hindi speaking states. It mentioned that Hindi-speaking states will have English and an Indian language from another part of the country.

Reacting to the same, Palaniswami in his tweet stated that Tamil should be an optional language in non-Tamil speaking states in India.

Tamil is the longest surviving language in the world and Tamil literature dates to 2000 years ago. in 2004, Tamil was declared the first classical language of India. Tamil was the second official language of Haryana till 2010. It is also accepted as a minority language in Canada, USA and South Africa.

When Karnataka chief minister Kumaraswamy also opposed the draft National Education Policy stating it was a way to impose Hindi, BJP leader Pratap Simha hit back saying that Congress chief, former prime minister Indira Gandhi was the first person to bring English and Hindi on sign boards in Karnataka along with the regional language.

However, with strong opposition from the South Indian states, the Centre revised the draft National Education Policy to state that that students can choose any language they wish to study.