FARSI LANGUAGE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Art and Culture)

News-CRUX-10     17th January 2024        
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Context: External Affairs Minister of India announced that the Government of India has decided to include Farsi (Persian) as one of the nine classical languages in India under the New Education Policy.


Farsi Language 

  • About: Farsi, also known as the Persian language, holds the status of being the most widely spoken member of the Iranian branch within the Indo-Iranian languages, a subfamily of Indo-European languages.
  • Official Language Status: It serves as the official language of Iran, while two variations of Persian, namely Dari and Tajik, are recognized as official languages in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, respectively.
  • Global Presence of Farsi: Beyond its official status, substantial Farsi-speaking populations can be found in various Persian Gulf countries such as Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, large Farsi-speaking communities exist in the United States.
  • Speaker Statistics: Farsi boasts approximately 62 million native speakers, positioning it among the top 20 most widely spoken first languages globally.
  • Persian Script and History: The Farsi script in Iran is a variant of the Arabic script known as Perso-Arabic, developed to accommodate Persian phonological nuances. This script emerged in Persia after the seventh-century Islamic conquest.
  • Linguistic Relations: Farsi is linguistically related to the languages of northern India and, more distantly, to major European languages, including English.


Classical Languages in India

  • Criteria: The Government of India has established specific criteria for declaring a language as classical, including a high antiquity of early texts, a valuable literary heritage, originality, and distinctiveness from modern forms.
  • Currently Classical Languages: As of now, six languages hold the prestigious 'Classical' status in India: Tamil (2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).
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