TODAY -

North-East Students' protest against the imposition of Hindi at Delhi
Date : 22 March 2013



Comrades/Friends,

It is our privilege to inform you of a protest against Delhi university administration that we are going to organize coming Friday, 22nd March 2013. This being an issue that concerns us all we hereby extend invitation to you on behalf of our forum to join our struggle and make it successful.

In the coming academic year Delhi University administration is going to introduce a new syllabus according to which it would become compulsory for students of all courses to do a foundational course during the first year of their graduation. In this foundation course they would be required to do opt for a language which would either be Hindi or one of the Modern Indian languages (MILs).

It is our fear that the compulsory imposition of Hindi and other MILs would cause immense hardships for the students who belong to communities that do not speak Hindi nor one of the major MILs. In our opinion this step amounts to nothing less than cultural chauvinism on part of the university administration. Particularly badly affected would be students who belong to the communities from the North-East because most of them are not adept in any of the languages of the mainland India.

The new syllabus, if it is allowed to come into force, would put the students of the North-East under serious disadvantage vis-ŕ-vis students of mainland India. This gross neglect of the special needs of the students of the North-East is not a new thing. It is our observation that in the framing of university polices the interests of the students from the North-East is always neglected. This fresh instance of bias should become an occasion for us to rise above community lines and put forward a united protest to safeguard our common interests.

Please find attached a copy of the memorandum addressed to the university administration. It has details about our understanding of the situation and the demands that could be posed. Kindly go through it and endorse it. Suggestions regarding additions, modifications etc would be welcome. Hope you join our protest in huge numbers.

Date of protest: 22nd March (Friday) 2013
Venue: Vivekananda Statue, Faculty of Arts, Delhi University.

Yours in solidarity,
Chinglen Khumukcham
NEFIS (North-East Forum for International Solidarity)


To,
The Vice-Chancellor,
University of Delhi,
Delhi-110007.

Memorandum


Subject- The issue of compulsory course in Hindi/MILs in the proposed new syllabus leading to linguistic discrimination on part for the university toward students of the marginalized communities.

Respected Sir,

We are submitting this memorandum to register our deeply felt sense of resentment against the new course structure that is to be introduced by the University next academic year onward. It has come to our notice that as per the requirements of the new course structure it would become compulsory for every student to learn either Hindi or one of the Modern Indian Languages (MIL) as part of the foundational course. Sir, we are certain that your wise office is aware of the fact that according to your understanding MILs consist only of the languages recognized by the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India which consists of Assamese/Axomiya, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi Kannada Kashmiri Konkani Maithili Malayalam Manipuri (also Meitei or Meithei), Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

Even from this narrow list, the university has the infrastructure/faculty to offer only a very small number of languages. This means that the languages of a number of communities from all parts of India and particularly the North-East would not be offered to the students by the university. We consider this dismal situation a result, not of the inadequacy of our respective languages but a by-product of the long standing bias and neglect on part of the government of India and the respective state governments in ensuring that the distinct cultural identity and dignity of the marginal/minority groups and communities is preserved.

The fact that the languages of so many communities/marginal groups is not given due recognition is not accidental but the unfortunate result of the insolent attitude of an arrogant state that chooses to impose its culture and language upon marginal groups/communities in the manner of a haughty conqueror. It is sad that now the university too has taken cue from the state in promoting cultural chauvinism.

Universities should ideally be the centers of progressive ideas and take the lead in rooting out the biases rampant in the society but unfortunately Delhi University is failing to live up to this expectation. The name ‘university’ itself suggests that it cannot belong to a narrow clique or vested interest group. A university is a place where all kinds of ideas come together and are allowed to co-exist and vie with each other. Through our protest we wish to impress upon your office that it is against the very spirit of the ‘university’ that a small clique/council/office/bureaucrats be allowed to legislate upon its future. This is particularly so in the present case because the imposition of the languages of majority/dominant communities upon students would affect the fates of not just the present lot of students studying in the university.

This in fact is a decision that would affect students to-be in future too and moreover students to-be not just from Delhi or the North-India but from all parts of the country. Given the wide scope of the ramifications of this decision, it is beyond our comprehension as to why it is being taken in such a peremptory, secretive and bureaucratic manner.

The gravity of this issue demands that a decision be taken only after rigorous debates, in consultation with wide sections of the society and keeping in mind the particular needs of the marginalized groups/communities. We must declare any attempt to the contrary as a step emanating out of the overweening ambitions of a narrow clique too eager to earn laurels through the implementation of speedy ‘reforms’. Through this memorandum, we wish to convey our warning to your office and your bureaucratic clique that we will not tolerate this chauvinist degeneration of the university syllabus.

Our demands:

1. Any clause that seeks to impose the compulsion to learn an alien language upon students, whose languages are not yet being offered by the university, should be implemented only after adequate discussions and in consultation with the broad sections of the society, particularly its marginalized/vulnerable sections.

2. Take immediate steps to develop the infrastructure, adequate faculty and syllabus for the languages hitherto not offered by the university.

3. Till the time the above becomes possible remove the clause of compulsory course in Hindi/MILs in the new syllabus for the students whose native languages are not covered by it.

Yours sincerely,


* This info was sent by Chinglen Khumukcham ( North-East Forum For International Solidarity) who can be contacted at nefis(dot)delhi(at)gmail(dot)com
This was posted on March 21, 2013


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