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Indian languages have few takers

For students aspiring for a seat in Delhi University, studying Indian languages is a thing of the past. Except for Sanskrit and Hindi, the BA Honours courses in Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu and Arabic have failed to attract the best students, thus taking the cut-off percentage to as low as 40. Despite this, seats remain vacant in many colleges.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 14:58 IST

For students aspiring for a seat in Delhi University, studying Indian languages is a thing of the past. Except for Sanskrit and Hindi, the BA Honours courses in Bengali, Punjabi, Urdu and Arabic have failed to attract the best students, thus taking the cut-off percentage to as low as 40. Despite this, seats remain vacant in many colleges.

“Sadly, Indian languages are not the first preference for students today,” said Pratibha Jolly, principal of Miranda House that offers Bengali, Punjabi, Hindi and Sanskrit at the honours level.

Despite that, Indian languages seem to have no takers. IP College for Women stopped its Bengali and Punjabi departments a few years back because it didn’t get enough students.

The University’s information bulletin mentions that IP runs courses in Punjabi, Bengali and Urdu. However, the college has none of these languages as of now. At Kamla Nehru College, the Bengali department was closed down when its sole teacher retired.

The college has five students studying Urdu and Punjabi in the BA(Pass) course. “Students coming from small towns don’t know that they can study a vernacular language in the University,” said AS Reddy, principal of Sri Venkateswara College. “More information should be given and a lot more money has to be spent to revive Indian languages.”

So should Indian languages be scrapped because they have lost there relevance? D Jagannathan, principal of Dyal Singh College refutes the idea. “Contrary to that, the scope of teaching Indian languages has increased after the restructured BA course.

"Students have the option of choosing one Indian language as a subject and if we pursue this correctly, many will opt for their mother tongue,” said Jagannathan, who is planning to introduce computer software in Sanskrit to encourage students.