Figure of speech: Go back to college to learn a new language in Mumbai | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Figure of speech: Go back to college to learn a new language in Mumbai

Mumbai city news: Colleges have started affordable language courses for students and outsiders alike.

mumbai Updated: May 22, 2017 01:26 IST
Musab Qazi
(Hindustan Times)

Sayali Karlekar, then a first-year undergraduate student at Ruia College, had some time on her hands on Sundays and was interested in learning a new language. She decided to join a diploma course to learn the German language offered at the college's foreign languages centre, mostly because of the novelty of the experience. She soon developed an affinity for the language, and decided to give up her ambition to become a lawyer and started teaching German at the same place instead.

Learning a new language has become easier than before, as a number of colleges in the city are offering short-term programmes in a variety of Indian and foreign languages. While the University of Mumbai (MU) and centres associated with foreign embassies have been running language courses, the colleges make it more convenient and affordable for Mumbaikars to learn new languages. These courses are not limited to students from those particular colleges. 

Recently, the History department of Sathaye College in Vile Parle announced starting a four-month course to learn Bengali and a three-month course for Urdu. The department feels that the courses are particularly useful for students researching in Indian history. "We had sent some students researching medieval India to learn Persian. However, it occurred to us that if those students are first taught Urdu, a language which is similar to Hindi and has the same script as that of Persian, they will find it easier to learn Persian. Similarly, the Bengali course is useful for students researching Modern India," said Abhinda Dhumatkar, head of the department. 

However, the course has not only attracted history students, but also the people from other walks of life, who want to learn these languages for their cultural significance. "All those who enrolled for Urdu language course are non-Muslims, eager to learn about Muslims and Islam. We will soon expand the courses to include elements of Urdu and Bengali culture as part of these courses," said Dhumatkar. 

Many people are learning new languages to boost up their resume. According to Sachin Palekar, the coordinator of Ruia's foreign language centre, the centre attracts business process outsourcing (BPO) employees looking to learn Spanish and French, to communicate with clients in the countries which speak those languages.Many engineers learn Japanese to absorb knowledge available in the language, he said. 

Similarly, the one-year diploma course in Urdu being run by Anjuman-i-Islam's Akbar Peerbhoy College of Economics in Grant Road, in association with central government's National Council for Promotion of Urdu Languages, attracts people associated with the film industry, teachers, bureaucrats and police personnel. "The course has received a tremendous response," said Mehmood Shaikh, principal of the college. 

Meanwhile, several Sindhi minority colleges in the city such as National College and MMK College, both in Bandra, and Jai Hind College, offer a variety of programmes to learn the Sindhi language. "Nowadays, many people are moving away from their mother tongues. We have been taking efforts to promote the language," said Ashok Wadia, principal, Jai Hind College. "Even non-Sindhis who want to know about the community join these courses," adds Shobha Bhambhwani, who teaches Sindhi in MMK and National Colleges.