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Panjab University to re-introduce course in Tamil language

Tamil Nadu government has asked PU to appoint an assistant professor; has offered an annual financial aid of Rs 12 lakh to run the language course
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Dar Ovais, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON DEC 13, 2019 12:56 AM IST

On a special request by the Tamil Nadu government, the Panjab University after nearly two decades will re-establish its Tamil connect by reintroducing the Tamil language course in its curriculum.

In a letter to the varsity, the Tamil development department of the state of Tamil Nadu in November has asked the Panjab University to create a post of assistant professor for teaching the Tamil language.

The department of South Indian languages exists at the Panjab University, but only on paper. The department used to teach four South Indian languages including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.

The Tamil department was functional at PU till 2001. After the retirement of Dr K Ramakrishnan, who served as a professor of Tamil, the department became non-operational.

“We have accepted the request of the Tamil government and the university is keen to start the course. We will also request other state governments to facilitate in starting other language courses here as well,” said dean languages, professor Gurpal Singh.

The Tamil government has also offered an annual financial aid of Rs 12 lakh to run the course at Panjab University.

Professor Ashwani Koul, who has been working at PU since the 1980s, said, “After the retirement of Dr Ramakrishnan, the South Indian languages department stopped functioning mainly due to poor response from the students.”

The first communication between Tamil Nadu government and Panjab University in this regard happened in August. The chief minister of Tamil Nadu during the financial year 2019-20 at the Tamil state assembly in July had talked about the creation of a post of assistant professor of Tamil at Panjab University.


The department of South Indian languages was started at PU in the 1960s and still finds its presence in the budget copy of the varsity. The department of used to operate from the Publication Bureau. Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada were taught.

Till 2001, the department used to offer a certificate course, diploma course, a special diploma, graduate and post graduate courses in Tamil.

The department also used to offer English translation as a compulsory subject in all disciplines for the bachelors degree. Besides this, a correspondence course was also offered in Tamil up to the level of an MA degree. Central government officials and army personnel residing in and around Chandigarh used to take the part-time correspondence course in Tamil.

The MA degree syllabus was replete with ancient, medieval and modern Tamil literature, literary criticism, grammar, history of the language and study of texts in translation.

Professor Gurpal Singh said, “We are waiting for them (Tamil Nadu government) to release the funds. They have offered Rs 12 lakh and the rest of the expenses will be borne by the varsity.”

“Most probably, we will be able to start the Tamil department next year,” he added.

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