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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

For Panjab University, Urdu is a foreign language

chandigarh Updated: Sep 27, 2019 00:59 IST
Dar Ovais
Dar Ovais
Hindustantimes
         

Despite Urdu being one of the official languages of India, Panjab University (PU) plans on merging the department of Urdu with the school of foreign languages.

A committee constituted by vice-chancellor professor Raj Kumar has proposed that Urdu be merged with French, German, Russian, Tibetan and Chinese departments to form a school of foreign languages.  The move has many faculty members worried as the department’s merger with the school of foreign languages has put the language’s history and identity at stake. 

Dr Ali Abbas, coordinator of the Urdu department, said, “Urdu is our language. It should not be merged with foreign languages. If a language is spoken in other countries too, it does not mean that it is not our language.”

The department’s faculty took up the matter with dean university instructions and committee chairperson professor Shankarji Jha on Thursday.

In a letter addressed to Jha, the faculty wrote, “Urdu was born and nurtured in India during the first two decades of 13th century. Urdu, Panjabi and Hindi are the three main languages of India,which were later accorded the status of state languages.”

The controversy is not new to PU. Professor Akshaya Kumar of the department of English and cultural studies, said, “A proposal to merge Urdu with foreign languages had also been floated last year. I had resisted the proposal in the meeting because Urdu is not a foreign language. The university should instead consider creating a department of oriental languages,” he said. 

A committee member, requesting anonymity, said, “The matter will be taken up in the committee’s meeting. It will also be discussed with the vice-chancellor.”  

The committee formed for reorganising departments is set to meet on September 30 to finalise the committee’s guidelines.

The merger of departments is taking place to comply with National Assessment and Accreditation Council’s (NAAC’s) requirements. Merger of departments will improve academic performance by allowing departments to share infrastructure and human resources.

Apart from creating a school of foreign languages, PU is also planning to form a school of social sciences and school of education and merge all the centres of

Despite Urdu being one of the official languages of India, Panjab University (PU) plans on merging the department of Urdu with the school of foreign languages.

A committee constituted by vice-chancellor professor Raj Kumar has proposed that Urdu be merged with French, German, Russian, Tibetan and Chinese departments to form a school of foreign languages. 

The move has many faculty members worried as the department’s merger with the school of foreign languages has put the language’s history and identity at stake.  Coordinator of the Urdu department Ali Abbas said, “Urdu is our language. It should not be merged with foreign languages. If a language is spoken in other countries too, it does not mean that it is not our language.”

The department’s faculty took up the matter with dean university instructions and committee chairperson professor Shankarji Jha on Thursday. In a letter the faculty wrote, “Urdu was born and nurtured in India during the first two decades of 13th century. Urdu, Panjabi and Hindi are the three main languages of India,which were later accorded the status of state languages.”

Professor Akshaya Kumar of the department of English and cultural studies, said, “A proposal to merge Urdu with foreign languages had also been floated last year. I had resisted the proposal in the meeting because Urdu is not a foreign language. The university should instead consider creating a department of oriental languages,” he said.  A committee member, requesting anonymity, said, “The matter will be taken up in the committee’s meeting. It will also be discussed with the V-C.”  

The committee formed for reorganising departments is set to meet on September 30 to finalise the committee’s guidelines. The merger of departments is taking place to comply with NAAC’s requirements. This will improve academic performance by allowing departments to share infrastructure and human resources.

PU is also planning to form a school of social sciences and school of education and merge all the centres of the University Institute for Emerging Areas in Science and Technology with different departments.