Centre plans 22 ‘bhasha kendras’
The government has decided to set up language centres to prepare study material and courses for each of the 22 languages in the eighth schedule of the Constitution, officials aware of the development have said
The government has decided to set up language centres to prepare study material and courses for each of the 22 languages in the eighth schedule of the Constitution, officials aware of the development have said.
The centres, called bhasha kendras, will be established under the Union ministry of education’s Indian Knowledge System (IKS) initiative, they added.
The move comes at a time when the Opposition is accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government of “Hindi imperialism”.
According to one senior official familiar with the matter, these language centres will be in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, that emphasises on promoting regional languages. “These bhasha kendras will promote national integration,” said the official, asking not to be named.
“We want students in Rajasthan to know about the wisdom available in Tamil literature, or those in Assam to know about important literary works in Telugu. These bhasha kendras will help us achieve that,” the official said.
IKS national coordinator, Ganti S Murthy, said the centres will be given three broad responsibilities.
First, they will prepare small booklets of 100-200 pages of the IKS-related literature and manuscripts available in their designated languages. “Let’s say in Tamil, a booklet on Siddha Tradition or may on Bharatnatyam,” he said.
The centres will also be translating these works into Sanskrit and English. “If we need people from across the country to read and know about literature in all Indian languages, we need to translate it into some link languages. Therefore, we are keeping Sanskrit and English as the two link languages. Later, they can translate it into other languages as well,” Murthy said.
The second task of these centres will be to enrich their designated Indian languages with modern science and social models, said Murthy. They will be asked to translate 1,000 pages of material in other languages into their designated language, he added.
“The idea is to prepare enough study material in Indian languages so that a child is not forced to learn English to gain knowledge. They should be able to understand and debate the most modern topics in regional languages,” Murthy said.
The third task will be to develop courses at the undergraduate level. “Each centre will develop at least one course in their respective language at the undergraduate level that will be taught in higher education institutions,” he added.
IKS has already invited applications from education institutions, both private and government, NGOs, trusts and foundations for setting up the centres. “We have received overwhelming responses. The applications will be scrutinised and results will be announced by the end of November. Each centre will be given two years to complete the assigned task,” the ministry official quoted above said.
Uma Devi, a professor of Tamil at Delhi University, said that the centres should prepare career-oriented and modern day courses in these langauges.
“We need to make these courses attractive so that more and more students opt for them. Otherwise, students are losing interest in langauge courses these days,” she said.