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‘Allow submission of thesis, give question papers in Punjabi’

Language protest Punjabi department students highlight the need to preserve, present and restore the place of Punjabi on the campus

punjab Updated: Oct 24, 2017 14:47 IST
Arshdeep Arshi
Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Panjab University,Punjabi language part,Protest in Panjab University
Students in Panjab University show placards to promote Punjabi on campus in Chandigarh. (HT Photo)

As the students at Panjab University (PU) continue protests to make Punjabi language part of the signboards, it is just one of the demand as other issues involve giving Punjabi department research scholars an option to present their thesis in Punjabi, and the language being part of the question papers, among others.

These issues say the students have been unattended for long even though they have been put forward to the authorities on several occasions.

Students of Punjabi department in the university had written a letter to the vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover on October 11 to bring back Punjabi on the signboards on the campus. They had held a symbolic protest on October 17 outside the V-C’s office, teaching Punjabi to the participants.

Mahtab Singh, one of the leaders of the language movement at PU, says, “Bringing back Punjabi on signboards is only one of the issues. However, there are several other longstanding issues related to the language.”

Researchers have to submit thesis in English

One of the major issues faced by the students at other universities in Punjab as well is the research scholars have to submit their thesis in the English language. Most of the students who do not know English well have to get the translation done from their own pocket, which most of the times incurs a heavy cost.

The same is faced by the students here at PU. Singh said, “We want the students of Punjabi department to be allowed to submit their dissertation and thesis in Punjabi language. If the department needs it in translation, it should be arranged by the department.”

A committee was formed on October 17 by the university administration to form an estimation of funds needed for painting the signboards again, which will be presented before the syndicate and if passed there, it will be implemented.

Sector-42 college prof sends cheque to V-C

Panditrao Dharenavar, assistant professor at PGGCG-42, has sent a cheque of ₹5,000 to the V-C saying, “In case the university has shortage of funds due to the economic crisis, I am sending this money for this (painting Punjabi on signboards) work.”

He also mentioned the notification from the home secretary of Chandigarh administration dated September 18, 2013, that says the signboards are to be written in all the three languages.

Chandigarh Punjabi Manch protest on Nov 1

The varsity students are planning to join the protest being organised by Chandigarh Punjabi Manch on November 1, said Mahtab Singh. The protest is being held for the longstanding demands by Punjabi litterateurs and intellectuals.

Sukhdev Singh, president of the Manch and senior professor at PU, said, “We demand to save the autonomy of Punjabi language and culture in Punjab. We do not wish to harm other languages but other languages should not be taught at the cost of Punjabi. It is the government’s duty to save the its autonomy.”

He further said, “Around 2,000 litterateurs and teachers will gherao the Raj Bhawan and will get court arrested in protest.”

The activists believe that having a dominant presence, Punjabis and the language are denied the rightful place in Chandigarh.

Conference, march in Patiala on Oct 29

The issue of Punjabi language has spread in the state as the voices are now coming forward. On Saturday, activists smudged off Hindi and English from the signboards along Bathinda-Faridkot road, protesting the language being relegated to the third place.

Dharamvira Gandhi, Member of Parliament from Patiala, is also supporting the cause of saving Punjabi language and has written on the issue. He is organising a conference and a march in Patiala on October 29, together with Professor Joga Singh Virk and Panditrao Dharenavar on the issue.

Major demands of PU students

- Punjabi on signboards

- Clerical staff knowing Punjabi

- Punjabi on notices, ads, and environment related boards

- Teachers should be made aware about regional languages

- Thesis of research scholars of Punjabi department to be submitted in Punjabi; if needed the department should arrange for translation

- Implementation of three language rule

- Implementation of three languages for examination

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 14:45 IST