NE students in DU oppose mandatory language course

University wont provide teachers for their lingoes, fear protesters

Delhi University students from the north-eastern states protested on Friday against the new format of the four-year graduation, which makes it mandatory for students to choose among Hindi and other modern Indian languages (MIL) in their first year.

The students said they fear that of the 21 MILs, the university will not be able to provide teachers for all the languages. They said they should not be compelled to learn a different language.

MILs consist only of languages recognised by the eight schedule of the Constitution, comprising Assamese/Axomiya, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri (Meiteilon), Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

“Choosing a teacher for a particular language paper usually works on a majority. In each class, there will be handful or even less students from north-eastern states,” said a protesting student.

“So instead of providing a language teacher for them, they will be given a choice of languages that they may or may not like to study and learn. We say no to such imposition.”

The North-East Forum for International Solidarity, which organised the protest, also submitted a memorandum of demands to DU officials.

“The dean and the proctor came and tried to disrupt the protest. A scuffle broke out, and the deputy dean passed a racist remark,” said Chinglen Khumukcham, member of the forum.

“We refused to submit the memorandum demanding the administration to apologise. After two hours of sloganeering, the deputy dean finally apologised to us. Then we sent a 10-member delegation comprising representative various communities of north-eastern states,” said Khumukcham.

He said the DU administration assured to look into the matter, and has asked them to come again on Monday.

“The forum has decided to give a call for protest on Monday, and to continue the struggle till the demands are accepted,” said Khumukcham.

According to the forum, the compulsion to learn a different language should be implemented only after adequate discussions and consultations with a broad section of society.

A senior DU official said discussions are on over this issue.

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