A fresh row over the government's push for Hindi erupted on Tuesday, after a university grants commission (UGC) circular to all universities for taking “appropriate action” on a BJP leader's proposal to make Hindi a compulsory subject for all students surfaced.
Expressing concern over the move, the CPM demanded that the UGC must withdraw it's circular "in order to uphold the unity of all linguistic and cultural groups” of the country.
The Left party also appealed to all sections of people and organizations involved in the education sector "to mobilize" public opinion and "force" the Union government to ensure that the UGC withdraws its circular.
While the UGC had issued a letter to the universities in this connection in October last year, this surfaced only after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi decided to discuss it at its next academic council meeting.
The University dropped it overnight from the agenda of the meeting following stiff protests by the JNU students union on Tuesday evening.
Vijay Kumar Malhotra, a BJP leader and President of the All India Sports Council, had suggested the HRD ministry make Hindi compulsory for higher education students last year. Acting on the BJP leader's request, the HRD ministry, which was then under Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, wrote to the UGC for necessary action.
“We had only asked for their (universities) suggestion. There was no compulsion from our side. Universities are autonomous bodies. They can decide their courses,” UGC chairman DP Singh clarified to DH, when contacted.
In a letter to JNU dated October 24, 2018, UGC joint secretary Jitendra Kumar Tripathi referring to a communication from the HRD ministry, had noted that Malhotra had requested making “national language Hindi” a compulsory subject in all schools and universities.”
“The commission requests all central universities and state universities to take appropriate action in this connection,” he stated.
The UGC official in his letter had also underlined that the commission had written several letters to the universities in past in connection with the matter but “they are yet to apprise the commission with the action taken on them.”
Demanding the withdrawal of the UGC circular, the Polit Bureau of the CPM said that the government's attempt to impose Hindi, “without a proper process by a statutory body,” would "only stir the hornet’s nest among other linguistic groups.”
“This is strange in the background of the widespread protest in the country against the imposition of Hindi as part of the draft National Education Policy, 2019 which forced the government to beat a hasty retreat,” it added.