Journals in at least 15 Indian languages have made it to a recently released list of research journals approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Of these, there are at least two languages, Pali and Prakrit, that are not among the 22 listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The present list follows a list of 35,000 UGC-approved journals released last year. That list, however, had only English or foreign language publications. Following demands and protests by teachers of other languages, the UGC recently released a revised list of 47,026 journals that has 460 journals in Indian languages. The process is still on and more journals are likely to be included.
At the time of appointment or promotion of faculty in colleges and universities, the UGC allocates certain credits to every applicant on the basis of articles and other pieces published in its approved journals. “This is the first time that journals in Indian languages are being included in the list of UGC-approved research journals. To evaluate any journal is a very complex issue. We called experts of various fields and took their advice,” VS Chauhan, UGC acting chairperson, told The Sunday Express.
Of the 460 journals, Hindi has the maximum number of journals at 210, followed by Urdu (67), Sanskrit (64), Bengali (38), Pali (25), Punjabi (14), Marathi (11), Tamil (10), Gujarati (5), Prakrit (5), Oriya (4), Nepali (3), Telugu (2), Santhali (1) and Kannada (1). While welcoming UGC’s move to “enhance research and writings in these languages”, teachers said that in its rush to get journals in Indian languages in the list, the UGC had included many “substandard” ones.
“We had been fighting for this cause and it’s good that they have given space to Indian languages. Par unhone jo mila usko daal diya (they have included whatever they got). They should have also considered the quality of journals,” said Prabhat Ranjan, fiction writer and Assistant Professor of Hindi at Delhi University. “You cannot guarantee the quality of candidates who apply for promotion or appointments on the basis of their publications in these journals.”
Manoj Kumar Rai, Assistant Professor, Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University, pointed out that “the first major change in assigning credits for promotion and appointments on the basis of publications came in 2010, when the UGC mandated that credits would be assigned only for articles published in journals with ISSN number”. “Since ISSN numbers were soon given to all and sundry, the UGC then decided to release a list of its approved journals,” said Rai. He welcomed the inclusion of Indian language journals in the UGC list but said “they have ignored quality standards”.
Some of the prominent Hindi journals in the list include Sahitya Akademi’s publication Samkalin Bharatiya Sahitya, BHU Hindi Department’s journal Sakhi, Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University’s journal Hindi Samay, Bharatiya Jnanpith’s Naya Gyanodaya, Bharat Bhavan’s Purvagrah, besides literary journals run by writers including Hans, Samaas and Pahal. Tamil journals include Tisai Ettum, Puthiya Panuval and Puthuppunal; Aranyakam and Sagarika are among the Prakrit journals; Kabyaloka and Janasudha (Odiya); Adilok and Shabd Srushti (Gujarati); Ebong Jalarka, Oitihasik (Bengali).