Student bodies under the banner, Maa Boli Chetna Manch, have welcomed the decision of Panjab University Senate to cancel the setting up of a Hindi directorate to promote the adoption of ‘Rajbhasha’, Hindi, on the campus.
Many senators such as former Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, Chandigarh BJP president Sanjay Tandon and Rabindernath Sharma spoke about how Punjabi should be given first right in the PU due to large student and staff demography representing Punjab.
Some of them even referred to it as a “sensitive” matter and suggested that to set up a directorate would mean undermining the mother tongue, which could lead to a “fight between languages”. The student bodies including Students for Society (SFS), PSU Lalkar, All India Students Association (AISA), All India Students Federation (AISF), Students Federation of India (SFI), Indian Students Association (ISA),
Students Organisation of India (SOI), National Students Union of India (NSUI), Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), Pal Pehelwan Students Organisation (PPSO) and Sath have demanded that the authorities should take appropriate steps to give first right to Punjabi. The student front demands that the mother tongue be promoted by setting up a Punjabi directorate that conducts and performs administrative activities related to the language.
They also want for all entrance examinations, MPhil and PhD research work to be in Punjabi and other regional languages along with launch of Punjabi version of the official PU website.
They also demanded that students be allowed to write their papers in languages such as Punjabi, English and Hindi, depending upon their convenience.
The Maa Boli Chetna Manch was formed as a protest in response to an advisory by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) that wanted educational institutions to use Hindi in administrative capacity so that it could be easily promoted. The advisory also stated for seminars and lectures to be held in Hindi instead of English and also emphasised use of Hindi greetings such as mahoday, namaste and manyavar, among others.
Though this advisory was circulated in all educational institutions in 2015, the Syndicate took a call on the matter only last month. It reviewed the recommendations of a committee that was set up by former Vice Chancellor, Professor Arun Kumar Grover.