Students of Delhi University hailing from Kerala have written to the state’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to push for appointment of teachers in the varsity’s Malayalam department, which has been defunct for at least 18 years. A memorandum in this regard was submitted to the CM by the Students’ Federation of India (SFI).
“Even after being accorded the classical language status, Malayalam has been completely neglected in a prominent central university like DU. Research and analysis for the language, which has a rich heritage of more than 2,300 years, has been stunted in the academic spaces of the university. The inception of the Malayalam department in Delhi University can be traced back to 1968, which was started along with 11 other languages under the Department of Modern Indian Languages and Literary Studies. Back then, the department offered MA in Malayalam and had a full-fledged library with a collection of rare books,” says the memorandum signed by Fibin Filal, secretary of SFI’s Hindu College unit.
“The department has been defunct since the last 18 years as lecturer posts are lying vacant. Making necessary appointments to the existing vacancies can result in the department becoming functional, thereby aiding students from Kerala for positively opting for Malayalam as an optional language in the UPSC civil services exam. A fully functional department can also lead to the growth of the language…,” it further reads.
Sarin S Pillai, a second-year student of Economics from Ramjas College, said he backed the demand. “Since I’m preparing for UPSC, I would have liked to take Malayalam as an elective in college,” he said.
Sachin N, a faculty member at Dyal Singh College, said Professor O M Anujan and Professor Akavoor Narayanan were the last appointments in the Malayalam department, which was around 20 years ago. “It’s important that at least in central universities, there should be centres of other Indian languages, otherwise the Hindi majoritarianism will become uncontrollable and dangerous,” he said.
Dean (Academics) Pami Dua and Registrar Tarun Kumar Das did not respond to calls and texts.
SFI has also asked Vijayan to “take necessary steps to ensure that the procedures are eased” since students were “facing delay in processing equivalency certificate, which is mandatory for certain exams conducted by the State Public Service Commission”.