The Panjab University’s Urdu Department has objected to its proposed merger with those of various foreign tongues, asserting that Urdu is not a foreign language but an Indian one like Hindi and Punjabi. The university has recently proposed making Urdu Department the part of School of Foreign Languages to be set up after merging departments of Russian, French, German, Chinese and Tibetan languages, said Urdu Department coordinator Ali Abbas on Saturday.
“Urdu was born, nurtured and cultured in India during the first two decades of the 13th century by Amir Khusro. From that moment onward, Urdu and Hindi languages have not looked back. Not only this, even Punjabi language was put on the path of development by Baba Farid Ganj Shakar,” said Abbas in a letter to the PU’s Dean University Instructions (DUI).
A “wrong impression” is being created by “certain elements that Urdu is a foreign language”, said Abbas, asserting that “it is far from the truth”. “Urdu, Punjabi and Hindi are the three main languages of India which were later accorded the status of state language at different times,” the letter stated.
The Urdu Department’s raised the objection after the PU authorities recently proposed to merge small departments with less than six faculty members with each other to form one single school or centre, as per new norms laid down by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). As per the varsity’s proposal, the merger is aimed at enhancing the “academic performance by sharing infrastructure and human resources” of various smaller departments.
Urdu Department coordinator Abbas, however, suggested bringing the departments of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi under one umbrella of the department of Indian languages. “Or (Urdu Department) may be allowed to function independently as per the present arrangements,” Abbas wrote in the letter.
Notably before partition, the department of Urdu was a major department of the then “University of Punjab, Lahore”, which was set up in 1882. It was introduced in Panjab University, Chandigarh, in 1976.
Several other departments like Centre for Nano-science and Nano-technology, and the Centre for Medical Physics are to be merged with the Department of Physics. Similarly the Centre for Nuclear Medicines is to be merged with that of Bio Physics, the Centre for Public Health with that of Zoology and the Centre for Human Genome with that of biotechnology.
It has also been proposed to bring several departments like departments of sociology, defence and national important studies and the centre for political administration under the School of Social Sciences. A 15-member committee, formed by the varsity vice chancellor, would take a final call on the proposed merger of small departments on September 30.