“Samataliya sangami bal; Thonso ka prakshep tatha sataho ka parivardhan; Samapariman prakshep.”
If you have figured out these terms, chances are that a red carpet would be rolled out for you at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (ABVHV) in Bhopal, where the engineering (abhiyantriki) course is being offered only in Hindi — a first for the country — from this academic session.
And if you haven’t, you’re in good company too: staff have had a tough time even finalising the first-year syllabus in Hindi and have had to rely on a host of dictionaries and government publications to find the right words for engineering parlance.
The university had invited applications for translators but gave up after realising that most of them relied on what the course is meant to get rid of — English terminology. “We thought it’s easier to write it ourselves than trying to correct what they had written,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
Besides promoting Hindi, the university, a pet project of the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, is driven by the larger aim of “instilling nationalism” by carrying out studies and research in the language.
But if the initial response is anything to go by, there are virtually no takers for the engineering course, with apprehensions stemming as much from the lack of job prospects as from negotiating the web of nomenclature that sounds arcane even to the initiated. Sources said that no more than a dozen students have applied for the 90 seats that are available in Nagar (Civil), Vaidyut (Electrical) and Yantrik (Mechanical) streams this year.
Authorities, though, are undeterred. “Even if we get just one student, we are committed to starting the course from this year. We are swimming against the tide. English took root 250 years ago, Hindi will require a few years to catch up,” ABVHV Vice-Chancellor, Prof Mohanlal Chheepa, told The Indian Express.
“About 80 per cent of engineering students in MP come from rural areas and are comfortable only in Hindi medium. Students who enrol with us will have no difficulty because we will provide them online access to dictionaries for quick translation,” said a senior official involved in the admission process, adding that those who were questioning the university’s preparedness were “anti-Hindi”.
The university has also had to answer queries from prospective students on whether the course is recognised by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). It isn’t, but authorities insist it doesn’t require AICTE approval as it was set up through the state legislature.
These, however, are not the only issues dogging the course. With less than a week to go for the tentative inaugural date of September 1, the engineering wing has no designated teacher. The state government had deputed three teachers from government colleges for the proposed course last year but they have all gone back to their respective colleges. “They can come any time we want,” said an official.
Apart from the lack of students, teachers and recognition, those involved in the admission process are not sure where classes will be held. While the foundation stone for a proposed 50-acre campus was laid at Mugalia Kot village on the outskirts of Bhopal in 2013, the university, as of now, operates out of two rented premises — classes are held at the old Vidhan Sabha building while its administrative office is located at Patanjali Bhavan in the Bhoj university campus. As such, the engineering wing has no space of its own.
The V-C, though, said classes will be held in Patanjali Bhavan. He also said that the university has a bigger objective than just ensuring employment. “We want our students to be job-givers, not job- seekers. The British used to link education to jobs because they wanted trained employees for their administration. We want to create thinkers,” he said.
As for the language troubles, the V-C said, “You don’t learn swimming without getting into water. Students will learn Hindi terminology once they begin using it”.
And in case you’re still struggling with those Hindi terms, here’s the translation: “Coplanar concurrent force; Projection of solids and development of surfaces; Isometric projection.”