A Jawaharlal Nehru University professor who was part of the committee that drafted the 2018 National Education Policy said on Friday he supports the draft report signed by all members and submitted to the HRD Minister May 31, while adding that he was not in favour of imposing a language on anyone.
Mazhar Asif, Professor at the Centre for Persian and Central Asian Studies, told The Indian Express that he “favours” the draft recommendations “signed by all members”, that had recommended the inclusion of a three-language formula for non-Hindi speaking states wherein, class 6 students could opt for a regional language, Hindi and English.
Asif is the third member to have to come out in support for the initial draft submitted May 31. The provision in question was included after detailed discussions and its removal undermines the spirit of the three-language formula, committee members K M Tripathy and Ram Shankar Kureel had first told The Indian Express.
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Asif’s remarks come in the backdrop of the draft report being revised by the Chairman of the committee, K Kasturirangan. The contentious paragraph was tweaked at the chairman’s behest.
Asif refused to comment on the changes. “The draft policy has been signed by all the members and was submitted to the government. And now our responsibility is over. Let the government decide on the matter. I don’t want to make any comment on what the chairman has done. And I’m in favour of the recommendation that was given to government and signed by all the members,” Asif told The Indian Express.
When asked if he communicated his objection in writing, Asif said, “that is an internal matter of the committee. And I will not comment on it.”
Controversy had broken out over the draft policy when it was made public on May 31. Following protests by political parties, mainly in Tamil Nadu, on what they called the “imposition” of Hindi, the HRD Ministry had shared a revised document on its website, in the first week of June which dropped the recommendation. The Centre now has to finalise on a revised draft.
“I support the three language formula. I am not in support for imposing any language on anybody. Everyone should be given an option to learn in his mother tongue,” asserted Asif. “What I suggest is that there must be also be a link language. There is a provision in the Constitution — supported by Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Abdul Kalam Azad — that Hindi, written in Devanagiri script, would be official language of India. It is very unfortunate that after so many years, we still have not developed any link language, that can be extended through out the country. Everyone country has one link language,” he added.
“It is very unfortunate, that the five percent who know English, want to dominate,” he said. The professor reiterated that the recommendation were not directed at imposing Hindi. “There is no way anyone can impose a language on anyone. If someone has to learn a particular one, it has to be voluntary. But there has to be a link language throughout the country,” he reiterated.