What is necessary – cultural unification or the recovery of culture? Read ahead as the writer weighs these arguments with her Sindhiyat experience.

“May I, a grandchild of Partition, be able to walk the streets of Anarkali…”, read a postcard addressed to the city of Lahore at an exhibition based on Partition held at the National Gallery of Modern Arts. Ghar, Zameen, Jaidad of millions, all lost in the wake of a tragedy that still largely engulfs our nation. Apart from the daily vendetta, what engulfs us more is the culture, and that, for me as a writer, is the language.

So while answering questions arising from confusion over my surname, the dialogue outside is overtaken by the dilemma inside. Sindhi? But how? Just because of the surname? Because the river after which the entire community was named is almost on the verge of drying up and the place called Sindh was left almost 75 years ago. So what’s left of all is the language, the shores of which are drying up quickly.

Even if you go somewhere empty-handed, you will take your language with you”, said my Urdu Professor.

In the case of Sindhi, I guess it travelled too long, losing its tids and bits on the way, where it got disintegrated to the extent that we only got Johnny Lever in almost all movies adding Sai at the end of each sentence in the name of cultural representation and cracking some chindi jokes. So it does make one sad when you realise the collective damage that so many of such communities have suffered at the altar of history, at the hands of those who tried to shape it according to their whims? Such whims today talk of “our” heritage, culture, and its preservation; funnily such, “our” does not aim at identifying the dynamic and diverse reality of this land but rather in the imposition of one culture, one language. That’s how politics is, the language used by poets and lovers to carve out confessions of love can be shaped fluently at the behest of ideologies to spew hatred in disregard of those very languages.

Linguistic hegemony has been a major tool for controlling the narratives, be it the attempt to impose Urdu on Eastern Pakistan– later Bangladesh, a Bengali speaking region that became a major reason for the partition of Western Pakistan and Eastern Pakistan– or the unannounced but underlying duel of Urdu and Hindi that goes on amidst the deemed “champions” of Linguistics.

In this fight for hegemony, no language appears to be a winner. Hindi imperialism does no good to Hindi with its negligence in academia or the ignored writers in the publishing scene, whose achievements are not even appreciated by these very “champions of Hindi”.

A lot has been lost already. Recovering and preserving what remains can’t be done with the imposition of one language. Attempts to promote linguistic diversity should be made with utmost necessity, not just with language centres but with the sharing of what is “ours”, rather than the imposition of what is being termed as “ours” on a national level.

Kashish Shivani

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LSR’s Hindi Debsoc held its Annual Hindi Parliamentary Debate informally outside the college after it got cancelled by the administration a few hours before the scheduled time of the event.  

Tarkvyuh, the Annual Parliamentary Debate organized by Vaktritva, the Hindi Debating Society of Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR) was all set to take place on 18thand 19thFebruary 2020, when it was cancelled by the administration, on the night of 17thFebruary 2020.

The team hosted the event in an informal manner outside the college premises. While the preliminary rounds of the competition were held in Lodhi Garden near the college, the quarters, semifinal and final rounds took place at the LSR back gate. In a WhatsApp forward being circulated within the college groups, Vaktritva, the Hindi Debating Society stated reasons for the same. It says that they had to conduct the event in such a way to avoid compromising with their debating space.

According to the text, the administration had asked them to put the college teachers as judges instead of the adjudicators that they had chosen. The coordinators tried to explain that subject specific knowledge is not the only criteria of judgement in a parliamentary debate and that adjudication requires training and experience. However, the administration was adamant on their demand and the only alternative provided to the organizers was to cancel their event. The team mentions, “In a space which is for debate, discussions and exchange of ideas with students, accepting these arbitrary options without proper reasoning did not seem right to us.”

Allegedly the administration wanted to have scrutiny over the kind of motions being debated upon and when the event was taking place unofficially, representatives of the administration had forced the students to take down the name of the college or society citing copyright issues. Such interference is threatening to the liberal spaces that any educational institution upholds and the intentions seem tyrannical.

The coordinators and the members of Vaktritva have refused to offer any comments to DU Beat at this point, citing discomfort for the same. DU Beat reached out to the administration for their statement, but is yet to receive an official response from their end. This report will be updated as and when the parties comment.


Image Credits: Lady Shri Ram College for Women Website


Aishwaryaa Kunwar 



University students, teachers and admin steps out in silent protest against non-appointment of the Hindi HoD.


On 18th October, Friday, the administration, teachers and students of Delhi University stepped out wearing black bands in a silent protest against the delay in the appointment of the Head for the Hindi Department. The post for the same has been vacant since the 19th of September when the former head’s tenure ended. 

The absence of the HoD has led to multiple complications not only regarding issues with the researchers but also causing a delay in the announcement of dates for M.Phil and PhD admissions, despite the issue of notification.

This position has been vacant for almost a month now since two proficient members of the department- Professor Sheoraj Singh Bechain and Professor K.N. Tripathi, have demanded claim for the said post, both refusing to back off. The question of seniority arose within this given situation.

The teachers and students demanded the appointment of Professor Bechain as the new HoD. Professor Bechain is the senior-most member of the Hindi faculty. He is one of the few Dalit professors in the University of Delhi. He has written multiple books on anti-caste and Dalit literature including Samajik Nyay Aur Dalit Sahitya and Mera Bachpan Mere Kandhon Par, and has also been awarded by the Hindi Academy of both Madhya Pradesh and Delhi governments. 

It must be noted that no Dalit professor has been appointed as an HoD in the past 70 years in the Delhi University. This has given rise to numerous questions alleging the University of exercising discriminatory practices against the Dalit community. As a result, the teachers and students stepped out in a silent protest march from the Arts Faculty to the Vice Chancellor’s Office demanding appointment of Professor Bechain as HoD in “the interest of social justice”.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Aditi Gutgutia
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As another Hindi Diwas goes by, another politician remarks on the ‘One Nation, One Language’ theory. How justified is the imposition of Hindi on India? 

On account of Hindi Diwas, 14th September, Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister said, “India has many languages and every language has its importance. But it is absolutely necessary that the entire country should have one language that becomes India’s identity globally.” As a result, he faced a lot of backlash, and attracted a lot of flak for implying ‘One Nation, One Language’ aka Hindi. 

Since Independence, India has faced a multilingual perplexion. From the imposition of a particular language to the alienation of the same, Hindi has stayed at the top, hegemonically. Shah’s statement resonates with his party’s ideology too. Hindi is spoken with a majority of 53%, however, isn’t democracy about inclusivity and not just the majority? India is a land of multilingual-ism with several languages and hundreds of dialects. Hindi remains as a North- Indian domination on mostly North-East and South India where Hindi isn’t the majority’s language. Shah reinstated Patel and Gandhi’s vision of Hindi as the Raj Bhasha. 

Sharanya Vajjha, a Political Science student who belongs from Andhra Pradesh, and has stayed in Assam for a long period said, “ Hindi should be the national language as it deals with the majority. I understand South India’s alienation but teaching them the basics since childhood would help eradicate the barrier. As many choose to migrate, learning Hindi in addition to English and regional language would be an added benefit.” 

Bharatiya Janata Party’s proposal in May, to include English and Hindi in schools besides the mother tongue in non-Hindi speaking states, garnered a lot of criticism from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. After a lot of outcries, Hindi was made an optional language. Looking back at history, India was reorganised based on linguistic plurality, states have been divided, capitals have been shifted only to keep their regional language intact. 

“Every language has a beauty of its own and needs to be respected. That said, it is still necessary to have a language that reflects our country, and it cannot be English, the language left by the colonisers. Hindi acts as a common medium in most parts of India. It need not be the national language but its value cannot be undermined.” says a Hindi teacher who has been teaching the same since over a decade. 

Living in North India surrounded by Hindi, we tend to forget that our country escalates beyond this. As a Bengali, I have seen my family struggle with Hindi after shifting to Delhi. Someone who has studied Hindi only till elementary grade is bound to face difficulties communicating formally and informally in any given setup. Not all states celebrate Hindi Diwas, they take pride in ‘their’ mother tongue, not of the dominant voice. 

Stephen Mathew, a student from Kerala says, “It (Hindi as the national language) should not happen. Learning a language definitely helps you to comfortably gell with a foreign culture but it should not be imposed in a country where you have hundreds of languages.” 

Facing backlash from southern parties and criticism by MK Stalin, Rajnikanth and the likes, Shah took back his statement and clarified, “I never asked for imposing Hindi over other regional languages and had only requested for learning Hindi as the second language after one’s mother tongue”, he further added, “I myself come from a non-Hindi state of Gujarat. If some people want to do politics, it’s their choice.” 

India is a land of diversity, our unity lies in our diversity. Imposition would not only deny us of our right to speak in our desired language but also, put a binder on our tongues. Simran Das, a student from Assam says, “As a person from North East, who was conditioned to speak in Hindi by the education system, the Hindi language certainly has a meritocratic value to offer as lingua franca. But the imposition of any language in a country that speaks more than 121 languages is bound to create an existential crisis and subsequently agitation among regional languages.” 

Feature Image Credits: The Hindu

Anandi Sen

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A demand to introduce Maithili as one of the languages offered by the University has been raised by a section of teachers from the University of Delhi.

This comes into light after the Delhi Government had announced the proposal of having Maithili as a subject for the students whose mother language is Maithili. It will be taught as an optional subject for classes 8 to 12 in Delhi schools.

In a letter addressed to the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Yogesh Tyagi by Associate Professor Rajiv Kumar Verma  from Satyawati College, the latter puts forward various reasons for introducing Maithili as a part of the subjects offered by the University. 

He brings into light that during the academic session this year, Maithili Elective/Core were included in the language subjects. Further strengthening his stand, he said that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) also introduced Maithili as an optional paper in which many candidates have been successful. 

Mr. Verma has been a former Academic Council (AC) member. 

The action has been perceived as a welcome move throughout the University.

Mr. Rajesh Jha, a member of the University’s executive council quotes, “Maithili is spoken in areas of eastern Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar. This year, around 50,000 students had applied from UP and 15,120 from Bihar for admission in DU.” 

As of now, the University of Delhi’s Department of Modern Indian Languages offers courses in languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Assamese, Bengali, Kannada and Gujarati amongst others but not in Maithili. 

It is therefore expected that having the language would grab the interest of a large number of students studying in the University.

Delhi University Student’s Union (DUSU) President Mr. Akshat Dahiya also said that the introduction of Maithili will be a great inclusionary step for the students from Purvanchal and encouraged the move. 

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives.

Amrashree Mishra

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The progressive National Education Policy (NEP) was in headlines recently when an old controversy reappeared in its document.

‘Balkanisation’ is a geo-political term used to explain the fragmentation of a large sovereign territory into smaller units due to social, political or cultural differences. The optimal examples of countries that surrendered themselves to this phenomenon are Yugoslavia and USSR. There are other failed attempts of segregation where states could not attain sovereignty because of compromise or suppression. Among others, the Indian state of Tamil Nadu is an astute example. The unflattering and relentless opposition of Tamilians towards the Hindi language has an 80-year-old history. It has led to violent protests, polarization and demand for a separate nation at different epochs of 20th century.

The current draft of the NEP is progressive in many ways. Orchestrated by noted scientist K. Kasturirangan, it promises to revitalize the ailing education system of India. Among other reforms, it changes the focus group for imparting education from 6-14 to 3-18 years. It also brings accreditation system in schools and envisions that by 2035, the gross enrolment ratio in schools will increase to 50% compared to the current 25%. But these amendments did not grab the eyeballs as much as a paragraph in the policy to implement the Three Language Formula did.

The Formula first appeared in the NEP in 1968. The clause suggests that along with Hindi and English, any Modern Indian Language be taught to students in Hindi-speaking states and the regional language be taught in non-Hindi speaking state. The formula resurrected the long-running resistance against Hindi imposition in South Indian states, especially Tamil Nadu. Tamilians, in order to conserve their identity and culture, have been protesting against compulsory Hindi education since 1937. Leaders like Periyar, who formed the Dravidar Kazhagam, initiated this anti-Hindi agitation when the then Indian National Congress government made teaching of Hindi compulsory in schools of Madras Presidency. The anti-Hindi sentiment has given genesis to the idea of Dravida Nadu, a hypothetical sovereign country comprising the non-Hindi speaking states of Southern India. E.V Ramasamy (Periyar) and C.N Annadurai, who were the initial proponents of Dravida Nadu, made an attempt to Balkanise India as they feared the hegemony of Hindi would repress their native languages.

But the fear is not inappropriate either. One of the most controversial subjects in the Constitutional Assembly debate was the selection of India’s official language. Noted historian Ramachandra Guha writes that when R.Dhulekar, a member of the house from United Provinces stood up to move an amendment, he started speaking in Hindustani. When the chairman reminded him that many people do not know the language, he replied, “People who do not know Hindustani have no right to stay in India.” The amount of chauvinism reflected in his majoritarian perspective makes it evident why our dear ones in the South are sceptical about compulsory Hindi education.

Following backlash from political parties in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the government officially amended a portion of the NEP. In the new draft, students will have the choice of changing any language they want to. The war of language has been very sensitive and controversial in India. It has fabricated the politics of Tamil Nadu in such a drastic way that the implicit advocate of Hindi imposition, the Congress party has never come back to power after 1967 following the anti-Hindi agitation of that year.

The ship of Unity in diversity sails only when there’s unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation. Imposing uniformity by enclosing a country like India will bring consequences that we don’t need or deserve.


Feature Image credits: NCERT


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Lack of commercial significance and unwillingness of students to pursue the language courses has resulted in fewer students opting for these fields; primarily, Hindi and Sanskrit. Here’s exploring the reason behind this pattern.

The academic world has been taken by storm by the prominent rise of Commerce and Economics as primary fields of higher education. It is thus inevitably assumed that if the class XIIth board examinations do not go in one’s favour, the recent pass-out is fated to opt for these language-specific arts courses as a browbeaten backup. The streams of Hindi, Sanskrit, and their likes have been destined to fall into this unfortunate category.

With its origin dating back to the second millennium, Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages to exist today. Emerging from the roots of it is our official language Hindi, which was derived back in the 7th century AD. Hindi is the fourth most-spoken language, with approximately 490 million people making use of it. Sanskrit is the official state language of Uttarakhand. Given their history and usage, there are hardly a few more languages that are as decorated as these two.

However, when it comes to studying these subjects at the undergraduate level, the numbers aren’t as staggering as that of the commerce courses. In the University of Delhi, there are about 45 colleges that offer B.A. (Hons.) Hindi, and only about 25 colleges that offer B.A. (Hons.) Sanskrit. Even after a limited number of seats for these courses, the seats fill up rather slowly. However, having said that, there has been an increase in the number of students pursuing these courses in the recent years.

Speaking to DU Beat, Dr. Subhash Chandra, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sanskrit, said

“The slow growth is due to the high demand of job-oriented courses in the market. The research and development in these subjects require students who are completely focused on these subjects which are very few.”

It cannot be refuted that the commercial significance of these languages is not as high as the commerce courses. Also, the lack of placements of students pursuing these courses is a huge factor contributing to the stagnation.

In this age of advancement, it is understandable that students want to pursue courses that offer better career-building prospects. The kind of scope and number of opportunities that the mainstream courses provide are incomparable; whereas, these language courses are more about research and exploration. Also, these courses require immense effort and a higher degree of knowledge which results in a long and continuous studying phase. However, these are not the only reasons that act as a hindrance. Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Associate Professor of Hindi Department, opines that

“Hindi and Sanskrit languages cannot restore their place as long as there is no change in the system. Our studying curriculum involves the use of English mostly as it is regarded as an elite language.”

The fact that a few students opt for these courses only when they are unable to find other courses does not help the situation. The use of English in studying directly encourages students to learn and use English. As highlighted in the statement, the discrimination of Hindi and Sanskrit very much explains why there is a scenario of fewer students opting for these courses.

Regardless of the usage of English, the fact stays that it is a secondary language for us. Owing to the choice-based credit system (CBCS) introduced by DU, the number of students studying Hindi and Sanskrit have increased. Students pursuing other courses can opt for these subjects simultaneously if they wish to. Also, these languages are a part of the curriculum which makes it compulsory for students to study it. Adarsh Kumar, a third-year student of B.A. Hons. Hindi of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College says,

“I don’t feel like there is a lack of opportunities in this program. The course covers a lot of things and I have learned a lot of things. I am very happy with the curriculum.”

Maybe we need to revamp the current backdrop to bring a change. Maybe we just need to open up doors of opportunities that make the language courses seem lucrative. Maybe we need something more drastic. We need to take this trend of increasing number of students in these courses to a higher level, where one day students might be standing in the queue for hours to enroll themselves in this program. Hopefully, one day, we can relish studying the language that is our own.


Feature Image Credits: Language Services Bureau 


Karan Singhania

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DUs new diktat making the Hindi Test compulsory to obtain a degree under CBCS doesnt consider the fact that a lot of its students are from non-Hindi speaking regions. Does education really need a language after all? Read along to find out.

Delhi University has always been a melting pot of students from all over our country, (sometimes even outside of India) and it has always been a place that is a close second to the homes of people who aren’t from the capital. However, in recent times, the policies of our beloved University are changing and it is not for the better. A few weeks ago, DU issued a diktat stating that students who haven’t studied Hindi after 8th class in school have to give a Compulsory Test Hindi (CTH) under CBCS.

The rule that has been in place

Hindi was not compulsory in the Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS), implemented in the university a while back. The council made changes to the CBCS syllabus to make sure everyone graduating from DU knows basic Hindi.

The Hindi test is already triggering a controversy as hundreds of students in DU colleges come from states where the language is not compulsory in the school curriculum. Students from the Northeast threatened to launch a stir if the Hindi exam is introduced.

In 2013, when the university introduced compulsory Hindi and modern Indian languages, students from the northeastern states had protested.

The current situation

Deccan Herald reported that Dr. Ramananda Singh Mayanglambam, professor and nodal officer of the NE Cell in Kirori Mal College, said that he opposed the motion to make the Hindi test compulsory. His argument was supported by many others in the academic council meeting but was, however, left out of the notes. He also said that no executive meeting was held after that and the decision was made final and had already been set in motion.

This comes as another brutality that outstation students have to face. How are they going to learn a language – and pass an exam on it – when they don’t speak that language and when they haven’t practiced it in years? While on one hand, colleges in DU try to promote secularity and diversity in culture, the University Board on the other seems to weighing down students with the burden of nationality and using language as a means.

This isn’t 1947 anymore when a free Indian government strived to make Hindi compulsory across India just because it is spoken/used in majority – this is 2016, an era that is almost 70 years past that. This is the era where we expect Indians to have moved past boundary, language and culture based differences and to have realised the rightful concern for the minorities. But instead of accepting a diverse country, it is being made into a place where even students from different quarters are made to feel like outsiders.

The students take

“Most of the students from my state have studied Hindi till 8th as their third language. Only a few would continue with Hindi after that. Asking them to take a test and qualify in a language very much alien to them just because it is supposedly our “official” language is absurd. Why is this being imposed? This is supposed to be a Central University and therefore, a secular space which would accommodate the diversity of its students, and not a space to impose hegemonic agendas,” says a Miranda House student who is from Kerela.

Another student from the same college, Sampriti Dastidar from Assam, says, “I do not think this is relevant since most of the students from the North East have either not studied the language at all, or they have only studied it till the 8th grade. I think it is unfair to make the students take a compulsory test when they don’t even have enough knowledge about the subject.”

To most people, this would seem like another rule thrown in by the University Board. But it is more than that – it is about one’s right to feel like they belong in their own country, in their own capital. It is about accepting diversity and spreading secularism and tolerance, especially in times like these, when the whole country’s integrity is threatened. That is why it is important for prestigious institutions like Delhi University to take a stand against this idea of a ‘forced national identity’ instead of propagating it. For those who don’t know already, India does not have any ‘national’ language per say, but ‘Hindi’ and ‘English’ are the official languages accepted for administrative reasons, but what indeed gives Hindi as a language the precedence or the pedestal position to be put as a criterion for one’s graduation is not just absurd but also something worth pondering upon.

Anagha Rakta
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Riya Chhibber
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IP College for women (IPCW), University of Delhi has recently unveiled the new bilingual website for the college. The website has been made available in English and Hindi now.
“The college’s Hindi/bilingual website has been launched. It can be accessed at www.hindi.ipcollege.ac.in and also from the link on the homepage at www.ipcollege.ac.in” Dr. Babli Saraf, principal of IP College told Hindustan Times.

Ms. Yogi, the union advisor at IPCW said, “It is a part of the national agenda to make all content available in Hindi too. Taking cue from this, the principal took an initiative to make the website a bilingual one.” “The content on the website was translated to Hindi with the assistance of an alumna of IP College, who can be said to service her college”, further added the Union Advisor.

Akshara Srivastava

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Vimarsh the Hindi debating society at Sri Venkateswara College held its annual debating tournament Manthan ’14 on Monday 10, February. The chief guest for the event was Mr. Rishipal Rana, ACP, Delhi Traffic Police.

As part of the tournament, two events were organised- a conventional debate competition and a tourncoat debate. Participants came from over 20 different DU colleges.

The topics chosen for debate were centered around the following issues- the institution of marriage and how people value it, the relationship between capitalism and naxalism in India and the effects of social media on electoral politics.

Out of all the participating teams, Prabhanshu Ojha of Hansraj College stood first while Mohd. Imran Khan and Vaibhav from B. R. Ambedkar College were placed second and third respectively.