New Delhi/Chennai: Buckling under pressure from Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and other political leaders, the University Grants Commission on Thursday decided to withdraw its controversial circular directing universities to teach Hindi as one of the primary languages in undergraduate courses.
The UGC will issue a revised order on the subject on Friday, Commission chairman Ved Prakash said within a few hours after Ms Jayalalithaa issued a strong statement in Chennai opposing the ‘imposition’ of Hindi and making clear that the UGC directive, received by the Anna University and Alagappa University on September 16, would not be binding on them.
“My party’s stand is consistent. Hindi should not be imposed on non-Hindi speaking states”, she said, adding that the Official Languages Act, 1063, made it clear that Hindi should not be imposed on states where people do not speak the language, which the communication between Centre and such states, classified as ‘Zone C’, should only be in English. The UGC circular, therefore, would not apply to universities in Tamil Nadu, the chief minister said, also pointing out that the circular had been initiated during the previous Manmohan regime.
Responding quickly, UGC chairman Ved Prakash said in Delhi that the circular was “issued inadvertently” mentioning that Hindi be taught along with English as a primary language. “UGC has decided to issue a circular tomorrow (Friday) saying that Hindi is not mandatory. It is the prerogative of the university concerned to decide how to teach, who to teach and what to teach”, he said.
TN Chief Minister reiterated her consistent stand against imposition of Hindi in the state and directed the Anna and Alagappa Universities not to follow the UGC circular they had received asking them to teach Hindi as a primary language along with English in UG courses.
In a strong statement, the CM said the circular had been initiated during the earlier Manmohan regime and it would not be binding on TN. The two varsities had received the circular on September 16, directing that Hindi be taught as a primary language along with English in the UG courses, besides following it in Law and Commerce streams also.
This decision had been taken at the meeting of the Kendriya Hindi Samiti on July 28, 2011 under the then PM Manmohan Singh, she recalled. She said the council then said that students in Gujarat either graduated studying English or Hindi, thus resulting in lack of translation skills in Central departments and UGC had been asked to ensure Hindi was also taught along with English.
“Hence, it is clear that the effort to impose Hindi stemmed from the decisions taken in this July 28, 2011 meeting of the Kendriya Hindi Samiti,” she pointed out.
Location: Tamil Nadu