Panjab University Urdu ‘foreign’ protest
Panjab University’s Urdu department has objected to its proposed merger with those of various foreign languages, asserting that Urdu is not a foreign tongue but an Indian language like Hindi and Punjabi.
The university had recently proposed bringing the Urdu department under the School of Foreign Languages to be set up after merging the 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,” Abbas said in a letter to Panjab University’s dean for university instructions.
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... which were later accorded the status of state language at different times,” the letter stated.
The Urdu department raised the objection after the university authorities recently proposed to merge small departments with less than six faculty members to form one single school or centre as per new norms laid down by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (Naac).
According to the varsity’s proposal, the merger is aimed at enhancing the “academic performance by sharing infrastructure and human resources” of various smaller departments.
Abbas, however, suggested bringing the departments of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi under one umbrella — that of the department of Indian languages. “Or (the Urdu department) may be allowed to function independently as per the present arrangements,” Abbas wrote in the letter.
A 15-member committee, formed by the university’s vice-chancellor will take the final call on the proposed merger of small departments on September 30.