Pinarayi Vijayan | Mathrubhumi photo
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday took exception to the recommendation of a Parliamentary panel to make Hindi as the medium of instruction in all technical and non-technical higher educational institutions and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention into the matter.
A Parliamentary committee has recently recommended that the medium of instruction in technical and non-technical higher education institutes such as IITs in Hindi-speaking states should be Hindi and in other parts of India their respective local language. It said the use of English should be made optional.
Vijayan, in a letter written to the PM, said Hindi cannot be imposed as the main language of instruction in the higher centres of learning as the country has many languages and a single language cannot be termed as the country's language.
Noting that the youth of the country have limited job opportunities in the government sector, the CM said any attempt to put a substantial section of them at a relative disadvantage will not be in the best interest of the society.
"The job seekers and students of our country have their serious apprehensions in this regard. I take this opportunity to suggest that question papers for competitive exams for posts in Government of India may be given in all languages specified in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution," Vijayan said in his letter.
While the younger generation should be encouraged to learn languages other than their mother tongue, any attempt which will be "even remotely perceived as imposition of a language" will give rise to apprehensions among people in general and job aspirants in particular.
"I request the Hon'ble Prime Minister to intervene at the earliest to take necessary corrective steps," Vijayan said.
He said our nation accords a pride of place to unity in diversity and that we are one nation with the feeling of sisterhood and brotherhood in the midst of cultural, linguistic and religious diversities.
"Hindi cannot be imposed as the main language of instruction in our higher centres of learning. The State-specific aspects in the educational sector have to be recognised. There cannot be a hasty decision in this matter."
The Left leader said the use of all the national languages specified in the Constitution is to be encouraged.
"I also request that no language may be preferred as a medium of instruction over other languages, lest it should be seen as an imposition. This does not augur well for our cooperative federal setup," Vijayan added.
The ruling CPI(M) in Kerala has opposed the recommendation of the parliamentary committee, saying it runs contrary to the spirit of the Constitution and the country's linguistic diversity.
The end of compulsory English language question paper in the recruitment examinations and adequate arrangement for Hindi translation in the orders of the high courts in Hindi-speaking states are among over 100 recommendations made by the committee in its latest report.
In its 11th report presented to President Droupadi Murmu last month, the Committee of Parliament on Official Language, headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, recommended that local languages should be given preference over English in all states.
The committee has framed the recommendations as per the new National Education Policy (NEP), which suggested that the medium of instruction should either be official or regional languages.
The medium of instruction in IITs, central universities and Kendriya Vidyalayas in Hindi-speaking states should be Hindi and in other parts of India their respective local language, the panel recommended.
All states and Union territories are divided in three groups (regions) on the basis of progressive usage of Hindi.
The panel said that officers and employees in the central government who deliberately don't work in Hindi in Hindi-speaking states should be warned and if they don't perform despite warning, it should be reflected in their Annual Performance Assessment Report (APAR).
Other recommendations include communication by central government offices, ministries or departments, such as letters, faxes, and emails, should take place in Hindi or local languages, simple and easy language should be used in official work and invitation letters, speeches, and moderation for any events organised by the central government should all be in Hindi or local languages.