IMPHAL, March 22: A press release of the North-East Forum for International Solidarity, (NEFIS) has said that the body organized a massive demonstration consisting of around 200 people to protest against the imposition of Hindi/Modern Indian languages upon the students of the North-East, to most of whom these languages are alien.
“In the coming academic year, Delhi University administration is going to introduce a new syllabus according to which it would become compulsory for students of all courses to do a foundational course during the first year of their graduation. In this foundation course, they would be required to opt for a language which would either be Hindi or one of the Modern Indian languages (MILs)”, it said.
“There would be problems even for the communities that speak MILs like Manipuri, Assamese etc because the infrastructure and faculty strength for these languages is too small to be able to cover the whole of university”.
A memorandum of demand was also submitted to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi demanding that any clause that seeks to impose the compulsion to learn an alien language upon students, whose languages are not yet being offered by the university, should be implemented only after adequate discussions and in consultation with the broad sections of the society, particularly its marginalized/vulnerable sections; to take immediate steps to develop the infrastructure, adequate faculty and syllabus for the languages hitherto not offered by the university and till the time the above becomes possible remove the clause of compulsory course in Hindi/MILs in the new syllabus for the students whose native languages are not covered by it.
It further continued that the NEFIS took the initiative to organize the protest as the issue concerns all the students from the North-East and other marginalized communities of the country. It said, the protestors gathered at 2pm at the Vivekanand Statue, Faculty of Arts, Delhi University and held a public meeting.
“Speakers from various different communities of the North-East spoke to the gathering and condemned the chauvinist tendency of the University administration, which was followed by the raising of slogans and a procession was taken out up to the front gate of Arts Faculty where it was stopped by a bus load of policemen”.
“The dean and the proctor came and tried to disrupted the meeting. A scuffle broke out during the course of which the deputy dean passed a racist remark which enraged all present”.
“The gathering then refused to submit a memorandum and send a delegation to the university administration until they apologized for the racist remark. After two hours of active sloganeering, the deputy dean finally came and apologized to us. We then sent a ten member delegation consisting of representatives of many communities of the North-East including Assamese, Nagas, Meities, Kukis, Tangkhuls, Aos etc and even a Tamil delegate”, it said.
The statement further added that the administration gave assurance to the delegates that they would look into the matter and asked them to come again on Monday.
“Subsequently the forum decided to give a call for protest on Monday again and continue the struggle till our demands are accepted”, it said.