Today NEFIS (North-East Forum for International Solidarity) 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. This being an issue that concerns all the students from the North-East and other marginalized communities of our country NEFIS took the initiative to organize a joint protest of students from all the communities across the North-East. We 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. This 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 disrupt the meeting. At this 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. After this we sent a ten member delegation consisting of representative of many communities of the North-East including Assamese, Nagas, Meities, Kukis, Tangkhuls, Aos etc and even a Tamil delegate. 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. We finished our meeting with slogans like ‘People United Shall Always be Victorious.’
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 is our opinion that the compulsory imposition of Hindi and other MILs would cause immense hardships for the students who belong to communities that speak neither Hindi nor one of the MILs. 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. This step amounts to nothing less than cultural chauvinism on part of the university administration directed against the communities from the North-East because most of them are not adept in any of the languages of the mainland India. The new syllabus, if it is allowed to come into force, would put the students of the North-East under serious disadvantage vis-à-vis students of rest of the country. This gross neglect of the special needs of the students of the North-East is not a new thing. It is our observation that in the framing of university polices the interests of the students from the North-East is always neglected. It is for this reason that we made this fresh instance of bias an occasion for us to rise above community lines and put forward a united protest to safeguard our common interests.
NEFIS (North-East Forum for International Solidarity)
Memo which was submitted:
[pdf http://kanglaonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Memo-North-East-1.doc_.pdf 600 800]