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Tuesday 28 January 2020

‘Sanskrit being prioritised over other Chairs at JNU’

New Delhi: While getting a chair for their respective language at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is a success for states, it could also be the beginning of a long struggle for funds and facilities for those who head it.

Not all languages have been prioritised as much as Sanskrit at the JNU. Last year, the Academic Council approved the conversion of the Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies into a full-fledged School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies.

But the Chairs of other languages have allegedly been meted out a step-motherly treatment. The Chairs of other languages seek treatment on par with the Sanskrit language.

The head of Odia Chair, Udayanath Sahoo, is struggling to get an office for himself ever since the Chair was instituted in December last year with a grant of Rs 5 crore by the Odisha government.

“I am hopeful that I will get a separate room soon,” Sahoo said, refusing to say anymore.

The head of Kannada Chair, Purshottama Bilimale, has begun free language classes to ensure the Chair does not die a slow death. Instituted in 2015, the Chair has not been allocated MPhil or PhD seats so far.

“If you are not ready to provide infrastructure, don’t start any Chairs. We all were working in our own jobs, but came here with high expectations,” Bilimale said.

“When you are giving so much priority to Sanskrit, which is a good thing, why do you have to discriminate (against) other languages,” Bilimale, who is presently sharing a room with two others, said.

The head of Tamil stream, R Thamotharan, expressed happiness over the fast-tracking of Sanskrit’s development. However, he said, the development of other languages should also be taken into consideration.

“We are all happy for development of Sanskrit language, but we would also be happy if other languages also are taken into consideration. There are plans to make Sanskrit into School but for other languages, they are advising to get funds from their respective states,” he said.

The university taps funds from the central government for Sanskrit and for other languages, they say they don’t have funds, he added.

Meanwhile, states like Telangana and Kerala have expressed interest to have Chair of their respective languages at the university, while Maharashtra and Assam have already initiated the process.


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