EDUCATION
RIGHT TO EDUCATION
JNU's protesting students deserve our full support
22.11.19 - Markandey Katju
JNU's protesting students deserve our full support



The students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have been protesting against the fee hike for last three weeks. In my opinion, the recent JNU students protest should be supported by all right minded people throughout the country. 

There is no doubt that the hike in hostel and food fees will hit poor students hard. A significant proportion of JNU students come from poor families who cannot pay the increased fees.
 
According to JNU’s annual report for 2017-18, of the 1586 students admitted that year, 40% belonged to the lower or middle income groups whose family income was less than Rs 12,000 p.m. Presently students were paying Rs 2,500 p.m. as hostel and food fee, but this has been increased to Rs 8,000 p.m. (There was only a small roll back due to the agitation).
 
Consequently many students from poor backgrounds may not be able to continue their studies as they cannot afford to pay the hiked fee. A recent study revealed that many JNU students go hungry, walk miles instead of hiring a taxi, and wear damaged shoes to save money. Some even work shifts.

In my opinion the action of the University authorities violates Article 14 of the Constitution because it discriminates against poor students.

In its historic decision in Brown vs Board of Education, 1954 the US Supreme Court observed "It is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such opportunity must be made available to all on equal terms".

The importance of education has been recognized in all countries. In the Chandogya Upanishad there is a remarkable declaration of King Ashvapati Kaikeya "Na mey janpadey avidvaan " (There is no uneducated person in my kingdom).

Plato, in his Republic, said that the state is first and foremost an educational institution. According to Plato, with a good system of education almost any improvement is possible. If education is neglected, it matters little what else the state does.

The right to free education was advanced in the great American and French Revolutions as it is implicit in the right to equality. Since the right to equality was made a guaranteed fundamental right in the Constitution viz Article 14, the hike in fees violates Article 14 as it hits poor students hard. It should therefore be immediately withdrawn.

All right minded and democratic persons must condemn the police lathi charge on the agitating JNU students (in which even a blind student was reportedly beaten up) and demand action against those who ordered it. There was certainly nothing wrong in students going to Parliament to ventilate their just grievances. Parliament represents the people, so people are surely entitled to ventilate their grievances to their elected representatives.

Full support to the JNU students. Down with the high handedness and heartless behavior of the authorities.
 
 
Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.
 
 
 
  
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Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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Comment by: Shiva Raje

Nice Sir.
But some chatukaar like sudhir are spreading hates about JNU and students continuously and also try prove them anti national by using TV broadcast.

As he created like tukde tukde gang like that but in reality it's not exist

reply


Comment by: பா.தங்கமாரிமுத்து

ஆரம்ப கல்வி முதல் ஆராய்ச்சி கல்வி வரை யிலும் , முதல் வகுப்பு முதல் முனைவர் பட்டம் வரையிலும் காஷ்மீர் முதல் கண்ணியாகுமரி வரையிலும் அரபிக்கடல் முதல் அந்தமான் கடல் வரையில் உள்ள இந்திய தாய்திருநாட்டு மக்களுக்கு கட்டனம் எதுவும் வசூலிக்காமல் ஒரே கல்வி ஒரே தேசம் என்ற வகையில் இந்திய அரசியல் சாசனம் அனுமதித்துள்ள, ஆட்சி மொழி அதிகார அந்தஸ்து வழங்கப்பட்டுள்ள, 23 மாநில மொழிகளிலும் மொழிபெயர்ப்பு செய்து ஒரே பாடதிட்டத்தை கற்பிக்க வழி வகை செய்து கல்வி கற்பிக்க ஆவன செய்ய இந்திய அரசை வேண்டுகிறேன் நன்றி மதுரை தமிழ் வணக்கம்

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JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY
How I remember JNU and how it spoiled me for life
16.11.19 - By Ather Farouqui
How I remember JNU and how it spoiled me for life



 
I JOINED JNU in 1986 to pursue a part-time Diploma in Mass Media in Urdu. I hail from a sleepy town, Sikandrabad in district Buland Shahr, located some 60 kilometres from Delhi’s Kashmiri Gate Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT). I don’t think that in 1986 my one-horse hometown was any different from what it had been in 1947. The privileged lifestyle now enjoyed by the elite and some sections of the middle class was then the prerogative of just a handful of families.
 
The Delhi of 1986 was not as claustrophobically or catastrophically crowded as today’s; it was quite unorganized and dirty nonetheless, despite the fact that existing roads had been widened and some new ones built, leading up to Asiad ’82.
 
DTC buses during those days were—all owned by the Delhi government without any distinction of Blue line, yellow line or red line let alone air-conditioned (air-cooled?)—bursting at the seams, with commuters packed like sardines, jostling for space to find a foothold, or hanging out from the entrance and the exit. Delhi then was rough around the edges hardly deserving of the capital tag, except for Lutyens’ Delhi, Civil Lines, and a few select colonies.
 
The only really egalitarian Indian city at that time was Bombay which—to some extent—still is. Delhi attracted migrants from all over and contrary and unlike Bombay where generally merit counted Delhi is a city of Jugad and having no culture of its own after the demise of Dehlavi culture in 1947 which truly symbolised the composite Indian identity. Migrants used to flock to Bombay in search of employment or an elusive role in the movies.
 
After finishing school, I was at sea asking what next, for I had grown out of my cubbyhole town. The only option for me was to migrate to Dubai where my maternal uncle worked. But with just an undergraduate humanities degree, the most I could hope for was the job of a steno-typist. So I opted to get instruction in stenography from an elderly instructor who ran a shop on the first floor in the main market (the term ‘institute’ was not then in use in small towns for such establishments) I could hardly stick a day or two with stenography, an experience recalling my shot at learning Persian, with every tutor emphasizing that memorizing Amadnama (a small booklet) was the essential entry point, as were shades of the poetic metre for prosody.
 
I failed the stenography test but picked up some typing skills on a rickety old Remington typewriter and a lifelong love for this quirky, yet dependable device. This is the reason why I can just about manage computer keyboards these days. Technology-wise, I have always been a laggard. Even now, a rather worse-for-wear Underwood deluxe typewriter which I picked up in a Singapore flea market (ironically made in Mexico such is the reach of globalization) occupies pride of place on a mantle in my office. 

Anyway, on completion of my BA (‘Honours’ courses were then and even now unknown in most state universities), I visited Aligarh Muslim University, but an overnight stay was enough to convince me that I could not survive there. Stating ‘why’ will only earn me enemies among AMU admirers, but that experience taught me that despite being born and brought up in a Muslim society, Muslim institutions were not my cup of tea. Certainly and most certainly Aligarh is an anathema to my temperament. So I never made the mistake of signing up for one.

A chance meeting with a teacher at the Centre for Indian Language, which still runs the part-time mass media diploma course in Urdu, provided a ray of hope and I managed to get admission. The diploma was and remains a guarantee for a job in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, where one needs a recognized diploma or degree to apply in the first place. Nobody boasting this diploma fails to land a government job. So being the small-town boy that I was, I had aimed for a government job, with steady pay and reasonable hours. That was the extent of my imagination prior to my JNU days.
 
In 1986, the School of Languages (now School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies), School of International Studies and, if I remember correctly, one wing of the School of Social Sciences was located in what is then termed the Old or Down campus housing several administrative training schools for central government employees, including one for IFS personnel along with many other central government offices.
 
If I remember correctly, across the road were the School of Physical Sciences and Centre for Russian Studies in an area that is technically part of the new campus today. The old campus consisted of some PWD buildings serving as hostels and different schools. The term Up campus for what is now known as the JNU is now not known for the generations which came to JNU post-1990. When all the schools moved to the new campus in 1989-90, Sabarmati and Narmada hostels were yet to come up.
 
By the time I completed my PhD, a whole assortment of new hostels—Tapti, Lohit, Chandrabhaga,  Manu Mandavi, Shipra, Koyna, and Damodar— were about to spring up giving the impression that an entirely new campus had materialized within the New campus as a result of the suicidal liberalisation set in motion in 1991.
 
When Paschimabad was constructed for B and C category employees, the students resented the loss of forest cover. If that lot were now to see the new wings of hostels and a host of multi-storeyed buildings, with even shops and restaurants, the concrete takeover would evoke choicest language that would put even our online stand-up comics to shame. Be that as it may, change was inevitable following the embrace of short-sighted capitalism which does not recognize the destruction that it brings in its wake. The university, of course, faces a lot of pressure for new hostels due to the increase in intake, but in the bargain JNU loses more and more of its character and authorities are not willing to draw a line to say no to expansion any more before it is destroyed. 

One could argue that instead of putting pressure on JNU, new universities based on this successful model could be set up elsewhere, as in the case of AIIMS. I will even venture to state that an immediate ban on expansion is the only way to stop the gradual destruction of JNU, which stands out for its excellence and ethical standards. As an institution, JNU aims to produce individuals with a sense of social responsibility. Due to the pressure on intake levels, though, it is in danger of losing its character and high academic standards. Fortunately, my generation and the two or three earlier generations will not be around to see this. For us, JNU was an oasis, but for post-liberalization-era entrants, this sense of belonging might well seem alien. 

For me, the mass media diploma did not add up to much as nothing really significant was learned in the classroom—because of the poor quality of teachers who took evening classes at the Centre for Indian Languages. The legendary late Mohammad Hasan took only one class in the first half of the day and since most of the diploma students were doing some full-time course or working, it was impossible for them to attend his class and other important ones during regular hours. Also, unfortunately, the course structure was such that if one had basic knowledge of Urdu literature, one could easily secure the diploma, as it was nothing but a skeletal BA Urdu literature course. Our teachers and guest lecturers hailed from the Urdu wing of the Centre of Indian Languages or were individuals associated with the Urdu services of All India Radio and Doordarshan. People who have no knowledge of the pre-liberalization era cannot understand the quirks of these worthies associated with Radio or TV in those days.
 
One good teacher who was an outsider who didn’t really belong to the ‘Urdu world’, was Manjari Sahay (in pic) was then a Hindi newsreader with Doordarshan. With the passage of years though, I forget what she taught us. Though we did not learn anything the whole year, our mark sheets were very impressive and conveyed the impression that we had acquired considerable knowledge on the mass media.
 
The disciplines mentioned in our mark-sheets are to this day are hardly taught in any university or private institution that offer mass media courses in the country. The mark-sheets, however, made it out as if every good course related to print journalism, radio, TV and film were included in the syllabus. But it was on the strength of that diploma course that many of us got entry into mainstream JNU. This would have been otherwise impossible. 

After completing my diploma course, I went to conduct an interview with M.S. Agwani, then Rector, who later became Vice Chancellor, for an Urdu weekly where I used to work as a part-time correspondent. After the interview, while we were chatting over a cup of coffee and when I told him that I had "done mass media” (as we used to term it), he told me that he was aware of the pathetic state of the diploma course and would recommend its scrapping at the next meeting of the Academic Council.
 
M.S. Agwani 
I did my best to convince him that the course represented a small window of entry to JNU for those who would otherwise not have the chance and that it should not be scrapped. I admitted, however, that the course could do with some drastic changes. I also said that for those who wished to work hard, this course was a boon, as their mere presence in JNU would motivate them, irrespective of whether classes were conducted regularly or whether the course had any utility. Somehow he was convinced and later narrated this incident at a meeting with the CIL teachers. The diploma is still running—along the same lines, with the same unsatisfactory quality of teaching. 

The old campus was also a melting pot of new ideas and in 1986. There were just a handful of residences for students and teachers. Most of them of course later moved to the hostels on the new campus. There was a small complex for fourth class employees in the old campus close to the entrance of which faced the Central School on the road leads on to the new campus.
 
Mahanadi hostel (in pic) in the Poorvanchal complex, the last destination for buses, was for married research students and newly appointed teachers who were on the waiting list for accommodation. Brahmaputra hostel in Poorvanchal was and is the first choice of those who are determined to make a mark in the civil services. A lot of new houses for teachers and a married scholars’ hostel was constructed in the complex in the early nineties. I have no idea what Poorvanchal is like now. 

At least one-third of the built-in area of the old campus of JNU had been constructed on a ground-level lower by about 1½ yards. Yet instead of bringing the other constructions at even level through the usual earth-filling technique they merely decided to level up the space of construction and hence while crossing from the buildings at the lower level if you enter from the ring road, you are required to climb a few stairs up: the lower level construction comprised the administrative block, a number of classrooms, the entrance of the Library and a branch of the State Bank of India; the foundations of the library building laid at a higher level. The administrative block housing the offices of the Vice-Chancellor and other blocks was kept deliberately high so as to provide for stilt car parking beneath.

The old campus consisted of a few pink buildings constructed by the PWD. It had three entrances: one from the road going to new campus from Qutub institutional area, another from the outer ring road which goes to Vasant Vihar and another facing Ber Sarai, where a shopping complex has now been constructed where PWD offices were located then.
 
At that time, Ber Sarai was still a village and JNU students used to wend their way through its galis. Now, one finds a few photocopy shops in the newly built shopping complex which also handle typing and binding work for MPhil and PhD dissertations. Earlier, there were a few establishments in the Ber Sarai run by local residents with a few more shops including a barbershop and a photography shop run by two Malayali Christian sisters, who lived nearby and later shifted to the KC, the Kamal Complex in the new campus. This establishment was frequented by students for passport-size photos. One lane led to a small market inside the village, where there was a lady typist with a manual typewriter, whose services I utilized until 1990, when I bought myself a portable typewriter, a much-cherished possession even today as mentioned earlier. 

One has to reach the main entrance to the administrative block in the old campus entering from the outer ring road. This was a smaller entrance adjacent to the bus stop and was used frequently. To its left was the administrative block and on the right was a sort of chabutra that generally hosted labourers working on construction projects in the New Campus. In the administrative block, the offices and chambers of the Vice-Chancellor, the Rectors, the Registrar, and the Finance Officer were located. If one did not move in the direction of the administrative block and went straight, after 15 metres or so one would reach the library on the left and the adjacent tea shop was where we would have piping-hot tea particularly in winters after evening classes for just 30 paise! Besides the library were a few stairs leading up to open space. With a State Bank of India branch on the left was part of the administrative block and a lawn and on the right was a cavernous hall home to the post office and the employment office, the latter failing to provide employment to JNU students consistently. I don’t remember the offices on the first or second floor; in fact I am not sure whether there were any such floors up the first floor.
 
The DTC counter beyond the hall and at the end of a gallery would issue student passes and would operate only between 9.30 and 10 am. One Mr Datta was in-charge of this DTC counter and this gentleman’s mood swings during that crucial half-hour were enough to exhaust him for the rest of the day and spoil the mood of the students who had to face this his ire once a month when they went to renew their bus passes. After crossing the gallery one would approach the main canteen located in a large hall which provided snacks and a cheap lunch but would shut shop every afternoon. Beyond the canteen was an empty plot of land that functioned as a rallying point during union elections where meetings would be held throughout the day. 

If one entered the campus from the ring road bus stop and did not take the turn towards the post office, one would reach the various schools, including the School of Languages. The Centre for Indian Languages was located on its ground floor.
 
A small room housed Madan’s canteen, which provided good tea. Lunch there generally consisted of subzi and one daal along with paranthas, all cheap and delicious. Madan, who was very young and newly married then, hailed from Rajasthan. Now, he has a big canteen in the basement of the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies. He is now in his sixties and runs the new canteen with the help of his wife and other family members. There is no change in menu or the taste of the tea! 

Habib Tanvir 

Now no longer aspiring to a comfortable government job, as I had sampled JNU and wanted more, I enrolled for MPhil in 1988. Then the new campus was at the last stages of construction. Classes were held in the old campus while we lived in the new campus, from where we took either bus routes 615 or 666 to commute. At that time, facing old campus and adjacent to Ber Sarai, there were some LIG flats, one of which housed dramatist Habib Tanvir, who preferred to stay there although he had been a Rajya Sabha member and could buy some prime real estate elsewhere. Unfortunately despite this close proximity, his plays rarely featured on JNU campus.
 
Our MPhil course commenced and classes were held in the old campus and generally, in winters, most students and teachers returned to the new campus on foot. From the gate in front of the Central School, one crossed the road and entered the new campus through a small gate which one could not enter on any vehicle and it was a kilometre-or-so-long walk along a causeway, a sort of pagdandi cutting through a beautiful jungle in the bright sunshine especially in winters, before one reached the new campus. Many of us preferred to walk instead of waiting for a bus even in the hot summer such was the appeal of this nature walk. 

By the time I submitted my MPhil dissertation in 1990, most of the schools in the old campus had moved to the new campus. I had been converted by JNU by this time, full of ideals and hardly resembling the boy who had once aspired to a work-a-day government job.
 
I started working on my PhD now and continued to occupy my Periyar hostel room till 1995 when I submitted my doctoral dissertation. Following this for some months I refused to leave the campus and stayed on as a ‘PIG’ (permanent illegal guest in JNU lingo) and thereafter, listless and ill-adjusted to the outside world, I had to return to my hometown as I had not applied for a job anywhere. Also, unlike most academics, I was not content to occupy a lecturer’s position in Urdu, which did not interest me at all. One option was a direct PhD in English, but this I thought unfeasible, especially after spending one year writing some hundred-odd pages on postmodernism before, fed up with the jargon of literary theory, I shelved the idea. 

One standout feature of the campus was KC, or Kamal Complex. Kiecha, the Chinese restaurant, was there in 1986 and next to it a vegetable vendor near Chaudhary’s food joint. There was also a motley collection of small businesses—a stationery shop, Madan’s chemist shop, a fair price shop, a tailor’s establishment and a barbershop. One thing I particularly remember about KC was a PCO facility run by a differently-abled person post-1988.  No hostel in those days had the facility of a phone where one could receive calls through the exchange. The dysfunctional apparatus was placed at the entrance of each hostel.
 
In 1983, there was student agitation on some issues and as punishment almost every possible facility provided to students withdrawn, including that of receiving calls. That year, M.S. Agwani was part of the administration and he was considered anti-student. I cannot recall his designation at that time. Presumably, he was Rector, but when I met him in 1987, he was, if memory serves, the officiating Vice-Chancellor. He soon became Vice-Chancellor, but the anti-student label stuck and he played this part to the hilt by at least attempting to make an example of the students.
 
He was a mediocre scholar of West Asian Studies, and being a product of the AMU, he was exceptionally good in making jugaad that made him Vice-Chancellor at the last minutes ignoring all meritorious candidate using the influence of Mohammad Yunus, a Nehru family retainer having unparalleled influence down to the time of Rajiv Gandhi holding the political baton. It was towards the end of his term—coincided with the process of liberalisation set in motion—that the incoming phone facility was restored in every hostel and the most priced thing: the entry of girl students in boys' hostels! 

Once liberalization set in, the character of JNU changed drastically. When I completed my PhD in 1995, only a few students had scooters or bikes and most of us used public transport. This was true for teachers too. Though most Professors had cars—mainly Fiats—they hardly used these. Most Lecturers and Readers could neither afford cars nor air conditioners. In Periyar, a student from Bihar had an old Fiat, but it was mostly parked outside the hostel. By 1997, however, almost every teacher had a car and air conditioner and every student has the facility of an MTNL connection in her/his rooms which were soon replaced by the cell phone apparatus. Students, for their part, now had scooters or bikes, as they got a lot of money via junior/senior research fellowships, which provided tidy sums. Now, of course, the campus stands transformed in every respect and austerity is a thing of the past. 

JNU is known for the political awareness of its students and teachers. Both are marked by their honesty and sincerity, which are in contrast to the prevailing moral and political decay in the political Capital. I joined JNU in the days of the licence quota-permit Raj, but concern for issues and political awareness was much higher in those days; now idealism has taken a backseat mainly because of the rampant materialistic middle-class mindset, a malaise that affects all of India now, an obvious outcome of the liberal economy. Still, there is a large section in JNU which values honesty. Some theoreticians aver that in the absence of opportunities for corruption, people were ‘honest’ out of compulsion in pre-liberalisation of India.
 
This contention, however, deserves a thorough academic inquiry. Till I left JNU, the general attitude was one of questioning, of looking below the surface of what purported to be ‘reality’ and was touted as conventional wisdom. As a result, people were more careful and generally eschewed temptation, though in practical life some were forced to make compromises, be it students or teachers. Teachers with political patronage were few in number, but those who had it were very powerful. Generally, however, most teachers steered clear of it to preserve their independence. They were satisfied with their lot and were concerned only with their academic achievements. Many of that generation are still serving with grace and dignity. We all know that time cannot be turned back, but the beauty of life lies in trying to maintain a balance in everything, which, I trust, every JNUite worth his salt will strive for. 

Nonetheless, the idealism inculcated in JNU stays with you, it seeps into your every core and translates into action. This is why, even now, whenever there is public outrage over unjust government policies or an act of violence, JNU students and faculty are often seen leading protests, facing police tear gas and browbeating, and generally expressing their outrage on diverse fora and social media. However, when they leave the familiar and venture out through JNU’s gates into the wide world outside, they realize that even the train ticket back home comes at the cost of greasing someone’s palms and that corruption is omnipresent, and also that the world doesn’t set many stores by JNU ideals. It is this shock that most JNUites experience when they leave their beloved campus and which is why, whenever I meet a non-JNUite, I don’t tell them how they were unfortunate to miss out on the JNU experience, but rather that they are fortunate that they didn’t get to go to JNU—because JNU spoils you for life.  

But life has also taken its toll on JNU. Its pride of tolerance of diversities of every kind among its faculty, administrative staff or students, whether regional, linguistic, religious or of dress, is dented every time an assertion of uniformatisation occurs and every time dissent is pitted against one’s loyalty to the nation. The continent in which JNU was an island is catching up with it. Luckily, JNU still has the strength to resist and retain its pride.
 

 

 

Dr Ather Farouqui is General Secretary of Anjuman Taraqqi Urdu (Hind) New Delhi. A PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, he has extensively written on language, literature, media and Indian Muslim affairs.

 


 -----------------
Watch video:

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

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The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

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OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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ONE NATION, ONE LANGUAGE
Do not push Punjab to another language-divide conflict
08.10.19 - IP SINGH*
Do not push Punjab to another language-divide conflict



Such was the simmering that it took just a comment from Union home minister Amit Shah for the Punjabi language pot to boil over. Shah may have "clarified” his stand, but the damage is done: ‘one nation, one language’ has stirred many demons from the past when Punjabis were forced to disown their mother tongue in the census of 1951 and 1961.

Bitter Past

For many, the quick reaction of Punjabis may have come as a surprise. But former Punjabi University Patiala vice-chancellor Dr J S Puar, who witnessed the developments of 1960s, says this is because of the bitter past when it comes to language imposition.
-----------
 ‘One nation, one language’ has let loose memories of being pushed to disown mother tongue for over a decade for Punjabis, threatening hard earned stability.
-----------
"History tells us that there was strong attempt to impose Hindi in Punjab which created a lot of bitterness. This is playing its part in shaping the reaction now, as those who love their mother tongue will oppose any advocacy of the concept of one nation, one language,” says Dr Puar, who was also linguistics professor at the varsity.

"The propaganda had started soon after the Partition and the Union government had to issue the orders as it became absolutely clear that many Punjabis had disowned their mother tongue and registered Hindi instead,” said Pritam Singh Kumedan, a retired bureaucrat.

Tn May 1957, "Save Hindi agitation” was launched by the Hindi Samiti. Those who were in favour of Hindi, raised highly provocative slogans against Punjabi.
 
Pandit Mohan Lal (in pic), who remained the finance and home minister of Punjab in Congress governments of 1950s-60s, has recorded these anti-Punjabi slogans — "langri bhasha nahin parenge’’(We will not use crippled language that is Punjabi), "gandi (dirty) bhasha nahin parenge”, "jabri (imposed) bhasha nahin parenge” — in his book "Disintegration of Punjab”. These, not surprisingly, led to communal clashes, in Jalandhar particularly, in which two persons were killed and seven injured on February 8, 1958. "The Hindi agitation came and fizzled out. It, however, left a trail of bitterness behind,” says Lal in his book.

Such was the impact of the vicious opposition to Punjabi language — which also played a big role in the development of communal fault line in the polity of the state — that Government of India in 1951 issued a special order to compile separate data for Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Pahari in case of Punjab, PEPSU, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Bilaspur.

Late Aiit Singh Sarhadi (in pic), who remained minister in North West Frontier Province in 1943, later a Lok Sabha member and advocate general of Punjab, mentions in his book "Punjabi Suba — The Story of Struggle” that an influential Hindu leader, Dewan Alakh Dhari, who was the chief minister of a princely state, wrote in May 1953 that the Hindus of Punjab and PEPSU by declaring in the 1951 census that their link language was Hindi made their position on Punjabi speaking state very clear.
 
Sarhadi, who watched the developments from very close quarters, also mentioned that the language divide led to communal polarization and, on February 10, 1951, one man was killed in a clash between Hindus and Sikhs of a village in Jalandhar. Tension prevailed, as clashes also took place at several other places. It was against this backdrop that then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru ordered language data should not be mentioned in the census and then home minister C Rajagopalachari had to give a statement in the Lok Sabha, acknowledging major trouble in Punjab and PEPSU on the language issue.

"Hate propaganda against Punjabi and associating religion with mother tongue damaged Punjab a lot in every way. Time has proved that it was wrong — morally, socially and politically. Over the years Punjab has defied that divisive agenda and artificial division on mother tongue and now across communities Punjabis call Punjabi their mother tongue,” says senior journalist and political commentator Rakesh Shantidoot. 

60 years later

An analysis of 2011 census data reveals that, across com- munities, natives of Punjab have registered their mother tongue as Punjabi. This conclusion can be easily drawn by comparing figures of Sikh population and Punjabi speakers: in India, in Punjab and in other states. The magnitude of difference between Sikh population and Punjabi speaking population in Punjab makes it clear that Punjabis are owning their mother tongue.
Despite people like Varinder Sharma, president of Brahmin Jagriti Manch who insist that Punjabi remains the biggest binder of Punjabi society, the reaction of Punjabis to ‘one nation, one language’ has shown that the concern that Hindi might again subsume their mother tongue exists at a subtle level. For, during the controversy voices underlining importance of Hindi-—like that of prominent Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann —can be heard, too.

Punjabi in schools

Truth is also that Punjabi is facing a major challenge at a practical level. Most private schools strongly discourage conversing in Punjabi and, in terms of preference, the language remains at third place.

"Existing political class of Punjab, including Congress and Akali Dal-BJP lack the intellectual capacity to under-stand the importance of teaching in Punjabi medium at school level. Students are being taught in English medium but their English remains weak. Earlier, they would teach very good Punjabi and equally good English. If they know how to study in Punjabi, it will help to study them in English further. CBSE schools promoted Hindi and that took toll on Punjabi language. Cultural hegemony of Hindi has in- creased. It is a very big loss to the Punjabi language and cultural flowering of the new generation,” says Dr Pritam Singh, Professor Emeritus, Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom.

Two warning letters issued by secretary education in little over five years confirm this trend. Then school education principal secretary Anjali Bhawra in a letter to all the deputy commissioners on February 19, 2015 had asked them to ensure that that Punjabi was being properly taught in private schools till Class X as mandated by the Punjab Official Language Act, 2008.

The letter noted that the government had received reports that students were being punished if they were caught speaking in Punjabi, which was not only disrespect to the mother tongue but also violation of the basic rights of the children.

Five years later, in the first week of February, state education secretary Krishan Kumar wrote to chairpersons of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) to ensure that all schools affiliated to them teach Punjabi as a compulsory subject as mandated by state law. It had also asked them to issue directions that their schools didn’t discourage children from speaking in Punjabi.

He pointed out that department had been receiving complaints that some of these schools were discouraging the students from speaking Punjabi during informal discussions whether among students or among students and teachers during school hours. "This has an adverse impact on the mental development of the students as some of them may find it difficult to express themselves,” he noted asking chair- persons to issue directions to the schools that do not indulge in such practice.

"Earlier schools were discouraging Punjabi more blatantly and openly and would even levy fines. But after the two government letters they do it more subtly. The trend is still there. Schools ask students not to converse in Punjabi even at homes,” says Punjab Jagriti Manch general secretary Deepak Bali. "We have been receiving complaints and calls from parents about schools banning speaking in Punjabi in schools. In the last couple of years alone, we have addressed around two dozen such complaints. My son faced this issue at his school. Later, when he wanted to take Punjabi as his subject in Class XI, his school tried very hard to dissuade him,” adds Bali.

To Taranjit Kaur Hundal, who runs CBSE-affiliated The Heritage School in Jalandhar, the trend has no scientific basis and defies logic. "We, too, have English medium school, but we use Punjabi to help students understand things better. Schools started the practice of discouraging Punjabi and started preferring Hindi over it and now parents are keen on it,” says Hundal.

Dr JS Puar also agrees. "Biggest threat to Punjabi is now coming from CBSE-affiliated schools who discourage Punjabi. Discouraging mother tongue is against the very principle of education,” he says.
 

*IP Singh is Assistant Editor at The Times of India, Jalandhar. This article first appeared in timesofindia.indiatimes.com and is being reproduced here courtesy TOI.


Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

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If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

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Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

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The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT


 





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GURU NANAK UTSAV
International Painting Competition based on Guru Nanak’s teachings
02.09.19 - Team PT
International Painting Competition based on Guru Nanak’s teachings



Chandigarh: To commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji, first guru of Sikhs, Punjab Today Foundation (PTF), a Punjab based NGO, is organizing an international painting competition. 
 
The main purpose of holding this event is to spread an awareness regarding Guru Nanak Dev’s life and teachings in the society, especially the youth. 

‘We would like to take the Guru’s message of universal love, peace, brotherhood and living a righteous life to people from all faiths, who may not be aware much about the Guru’s contribution to the humanity,’ said Rupinder Singh, Secretary, PTF.

The themes for this painting competition will be based on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev, he said.
Amandeep Sandhu, project director for this initiative informed that PTF will reach out to universities and fine art institutions all around the country and abroad to encourage students and faculty members to send their entries. 

Advisor-Finance, FCA Ranjit Bhambri informed that winner of the first prize will get a cheque of Rs 1 lac, while the second prize is worth Rs. 50,000 and the third prize winner shall get Rs 20,000. There will be 7 consolation prizes of Rs 5000 each. All winners will get a certificate, a trophy with a gift hamper while all participants shall be issued a certificate of participation. 

CA Anil Arora, Advisor-Projects, said that the selected entries will be published as a coffee table book. The same will be released in a special function-cum-exhibition to be organized to honour the winners of the competition, where eminent artists and dignitaries will join the winners.

The last date of submitting entries is September 30, 2019. There is no entry fee and any person above 16 years of age can participate. 

Those interested in participating may check details at GuruNanakUtsav.in or facebook.com/GuruNanakutsav and for more information may write to gurunanakutsav@gmail.com
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:

 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties  

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE         

 OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION         

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL       

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

BAD, BAD WOMAN!

 


 

_______________________________________________________________

Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT


 





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Punjab govt invites applications for PPSC Chairman and members
27.06.19 - Team PT
Punjab govt invites applications for PPSC Chairman and members



Chandigarh, June 27, The Punjab Government has invited applications to fill one vacancy of Chairman, one vacancy of Member (Non official) and one vacancy of Member (official), Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC). 

The last date for submitting the applications to the office of Secretary to Government of Punjab, Department of Personnel (P.P.-3 Branch), Room No. 6, 6th floor, Punjab Civil Secretariat, Sector 1, Chandigarh, is 19-07-2019 by 5 pm. 

Divulging the details, a spokesman said that Punjab Government has decided to invite the applications of eminent persons of impeccable integrity, high calibre and administrative experience. 

He said the applicant while forwarding his/her own name or recommending another person's name with necessary details, must clearly elucidate the pendency of any civil, criminal, administrative or any other proceedings that may have bearing on his/her integrity and character, and should have held office for atleast 10 years either under the Government of India or under the State Government. 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT






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Comment by: Vikramjit singh

How to fill my form

reply


Comment by: Mr. Pawan Kumar

I am not getting the application form for applying for the post of Member PPSC advertised on 27/06/2019.

reply


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