With no student opting for the Sindhi language as a subject in undergraduate programmes this year, the only Delhi University (DU) college offering the subject at that level is struggling to sustain the department, officials said. Administration members at Deshbandhu College said the University’s decision to not provide any additional cut-off relaxations this year has led to such a situation.
Of DU’s 63 colleges, only Deshbandhu College offers Sindhi as a subject to BA (programme) students. Officials at the college said the only sanctioned teacher post for the subject has been lying vacant for the last two years. While the college managed to enrol five students in the programme in 2019, none opted for it this in 2020 even as the admission process concluded on December 31.
Chotu Ram Meena, admission convenor for BA (programme) courses at Deshbandhu College said, “We have been managing to get a few admissions in the language every year by providing some concessions in the cut-off. However, the University [last year] asked us not to make an exception for any Modern Indian Language (MIL) as a subject. Therefore, we have not got any admission in Sindhi this year.”
Colleges across DU offer cutoff relaxations if a candidates choose MILs as a subject while enrolling in the BA/B Com (programme). However, in 2020, the university did not allow any additional criteria in the admission process.
DU dean of admissions Shobha Bagai said, “The admission committee had decided that colleges would not be allowed to have any additional admission criteria in order to avoid any confusion among students as the admission process was shifted online. Giving relaxations in cut-off for opting MIL is also an additional criterion being used by several colleges. But the administration later had allowed colleges to give relaxation and fill the seats under the two special cut-offs.
Principal Rajiv Agarwal said the college has identified two first-year BA (programme) students, who belong to Sindhi families and counselling them to opt for Sindhi as a language subject. “Only a few students opt for Sindhi language every year, because of which it has become difficult for the college to sustain the department. We had been seeking permission from the university to allow us to provide Sindhi as a language option to students enrolled in courses other than BA (Programme) as well. It’s not necessary that the students from Sindhi backgrounds will enrol in that course. But there has been no response [from the university] so far.”
When asked why the sanctioned Sindhi teacher post has been vacant, Agarwal said, “The post has to be filled by a Schedule Caste (SC) candidate and we have not been able to find one of as of now. The DU department of MIL takes the classes of our present students.”
Rajiv Tekchandani, an associate professor of Sindhi at DU’s department of Modern Indian Languages (MIL), said that there has been a similar situation there as well. Tekchandani, who is the only teacher across DU for the language — said that the department offers certificates and diploma courses in several courses. “Till last year we had only two students in Sindhi language, one in each course. Besides, there are currently only two MPhil and three PhD scholars enrolled in the language. The National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, talks about promoting Indian languages. Sindhi is one of the 22 languages recognised in the Constitution. The University needs to make Sindhi available for students of other courses as well so that it doesn’t die a slow death here. The University should also set up a board to promote the language just like it has for Hindi,” he said.