PU to start MA in Hindi next session
By Ali Waqar
LAHORE: The Department of Hindi at the Punjab University once again aims to start its Masters level course from the upcoming session in 2005.
The department, which was established in one of the most important ivory towers of the country several decades ago, currently offers only a one-year certificate course in Hindi. Certificate holders of the department are also eligible for a Diploma in Hindi. The department only has three staff members, including a teacher, an attendant and a clerk. Shabnam Riaz, the only lecturer, doubles up as the head of the department.
Belonging to Patiala in Indian Punjab, Riaz did her Masters in Hindi from the Indian Punjab University and came to Pakistan after she got married to a relative in Lahore. The department, which was previously situated in a single room in Oriental College, was moved to the old university press building six months ago. The building is old and run-down, has limited furniture and requires immediate renovation.
The main gate of the department was shifted from the New Campus on the university trolley and was fixed by the university’s labourers using old bricks, PU officials told Daily Times. “Surprisingly, the university charged Rs 73,400 from the Oriental College to install the gate, which is still out of order,” they said. (See pic). Professor Dr Muhammad Akram Chaudhry, Dean of Islamic and Oriental Languages, Oriental College PU, said the university had been trying to start MA in Hindi for the last two years but faced difficulty in getting properly qualified staff. “Now, we are looking for one or two people in Islamabad having a PhD in Hindi and aim to start MA classes from the upcoming session in September 2005.”
He said public demand to start the MA Hindi programme was high and the PU vice chancellor was paying special attention to the issue. He said people must learn Hindi to acquaint themselves with Indian strategies as a lot of literature on Indo-Pak issues is published in Hindi. There were a total of 14 students, 10 in the certificate class and four in the Hindi diploma, Riaz told Daily Times. While previously it was older people who were interested in learning Hindi, now the youth was also getting attracted to the language, she said. “Judges, journalists, government officials, teachers, businessmen, youth and people from different walks of life have been joining the department to learn Hindi,” she said
She said some people were still prejudiced towards learning Hindi. “Biases are still there, as people see Hindi as the language of the ‘enemy’.” However, she said, the bias was gradually reducing.
On the availability of books and Indian literature, she and some students of the department strongly urged the government to allow importing Hindi publications, journals and especially newspapers. More library books were needed, they said. “Even in the recent International Book Fair at Fortress Stadium, no new book in Hindi was allowed to be brought in,” they said, quoting Indian publishers. Deliveries of book orders usually took months, they said, adding that the government scrutinised all literature coming from India to Pakistan.