Inter-Language Panel Discussion on the issues concerning languages

March 22, 2011

CHANDIGARH- March 22, 2011: The department of Hindi organized an Inter-Language Panel
Discussion on the issues concerning languages at Ghandhi Bhawan PU campus today. It
was presided over by Prof. V.K Tiwari, Dean Languages, PU.
Prof. Veerbharat Talwar, renowned Hindi critic and scholar from JNU Delhi,
moderated the discussion. Perhaps this was the first occasion in this
region that scholars from the background of different languages met for the first time
to find common ground.
    Dr. Satyapal Sehgal, Chairperson, dept. of Hindi while presenting the issues
before the panelists said that it was astonishing  that languages did not generally
speaking felt the need of having a dialogue, though, they had many problems and
questions and situation in common to discuss. And they are quite pessimistic as well
and do not look ahead to possibilities. Almost all Indian languages consider English a
threat, but they also have problems between themselves. In linguistic, these belong to
one family
but that family atmosphere is not visible outside that. The Academic, literary and
languages of the people in streets are poles apart. And they have a complex and
problematic relationship with English.  English too have a relationship of its own
with them.
    This region in particular has been infested with language issues.  These
issues are related to the regional politics as well. By talking to each other, a
democracy of languages shall be created and that will help solve many things and help
resolve topics of
contention and disputes.
    Prof. V.K Tiwari while giving his presidential remarks lauded the effort and
stressed that this will help create a secular atmosphere in languages. It also
underlines the fact that relating languages with religion is a misnomer. On the
contrary, languages represent culture and nation. The discussion today highlights the
importance of all Indian languages, translations and also creating infrastructure in
academic institutions where comparative studies of various languages=literature can be
taken up.
    Prof. Veerbharat Talwar said that we should define the nature of dialogue
between Indian languages well and also understand the power-structures.  We should
also co-understand the contradictions therein. It is irony that we know little about
literature of other Indian languages, though that is very important to know the
development of literature of our own language. There has been a dialogue in Indian
languages in the history, but it is not present now. We should also take note of
colonial history.  Cooperative literature and inter-languages translations are need of
the day.
    However, English did played a role in Indian renaissance though it was
not totally European and borrowed much from bhakti movement and other
Indian languages.
    Prof. Ramakant, former Head of Sanskrit dept. PU stressed the point that
it was a wrong perception that Sanskrit has a hegemonic, monolithic or
intimidating character. Sanskrit is a quite a reasonable and liberal language and it
has not been understood well by even Sanskrit scholars. Sanskrit protected other local
languages as well.  It is relevant today as well for its approach to language issues,  
for all.

    Prof. Nahar Singh, from dept. of Punjabi, PU said that a language is
not just a tool but culture and life style. However, Punjabi does not represent Sikh
identity only. If somebody believes in that, it is a relatively new development.
Punjabi writers, scholars in past had a living relationship with other Indian
language, particularly Braj and Persian. Punjabi has a deep connection with Sanskrit
as well. In fact, language helps us to come out of our ghettos, if any.
    Prof. Shakeel Khan of Urdu department too underlined the close
relationship between Hindi and Urdu, particularly, in the context of Hindi-Urdu
conflict debates. He quoted Amir Khusaro, Ghalib, Najir Akarbadi to show that there is
not much difference between Hindi and Urdu. It would be fruitful for every Hindi
student to learn Urdu as well: both have a common heritage. In fact the stress on
and its importance in Urdu language can help other languages scholars as well.
    Prof. Rana Nayyar, Chairperson dept. of English talked about the need
of languages rather than a language. He said, we are a dumb nation and need a
language. However, he criticized Varnaasharam in languages and said mother tongue can
be only language of our dreams. He also talked about translations and development of
Hindi as Raaj bhasha.  He too mentioned 26 scheduled Indian languages and the need to
develop a
democratic culture among them.
    Prof. Maithili Prasad Bhardwaj, ex-Chairman, dept. of Hindi, PU described
this   how region of Punjab allowed him to learn many languages at one go, namely
Hindi, Urdu, English and Punjabi.  He underscored the importance of being multi-
lingual and told how, in spite of being coming from colonial rulers, English had been
the only option with us to gain knowledge from other areas. In fact the English
language has translated from all world languages, and good translations at that, and
that has given opportunity to others to access that knowledge.

    The panel discussion was followed by comments and questions, made by
Prof. Pankaj Malviya, Prof Virendra Mehandiratta, Dr. Shiwani Chopra,
Km. Amrita Pathak, Prof. Shankar ji Jha.  
    In the end three resolutions were also passed: Panjab University
be requested to create a seminar-cum-multi-media complex for language departments;  
University should also be stressed upon the importance of translations and creating a
translation department fast; The gist of proceedings be sent to Ministry of Human
resources, UGC and PU authorities for further consideration.
    Dr. Baijnath Prasad, In-charge Hindi Sahitya Parishad welcomed the guests and
also proposed a vote of thanks at the end of proceedings.  Faculty: namely Dr. Neeraja
Sood, Dr. Ashok Kumar and Dr. Gurmeet Singh and students in large numbers were present
to witness the proceedings, Prof. Satyapal Sehgal, chairperson of Hindi department
                                            Press Note

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