Even as the BJP government at the Centre is making several efforts to promote and preserve the Sindhi language, including the establishment of National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language (NCPSL), it is dying a slow death at the Delhi University (DU). With only one college across the University offering the language and the only teacher in the discipline retiring this year, danger looms over its existence now.
Of DU’s 63 colleges, only Deshbandhu College offers Sindhi as a subject to its BA (prog) students. Vishu Bellani, 65, who has been teaching Sindhi at the college since 1988, is currently the only teacher in the discipline across the university. “I don’t want this language to die in the university. There has been no fresh recruitment in DU in the past 10 years and I don’t know what will they do after my retirement in December this year,” she said.
Bellani, who used to have as many as 30-40 students in her initial years at the college, is now teaching only three students, two in the fourth semester and one in the second. “The college did not even mention the language in the prospectus last year. Therefore, not even a single intake was there. Despite raising the matter with the authorities, it was not changed till the last moment,” she said.
Despite several attempts, principal Dr Rajiv Aggrawal could not be reached for a comment. However, when contacted the college administration, they said that they will ensure that the subject is mentioned in the prospectus this time around.
According to Dr Ravi Tekchandani, director NCPSL, when the Deshbandhu (evening) College was reconstituted into Ramanujan College (Morning) in 2010 and the only Sidhi teacher there got retired, the administration had closed down the subject. “Something like this should not be repeated now. The administration should immediately start the appointment procedure,” he said.
Tekchandani used to teach the subject at the DU’s Department of Modern Indian Languages (MIL) until he was given a deputation charge at the NCPSL in 2015.”I was the only Sindhi teacher in the department and the seat has been lying vacant ever since I was given the charge of promoting and preserving it at the NCPSL. Practically there is no teacher for Sindhi at the department presently,” he said.
The students, who are studying the subject are also staring at an uncertain future. “We don’t know who will help us in completing our syllabus after madam’s retirement. I hope the administration makes some arrangement,” said one of the three students.
Meanwhile, Bellani, who has been single-handedly promoting the Sindhi legacy at the university for three decades said, “At the time when teachers are forced to take extreme measures like boycotting the evaluation process and hundreds of youngsters are made to work as ad-hocs, who will pay heed to my subject. I just don’t want to see it (Sindhi) dying,” she said.