A circular sent out by the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B), asking students how their name is spelled in Hindi, has now sparked off a debate on the imposition of Hindi in the campus.
An email sent by the institute to its post-graduate students on January 29 asked the students to validate their names in Hindi and confirm it before Wednesday evening so that it can be printed on their transcripts.
“We received an email asking whether our name was correctly spelled in Hindi and we were given two days to respond to it,” said a student of IIM-B who wished to remain anonymous.
Some students viewed this as a subtle imposition of Hindi language at the institute which had previously issued certificates only in English. "If the degree certificate has to be in bilingual format, it should be in my regional language that I can read and understand, and not in Hindi," a student of IIM-B said speaking to Times of India.
Another student who wished to remain anonymous said, "It does not make sense to have a Hindi version of the transcript or degree certificate. It can be in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam too, depending on the student's language. Hindi is not our national language. But here, a Hindi quiz is held and we're also getting mails in Hindi."
The circular comes months after the institute was given more autonomy under the The Indian Institute of Management Act, 2017. The act gives the IIMs powers to award degrees instead of postgraduate diplomas.
In the face of criticism, the institute tried to downplay the issue.
An official spokesperson of the institute said, “The Institute is actively undertaking discussions in this regard. We are happy to have received various views and opinions, some of which are not in favour. The Institute wishes to reiterate the assurance given to all internal stakeholders, including the students, that there will be no imposition and any concern shall be promptly addressed internally. There are no protests and we shall internally reach out to anyone who has a concern.”
Meanwhile, though, the institute has issued a gag order to the students on speaking to the media. Sources in the institute told TNM that an email has been sent asking students to not talk to the media, while press persons have also been restricted from covering Unmaad, the cultural fest of the institute.
The Kannada Development Authority (KDA) also wrote to IIM-B calling the decision to issue certificates in Hindi as ‘myopic’ and asking them to reconsider it.
“You should understand IIM-B has the inherent responsibility to be proactive to the local sentiments too. You would appreciate the fact that the state of Karnataka has been equally responsible for promoting IIM-B’s image through its generous grants of land in Bengaluru. Hundreds of acres of land granted by the Government of Karnataka to IIM-B is beyond the collateral value," reads the letter written by SG Siddaramaiah, chairman of the Kannada Development Authority (KDA), to the Director of the Institute G Raghuram.
The letter goes on to state that the state’s acceptance of IIM-B as one of its prestigious landmarks has more important emotional values. "Preferring Hindi above Kannada in Karnataka is an issue which urgently needs your review. I, on behalf of all Kannadigas would urge you either to take back this demoralising decision or include Kannada in the proposed certificates,” reads.