SHILLONG, April 19: The Centre’s bid to make Hindi compulsory till Class X in the Northeast has evoked mixed response from students as well as the teaching community in Shillong.
Babukular Khongjirem, president of the Khasi Jaintia Deficit School Teachers’ Association, said the strength of India lies not just in the Hindi language but all languages of the country.
Stating that it will be difficult to make Hindi compulsory in diverse India, he said South India and the Northeast always prefer their local languages.
Jibananda Pal, Principal of Jail Road Boys’ Higher Secondary School, said Hindi should not be imposed on the people of the region.
“Although English is a foreign language, India is not in a position to substitute it. We feel the government should chalk out a middle path where people are left to decide whether or not they want to learn any language,” he said.
Br. Solomon Morris, Principal of St. Edmund’s School, said students should be given the options of languages.
“Why not offer other regional languages, even foreign languages that will give students career opportunities. One needs to have a functional knowledge of Hindi so that while moving around in India, communicating with non-English speakers and reading general notices, signboards and headlines will not be much of a problem for the person,” he said.
Moushumi Dey, administrator of Women’s College, Shillong, however, differed. She said there is nothing wrong in learning any language.
“I have seen many parents encouraging their children to take up Hindi. Students go outside the region for higher studies and Hindi becomes handy for them to communicate with others from the mainland,” she said.
At the same time, however, she said making Hindi a compulsory subject may not be a good idea.
The students seemed to be also divided.
A student, who did not wish to be named, said it is her choice to learn MIL in school. She insisted the matter should be left to students.
Another student, Rishi Chettry, said many students find an additional subject quite tough and hence, the idea of making Hindi compulsory should not be applied.
Similarly, a Class X student said the percentage of marks in the SSLC examination is an important criterion for getting admission into Class XI and a new language would put undue burden on the students.
Sughand Lohgan, yet another student, however, did not concur. He favoured Hindi till Class X on the grounds that it is widely spoken.
The general opinion among students in the city is that they should not be forced to learn a new language.