Discouraging regional languages?: HEC doesn't recognise journals
Lahore, June 17, 2008: The Higher
Education Commission (HEC) has been accused of deliberately discouraging
regional and international languages by not accepting research journals
presented in Punjabi or even Persian.
Experts believe that the trend of
not allowing research in such languages would not only kill them (languages),
but also kill the culture associated with them.
According to the
information available on the HEC website, the commission has recognised around
10 research journals of various languages. However, local languages like Punjabi
and Kashmiri, and some most significant international languages like Arabic and
Persian have not been recognised in its list. The commission promotes and
entertains researchers whose works are published in the languages HEC has
Dr Saleem Mazhar, a professor of Persian at the Punjab University
(PU), said that he and his colleagues had taken up the issue with
the commission many times, but no attention had been paid to the requests. He
said that HEC officials did not bother consulting Oriental College teachers and
experts before making the policy for the selection of research journals. He said
authorities had made a banker the head of the committee formed to award
recognition to journals associated with languages and literature. He said that
the PU Punjabi Department had produced some great names like Dr Ismatullah
Zahid, Dr Shahbaz Malik, Dr Saeed Khawar Bhutta and Dr Naheed Shahid, while its
journal Khoj, based on research articles, was being published for more than 25
Not even Arabic and Persian: Mazhar said that the commission had
not even recognised research journals in Arabic and Persian. He said that the
HEC had not recognised any of the journals in Punjabi and Kashmiri, saying that
the journals were not 'up to the mark' and did not qualify their criteria. He
said that most of such journals, including the one published in the Oriental
College of PU with the name of Oriental College Magazine, had been serving since
1925 and contained research material of great value.
Available but not
recognised: Prof Jamil Pal, a Punjabi linguist, said that a number of credible
Punjabi research journals including Khoj and Parakh were available, and alleged
that the HEC officials were either unaware of the significance of regional
languages, or were deliberately tried to discriminate Punjabi to please the
He said that Punjabis were the only people in
Pakistan whose children were not given basic education in their mother language,
and that the bureaucracy had never allowed mentioning great Punjabi heroes like
Bhagat Singh in the textbooks.
"The works of Prem Chand, Krishan Chandar
and Gian Chand is being taught at the Karachi University, but the authorities
have refuse to teach the works of people like Bhagat Singh and Chander Shekhar
Azad by declaring them non-Muslims," Pal said.
He claimed that Punjabi
was flourishing as a global language and had had great recognition in countries
like the UK and Canada. He said that Punjabi was being spoken by millions of
people around the world, and was being taught at recognised foreign
universities. "Punjabi is being killed in Pakistani Punjab on purpose, and
Punjabis are compelled to use Urdu as their first language," he alleged.
"According to the rules, a person qualifies for professorship and PhD degree
only if his research work is published and recognised."
resolve: HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi admitted that the commission had
failed to take some regional and international languages on board, and Punjabi
was one of them. However, he said that the HEC officials were working to resolve
the issue, and that he was personally holding meetings with social scientists
and linguists in this regard.
He said that none of the Punjabi journals
fell in the criteria for being HEC-recognised journals, as the commission had
made it compulsory for all journals to have a review committee, an editorial
board containing at least 50 percent of foreign experts, and regular publication
of the journals.
He said the HEC was aware that its main focus had been
on the development of science and technology in the academic sector, but the
commission had never downplayed regional languages. Daily Times
"It is nice effort keep it up."
Name: ASIF-UR-REHMAN SIDDIQUI
City, Country: sadiqabad, Pakistan