Delhi University has made Hindi compulsory for all its second semester Commerce students regardless of whether they come from regions that don’t speak Hindi or simply don’t want to study it. It has also started recruiting teachers at most colleges offering Commerce.

“Earlier, in the annual mode there was a paper called ‘2.5 CIT’. Under this a student had to choose between Hindi, MIL – mixture of Indian languages comprising Tamil, Bengali and others, and there was Humanities like Political Science, History and Philosophy. Under the semester system, this paper went into the second semester where our students chose their subject. However, last year there was some confusion regarding a letter sent by the Registrar to our Principal which said that all students who have studied Hindi up to the eighth standard will have to compulsorily take Hindi. The other subjects were cancelled. But this never came to be and all the students got to choose their subjects,” said a Commerce professor from one of the top colleges in the varsity on condition of anonymity.

The initial letter of the Registrar as well as a letter from the department head registering his misgivings as well as appealing for a choice for his students are with The Hindu.

Students in many colleges were in for a shock when they returned after the vacation earlier this month.

“We were told there would be no choice whatsoever, we would have to learn Hindi. I haven’t read Hindi since class VIII. Even if I were to try, I could never comprehend a syllabus like this. They are asking us to do the same Hindi that students in the North who have learnt Hindi their whole lives will be learning,” said a worried Rohit, a B.Com (Hons) student from Kerala, adding that when they first heard the news, he and his classmates thought it was a hoax but when they saw Hindi teachers being recruited, they realised it was inevitable. The students have written to their Principal asking him to do something.

South of the city, at Lady Shri Ram College, the issue is slightly different. “We knew we would have to take Hindi, but last year our seniors had only Languages. Since the new term, we started classes…. In both Language and Literature. Why would a Commerce student want to study Hindi Literature? How is it going to be useful?” said Tanvi Agarwal, a B.Com. student at LSR, adding that nearly 250 of them have petitioned their Principal to intervene. She was also apprehensive that the paper was not even a qualifying one, but a subject whose credits would be counted while awarding the degree. SRCC students also confirmed likewise.

On Thursday some students took their grievances to University officials who did not respond positively and refused to hold out any assurance.