[INDOLOGY] Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL)

Asko Parpola aparpola at gmail.com
Fri Feb 26 11:17:47 UTC 2021

The last issue of DLA [Dravidian Linguistic Association] News contains a copy of a letter sent to the Government of India by D. P. Pattanayak, the first Director of the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) in Mysore. CIIL has published a number of good introductions to Indian languages and other useful publications, but its fate seems sad.

With best wishes, Asko Parpola

Pattanayak, Debi Prasanna, 2020-12-15 Letter to the Government of India, published in DLA News 45 (1), Jan. 2021 p. 3: 
Date: 15-XII-2020  Sub.: Converting the CIIL into BBV and downgrading Qualitative Language Education by downgrading Linguistics.  Ref.: LD/MoE/GoI No. N. 7-6/2017–LCC(Pt.I), dt. 27-12-2020 and LD/MHRD/GoI F. No. 8-14/2019/L-II, dt. 18-02-2019  Dear Madam/Sir:  I am shocked to hear that the Govt. of India has set up a committee to work out the details of the transformation of the Central* Institute of Indian Languages (henceforth, CIIL), Mysuru from the Govt. of India office to a Central University. The Central Institute of English & Foreign Languages, the Kendriya Hindi Sansthan and the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan becoming a University is different from the CIIL, subordinate office of the Govt. of India becoming a University. The CIIL was established when the Govt. of India had no language department to work on language policy and planning and to monitor implementation of language programs of the Center and the States. It was visualised to act as a bridge between the Center and the States, Universities are autonomous bodies. No University can be a substitute of the CIIL. Although the CIIL was a department of MHRD (now under Ministry of Education), the faculty was given the UGC scales after re-designating the positions as Deputy Director-cum-Professor, Senior Research Officer-cum- Reader and Junior Research Officer-cum-Lecturer. This way, the CIIL faculty could interact with the University faculty and update themselves while interacting with the State Govt. Officials. The Director was a member of the CABE as well as member of Boards of Governors of the Central Language Institutes and acting as the Advisor of the Govt. of India. Unfortunately, the present day bureaucracy is in no position to convince the political leadership about the importance of the activities of the CIIL. That it is the fountain head of resources about language use in domains like education, administration and mass communication. It not only helped solving language problems of States but worked towards sustaining India’s status as a single language, linguistic and cultural area.  Another unfortunate part is the fact that most of the members of the constituted committee are Sanskritist, and there is not a single reputed linguist among them having high academic credibility in linguistics. This reminds me the fact that the last two Directors of the CIIL are non-linguists. During the time of the last Director, the recruitment rules of the post of Director was revised so that a linguist can never be selected as Director. If my information is correct then the UPSC experts for the interview of the Director held in the 4rth December 2020 were all Sanskritists and former bureaucrats and there was not a linguist having high academic integrity among them. This is a shame to all the linguists of the country. I have already written before that the CIIL without a linguist as a Director is like Indian Institute of Science (IISc, Bengaluru) heading a Social Scientist as a Director. I strongly suggest that all the linguists bring this to the attention of the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the Minister and Secretary of Higher Education, Govt. of India. It is the duty and responsibility of every linguist, social scientist, and language scholar in the country to ensure restoration of the CIIL and save linguistics. Debi Prasanna Pattanayak

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