Union Home Minister Amit Shah.will introduce the Hindi translations of the first-year MBBS textbooks in Bhopal on Oct.16. Madhya Pradesh will be one step closer to becoming the nation's first State to offer medical education in Hindi.
The launch is scheduled at a time when the Chief Ministers of two southern States have expressed their opposition to a rumoured plan by the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language, also led by Mr. Shah, to use Hindi as a medium of instruction in important institutions in the Hindi-speaking States and regional languages in other places.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, thinks that the project will alter people's perspectives because they will see that it is possible to advance in life even after receiving a Hindi-language education and to feel proud of one's mother tongue. Mr. Chouhan has frequently expressed support for higher education in Hindi in his meetings with the public. During his most recent trip to Bhopal in August, Mr. Shah concurred with the statement that 95% of the talent in India was unable to advance the nation due to its obsession with the English language.
A committee of 97 doctors, according to the State's Minister of Medical Education Vishvas Sarang, developed the translated versions of the medical biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy texts.
The Minister added that not everyone warmed up to the idea initially.
“There was resistance from the experts. Some said it was not possible while others said students might lose the competitive advantage but we persisted taking all into account all these reservations. One set of doctors prepared the first draft, another fine-tuned it further. This was followed by the validation and proofreading stages. We chose three subjects because these are primarily taught in the first year,” Mr. Sarang said.
“The first thing we had to dispel from the minds of the people was that it could not be done. The Germans have done it, as have the French and the Macedonians,” Dr. Neelkamal Kapoor, one of the members of the committee, said.
According to Dr. Kapoor, the purpose is to provide a bridge to students who study in vernacular languages before taking up medical education.
“Typically, English is introduced late in vernacular schools, and by the time a child reaches the age where one has to prepare for the medical exam, the focus is more on the science subjects rather than learning English. Thus many students with good academic records tend to struggle in college due to their lack of grip on the means of communication,” she said.
Rupesh Verma, a first year post-graduate medical student enrolled in Gwalior’s Gajra Raja Medical College, cites his own example. “I come from a village near Rewa and Hindi was my medium of instruction till school. But when I reached medical college, I was forced to sit with a medical dictionary because I had a tough time in understanding what was written in the books or taught in the class. Things had come to such a pass that from securing the 40th rank in the Madhya Pradesh Pre-Medical Test, I could barely pass the college exams. This was also one of the factors that delayed my PG (post graduate) admissions,” he said.
There are, however, some fears about a Hindi-centric approach robbing students of crucial opportunities, and about the practical difficulties involved.
Aakash Soni, a former State president of the Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors’ Association (Undergraduate wing), said that if such a move was made compulsory, then such candidates may only be able to work in Madhya Pradesh or other Hindi-speaking States. “If someone wants to go abroad, especially to countries such as the U.S. and the U.K., they might find it difficult to clear the eligibility tests or even work there. There are many doctors in India, even in colleges in Madhya Pradesh, who have returned after enhancing their knowledge and expertise from these countries. Such opportunities will be restricted,” Dr. Soni sai
dTwo other UG medical students from Bhopal, who chose to remain anonymous, also expressed reservations. While one said that medical education involved going through a lot of reference books and medical journals that are in English, and a mix of languages could cause confusion, the other, a medical intern who hails from northeast India, feared that those like him could struggle to learn a language that hasn’t been their first or second language while growing up.
Dr. Satyakant Trivedi, a psychiatrist who is also a member of the committee, said that understanding these constraints, the committee retained English or Greek terms without using their Hindi words. “So we have avoided using merudand for spinal cord or shira for veins and have instead used the English words and written them in Devnagri. We didn’t want the translated versions creating problems of their own,” Dr. Trivedi said.
ALSO READThe project will start from Gandhi Medical College (GMC) in Bhopal before being extended to all 13 government-run medical colleges in the current academic session.
Even as a clearer roadmap of the subsequent moves in this direction is yet to emerge, Mr. Sarang said that more books will be translated in the coming days. The Director (Medical Education) of Madhya Pradesh Dr. Jiten Shukla said the e