Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination Questions in Hindi (Language Politics in IIT-JEE)

K. Chezhian, Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, January 2013 (ID. 2013-01-02)
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IIT - Indian Institute of Technology

JEE - Joint Entrance Examination

Tamil people have been asking Indian government funded/administered Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) to provide entrance examination question papers in Tamil also. The current system of English and Hindi questions benefits those whose mother tongue is Hindi. It was recently announced that question papers would also be issued in Gujarati in 2013. When enquired why only Gujarati was added but not the other languages, the examination authorities said that this special consideration was given to Gujarati because Gujarat State Government had agreed to accept Indian government's common entrance examination (joint entrance examination) for its state engineering colleges.

Tamil Nadu and some other states have refused to join Indian government's common entrance examination for their state engineering colleges in February 2012; it is the constitutional right of state governments to choose admission criteria that are suitable and appropriate for their college students. Indian government is using IIT joint entrance examinations (IIT-JEE) as a stick to force state governments to do what it wants although it has no jurisdiction over admissions to state colleges; this is highly immoral. Why should Hindi and Gujarati students have an advantage over Tamil students (as well as Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Telugu, ... students)?

Indian government wants to extract a price for holding IIT joint entrance examinations (IIT-JEE) in Tamil or Bengali or Kannada or Malayalam or Marathi or Telugu or other languages. If, a few years from now, you see Tamil question papers for IIT-JEE, it might be because Tamil Nadu gave up some of its constitutional rights. A sad situation, indeed. 

Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, as well as a few other states, do not want to accept the India-wide entrance examinations for their state engineering colleges because of valid reasons. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote a letter to Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh in September 2012 opposing the introduction common entrance examinations for dental colleges (similar to the IIT-JEE for engineering colleges). The letter clearly spells out why Tamil Nadu opposes such common entrance examinations. She wrote that an expert committee found that such common entrance examinations put rural and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds at a disadvantage. This is called "urban bias". Gujarat Education Minister Ramanlal Vora had also held the view that there is urban bias in IIT-JEE (This is reported in the News4Education website on December 9, 2012).


Procedures for admissions to state engineering colleges should be left to state governments. We want all our students - both urban and rural students -  both low-income students and high-income students get the same opportunities for education. We do not want India-wide entrance examinations that favour urban students over rural students, and higher-income students over lower-income students.


We urge that ITT-JEE be held in all languages listed in the Indian constitution without forcing states to hold India-wide common entrance examinations for state engineering colleges. Whether Hindi states accept common entrance examinations for their state colleges or not, Hindi students get question papers in their mother tongues. This favours Hindi state students in IIT admissions and puts non-Hindi students at a disadvantage. Why should Hindi students get an edge in much sought after admissions to IIT and other central government institutes of higher learning? IITs and other central government institutes of higher learning are not funded by just Hindi states but are funded by all states. Our students should get the same chance of joining Indian Institutes of Technology as Hindi students. Are Hindi students more equal than non-Hindi students in the eyes of the Indian government?


1. India, Tamil Nadu and Hindi Imposition

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