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Question Papers for IAS, IPS, IIT, IAEEE and ICAR-AIEEA-UG Selection Examinations (Hindi and English Only)

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2014 (ID. 2014-02-01)
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AIEEA-UG - All India Entrance Examination for Admission - Undergraduate

AIEEE - All India Engineering Entrance Examination

IAS - Indian Administrative Service

ICAR - Indian Council of Agricultural Research

IIT - Indian Institute of Technology

IPS - Indian Police Service

There are now over a dozen Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in India. These institutes are funded well by Government of India and they are considered better than most universities in India. IIT graduates are sought after not only in India but also abroad for employment and higher education. So many students try to get admission to IITs. Selection is based on competitive examinations throughout India. There is a "problem" with these examinations. Question papers are in English and Hindi only. This gives an unfair advantage to Hindi students. They get the questions in their mother tongue while others get the questions in some other languages (English and Hindi). We demand that question papers be given in all Indian languages, thus leveling the playing field. If there are practical problems in preparing and printing question papers in all languages, then use English only. English is as foreign to non-Hindi students as is to Hindi students; this levels the competitive field to all. If cost of printing question papers in all languages is the reason, we want to remind the Indian government that non-Hindi peoples also pay taxes.

AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Examination) is for admission to various undergraduate engineering and architecture programs in several Indian government funded institutes across India. The medium of the AIEEE examination is English and Hindi only.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is another organization that gives question papers in English and Hindi only for admission to undergraduate studies in many Indian government funded agricultural institutions (ICAR All India Entrance Examination for Admission To Bachelor (AIEEA-UG).

Question papers for Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) are also in English and Hindi only. This gives an advantage to applicants from Hindi states. There is a long-standing request from Tamil Nadu for providing question papers in Tamil also, and that request has so far fallen into deaf ears.

While question papers are in Hindi and English only, answers may be written in any language listed in the Indian Constitution, including Tamil. It may sound fair at the outset but it is not. One has to understand the questions before they can answer them. Also, why is the Indian government so adamant so far, in spite of years of complaints? If the language of the question is not important, why not give questions in English only? Why Hindi? Because it does help Hindi students. As will be discussed in the next paragraph, when just a few marks difference decides whether someone gets admitted to an IIT or become as IAS officer, having question papers in their mother tongue does give Hindi candidates a decided advantage.

Another interesting twist to these examinations is that answer keys are given in English and Hindi only; examiners use these keys to grade answers. A Tamil IAS candidate Mr. M. Ramachandran filed a petition that his answers in Tamil were not graded properly for lack of Tamil key and that he was not selected for IAS because he got just 4 marks less than the successful candidate (This news appeared in some Indian news web sites on July 18, 2012). When just a few marks matter on whether a candidate gets selected for the much sought after IAS career or not, it becomes extremely important that all languages be treated equally with question papers and answer keys.

How many bright young candidates from non-Hindi states had their dreams of admission to IIT or selection to IAS squashed because of this language discrimination? Discrimination, whether on the basis of race, colour, religion, language or region is wrong. Yet, in India, discrimination on the basis of language is not only allowed but the Indian Government administers it.

Thanjai Nalangkilli

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