On October 16, the Hindi translations of the textbooks used in the first year of medical school will be released in Bhopal by the Minister of the Interior for the Union, Amit Shah. With the passing of this legislation, Madhya Pradesh will move one step closer to achieving its goal of being the first state in the nation to offer medical education in Hindi.
The scheduled launch takes place at a time when the Chief Ministers of two southern States have expressed their reservations against the purported move of the Parliamentary Committee on Official Language, also headed by Mr. Shah, to employ Hindi as a medium of instruction in key institutions in Hindi-speaking States, and regional languages elsewhere. Mr. Shah is also in charge of the committee.
However, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, is convinced that the initiative will cause a shift in the way people think. He believes that people will realize that it is possible to succeed in life even after receiving an education in Hindi as the medium of instruction, and that they will also develop a sense of pride in their native language. Mr. Chouhan has frequently shown his support for Hindi as a medium of instruction in higher education during public appearances. During his most recent trip to Bhopal in the month of August, Mr. Shah echoed similar sentiments, stating that India’s preoccupation with the English language prohibited 95% of the country’s talented people from contributing to the country’s development.
According to Vishvas Sarang, who is the Minister of Medical Education for the State, the translated versions of books on medical biochemistry, medical physiology, and anatomy have been prepared by a committee consisting of 97 doctors over the course of the past eight to nine months.
The first meeting was conducted on February 11 of this year, and as a result, we established a task force as well as a Hindi Chikitsa Prakoshth (Hindi medical cell). Following this, we tracked down the authors and publishers of the books that were being used as textbooks in the majority of educational institutions, and we signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with them to avoid any potential legal complications. After that, we enlisted the assistance of physicians trained at government-run medical colleges to translate the documents, as Mr. Sarang explained.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs went on to say that not everybody was immediately on board with the proposal.
“There was pushback from the industry professionals. Some people thought it was not conceivable, and others argued students might lose the advantage they had over other competitors, but we proceeded in spite of all of these objections and took them into account. The first draft was crafted by one group of medical professionals, while another group added additional polish to it. The subsequent stages, validation and proofreading, immediately followed this step. We decided to focus on these three topics because they are covered extensively in the first year,” Mr. Sarang explained.
“The first thing we had to do was eliminate the notion among the public that it was impossible to accomplish what we set out to do. “The Germans, the French, and the Macedonians have all accomplished this,” Dr. Neelkamal Kapoor, a member of the committee, stated. “The Macedonians have also accomplished this.”
According to Dr. Kapoor, the objective is to act as a transitional step for students who have been educated in vernacular languages prior to beginning their studies in medicine.
“In most vernacular schools, English is not taught until a later grade, and by the time a child reaches the age at which one must start preparing for the medical exam, the emphasis has shifted away from learning English and more toward the courses that pertain to the sciences. According to her, “many students with good academic records tend to suffer in college due to their lack of grasp on the methods of communication,” which is why so many students with high academic records tend to struggle in college.
Rupesh Verma, who is in his first year as a post-graduate medical student at the Gajra Raja Medical College in Gwalior, uses his own experience as an illustration. “I was up in a village close to Rewa, and the language that I was taught in up until I started school was Hindi. When I finally got to medical school, however, I had such a hard time comprehending what was being presented in the textbooks and lectures that I was required to keep a medical dictionary open on my desk at all times. My performance in the Madhya Pradesh Pre-Medical Test, in which I achieved the 40th rank, had deteriorated to the point where I could hardly pass the tests in my college classes. “This was also one of the issues that delayed my PG (post graduate) admissions,” he said. “This was also one of the factors that delayed my PG admissions.”
However, there are some concerns that pupils may be denied vital chances if the focus is on Hindi, as well as concerns regarding the difficulties that this will present in practice.
According to Aakash Soni, a former state president of the Madhya Pradesh Junior Doctors’ Association (Undergraduate wing), such candidates may only be able to find employment in the state of Madhya Pradesh or in other states where Hindi is the primary language of communication if the proposed change is made mandatory. “If someone wishes to go abroad, particularly to nations like the United States and the United Kingdom, they can find it difficult to clear the eligibility exams or even work there. This is especially true for countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. Many medical professionals in India, including those working at educational institutions located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, have traveled to other countries to advance their education and acquire additional skills. Dr. Soni predicted that opportunities like these would become more limited.
Two additional first-year undergraduate medical students from Bhopal, both of whom wished to remain nameless, shared similar concerns. One of them claimed that learning medicine required reading a lot of reference books and medical journals that are written in English, and that using a combination of languages could lead to confusion. However, the other, a medical intern who is from the northeastern part of India, was concerned that people like him might have difficulty learning a language that wasn’t their first or second language when they were growing up.
According to Dr. Satyakant Trivedi, a psychiatrist who is also a member of the group, in light of these limits, the committee chose to maintain English or Greek phrases rather than translating them into their respective Hindi meanings. Because of this, rather than using the Devnagri term for spinal cord (merudand) or the Devnagri word for veins (shira), we have utilized the English words and transcribed them in Devnagri. Dr. Trivedi explained that “we did not want the translated versions to create problems of their own.”
The Gandhi Medical College (GMC) in Bhopal will serve as the pilot institution for the project before it is rolled out to the remaining 13 government-operated medical colleges during the current academic session.
In spite of the fact that a more detailed road map of the further steps that will be taken in this area has not yet been developed, Mr. Sarang stated that additional works will be translated in the days to come. Dr. Jiten Shukla, Director of Medical Education for the state of Madhya Pradesh, stated that the exercise should not be interpreted as a “Hindi vs English” argument because the state does not want to eliminate English textbooks in the foreseeable future. Instead, he explained that it was about providing pupils whose primary language is Hindi with an alternative forum to express themselves.
“Since students are required to take the NEET (National Eligibility and Matriculation Entrance Test) in Hindi, it is up to them to decide whether or not they want to answer questions in Hindi when they progress through the program. “Even in the present day, responses can be given in Hindi at medical institutes,” Dr. Shukla added.