Approved in 2008 by the then J&K Government, Gojri department is yet to see the light of the day in Jammu University.
The Gojri Department, when established, would be first of its kind in India, which will not only offer Undergraduate, Postgraduate, PhD courses in Gojri, but also help to promote study and research in the Gujjar tribe and tribal literature, art, culture, and much more.
It was 11 years ago, that the then J&K Governor and Chancellor of Jammu University, SK Sinha, and the then J&K Chief Minister and Pro-Chancellor of Jammu University, Ghulam Nabi Azad, in a meeting, had decided to approve a full-fledged Gojri Research Centre in the university, after the first committee to look into the issue was constituted in 2003.
Although in a meeting held a few years later, it was resolved that Gojri Department would be established in the “to-be-opened” Poonch Campus of Jammu University. The Poonch Campus is yet to start, and consequently, the Gojri Department.
“Falling short of space and grants, the campus itself is being run in Degree College building. We’ll start Gojri Department as soon as we get to shift to our own place,” lamented Prof Vinod Sharma, Director, Poonch Campus, Jammu University. Also, the officials feel the language should have career prospects for it to have a dedicated department.
Dr Javaid Rahi, Secretary, Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, who has been spearheading Gujjar Rights Movement for a long time now, alleges deliberate delay in the implementation of the decision.
Notably, even the Teaching and Administrative Posts were sanctioned for the Gojri Department.
“One of the most populous Scheduled Tribes of the state, the Gujjars have been demanding their rightful since 1980. The State Government in 2008 passed a decision to meet our demands, but with successive governments failing to implement the decision, we feel betrayed,” Rahi says.
It is pertinent to mention here that Gojri Department in Jammu University would have been more accessible to Gojri speaking people from J&K and neighboring states, hence the demand.
Rahi adds, “The Gojri language, spoken by more than two million people in J&K, has been included in the 6th Schedule of the State Constitution, which means that the state recognizes the language. Then why is there no course like Masters in Gojri? Why can’t Gujjars and Gojri have an educational department of their own?”
However, in 2018, under the Choice Based Credit System, for the first time ever, JU initiated a PG course in Gojri. “20 students, mostly from MA Urdu, have opted for Gojri as an additional subject in their 3rd and 4th semesters, which might increase in future batches,” said Prof Vijay Dev Singh, Life Long Learning Department, JU.
Expressing joy over this feat, the community hopefully waits for the dream of Gojri Department to come true.