Mamata Banerjee on 7th November had raised a hue and cry and questioned the Modi government over why the JEE-Main exam is conducted only in Gujarati. She asked the Modi government to explain why only Gujarati was being allowed and not other regional languages. Now, the National Testing Agency, which is an Indian government agency that has been approved by the Union Council of Ministers to conduct entrance examinations for higher educational institutions, has issued a clarification and busted Mamata Banerjee’s propaganda.
In a Tweet, Mamata Banerjee had said, “I love Gujarati language. But, why have other regional languages been ignored? If Gujarati has to be there, then all regional languages including Bengali must be there…. Unless this issue is decided gracefully, there will be strong protests all around as sentiments of people who speak other regional languages would be deeply hurt due to this injustice”. In an overdramatic tweet, she had further said, “Our country is India, which is home to so many religions, cultures, languages, creeds and communities.… However, maligning all regions and regional languages is the intention of the government at the Centre…. Why injustice is being meted out to them?”.
However, Mamata Banerjee’s outburst has now been exposed to be mere propaganda. The National Testing Agency has clarified that JEE-Main started in 2013 with an idea of all states admitting their engineering students through this test. The NTA clarification said:
“The request was sent to all the States in the year 2013 itself. Only the Gujarat State agreed to admit their candidates in State Engineering Colleges of Gujarat through JEE (Main) and requested that the JEE (Main) paper be made available in the Gujarati language. Further, in 2014 Maharashtra State also opted for admitting the Engineering candidates in the State Engineering Colleges through JEE (Main). The Maharashtra State requested to provide the question paper in the language of Marathi and Urdu”.
Further, the clarification read:
In the year 2016, both these States withdrew the admission to the State Engineering Colleges through JEE (Main). Therefore, the translation in Marathi and Urdu language was stopped. However, the translation of JEE (Main) question paper in the Gujarati language continued on the request of Gujarat State. None of the other States has approached NTA to provide the JEE (Main) question paper in any other Indian National Language.
Essentially, the NTA has clarified that while Mamata Banerjee is insinuating bias of the Modi government against all regional languages other than Gujarati, the truth is that Mamata Banerjee herself never agreed to the JEE-Main request for the exam to be conducted in Bengali or any other language that might be needed for the state of West Bengal.
In fact, multiple media reports have indicated that NTA may discontinue Gujarati as a regional language for JEE Main altogether and hold the examinations only in English and Hindi from 2021 onwards.
“The advisory committee of the JEE-Main has decided to drop Gujarati as a medium for question papers from January 2021. The questions will be available in Hindi and English only,” The Telegraph quoted an official of the National Testing Agency (NTA).