In its 1st yr, Jamia's Sanskrit dept struggles to fill seats

The department has now urged the university administration to extend the registration deadline

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Jamia Millia Islamia's Department of Sanskrit, which was all set to start its first session amid much fanfare this year, is struggling to fill seats.

By Monday, the last day of enrollment, only a few applications had been received for admission in undergraduate and post-graduate courses offered. The department has now urged the university administration to extend the registration deadline. "Only 18 offline applications have been received for BA (H) and 22 for MA course in Sanskrit. We have written to the university administration, urging it to extend the date of registration," Dr Girish Chandra Pant, head of the department, said. Both courses offer 40 seats each.

The plan to set up a Sanskrit department at the varsity was first conceived in 2014, after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at the Centre. The proposal was finalised in 2015, after receiving the requisite University Grants Commission (UGC) approval.

"We could not start the classes last year due to some administrative reasons. But this time, we are going to start, even if we have only five students," Pant said.

On being queried about this lack of interest among aspirants, he said: "It's sad to see that students think of Sanskrit as the last option. Even in other universities, this is the situation. One of the major reasons could be the ongoing admissions at the Delhi University. Most aspirants will first try for a seat there."

"Most students who have applied for the course in Jamia have scored good marks. Some have even scored more than 70 per cent in their Class XII board examination," he added.

According to some varsity officials, the lack of information might also be behind the fewer applications. "Most applicants don't even know that we have started these courses in our varsity this year," a senior official said.

Interestingly, the university is receiving far more queries for MPhil and PhD courses in Sanskrit, following a massive seat cut in these courses in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) after the implementation of UGC notification, 2016. "We have not started registration for MPhil and PhD as of now," Pant said.

The department, however, will not be able to enroll more than 30 students in research courses this year. "We have four faculty members, including me as a professor. Two of us are already supervising students from the other university," Pant added.

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