New Delhi: A Delhi government hospital’s circular issued on Saturday asking its nursing staff to not use Malayalam at work ended up stoking controversy.
“Maximum patients and colleagues do not know this language,” the hospital stated adding that it was causing inconvenience.
After the critical responses, the circular directing nursing staff to communicate only in Hindi or English has been withdrawn.
The circular issued by the Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (GIPMER) had asked its nurses to use only Hindi and English for communication or face “strict action”.
“A complaint has been received regarding Malayalam language being used for communication in working places in GIPMER. Whereas maximum patient and colleagues do not know this language and feel helpless causing a lot of inconvenience,” the circular read.
“So, it is directed to all nursing personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication. Otherwise serious action will be taken,” it added.
GB Pant nurses’ association president Liladhar Ramchandani claimed that the order came in after a complaint was sent by a patient to a senior officer in the health department, regarding the use of Malayalam language at the hospital. “The union disagrees with the wordings used in the circular,” she added.
Ramchandani, also the secretary-general of Delhi Nurses Federation said, “As a language’s name, Malayalam, has been inserted in the circular, many will take offence”.
He stated that the circular was “consequent of the complaint filed by the patient” and “internally, there is no issue among the nurses and the administration”.
Other nursing unions also criticised the circular.
Meanwhile, the matter also gained political traction with Congress leaders questioning the directive. Former party president and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi wrote: “Malayalam is as Indian as any other Indian language. Stop language discrimination!”.
Previously, Shashi Tharoor expressed his displeasure calling the order: “unacceptable, crude, offensive and a violation of the basic human rights of Indian citizens”.
After facing flak for the issue, the GIPMER Hospital administration has withdrawn the circular stating that it was issued without their information.
Delhi Health Department has also sent a memo to GIPMER in this regard.