The Union Public Service Commission's (UPSC) decision to put restrictions on choosing the medium of the test and languages as optional papers for the Civil Services examinations has come at a time when the State government is making renewed efforts to promote Telugu language.
As expected the aspirants are furious over the changes in Civil Services exams as English and Hindi medium students stand to gain, but even the language lovers are also incensed at the treatment given to regional languages by the UPSC.
They are further annoyed that such changes have come at a time when Telugu was accorded classical language status. Aspirants and teachers have met the Official Languages Commission Chairman, Mandali Buddha Prasad, who promised to share their concern with the Chief Minister and take up the issue with appropriate authorities.
"State may end up with officers who have never studied Telugu, and it will impact the governance badly," says Dwana Sastry, who teaches Telugu Literature to Civil Services aspirants. When emphasis is being laid on promoting usage of Telugu language at all levels by the government the issue should be taken seriously, feel the aspirants, who also want the Parliament members to take up the issue as rural students would be hit worst. Karimnagar MP, Ponnam Prabhakar told The Hindu that he would raise the issue in the Parliament to ensure students' interests. In fact, political parties and organisations in Maharashtra have already raised concerns.
Candidates see discrimination against regional languages arguing that the logic applying for choosing Telugu Literature as an optional doesn't apply to other optional subjects.
Candidates can choose Public Administration or Anthropology without studying them as a subject at the degree level. "Why such restrictions on languages when emphasis is being laid on saving languages," asks A. Madhusudhan Reddy, an aspirant.
Statistics reveal that about 400 candidates opt for Telugu literature but that will come down to less than 25 now. Similarly, more than 10,000 candidates write Civil Services in Telugu medium and the number will drastically reduce due to restrictions that such candidates need to study their degree in Telugu medium. Students remind that they are officially allowed to write degree exams in Telugu though they take admission in English medium.
"During earlier changes enough time was given for adjustments in preparation," reminds Mr. Sastry.