Updated June 6th, 2021 at 13:26 IST

Delhi govt hospital withdraws order barring nurses from speaking in Malayalam after flak

After facing severe backlash for its language diktat, Delhi govt-run GIPMER withdrew its circular forbidding its nursing staff from communicating in Malayalam

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After facing severe backlash for its language diktat, Delhi govt-run Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (GIPMER) on Sunday, withdrew its circular forbidding its nursing personnel from communicating in Malayalam. The hospital administration has stated that the circular was issued without their information after being issued a memo from the Delhi health department. The hospital had previously clarified that nurses were allowed to speak to each other in Malayalam but must converse with patients in Hindi.

Delhi govt hospital withdraws Malayalam order

What was the language order?

On Saturday, GIPMER issued a circular mandating Hindi or English as the language of communication after receiving a complaint. Aimed at the nursing staff which hails majorly from Kerala, the hospital stated that 'maximum patients and colleagues do not understand Malayalam' and were 'feeling helpless'. The hospital directed the nursing staff to converse in Hindi or English only, warning them of serious consequences otherwise. Nurses have criticised the move and said they always talk to patients in Hindi.

"A complaint has been received regarding Malayalam language being used for communication in working places in GIPMER. Whereas maximum patients and colleagues do not know this language and feel helpless causing a lot of inconveniences. So it is directed all nursing personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication. Otherwise, serious action will be taken,” reads the order.

This move had evoked sharp criticism from several Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Jairam Ramesh flagging discrimination. 'Malayalam is as Indian as any other Indian language. Stop language discrimination!', tweeted Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, while Jairam Ramesh called it bizarre. Similarly, Shashi Tharoor called it 'unacceptable, crude, offensive and a violation of the basic human rights of Indian citizens'.

Objecting to the move, BJP leader Amit Malviya claimed that the Kejriwal government was now targetting Kerala nurses after targeted people from UP and Bihar. Comparing Kejriwal to PM Modi, he said that the Prime Minister had taken his first COVID vaccine jab from a Malayali nurse, fostering unity. The ruling Kerala party - CPI(M) is yet to comment on it.

Incidentally, in January, ahead of the 5 state elections, the Kejriwal-led Delhi government set up Tamil, Marathi and Konkani academies in the national capital. Appreciating his move, DMK Supremo MK Stalin, CM E Palaniswami, and MNM chief Kamal Haasan had congratulated and thanked him. Kejriwal had replied to their tweets in Tamil, emphasizing 'creating a multilingual Delhi'.


Published June 6th, 2021 at 11:15 IST