Delhi hospital in India to penalise nurses speaking in Malayalam: Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor object

Indian National Congress President Rahul Gandhi
Indian National Congress President Rahul Gandhi speaks during a political rally at Asarana village, in Bhavnagar district, some 300 kms from Ahmedabad on April 15, 2019, ahead of the second phase of India’s general election. Image Credit: AFP

New Delhi: The Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (GIPMER) in Delhi has directed all its nursing personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication and said ‘serious actions’ would be taken against anyone found speaking in other languages.

A circular issued by the Nursing Superintendent of the hospital said GIPMER had received a complaint against the use of the Malayalam language.

“A complaint has been received regarding the Malayalam language is 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 inconveniences,” 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.

Commenting on the matter, Congress MP KC Venugopal urged Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to order an immediate withdrawal of the “bizarre” and “unconstitutional” circular issued by the authorities of GIPMER.

“I urge to Hon’ble health Minister @drharshvardhan to order an immediate withdrawal of the bizarre & unconstitutional circular issued by the authorities of GIPMER,” Venugopal tweeted.

“Nurses from Kerala are sincerely discharging their duties across the world and taking care of the patients. Naturally, nurses belonging to the same region would speak the language among themselves as it is their mother tongue. It is illogical to assume that they would speak in their mother tongue to a person who can’t speak that language. The circular is, undoubtedly, highly discriminatory and denying the basic fundamental right guaranteed by our constitution,” the Congress MP stated in the letter.

Reacting to the incident, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi stated that Malayalam is as Indian as any other Indian language. He also asked to stop language discrimination.

Congress Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor called the circular and a violation of the basic human rights of Indian citizens.

After the uproar, Delhi hospital revoked order barring nurses from talking in Malayalam at work. The hospital has withdrawn its order released a day ago directing all nursing staff to use only Hindi and English language for communication at the premises of the healthcare facility.

The hospital administration said that the circular was issued without their information after the controversy erupted over its specific notice that mentioned “serious actions” to be taken against anyone found speaking in other languages.