The controversial decision of removing Pali as a subject offered at the Indian Civil Services examinations by the UPSC in March, this year, has shocked the Buddhist community and several parties has protested against it.
Professor Siddharth Singh, Head of the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, has been leading a campaign against the UPSC’s decision, to remove Pali as a subject from the IAS examination.
Professor Singh has created a Facebook page titled ‘Save Pali and Buddhist Studies in India’.
Further speaking, Professor Singh stated that, “sentiments of Buddhists in India have been hurt with decision to remove Pali from the IAS examination.
We wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to leader of the opposition and to members of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha about this great injustice. But so far they have not given any reason or a justification for removal of Pali from the Indian civil service examination,” Prof Singh said. He also mentioned that this decision has been taken without any explanation or justification.
Pali was becoming a popular ‘Optional Literature Subject’ of the IAS examination. In 2010, there were 355 candidates who opted for Pali at the examination, which was up from 213 candidates in 2009.
However, there are languages which have a much lower number of candidates that have not been removed from the list. They include Assamese, Bodo, Dogri and Manipuri.
The extent of usage cannot be a valid reason for the exclusion of Pali as it is a language used for Buddhist studies, though not for day to day communication.
Professor Singh requested the Indian government to revoke its decision on removing Pali from the IAS examination and recognize Pali as a classical language.