No Bad Intention: Delhi Hospital Official on Malayalam Ban Notice

The controversial notice had directed nursing personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication.

2 min read

The nursing superintendent of the Govind Ballabh Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (GIPMER) has issued an apology, after issuing a controversial circular banning nursing personnel from speaking in Malayalam.

In a letter to the medical superintendent, dated Monday, 7 June, the nursing superintendent said the circular in question was issued in a "positive sense" and there was no bad intention against Malayalam-speaking staff.

"I have no any intention to disrespect/hurt of any Indian language, region, religion, etc. My whole intention was towards patient's wellness and nothing to hurt any emotions and not to linguistic discrimination... In fact said circular was misinterpreted about its true sense and even I did not get a chance to explain the same. However, even then if any staff's feeling gets hurt by using word of Malayalam in said circular, I regret/apology for the same and assure you I will be more careful and vigilant in future [sic]," the nursing superintendent's letter said.


What Did the Circular Say?

In the circular dated, Saturday, 5 June, the nursing superintendent had said, "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. So it is directed to all nursing personnel to use only Hindi and English for communication otherwise serious action will be taken. (sic)"

In the subsequent letter, two days later, the nursing superintendent said that the term 'serious action' was a typographical error in the circular, used instead of 'action'.

The official also said an advisory was issued in the circular to "all nursing personnel to use Hindi and English language during official communication and for public/patient/attendant dealing and as per their needs".

“... Earlier also patients/attendants verbalise(d) the complaints to seniors as some of the staff were using their regional language in front of them. Due to this, patients were afraid as they assume some serious health issues are with them that’s why languages are changed to hide their condition. Hence, the circular was issued to avoid any confusion due to language barrier [sic].”
Nursing superintendent’s letter

Circular Withdrawn

The circular was withdrawn a day after it was issued, with the medical superintendent of the GB Pant Institute saying it was issued "without any instruction or knowledge of the hospital administration and Delhi government".

The Delhi Health Department had also issued a memo to GIPMER in connection with the circular, according to news agency ANI.

The circular had drawn condemnation on social media, including Opposition leaders such as Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor.

(With inputs from ANI.)

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