Course registration costs Rs1,200
A new online university is offering courses in Punjabi for people across the world.
“We want to see if people understand better if they are taught in their mother tongue,” said Punjabi poet and writer Mansur Ejaz, the founder of the Meluha Punjabi University.
The university is currently offering a creative writing course by novelist Muhammad Hanif and a course on peoples history of Punjab by Ejaz. Journalist Suhail Warraich will teach communication journalism, cartoonist Sabir Nazar will teach art and painting, Dr Jaspal Singh will teach philosophy and playwright Sarmad Sehbai will teach theatre. Actor Salman Pirzada will teach a course on street theatre next semester, said Ejaz.
Some interesting courses being offered include Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi scripts, physical geography and water resources, Punjabi fiction, and learning Sindhi in Punjabi.
The university is open to all students and everyone interested in attending courses in Punjabi. “If students want a degree, they will have to complete certain credit hours, but the rules will be a little relaxed if people want to take up courses for their own enlightenment,” Ejaz added.
Each course will have 12 Zoom classes and they will be held either on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The weekly classes will be two hours long.
People can register for courses after paying Rs1,200 (for Indian and Pakistani students), while foreigners will have to pay $120. This means that students will be paying Rs100 or $10 for each class.
“We are even offering a 50% discount to students of different universities. Just show us your student card and you will be given a discount,” said Azam Safdar, who is handling the university’s registrations.
Students just have to contact us and fill the form. We have different modes of payment that they can avail, he explained.
He said the degree being offered by the university will be of 36 credit hours, of which five courses will be compulsory. Each course will be of three credit hours. This means that students will have to take 10 courses and can opt for field research work or additional electives.
People who are interested in taking these classes for auditing purposes are free to do so. “We will issue special letters to them, and they can avail them easily,” Safdar added.
“Our courses have received a great response from Punjabi students across the world,” said Safdar. More than 40 students from the US, Dubai, India and Pakistan attended Ejaz’s first class, he said.
“People are attracted to the idea because it is different,” he added.
During the time of the Harappan civilisation, the people of modern day Punjab were referred to as meluha, according to Ejaz.
The word is found in the cuneiform, the logo-syllabic script which was used by the Mesopotamian civilisation. We know that people of Harappa and Mesopotamia used to trade, and this is why we know of this term.
Punjabi is a Persian word and was coined much later, he explained.