This appointment has received a lot of criticism from the scholars, litterateurs and Haryana Punjabis and they are vocal against the Sunil’s appointment and questioning his merit on such an importanr post.
As per sources, Sunil is associated with RSS from the past two decades and he is close to Haryana chief minister (CM) Manohar Lal Khattar and he has been an RSS propagator for many decades.
When contacted the outgoing Director of HPSA, Gurwinder Singh Dhamija said, “After academy’s vice chairman Dr Narinder Singh Virk had left this post, the government has appointed me as the vice chairman and Sunil Vashisht as the director of the academy.”
On Thursday, some Sikhs gathered at historic Gurdwara Manji Sahib in Ambala City and passed a resolution against this appointment of RSS propagator as director of HPSA. They passed that the Haryana Sikh organizations condemn this appointment and demanded that this post should be given to a Punjabi litterateur, who is respected by all the scholars and litterateurs. It is also passed that such a director should be appointed who is well known to Haryana Punjabis and the government should not take the Punjabi language and literature in light. The resolution mentioned that the post of director of HPSA is an important appointment and it should not be used by the government to increase the income of its special propagators and neither should this post be politicized.
In another criticism of this appointment, the Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha (KPLS), Haryana Chapter convener Dr Amarjit Singh also condemned such a political appointment in the academy and issued a release. It stated, “Sushil Vashisht has no name in Punjabi literature and has not studied Punjabi during his education. The appointment of such a person at an important position of director is a disappointing message for the sensitive Punjabis of Haryana. The government made an appointment of the person who has no participation and contribution in Punjabi language and literature. We strongly condemn this appointment and demand that such a person is appointed who is dedicated to Punjabi language and literature.”
When contacted telephonically, Sunil Vashisht told TOI, “It will be better if we talk in person and the public face is vice chairman, and my role is to support the Punjabi society, culture, and language. I am also from a Punjabi family and I can read Punjabi very well. My work will speak in the coming time.”
Answering a question about the development of Punjabi language in Haryana, Vashisht said, “My work will come to fore soon, and fromthe last six years, the Punjabi Sahitya Academy Awards are pending and we will work for the same. Further, we can discuss this topic in person.”
HPSA vice-chairman Gurwinder Singh Dhamija said, “Sunil Vashisht has joined as director of HPSA on Friday and as per his qualifications that I know, he is double MA. He is young, energetic and has widely traveled in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, and Haryana. His parental background is from East Punjab (Now in Pakistan) and he belongs to a Punjabi family. As per the aims and objectives of HPSA, it is clearly mentioned that this academy should not only stay concerned with the Punjabi language but it should work for translation of literature from other languages to Punjabi and Punjabi to other languages.”
When asked about merit of Vashisht’s appointment as director, Dhamija said, “This is in the prerogative of Haryana CM and government and I cannot comment on this. The appointing authority is the government as it is an administrative post.”