History

The Department of Russian language was created at the University of Delhi in the year 1946 at the instance of the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who had a vision to deploy foreign languages to integrate independent India with the developed countries of the world.The founder Head of the Department, Dr. V. A. Shibayev, was a polyglot and a close associate of Nikolai Roerich, the world famous Russian painter, poet and philosopher. Within a short span of time, courses in other foreign languages like French, German and Spanish were also introduced and in 1948 the Department was re-named as the Department of Modern European Languages. Students with Masters in allied subjects and three years learning of a language being offered in this Department could enroll themselves for M.Phil and Ph.D. programmes. With the growing awareness about the significance of learning foreign languages, there was a demand for expansion and in 1969 new courses in Hungarian and Polish languages were introduced, followed by Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Portuguese and Romanian languages. Subsequently, with the ever increasing demand for language courses and the increase in enrolment the Department of Modern European Languages was bifurcated, in 1987, into two departments, namely the Department of Slavic Studies and the Department of Germanic and Romance Studies. The Department of Slavic Studies was later on re-named as the Department of Slavonic & Finno-Ugrian Studies. The Department, which was initially conducting only part-time courses introduced full-time courses, i.e. Intensive Advanced Diploma in Russsian and M.A. in Russian Studies. Other languages of the Department were offered as optional courses in the Masters programme in Russian to promote interdisciplinary studies. Later on a full-time Intensive language course in Bulgarian was also started.