The old diktat in the new packaging that made it mandatory for shops and establishment signs to be written in bolder than in any other language in Marathi drew strong backlash from shop owners, who cited a court case they have successfully fought against . A few years back, he has resolved to fight his case amidst threatening voices of political organizations promoting order compulsion. But, what has emerged on the sidelines of this issue is a vertical divide among Marathi thinkers, politicians and activists over compulsion. Some have openly supported the idea, while others have questioned not only subsequent governments but also the Marathi population for reducing their mother tongue to such a level that legal means were used to enforce its use. used where its applicability has always been under question.
Opponents, like Marathi supporters, have welcomed the decision and want the state language to be used wherever possible, but their support comes with a rider that calls on a sensitive Marathi manush to introspect. forces. Sharp questions are being raised over the closure of thousands of Marathi medium schools and the lack of effort to offer Marathi reading to the new generation. In Mumbai alone, the number of students in Marathi medium schools has come down to a third of the number 10 years ago. According to a report, there were 35,181 students in the academic year 2019-20, up from 1,02,214 in 2010-11.
Acclaimed theater and television personality Sumeet Raghavan (don’t go by his other name, he is more Marathi than those who claim to be the son of the soil) has been very vocal on the issue. He recently tweeted, “Will this help? No. Save Marathi schools, encourage Marathi parents to enroll their child in Marathi school. All Marathi schools are turning into ‘English medium’ It is like changing Bombay to Mumbai. Kripa karun motha vichar kar. Shopanchi nao marathi lihun ka samman? (It is like changing Bombay to Mumbai. Please think big. What will happen after the shop signs are written in Marathi?”
Sumeet’s equally talented actor wife Chinmayi while talking to a language newspaper said, “The shop signs should be in Marathi. But if Marathi (medium) schools do not survive, we will not have people who can read the signs on the streets, squares and shops. Around 130 Marathi medium schools have closed in Mumbai. Political parties have won elections using Marathi agenda. Why don’t they strengthen these schools?”
Regional news channels have been grappling with the subject as the Maharashtra cabinet last week decided to extend the previous order to small shops employing 10 or less workers. This means that now all shops will have to prominently display signs in Marathi (Devanagari script). Since the decision comes ahead of the civic polls, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which in the past started an agitation for Marathi signs, has entered the fray with the caveat that other parties (Shiv Sena) have to claim credit for the decision. Shouldn’t. In a veiled threat to the erring shops, the MNS said, “Changing the mark will not be more expensive than changing the spectacles of the shop.”
The day the middle class, the neo-middle class and the neo-rich abandoned it as a medium of instruction, says Hari Narke, a writer and educationist long active in the Marathi movement, the language began to lose its ground. “The lower layer of the society followed the upper layer. Marathi schools were closed because English has its own prestige, and people think that education in English guarantees jobs,” he said, citing the declining value of Marathi language in the placement market. Wanting to know the reason. Blaming the government for everything doesn’t make the Marathi middle class free from all charges, he said. “When the language doesn’t provide employment, the language is destroyed. A 25-year state-level policy on the job market I can increase the value of Marathi language.
Serious thoughts, ideas and counterarguments have been churned whenever Marathi asmita (proud) has happened. The army successfully mounted the plank. The BJP also used it keeping non-Marathis in its good books. MNS has made up its mind to rebuild it to counter the elder brother. The Congress and Nationalist Congress governments have also played their part in making Marathi symbols mandatory. But a bitter truth is that the parties which have ruled Maharashtra after the reorganization on linguistic lines have not been able to deliver a widely spoken and written Marathi language, which has produced quality literature and is the most important part of the country. Miscellaneous crown has been given a colorful feather, justified recognition. And it is equally true that the failure of governments can be attributed to the majority of the population, who, unlike their counterparts in the south, in West Bengal, even in the close neighborhood of Gujarat, understand the richness of their mother tongue. didn’t bother to. With.
Dharmendra Jore is the political editor of Mid-Day. He tweeted @dharmendrajore
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