Politicising the Marathi

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MNS tries to cash in on the Marathi Bhasha Diwas by asking Mumbaikars to sign in Marathi language on posters.

Marathi-LeadThe Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) which had suffered a massive defeat in the assembly election is trying to revive itself by playing the Marathi card. In an attempt to cash in on the Marathi Bhasha Diwas the party had asked Mumbaikars to sign in Marathi language on a poster placed at several locations of the city. MNS has often used Marathi agenda to woo voters and this time Maharashtra Navnirman Vidhyarthi Sena (MNVS) led by Aditya Shirodkar had asked schools across the city to celebrate “Marathi Bhasha Diwas” yesterday.

The university had uploaded a circular on its website asking students and staff to compulsorily observe Marathi day. Till last year it was not mandatory to observe Marathi day and it was restricted to the respective language departments of the varsity. Even parties like BJP and Shiv Sena too has been trying to woo Marathi voters. BJP had already forwarded a proposal to grant classical language status to Marathi. Education Minister Vinod Tawde had urged people to speak in Marathi and also called for a people’s movement to promote the language. Tawde spoke about appointment of Marathi-speaking executives at call centres and business houses to disseminate marketing related information in Marathi.

Marathi Bhasha Diwas” is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of senior Marathi laureate and famous poet V V Shirwadkar, popularly known as his pen name Kusumagraj, who was a Gyanpeeth Award winner. The day is already being celebrated by many organisations across the state, including a few departments of Mumbai University and other state universities.

Suhas Adne, a Kandivali resident said, “We are signing the posters on the occasion of Marathi Bhasha Diwas. Already people are giving too much importance to English language and sidelining Marathi which is unjustified.”

Ajit Borse, a Malad resident said, “Nowadays people are learning English language. There has been a huge decline in students taking admission in Marathi schools. Through such campaigns we can make the language more popular among people.”

MNS leader Aditya Shirodkar said, “The day stands for the pride of Maharashtra and the Marathi language. The new generation must understand the importance of the language. To keep its heritage alive among school students, this day should be celebrated. The idea is to promote Marathi culture. At school levels, they should organise elocution and essay competition and discussion on Marathi literature. In fact, schools can also felicitate Marathi writers and poets at during the celebrations.”

For the last two years, the Shiv Sena and MNS have been pressuring the education department for declaring a five-day holiday during Ganeshotsav. This led to a controversy as some schools were asked to reduce Christmas holidays.