Monday, May 23, 2022



In email era, Maha Deputy CM Ajit Pawar sends a postcard to President

Mumbai, Dec 24, 2021- In the 21st century era of e-mail and instant messaging, Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has relied on a nearly two-century-old means of communication to draw the attention of the President Ram Nath Kovind.

The oft-maverick Ajit Pawar – nephew of Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar – on Friday shot off a humble postcard to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the long-pending issue of according the “classical language” status to Marathi.

In the neatly-typed postcard, Pawar has pointed out that although the Centre had taken the decision in 2004 to confer the “classical language” status to various languages, the Marathi language has been ignored despite repeated requests.

Even a high-level committee of language experts appointed by the Centre had unanimously approved a proposal to this effect seven years ago, but there has been no further progress in the matter, he said.

Pawar exhorted the President that it was necessary to grant the status of a “classical language” to Marathi as recommended even by the Sahitya Akademi, at the earliest.

“Marathi is not only an ancient language but also the state language, used by litterateurs, intellectuals, by people of religion besides the common masses, and ranks among the major languages in the world,” he pointed out.

Citing how there many documents which provide testimony that Marathi is a “classical language”, he urged the President to accord the status on priority.

Then, Pawar personally signed the postcard in green ink, mentioned his full residential address, affixed 2 stamps of Rs 3 each with the picture of the shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan, and it was ‘posted’.

Last year, the Maharashtra Legislature passed a unanimous resolution recommending to the Centre to accord the “classical language” status to Marathi.

In anticipation of the status, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in October cleared the proposal to construct a ‘Marathi Bhasha Bhavan’ on a 2,500 square metre plot in south Mumbai, which had been on the backburner for nearly eight years.

Coming up within the Jawahar Bal Bhavan complex at Marine Drive, the work on the centre is starting shortly with a completion target of 18 months, with a library, an expo centre, conference halls, etc, to promote the Marathi language.

During the tenure of Congress Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, a committee chaired by litterateur Rangnath Pathare had prepared a voluminous report running into 500 pages on the same issue.

The report had been forwarded to the government in July 2013, but the matter remained unresolved after the change of guard both at the Centre and the state.

The Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, which started in 1878, has demanded the “classical language” status for Marathi several times in the past.

Presently, there are six languages bestowed the status officially – Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, and Odia, based on various parameters.

This paves the way for two prestigious international-level awards for scholars of eminence in the Indian “classical language”, setting up centres of excellence for studies in these languages, the University Grants Commission creating or starting certain number of Professional Chairs in such languages besides dedicating various institutions for the same to promote the study and research in such “classical languages”.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])


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