A political procrastination stored in electronic voting machines seems to have finally found a populist paraphrase. Which the pundits were waiting for after the Parliament elections where an infant political outfit, Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) polled over a lakh votes on average in every major constituency.
The campaign for the Marathi manoos had takers after all in Maharashtra. Coupled with Shiv Sena, the electoral impact of the agenda of language and culture of the land proved too strong for the Congress to ignore; with assembly polls threateningly close.
So all schools under the CBSE and ICSE, both central boards, have to now teach Marathi to children from Class 1 up to Class 4.
“It is vote bank politics,” said Professor Venkatesh Kumar, political scientist at the University of Mumbai, adding “political appeasement with an eye on the upcoming assembly elections later this year. The split of Maharashtrian votes between the Shiv Sena and MNS, Congress sees an opportunity to make a dent in vote shares.”
Schools might face withdrawal of registration and no-objection certificate for non-compliance which many principals feel, on condition of anonymity, amounts to blackmailing.
In India there is no dearth of precedence though — Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh — to name two, a trend political analysts describe as “politics of nativism.” Because nurturing vote bank is a bigger concern over ensuring quality of education.
Strangely, one of the central Boards, the ICSE already had the rule all the while, which was allegedly flouted by a majority. Then, dictionary meaning of ‘resolution’ (the operative part of GR) is: “a formal expression of opinion or intention made” and public memory is indeed short!