The state plans to encourage people or institutes that help migrants learn Marathi – but ironically enough, pro-Marathi political parties are opposing the idea.
The proposal is part the state’s draft policy on cultural affairs, which aims to conserve and develop local culture, and suggests allocating four per cent of the total budget for this. The tutorial suggestion comes in the wake of the recent taxi-permits-only-for-Marathis row that saw the government backtrack a day after the policy was announced.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has opposed the tutorial idea. MNS leader Shirish Parkar said: “Languages like Marathi are not taught. Marathi is not French or Russian. Non-Marathi people can learn on the job or while communicating with Marathi counterparts. It’s all about willingness”.
Asked how the draft committee would deal with political interference, committee chairman A H Salunkhe did not comment. The policy suggests the government ask other states, especially Hindi-speaking ones and Gujarat, to establish a Marathi academy. Maharashtra has state-sponsored academies for Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu and Sindhi.
State Congress spokesperson Kanhaiyalal Gidwani welcomed the suggestion. “There’s nothing wrong is teaching our language to others.”