With close to 20 Gujarati-medium schools shutting down every year, most of the city’s youngsters from the Gujarati community do not even know how to read and write in their native language, said members of the community.
Till ten years ago, there were more than 300 Gujarati-medium schools in Mumbai, but today, there are barely 100.
“Today, much of the Gujarati youth in the city does not even know how to read and write in Gujarati, as parents prefer to send their children to English-medium schools,” said Hemraj Shah, president of the Bruhad Mumbai Gujarati Samaj and chairman of the Maharashtra Rajya Gujarati Sahitya Academy.
The Academy receives grants from the state to promote the language. However, Shah said that while cultural functions and events are organised regularly to promote Gujarati songs and poems, the response of the youth is poor.
Members of the Maharashtra Gujarati Samaj Mahamandal, a community association, will discuss the topic at a meeting on May 25 in the city.
“We will discuss the ways in which the language can be promoted within the community at the meeting,” said Shah. The meeting of the Samaj Mandal, held every three years where Gujarati representatives from across the state congregate, will be held at a Dadar venue.
Some initiatives are being taken to promote the language among the youth. Gujarat-based poet and author Ankit Trivedi will conduct a poetry recitation at the National Centre for the Performing Arts on May 31.
“The main purpose it to make the language more popular by introducing the youth to Gujarati ghazals and poems and through question-answer sessions about the language,” said Trivedi, 32.