Thackeray urged Modi to personally look into the matter and instruct officials concerned to take immediate action to fulfil the long-standing demand.
Mumbai: Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to sanction ‘classical language’ status for Marathi.
In his letter, Mr Thackeray urged Mr Modi to personally look into the matter and instruct officials concerned to take immediate action to fulfil the long-standing demand. The chief minister wrote that the state government had submitted a proposal to the Centre on November 16, 2013, on the basis of a report by an expert committee set up.
“The Marathi language fulfils the criteria required to attain classical language status. Despite repeatedly pursuing classical language status, the matter is pending with the ministry of culture,” the letter noted.
“Since the matter is pending for a long time, the Prime Minister should himself look into it and grant Marathi ‘classical status’ language,” the letter added.
A senior Mantralaya official said that the state government had first communicated the demand in 2013, after a committee headed by Prof Rangnath Pathare submitted its report.
The official, who wished to go unnamed, said, that the proposal was also sent to the linguistic committee of the Sahitya Akademi by the state cultural department in 2016 but the matter is pending with them since then.
“The secretary of the Marathi language department has also pursued the matter with Union ministry of culture. Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, too, had written to the Prime Minister. The state is continuously pursuing the matter with the Centre,” he said.
Few weeks back, as per sources, the secretary of Marathi language department had written a letter to the ministry of cultural in a bid to revive the process of declaring Marathi a ‘classical language’.
Meanwhile, Deepak Pawar, a well-known activist for the promotion of Marathi and professor in the political science department of Mumbai University, said that the push to grant ‘classical language’ status to Marathi is a bid to satisfy the collective pride of people speaking the language.
However, while agreeing that granting Marathi ‘classical language’ status will be a matter of pride, Mr Pawar also urged the Thackeray government to sort out its priority vis-à-vis the Marathi language.
“The government must strengthen the language. This can be done by improving Marathi-medium schools, revitalising the Marathi language department and strictly implementing the existing laws on the usage of the language, including a 1998 law which mandates Taluka and district courts to conduct its proceedings in Marathi. Only tangible steps will help in promoting Marathi,” he said.