Marathi Media On Marathi Vs. English Language

IN Regional Media | 10/09/2002
Marathi Media On Marathi Vs

Marathi Media On Marathi Vs. English Language

By Prabhakar Kulkarni

The 75th Marathi Literary meet held recently at Pune in western Maharashtra has focussed on a controversy regarding the very survival of the Marathi Language and literature as against the aggressive influence of the English Language. The state government¿s decision to let students opt for information technology instead of Marathi language had already triggered the controversy

While the meet elaborately disclosed the dangers involved, the reactions of the Marathi newspapers in Maharashtra have not been as aggressive in defence of Marathi as most of the Marathi writers and chief of the Sammelan Mr Rajendra Banhatti have been. Their editorials reveal varied aspects of the issue as also the inertia of Marathi writers and well-wishers to preserve and propagate the vital strength and significance of the Marathi language and literature.

¿Daily Lokmat¿ has referred to Mr. Banhatti¿s glorification of the Karnataka chief minister Mr. S. M. Krishna¿s decision to reserve special seats in professional courses for secondary school students studying in Kannad language. But referring to the main speech, the editorial points out that Mr. Banhatti who referred to communication between Lokamanya Tilak and Gopal Ganesh Agarkar in English letters, did not mention Tilak¿s newspaper in Marathi and his sincere efforts to introduce appropriate Marathi version of English words. Information technology is an indispensable subject, but it cannot be alternative to Marathi language. This opinion is quite appropriate, but Mr. Banhatti has so elaborately analyzed the issue, that more vital issues like Marathi literature and culture, Dalit literature and cultural aggression are sidetracked.

¿Maharashtra Times¿ has criticized Mr. Banhatti¿s remedial defence to save Marathi language. He demands that Marathi should be administrative language from village panchayats to Mantralya and all government officers and employees should be well-versed in Marathi. Officials should be graduates in Marathi language and literature, and, this should be pre-condition while employing them. The editorial ridicules this demand stating that while Marathi should be administrative language, the demand that officers should be graduate in Marathi language is ill-founded, because in the present scenario of development of science and technology, graduates in other faculties than Marathi would be permanently banned for government services. Banhatti says that so long as Marathi literary meet is celebrated every year by thousands of Marathi loyalists Marathi would not be extinguished. If Banhatti is so confident about the eternal existence of Marathi, why should he worry about the English boards like ¿Tukaram Tea Stall¿ or ¿Nivritti Hair Cutting Saloon¿ in interiors of Maharashtra? asks the editorial.

Daily ¿Sakal¿ has criticized deliberations in the meet as only daydreaming. Marathi has to accept challenges posed by new situations and environment. ¿Marathi Sahitya Parishad¿ which organized meets every year should have practical approach as also rapport with information technology and agricultural universities on a regular basis, so as to formulate a broad policy for saving Marathi from English and other influences. Daily ¿Kesari¿ has criticized Banhatti for overemphasis on Marathi vs. English issue and utterly neglecting vital issues facing Marathi language and literature. Even charging Rs. 50 for entry in the meet and denying any remuneration for poets participating in ¿Poets Meet¿, while other participants are paid, and whether government¿s funds should be accepted or not - these issues were hotly discussed but not clarified by Mr. Banhatti. The editorial also comments lack of any reference to significance of Pune and the 75th ¿Sammelan¿ in Mr. Banhatti¿s speech.

Daily ¿Pudhari¿ of Kolhapur has commented that people in general are not concerned about what is going on in the literary meet. The editorial refers to a survey carried by a Marathi T.V. channel, in which most of the persons interviewed at Pune do not know facts about the meet, as also

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