Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Ajit Pawar on Thursday asked the Centre to accord classical language status to Marathi on the occasion of the Maharashtra Day on May 1.
Pawar also sought that Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde follow-up the demand with the central government.
Maharashtra Day commemorates formation of the state on May 1, 1960.
In a letter to the CM, Pawar said Marathi language fulfils every criteria to be given the status of classical language. Every department, including the Union Culture Ministry, and the Sahitya Akademi have given green signal to the proposal. Every department has given a positive report. The only thing left is approval of the Union cabinet, which is final, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader said.
“I demand that the central government give approval to the same and as the Amrit kaal gift accord classical language status to Marathi, he said. In February 2022, when the Maha Vikas Aghadi (comprising the then undivided Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) was in power, state Marathi Language Minister Subhash Desai met Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy who told Desai that the Pathare committee report was accepted by the Centre,” Pawar said.
Desai then said the state government had formed a committee chaired by litterateur Rangnath Pathare who prepared a voluminous report citing evidence about the ancientness of the language, originality and continuity and literary traditions for the criteria for granting classical language status to a language.
Pawar said in 2021, the then CM Uddhav Thackeray led a delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for various issues related to Maharashtra and also appealed to him to take a decision regarding the classical language status to Marathi. When (BJP leader) Devendra Fadnavis was the chief minister, his follow-up efforts were also not successful, the LoP said.
“When Prithviraj Chavan (of the Congress) was the CM, he set up a committee headed by Rangnath Pathare which submitted a 435-page report on how Marathi deserves the classical language status, Pawar said. Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Malayalam, Kannada and Odia have been given the classical language status.
“Despite a positive response from the Sahitya Akademi, the decision on Marathi language is still pending,” Pawar said.
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