Now Raj Thackeray targets English medium schools

July 14th, 2008 - 10:54 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Raj Thackeray

Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has trained his guns on English medium schools in Mumbai that offer Marathi as an optional subject or do not have it on their curriculum at all. He announced his plan to issue a stern letter to the principals of all English medium schools in the city, urging them to introduce Marathi language as a compulsory subject.

“They are free to teach French or German or any other language they want, but Marathi cannot be an ‘optional language’ in the state of Maharashtra,” he told mediapersons at the MIG Cricket Club here Monday evening.

The letter - penned in Marathi - has warned of “dire consequences” if the diktat is not implemented. It has also asked school managements to disclose the details of parents who protest the move so that the MNS would know how many such “anti-Marathi” elements are present in the city.

He pointed out that people do not object when other states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala or Gujarat make their local languages compulsory for all students.

“It is only in Maharashtra, and especially in Mumbai, that we must adopt a ‘cosmopolitan viewpoint’ when the issue of using Marathi, the official state language, is concerned,” Raj thundered.

“However, since schools have already started, it will not be possible for the school managements to organize Marathi teachers or adjust their timetables. However, we shall take an assurance that from the academic year 2009, all English medium schools will start teaching Marathi,” he said.

He reiterated the party’s demand that all shops and commercial establishments in the city must put up signboards in Marathi. “We are writing to all such shops to comply within a month, following which we shall deal with them in our way,” he warned.

Continuing his tirade against north Indians, he repeated his warning to all Marathi-speaking government officials to refrain from issuing ration cards, driving licences, domicile certificates and other documents to north Indians. He alleged that these acts were driving the state to bankruptcy and leading to a spurt in criminal activities.

Citing official figures to back his statement, Raj said that as per Census 2001 nearly nine million people from Uttar Pradesh and five million from Bihar had migrated to other states, of which a little over two million were in Mumbai and neighbouring areas.

Justifying his ‘bankruptcy’ statement, Raj pointed out that 83 percent of all the postal money orders made from Maharashtra are headed for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the amount sent so far was a whopping Rs.15.5 billion.

He declared that he would be contacting concerned government officials after a month and if they failed to take appropriate action, the MNS would step in and do the needful.

He also chided sections of the media for continuing to use Bombay instead of ‘Mumbai’ and named a prominent city daily in this connection. Raj urged the media to switch over to ‘Mumbai’ as the local media in other cities like Chennai, Bengalaru or Kolkata have done.

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