After joining the Shinde camp, the Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party MPs led by Rahul Shewale at their maiden meeting on Tuesday with the union home minister made a strong pitch to immediately accord classical language status to Marathi. The delegation argued that the issue has been pursued by the state government and also by various organisations but there was no decision yet by the Centre.
The delegation said that funds will be available for the preservation and development of Marathi language after classical language status will be accorded. It would be possible to set up a separate cell in universities across the country to teach Marathi. It would also help further strengthen the libraries run for the spread of Marathi language.
Similar demand was made by the BJP led government during 2014-19 and later by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Shewale, who is now the Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party leader in the Lok Sabha, said the Centre has already accorded classical language status to Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannad, Telgu, Malyalam and Odia. ''The state government appointed committee headed by Prof Ranganath Pathre in 2012 had submitted its report to the Centre in 2013 recommending classical language status to Marathi. Marathi is a rich language having more than 2,500 years of tradition. The committee has said that Marathi language fulfills all the prescribed criterias to get classical language status,'' he added.
Shewale recalled that even after the Madras high court disposed of the case on providing classical language status to Matathi in 2016 there has been no decision yet.
According to the state Marathi language department, once a language is notified as classical, two annual awards are given to scholars of that language, a centre of excellence for studies in that language is set up and the UGC is asked to create a chair for that language at central universities.