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26.06.2019

Address by Governor at the launch of the Educational film ‘MyBoli’

Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the launch of the Educational film ‘MyBoli’ organized by Pallavi Foundation at Raj Bhavan on Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Shri Vijay Auti, Deputy Speaker, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Shri Bhau Korgaonkar, Founder Pallavi Foundation, Trustees of Pallavi Foundation, invitees, ladies and gentlemen,

सर्वप्रथम आपणा सर्वांचे मी राज भवन येथे स्वागत करतो.

मायबोली हा लघुपट मला खूप आवडला. मातृभाषेतून शिक्षण घेण्याचा संदेश अतिशय मोलाचा आहे. मी, श्री भाऊ कोरगावकर यांचे तसेच हा लघुपट तयार करणाऱ्या सर्वांचे मनःपूर्वक अभिनंदन करतो. सर्व कलाकार आणी टेक्निकल टीमचे देखील मी अभिनंदन करतो.  

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our language is like a river. The language is much more than a means of communication or expression.

Language connects, language unifies. Language can also divide nations, as we have seen in the case of Bangladesh.

Our values, our ideals and our identity are embedded within a language. It is through our language that we share our experiences, pass on the knowledge of our traditions and cultures.

It has been observed that “a lost language is a lost culture, a lost culture is invaluable knowledge lost.”

The only way for a language to survive and thrive, is for it, to grow and be loved. The moment a language stops growing, and is disowned by its speakers, its decline starts.

Marathi is one of the richest languages in the country. The language has evolved and enriched over thousands of years.

The language has been enriched by saint-poets and social reformers like Sant Dnyaneshwar, Sant Namdeo, Chakradhar Swami, Sant Eknath, Sant Tukaram and many others.

Maharashtra has a population which is equal to the population of Germany, Australia and New Zealand put together. Alongwith Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Hindi, Marathi is a global language, ranking among the top 20 languages in the world.

This is certainly a matter of great joy and satisfaction for each one of us.

However, it should concern, each one of us, that Marathi, and indeed, all our regional languages, are facing a serious challenge because of the growing influence of the English language.

Schools offering education in regional languages are closing down in favour of English medium schools. In Maharashtra, Marathi medium schools are closing. Likewise, Tamil Schools are closing in Tamil Nadu, and in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Telugu medium schools are making way for English medium schools. The picture is more or less the same in other States.

While we have to welcome English as a world language, we must be worried that the young generation is neither reading nor writing and in some cases, not speaking in their mother tongues.

Many schools are insisting on children and their parents conversing in English even at home.

I am afraid, after may be 20 years, not many children will be able to read or write in their mother tongues.

The challenge is to encourage young children and youth to express in their mother tongue and to write in the mother tongue. We need to find ways and means to engage children in reading Marathi and to make them love Marathi. We will have to take all schools and parents into confidence to encourage Marathi language among children.

Quite often, children adopt foreign languages such as French, German and Mandarin as option after SSC exams. Their argument is, those languages enable them score good marks. If this is the case, then we must think how we can make Marathi and other regional languages equally good scoring.

Thankfully, the young generation is reading. From books, they have switched on to e-books. We must therefore digitalize our books and make those accessible to all.  

The State Government must take up the digitization of all state libraries and set-up a common Marathi digital e-library.

The Marathi digital library will help the entire Marathi diaspora from across the world to stay connected to the language and literature. We must involve the Marathi-speaking diaspora from across the world in preserving our State language.

You will be surprised to know that there is great interest about Sanskrit and Indian languages in other countries. In Germany alone, 14 of the top universities teach Sanskrit, classical and modern Indology.

Apart from Germany, students from the US, Italy, the UK and the rest of Europe also go to Germany for learning Sanskrit !!  Four Universities in UK also offer similar programmes in Sanskrit. Likewise, Universities in Poland, Czech republic, Austria and Australia also offer programmes in Sanskrit.

Like Germany’s Max Mueller Bhavans, we must create a network of Sanskrit and Marathi Institutes to offer short term programmes in written and spoken languages.  

Maharashtra will be celebrating its Diamond Jubilee of formation next year. The responsibility of bringing glory to our own state language, Marathi, lies in our own hands. Unless we love our own language, we cannot expect others to learn our language.

पुनश्च आपले अभिनंदन करतो आणि आपणास शुभेच्छा देतो.
 
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