Maharashtra is set to have its first Marathi University after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave a land grant to Granthali. Granthali is a well-known Marathi publishing house founded in 1974. It publishes Marathi books and translations from other languages.
The land was transferred in an official ceremony at Vidya Bhawan on the occasion of Marathi Language Day. Marathi Language Day is celebrated every year on 27th February in Maharashtra, Goa, and some regions of Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
The space for the university has been provided at Bandstand in Bandra, Mumbai. This is coming one and a half years after the publishing house had approached Bandra legislator and president of Mumbai’s branch of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Ashish Shelar. The publishing house was in pursuit of a place for a university and a research institute.
Now that the land has been granted finally, the representatives of Granthali said they had plans to set up an autonomous university for the Marathi language. “The (Marathi university) library will house all books and volumes of Marathi language. Various programs for the promotion of the language will also be implemented. Marathi language programs such as examination, research and writing will also be implemented through this university,” said Sudesh Hinglaspurkar, trustee of Granthali publications.
Although there is no definite date for the opening of the university yet, Granthali is all set to start working in that direction. “We will first need to see the area that has been allotted to us. After that, we plan to conduct workshops on Marathi language and will set up a digital library,” said Hinglaspurkar.
He also added that Marathi is a regional language which has no universities dedicated to it, although several other languages have them across the country. “There have been many languages that have had the privilege of being called as ‘classical language’. And Marathi is not one of them despite its vast literature. The university is an attempt to let people know of the great language that it is,” he stated.
CM Fadnavis’s government is working to grant Marathi the status of a classical language. The government is also working on the proposal to make Marathi a compulsory subject till class 10th in CBSE and ICSE schools in the state.