Monday, July 20, 2015

Planning 25,000-strong rally in Delhi on July 27, leaders step up pressure on Modi govt to "recognize" Rajasthani

Dharna in Delhi in support of the demand  
By Our Representative
In a sharp effort to step pressure on the Narendra Modi government, protagonists of those seeking to insert Rajasthani language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution have decided to hold a 25,000-strong rally on July 27 in Delhi in favour of their 12-year-old demand. To gather support from the Rajasthani community all over India for the proposed rally, the organizers of the rally began a yatra in Mumbai, reaching Ahmedabad on July 20.
“Before reaching Ahmedabad, we have already held meetings with Rajasthani community people at Vapi, Surat, Ankaleshwar and Vadodara”, said a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Rajasthani Bhasha Manyata Sangharsh Samiti, formed to campaign for the official recognition of Rajasthani as a medium of instruction for those willing to study in the mother tongue. “From Ahmedabad, we propose to go to Udaipur, Jodhpur and Bikaner, before reaching Delhi.”
Sources said, Union home minister Rajnath Singh has already “agreed” in principle to include Rajasthani in the eighth schedule. If earlier samiti members met him, how samiti members led by chairman of Prof Rajendra Barhat and vice-chairman Vijay Kumar Jain have decided to meet Modi to press for their demand to come up with a during the monsoon session of Parliament.
The reason for gathering support from Gujarat, samiti sources say, is particularly important, as there is a “huge cultural affinity” between Rajasthan and Gujarat. Besides, there a large Rajasthani community presence in several of the Gujarat towns. In Ahmedabad alone, there are an estimated 6 lakh Rajasthanis, which comes to around 10 per cent of the city’s population.
The plea to include Rajasthani in the eighth schedule of found resounding support of in 2003, when the state assembly passed a unanimous resolution in its favour and sent it to Delhi for consideration. “Ever since then, the issue is under examination. While both, ex-UPA and present NDA government have agreed in principle to the demand, strangely, things have failed to move”, says LN Patel, an Ahmedabad-based chartered accountant who hails from Jodhpur.
On May 5, the samiti held a well-attended dharna in Delhi in favour of its demand. Meanwhile, the view has gone strong among Rajasthan policy makers that, following the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha pattern of mother tongue based (MTB) multilingual education, people in Rajasthan should learn to read and write in their local dialect, as it would “help curb dropout rates, especially among girls, which is one of the highest in India.”
Awaiting a nod from Delhi, the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan has allowed introduction of Rajasthani in schools in Udaipur, Dungarpur and Banswara districts, where children of class one will be given lessons in local dialects of Rajasthani. While Mewari will be the medium of teaching for students in Udaipur, teachers will communicate in Wagri with the scholars in the other two districts, according to a report.
Says Dr Surendra Singh Pokharna, a former scientist at ISRO, one reason why Rajasthani has not been included in the eighth schedule is a “misconception” in the officialdom that it is “only a group of dialects and there is no language as such”. He added, “The truth is just the opposite. The number of dialects of some of the Indian languages recognised by the Constitution is Hindi (43), Tamil (22), Telgu (36), Kannada (32), Marathi (65), Gujarati (27), Bengali (15), Konkani (16) and Punjabi (29). Larger the number of dialects, richer is the language.”
“Denying children education in their mother tongue may lead to intellectual damage which block learning process in children," says Dr Gayatri Tiwari, an expert in human behavior and family relations."Research has shown that children do better when they are taught in their mother tongue.”
Apart from Rajasthani, the demand has been pending to insert Bhojpuri, too, the eighth schedule of the Constitution, making it an officially recognized language. It finds support from influential quarters in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, as well as people’s representatives from the two states. Currently, there are 22 languages which have received such official recognition.

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