Today the 27th February is birth day of great Jnanpeeth award winning Marathi poet
" KUSUMAGRAJ" or V.V.Shirvadkar. This day is dedicated to his memory by observing it as Marathi Bhasha Din. Now don't rush to stamp me of regionalism. Remember the Hindi Bhasha Diwas is also observed. I do not know of other Indian languages but suspect similar tradition with them too. Nothing wrong in being proud of your mother tongue. That does not belittle importance of other languages. Kaka Kalelkar, Prabhakar Machve, Vinoba Bhave were equally competent in multi languages. Yesteryear Saints like Jnaneshwar or Tulsidas have begun their works with a prayer in Sanskrit before launching on vernacular. In fact some ancient Sanskrit Drama will have King's dialogue in Sanskrit. Queen's in Pali or magadhi and joker speaking is Pishachi. All in one play. Such co-existence is essence of Indian culture. Or it was till politicians inspired from Britishers sought to divide the nation on linguistic basis.
All Indian languages are suffering from encroachment of other languages. National Hindi and international English. Not long back an article was written by a Telugu Police officer against backdrop of Telangana unrest in which he blamed Telugu's neglecting their own language and adapting to Hindi and English. That need not be the case. One of the enriching factor for the vocabulary of any language is borrowing words from other languages. Rulers contributing more than neighbours. The victors have been vanquished through out the history by local cultural influence and the language being main contributor. Sanskrit, Urdu, English all have contributed in adding to the wealth of all Indian languages.
Why do we need a DIN then to assure good future for the language ? Have they become DEEN ( poor ) ? One of the parameters to judge the health of any language is the kind of literature produced in that language. How many books are printed in Marathi ? Thousands every year of large variety. Go to any SAMMELAN and you will find a bee line of poets carrying their manuscripts to be red before not so poor audience. Every District place in the State has its own news paper in Marathi. Why then hue and cry ? Not long back a seminar was organised in Thane which was addressed by a catholic origin poetess having English as mother tongue and strong Portuguese local influence. She did not think Marathi as deathbed language. In fact she now teaches Marathi to graduate and post graduate students. Such tradition is not new. We have church fathers, brothers, sisters writing in Marathi. So much so that they are organising separate Literary meet of their own.
The worry is seen amog Metropolitan elite. They any way have route from nowhere. Trumpet global belonging to overlook and neglect their forefathers. Let them be happy in their ivory tower ! Aam Aadmi is different. If Marathi or any other Indian language is going to continue to flourish, it is because of them. They don't mind speaking in Gujrathi to baniya and Hindi to Bhaiya freely interchanging words from one language to other . The communication is not hampered. Isn't that primary purpose of language ?
Arvind M Khare