BJP government may introduce Urdu in Marathi-medium schools

State Minority Development Minister Eknath Khadse has asked officials to draw up a proposal to introduce Urdu as an optional subject to make it easier for kids from poorer Muslim families to appear for competitive exams

The BJP government in the state seems to be taking up issues concerning minorities, especially Muslims, on a priority basis. Taking a review of his department, state Minority Development Minister Eknath Khadse has asked officials to work out the modalities of auctioning leases of Wakf land parcels to maximise revenue, and draft a proposal to introduce Urdu as an optional subject in Marathi-medium schools.

Khadse’s contention was that since most of the land parcels with the Wakf board have now come under city limits, it was unjust to lease them out for a pittance. “If the leases are auctioned, they can fetch a good amount of money, which can be put to use for the welfare of the Muslim community,” Khadse told officials.

The state Wakf board holds nearly 1 lakh acres of land, a large portion of which is leased out for educational, industrial and other purposes. Some commercial units have also been set up on Wakf land. The minister and officials discussed that while the board gets just a few thousands as lease rent, the entities operating on Wakf land earn huge profits.

Asking officials to work on the auctioning, Khadse said it can generate a huge amount of money, which can be used exclusively for the betterment of the Muslim community. Considering that several controversies related to the sale and lease of Wakf land have sprung up in the past, Khadse also directed officials to get the exact data on the land from district collectors across the state.

Urdu thrust
Khadse also suggested that Urdu could be introduced in Marathi schools as an option along with the other languages. The minister said this would benefit children from poorer Muslim families whose parents cannot afford to send them to English-medium schools, where the fees are higher.

Instead of the kids studying in Urdu-medium schools, which would not equip them with the necessary knowledge of English and regional languages required for success in competitive exams conducted by the Union Public Service Commission and State Public Service Commission, they could study in Marathi-medium schools and learn Urdu, English and Marathi, the minister told officials.

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