'Build school, college for sons of soil in Thackeray's memory'
Against the backdrop of the controversy over a suitable location for a memorial to Bal Thackeray, an organisation called the Deshbhakti Andolan yesterday suggested building a school and college named after the departed Shiv Sena leader to provide students from the Marathi community with world-class education.
Saying Marathi students face a lot of problems during admission time, the organisation made the suggestion in a letter to Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, senior party leader Manohar Joshi, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Mayor Sunil Prabhu.
According to the organisation, every year thousands of Marathi students living in the state capital have to put up with great injustice because of the policies of the government. Fifty per cent of the seats in educational institutions run by religious and linguistic minorities are reserved for the communities they represent.
In SIES School and College, South Indian students get priority over others even if they have got low scores. In Mithibai College, Gujarati students get preference and in National College, Sindhi students are considered first. In St Xavier’s College, Christian students are given priority. Given these large-scale reservations for religious and linguistic minorities, Marathi students find it difficult to gain admission in good schools and colleges.
The Deshbhakti Andolan thinks such “gross injustice” can be mitigated to a great extent if an international school and college is built in the city that will give priority to Marathi students.
Kohinoor Mill ideal
The organisation suggested that the school of international standards it proposes be built on the Kohinoor Mill land owned by Manohar Joshi’s son Unmesh’s real estate company Kohinoor.
According to the organisation, the school can also build the memorial to Bal Thackeray on its premises.
“The best way to perpetuate the memory of Balasaheb will be to build a school-cum-college of global standards at a prominent location in his memory,” Deshbhakti Andolan general secretary S Balakrishnan said. “Balasaheb dedicated his entire life to secure justice for the Marathi manoos.
Building the school for Marathi community students will cater to the needs of all those students who face problems in getting admissions. If the land is meant for commercial purposes, the BMC can convert it to educational purpose. A mall at the spot will cater only to the elite and will add to the traffic congestion at the crucial spot.”
Refusing to comment on the suggestion, Mayor Sunil Prabhu said the final decision on the memorial would be taken by Uddhav Thackeray.
“The decision on the memorial, or anything else, will be taken by party executive president Uddhav Thackeray,” he said. “I cannot comment on this letter.”