Maharashtra Minister for Culture and Marathi language Vinod Tawde today said shopkeepers in the state should speak in Marathi as there should be people's movement to promote the local language.
Speaking to reporters here after releasing the 20th volume of the Marathi Vishwakosh (encyclopedia), the senior Maharashtra state BJP minister said "If Marathi speakers insist, then any shopkeeper will make his staff use Marathi."
"Such things do not take place due to legislation but through public pressure and insistence by people," Tawde said. "This won't happen if government enacts a legislation. I feel that 10 crore Marathi-speaking people of Maharashtra's 12 crore population should insist on communicating in Marathi. If this happens, Hindi speakers will learn Marathi," Tawde said.
Tawde also spoke about appointment of Marathi-speaking executives at call centres and business houses to disseminate marketing related information in Marathi.
The government does not want to compel the business community to appoint Marathi speaking executives, Tawde said, adding a people's movement would force them to do it. "I get promotional calls from call centres where marketing executives speak only in English and Hindi. They refuse to speak in Marathi even when requested to do so," he said.
"We do not want to force appointment of Marathi speaking executives, but want people to insist for information in their language," he said.
The Centre is expediting the process to declare Marathi a classical language, the minister said.
Despite more than 80 per cent population of the state speaking Marathi, most corporate houses and multinationals disseminate information either in Hindi or English through their call centres, Tawde said.
The Maharashtra state government would write to chief justices of the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court seeking permission to make Marathi language compulsory to appear for the law exams for advocates practicing in lower courts.
The Maharashtra state government had issued a notification in 1998, during the first Sena-BJP government regime, asking the courts to use Marathi in the judiciary.
Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant welcomed the minister's announcement on classical status for Marathi language.
"For us, Marathi is our mother. We have never hated Hindi, but welcomed it as maavshi (mother's sister), something which those in the South never do as far as Hindi is concerned," Sawant said.
"We have never launched an agitation against Hindi language," the Shiv Sena leader said.
Meanwhile, speaking on the issue of teachers' strike in Maharashtra tomorrow, Tawde said, "My appeal to them is to avoid any action which will not be in the interests of students".
"In the education sector, demands are not accepted in this manner, but through discussion. I appeal to all teachers and headmasters' associations to sit and discuss your demands and we will accept demands which are just. If this strike is avoided, students won't have to suffer," Tawde said.