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Elections in Mind? AAP Govt to Teach Maithili as Optional Language in Schools; BJP Smells Conspiracy

A BJP leader said that with Assembly polls around the corner in the capital, Purvanchali voters become a deciding factor in electoral outcomes and hence, the move.

Aniruddha Ghosal | News18.com@aniruddhg1

Updated:July 15, 2019, 7:46 PM IST
Elections in Mind? AAP Govt to Teach Maithili as Optional Language in Schools; BJP Smells Conspiracy
Representative image.

New Delhi: Maithili would soon be taught in Delhi schools as an optional language to students between classes VIII and XII. Those preparing for Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and civil service examinations will also be imparted lessons in the language, said Education Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the Deputy CM.

The move, an official said, was a part of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government’s push towards development of regional languages. Last year, the Delhi cabinet had approved a plan to create 15 new language academics, including regional languages like Maithili, international languages and antiquarian Indian languages like Pali and Prakrit.

The official said, “The idea is to promote Maithili. The Delhi government will start offering Maithili as an optional language in schools, the way Punjabi and Urdu are taught... The government will also start providing courses in Maithili for IAS preparation. The respective language commissions will also create a font, award writers and artists, while also hosting a five-day event to celebrate the linguistic heritage of the language.”

Last year, the cabinet had approved the formation of academies from different parts of India, including Malayalam, Gujarati, Bengali, Kumaoni-Garhwali-Jaunsari, Marwadi, Kashmiri, Assamese, Haryanvi, Odiya, Kannada, Marathi, Telegu and Tamil.

An official said, “For many, English is the prime mode for self-expression. From authors writing fiction and non-fiction in English to journalists, this is their language of expression and they’ve received accolades globally for it. Especially in a cosmopolitan space like Delhi, English forms a common channel for people from different backgrounds to connect and converse.”

However, a BJP leader said there was a political dimension to the decision. “Elections are around the corner in the capital and over the years, Purvanchali voters (who speak in Maithili) decide electoral results in Delhi.”

The government’s emphasis on languages was prime after Sisodia had taken charge of the department. A budgetary allocation of Rs 5 crore was made in the budget for languages after Sisodia had taken charge of the department in 2017 and he had emphasised on the need to change “the approach towards languages”.

At the time, he had said, “I have found that language academies play an important role in not only promoting the languages of different parts of the county but also the culture and tradition of different regions of the country.”

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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