Mumbai: In good news for mother tongue lovers, Mumbai university is mulling over a proposal to promote Marathi language in its colleges to bring quality higher education. This comes days after Maharashtra’s Education Minister Vinod Tawde’s proposal to promote Marathi in schools was withdrawn in view of opposition from various quarters.
Mumbai university’s plan for the year “2016-17 and beyond” emphasises on the promotion of Marathi language in higher education as “medium of instruction in mother tongue or local language brings quality higher education,” according to reports.
“One of the established consensual learning of experts working in the arena of higher education is that one of the powerful issues when it comes to quality in higher education happens to be the medium of instruction whether it is in the local language or mother tongue. Whilst this is recognised, no real efforts appear to be taken anywhere to make quality material available in local languages. Our University intends to take concrete steps in this direction,” the perspective plan uploaded on the varsity website last week read.
“Whilst this is recognised, no real efforts appear to be taken anywhere to make quality material available in local languages. Our University intends to take concrete steps in this direction.”
The university’s perspective plan envisages “generating” and translating” top quality teaching material” of various subjects, mostly available in English, in Marathi.
Further, more students will be encouraged to learn Marathi in a bid to “transform Marathi as a full-fledged language of modern knowledge by creating a corpus for it.”
A plan to develop Marathi language software to connect with other institutes in the state alongside with the Centre’s National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology is also being considered.
“We will make every effort to invest (and seek state’s help in terms of resources) and develop local language software so as to make the connectivity efforts operationally functional.”
Mumbai, November 14: They are not-so-mute witnesses to history, clanging away at intervals of 15 minutes, as if asking us all to grab the moment because time was slipping by.
Perhaps in the daily, mad rush in Maximum City, not many Mumbaikars pay attention to the 16-odd time-keepers of the city, some of them centuries old. But they have seen dramatic changes as Mumbai evolved from a conglomeration of fishing villages into a burgeoning metropolis — a modern, global financial centre accommodating 17 million people that often appears to come asunder at its seams.
“I was once permitted to go up the tower to click Mumbai views, but came across a lot of dirt, pigeon droppings and even dead birds. If people are allowed to visit them regularly, maintenance will be better,” historian and archaeologist Mugdha Karnik told IANS.
He says Mumbai’s clock towers are an important aspect of any city’s history and should be more accessible to the masses, especially in Mumbai.
The most famous of the Mumbai’s Clock Towers is, of course, the Rajabai Clock Tower adorning the entrance of the University of Mumbai, which once played God Save The King and a Handel Symphony with 16 tunes that kept changing four times a day — now limited to chimes every quarter of an hour. But it still makes heads turn with people glancing at their own watches to match the time.
The iconic 280-feet tall structure, once visible from distances of 15 km, entered the 140th year of its existence in November. It has seen the reclamation of land beyond the present Oval Maidan, which pushed back the Arabian Sea by nearly 200 metres. Access to the top, which offered a panoramic view of Bombay, was stopped a few decades ago after it became a suicide point.
Other famous clock towers are at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Naval Dockyard, David Sassoon at Byculla Zoo, Crawford Market, St. Thomas Cathedral, BH Wadia in Fort, David Sassoon Library, Life Insurance Building Churchgate, the Khoja Shia Imami Ismaili Jamatkhana gifted by the Moloo Brothers of Zanzibar — all in good working condition.
There is a Time Ball Building clock tower in the Mumbai Port Trust, which is not functional, another at Sasoon Docks Gate in Colaba, Lakshmi Insurance Building in Fort, Fulchand Nivas Building at Chowpatty, Mhatre Pen Building and Vijaynagar Building, both in Dadar to the north, and a few stray ones in other parts of Mumbai.
Avid clock tower lover, conservationist and historian Aadil Desai said the ones at CSMT, St. Thomas Cathedral built in 1718, David Sassoon at Byculla Zoo, David Sassoon Library, Naval Dockyard, BH Wadia and some others are very well-maintained and continue to grab attention.
“Several conservation activists regularly keep in touch with the owners of these premises on the status of the clock towers and they are very cooperative as it is a part of the city’s rich heritage and history. The Mumbai Port Trust is even considering setting up a museum at the site,” Desai said.
Every clock tower is unique, each having its own history and importance for the city, he said.
For instance, Rajabai Tower was financed by “Cotton King” Premchand Roychand, one of the original founders of the modern-day Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd. It was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott on the lines of London’s Big Ben and built in nine years for what was then a staggering amount of Rs 550,000.
It is named after Roychand’s blind mother, Rajabai, who was a staunch Jain and needed to have her meals before dusk, and the clock chimes helped her do that without needing to depend on anyone.
The massive Mumbai’s clock towers above the CSMT — which was one of the sites targeted during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks — was built in 1888 by Sir Frederick William Stevens, inspired by the Victorian Gothic architecture of London’s St Pancras Railway station.
It’s now a UNESCO world heritage site and the imposing clock sees millions of commuters hurrying past daily or tourists gaping and photographing it. Recently, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has built a “selfie point” off the CST and the BMC headquarters to help people click pictures of the heritage precincts.
It was in the 1860s that Albert Abdul Sassoon, son of a Baghdadi Jewish philanthropist, came upon the idea of settng up a good library in the heart of the city. It materialised in 1870 as the David Sassoon Library at Kala Ghoda, near the Jehangir Art Gallery.
It is built with yellow Malad stone, like the nearby Army & Navy Building, Elphinstone College and Watson’s Hotel, with a proud white stone bust of David Sassoon adorning the library entrance.
The Sassoon Docks, with a large clock tower, is one of the oldest fishing docks of Mumbai built on reclaimed lands in Colaba and constructed in 1875 by Albert Abdul Sassoon as a prime fish unloading and trading spot, which remains operational till date.
The Crawford Market, renamed Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market, is a stone’s throw from the CSMT and opposite the Mumbai Police Headquarters.
Blending the Norman and Flemish architectural styles, the freizes at the entrance depict Indian farmers and fountains made of Kurla stone, designed by Lockwood Kipling, the father of the legendary novelist Rudyard Kipling.
The Time Ball Building clock tower at Mumbai Port Trust is just one of the two surviving — the second being in Kolkata — and among the handful in the world, like at Greenwich, UK. Desai says it is an important piece of historical heritage and must be protected.
Perhaps it’s time to step in and preserve the Mumbai’s Clock towers which may otherwise become the victims of, well, time. (IANS)
New Delhi: Tamil, Bangla, Marathi and Dogri are the four Indian languages to be explored in detail at the 5th edition of Indian Languages Festival – (ILF) Samanvay 2015, the four-day event starting from Thursday in New Delhi.
The event, from 26 to 29 November, scheduled to take place at the India Habitat Centre in the national capital aims to bring the best from the Indian languages to the forefront, I am in DNA of New Delhi reported.
‘Insider/Outsider: Writing India’s Dreams and Realities’ is the centre theme of the four-day festival which will focus on a thematic exploration of ‘Insider/Outsider’ in the contemporary socio-political and cultural context of India.
The event will commence with the speech of the noted thinker Professor Aijaj Ahmad on ‘The Languages of a Union’. Besides, a tribute would also be paid to the late RK Laxman and his matchless legacy.
Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s novel Madhorubhagan would be honoured with the fourth ILF Samanvay Bhasha Samman on November 28. Other eminent writers would also be facilitated at the event.
On November 28, Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s novel Madhorubhagan would be honoured with the fourth ILF Samanvay Bhasha Samman. Also, Eminent Malayalam poet and translator Attoor Ravi Varma named the winner of the debut Vani-Samanvay Distinguished Translator Award will be felicitated.
The four-day festival will be marked by various Art works, workshops, volunteer sessions, conversations, book exhibitions and performances.
Click here for the schedule of the event that will begin at 6 pm Thursday.
Mumbai: In a debatable directive on Tuesday, the Devendra Fadnavis government announced that from November 1 onward, auto-rickshaw permits will only be given to those who could speak the state’s regional language – Marathi.
“Only those applicants who can speak Marathi will be issued new autorickshaw permits from November 1,” said Maharashtra Transport Minister Diwakar Raote.
Maharashtra is an urbanized state and as a result, the directive will impact the auto drivers hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh among thousands of other migrants in the financial capital of India.
The previous governments rule only entailed that a driver must have been a Maharashtra resident for at least 15 years. Obtaining such a certificate is not that difficult.
A survey conducted after the Fadnavis government took over last year revealed 70 percent of the auto-drivers in the state to be non-Maharashtrians. This prompted the government to take the controversial decision.