Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) MLAs who assaulted MLA Abu Azmi in the House for not speaking in Marathi, do not send their own children to Marathi-medium schools, says a report in Indian Express.
A day after MNS MLA Ram Kadam slapped SP's Abu Azmi — who pleaded he does not know Marathi well enough to take the oath in the language — inquiries by 'The Indian Express' revealed that the children of eight of the MNS's 13 MLAs attend English-medium schools.
It is well known that MNS chief Raj Thackeray's son Amit passed out of Mumbai's exclusive Bombay Scottish school last year, and that he chose to study a foreign language instead of Marathi while he was there.
Raj's daughter Urvashi is currently a student of the same school. On Monday, Raj wrote to all 288 Maharashtra MLAs reminding them of their “responsibility” towards Marathi.
• Mayuresh, son of Khadakwasla MLA Ramesh Wanjale — who shoved aside the lectern which Azmi wanted to use to take oath, and is one of the four MLAs suspended for four years — studies in Class 5 in Springdale High School in Sinhagad. Wanjale's elder daughter Sayali is in Class 11 in Pune's Sinhagad College, studying in English medium, although her schooling was in the Marathi medium. Younger daughter Disha is in Huzurpaga High School and studies in Marathi medium.
“English should be learnt but Marathi should be priority. My son is in an English school but he can speak Marathi fluently and his upbringing is equally Maharashtrian,” Wanjale said when asked about the contradiction.
• Aides of Ghatkopar-West MLA Ram Kadam said Kadam's son Om goes to a convent school in Mumbai's Bandra. Kadam refused to discuss his family, saying it was a “personal” issue.
• Former Shiv Sainik and MNS leader in the Assembly Bala Nandgaonkar's daughter Srushti is a student of Class 3 in the English-medium Arya Vidyamandir in Bandra.
“The issue here is the implementation of Marathi as the official language in the government's administrative work,” said Nandgaonkar, MLA from Sewree and one of the first senior Sena men to join Raj. “Marathi is the only language recognised for administrative work in Maharashtra. We have no opposition to languages as such.”
• MNS spokesman and MLA from Mahim, Nitin Sardesai's son Yash is a B.Com. student at Mumbai's R A Podar College. He attended King George's High School in Dadar and studied in English medium.
“It is an English medium school but Marathi was taught as a subject and the atmosphere there is also Marathi,” Sardesai said, referring to the school.
• Nashik-West MLA Nitin Bhosale's son Pruthvish is in Class 2 in the English-medium Fravashi International Academy, an elite school which was inaugurated by Raj Thackeray in 2002.
“We are not against English language but are emphasising the use of Marathi since it is the mother tongue. Although my son is studying in English medium, he studies Marathi as a subject,” Bhosale said.
• Kalyan-Rural MLA Ramesh Patil's older son Vicky is doing an MBA in Dubai, while his younger son Vaibhav is in Class 6 at St Teresa's in Dombivili.
• Vikhroli MLA Mangesh Sangle's three-and-a-half year-old son Himanshu goes to an English playschool in Airoli in Mumbai.
• Kannad (Aurangabad) MLA Harshwardhan Jadhav's son Adityawardhan goes to Toddlers English School in Aurangabad.
• Of the remaining five MLAs, children of Pravin Darekar and Vasant Gite study in Marathi-medium schools. Shishir Shinde's and Uttamrao Dhikale's grown-up children went to Marathi-medium schools. Prakash Bhoir's children are too young for school.
MNS workers said there was no contradiction between the party fighting for Marathi and its leaders' children attending English-medium schools. “English has become a priority now and one cannot expect to do well in higher or technical education or in the engineering or medical fields after being schooled in the Marathi medium,” said Yeshwant Killedar, a party activist in Mumbai.
“We want Marathi people to progress and if English is the medium then it's all right. Our upbringing and behaviour will always be Marathi and we always insist on talking the language as much as we can,” Killedar added.