'I respect Marathi, will die for Hindi'

Hindi should come after Marathi in Maharashtra as it is also widely used by people.

'I respect Marathi, will die for Hindi'

Abu Azmi

Azmi is angry and defiant, and challenges Raj Thackeray in his home turf. Excerpts of an interview with Parag Rabade of Sunday Spotlight:

On learning Marathi...

Yes, I am learning Marathi, I have great respect for that language. I have hired a tutor to learn Marathi. I had done so five years back, but then I was in Parliament and there was no need for Marathi.

What prompted you?

After entering the State Assembly, I realise one must learn Marathi. All business in the Assembly is transacted in Marathi, so to be an effective participant one should learn Marathi. It is necessary for an MLA from Maharashtra to know Marathi. But it has nothing to do with the MNS or the drama they did it in the Assembly.

How much time do you devote?

I am learning Marathi for an hour or so daily. I can speak one liners now. I am confident I would pick up enough Marathi to even debate with Raj Thackeray in front of TV cameras next year.

On Hindi...

Hindi is the national language of the country. I respect Marathi, but Hindi should come after Marathi in Maharashtra as it is also widely used by people.

On the Assembly incident...

I respect the Marathi language, but you saw that some MLAs were allowed to take their oath in English. If that is okay, then why not Hindi? I will never accept the insult of my mother tongue. I don’t disrespect Marathi, so why do these people (MNS) disrespect my language? I will die for its honour. It doesn’t matter even if I’m alone in the Assembly on this.

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