In an initiative that is probably the first in the country, the University of Mumbai has recently decided to include the study of dialects in the undergraduate syllabus for Marathi literature. Students opting for Marathi literature in the second year would get to pick from three dialects — Agari, Malawani and Vadavali from the upcoming academic year.
The Board of Studies in Marathi which is the formal body under the university to approve syllabus changes recently gave a final nod to this inclusion. Colleges can now offer any of the three dialects which would have to be continued for the next three years.
A team of senior faculty members and researchers — Dr Cecilia Carvalho, Chairperson of the Board of studies in Marathi, writer Aruna Dhere, Dr Vrunda Bhargawe, Dr Alka Matkar and Prof Nitin Arekar — worked together to develop the syllabus for these languages over the last few months.
“The idea was to make the curriculum more choice-based. A large number of students who come from Thane, Raigad, Palghar and Ratnagiri districts at the university are familiar with these dialects. Inclusion of these dialects would also make the syllabus more assimilative towards multiple language cultures which is the need of the hour,” said Carvalho. Arekar said that 30-35 dialects spoken in the periphery of the university were identified in the initial research. “We decided to go with these three dialects to begin with as they are more prominently spoken and students would be interested in learning them. After three years, the new board of studies can identify three different dialects,” said Arekar, member of the board of studies for Marathi and Head of the Marathi department at CHM college, Ulhasnagar.
The university will come up with the study material for the papers soon, which includes plays, stories and other literary elements from the dialects.