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Politics of Regional Nationality

"Perhaps Raj doesn’t have the far-sight to see the next generation world or he is foreseeing the next generation world of his kind. Because Raj, as I believe, has never thought of a situation when all non-Maratha states of India react equally."

Basudev Mahapatra : February 12, 2008

Maharastra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray’s outburst against Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan and his workers nuisance at his residence followed by attacking north Indians including the taxi drivers are few incidents that are enough to panic the non Marathas in Mumbai and other cities of Maharastra. To speak his mind behind all these, Raj Thackeray wrote an article in a Marathi Daily claiming that his struggle is for the rights of Maharastrians and to protect the Marathi pride. He also gave a call to the Marathi people to join his movement as it is for them and their coming generations.

It’s definitely a great deed if one works to ensure the rights of its own people or community and imbibe in them a sense of pride for their origin because this is what India is lacking in its people today. If Raj believes in this, why does he blame Amitabh Bachchan for being concerned about Uttar Pradesh – the state he hails from? Why he and his party men opposed Uttar Bharatiya divas and Chhath Puja celebrated by the north Indians living in Mumbai and other parts of Maharastra? Will Raj’s intolerance to non-Marathi people living in Maharastra ensure the rights of Marathi people? And should such divisive tactics be used for mere political purposes?

It’s not only in Maharastra, India is now facing the wrath of strong regional nationality in many other states. The problem has gone acute in the state of Assam where the local people and tribals attacked north Indians, mostly Biharis. In Assam, almost all political parties condemned the incident and appealed for peace. But in Maharastra, the issue is raised by a political party and the government in the state is not serious about putting a check to such activities of MNS. It seems, other political parties have, somehow or other, a soft corner towards the issue or they are afraid of the Marathi card played by Raj. Immediately opposing the moves of Raj Thackeray, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray repeated the same lines and pleaded for a preference to Marathis in case of employment although it’s a known fact everywhere that except few high skilled key positions local people are always preferred for most of the jobs. But, in Maharastra, the card is played for nothing other than grabbing power by fooling people. Because if the political parties like MNS and Shiv Sena are so concerned about the people of Maharastra, Vidarbha would never have been a political Issue for continuous farmers’ suicide. Are people of Vidarbha not Maharastrians or Marathi Manoos? Why they are not getting proper attention of political parties? Is it because they don’t have the capability to fund the party leaders to manage a massive election campaign?

MNS and Shiv Sena are making Mumbai the centre of their struggle for the rights of Marathi people because this is the economic capital of the country and they can churn out maximum financial benefit by scaring the high profile business community who are non-Marathis and by insisting the issue of Marathi right before the Marathi Business communities. One way or the other, they are just to gather money to run their party and manage an election.

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To convince Maharastrians that he is doing right, Raj wrote in his piece, “today in these difficult times I and my associates have put our political careers at stake. Some Marathi people are even abusing us. But I know their future generations will thank me for the stand that I have taken”, as the transcript came in different National dailies. Perhaps Raj doesn’t have the far-sight to see the next generation world or he is foreseeing the nest generation world of his kind. Because Raj, as I believe, has never thought of a situation when all non-Maratha states of India react equally.

Maharastra is the hot spot of India because of Mumbai and Mumbai because of three important reasons, as I see. One is the Mumbai Port that is the gateway of India by sea route and, thus, the centre of Maritime trade activities for which Mumbai is the economic activity centre of India – not of Maharastra alone.

The second is the Film Industry that makes money by producing Films in Hindi – the language of North India. Bollywood movies never get its return from Maharastrians but from other states and mainly from Hindi speaking states of North India. Even in Mumbai, large part of the Hindi film audience is non-Marathi people living in the city. And, obviously, since the Industry makes money from Hindi Movies, it is very much dependent on Hindi speaking Actors. As Raj reacted to Amitav Bachchan by accusing him of doing nothing for Maharastra but for his own state UP, is not Amitav doing his beat for his state what Raj is trying to do for his state? And, the other side is, Can the Industry survive depending upon the Marathi workers, Actors and Audiences?

The third gigantic structure that controls the national index is the Stock Exchange which regulates the investment made by people across the country. It’s not the Marathi people only who invest in BSE.

Massive economic activities made the city grow and throw opportunities on Peripheral Townships like Pune to grow equally. Mumbai is considered to be the city of fortune. People from all parts of country see Mumbai as their dream city and there are many riddles establishing the role of the city in changing life of many celebrities. But Raj’s reaction to non-Marathis and his slogan of ‘Maharastra for Maharastrians’ are not only breaking harmony in the city but gives a wrong image of the Marathis.

Raj’s attitude has rather a lot to play against Maharastra or Mumbai than help the state and its people grow. The immediate impact of Raj’s attitude towards non-Marathis and north Indians would force the Hindi Film Industry move its epicenter from Mumbai to somewhere in north or central India. This will leave number of Marathis jobless. Once it is done, will Raj and other Marathi Card players come to the rescue of the jobless people? Can they create avenues for lakhs of Marathis now working in Hindi Film Industry? If it happens in the Next generation Maharastra, will the youth appreciate Raj and his card of Marathi Pride?

It’s not only in case of Film Industry, Industrialists and businessmen would also prefer to change their activity place because of such politically motivated attitude that helps increasing gap between the Marathis and non-Marathis. In fact today’s harmonious society across Maharastra will be divided on the lines of language and communities. It may have its impact in other states also causing division of society.

The other important thing is Raj, being a political partisan, goes against the principles of National Integration. Should such attitude and activities of Political party members be tolerated in the Country? This issue has to be taken seriously by the government, civic bodies and public as well and there should be a check to such activities of political party members and leaders.



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