Friday, October 31, 2008

It's the Nation, stupid

Well, the news is that (in case you didn't know), Maharashtra is burning with rage. I have never stayed in Maharashtra, have barely had a countable Marathi acquaintances(or friends rather) and can lay no claim to have an intimate understanding of the psyche of a typical Marathi man in the way I understand my dear Bengali folks. But it is clear that there are enough educated Maharashtrians around who are appreciating what MNS is doing. They have no qualms about people from Hindi belt (an euphemism for Bihar) getting assaulted in their state and have no regrets in saying that the police did the right thing by killing a young man who had a pistol in hand and was threatening to pull the trigger. They are shocked that the national media (or non-Marathi media) has been unanimous in its criticism of MNS.

Mumbai today is said to have up to 40% of its population as the bhaiyas and it is only increasing. Most of them do blue collar work. Now they don't go and get themselves jobs by holding the employers at gunpoint. They get it because they probably work harder and are willing to work for lesser pay. And this hurts the local people who just can't digest the fact they are not getting jobs on a platter in their homeland. And this has led to gradual hatred which has now reached boiling point. It cannot however be denied that there are several migrants who go on to become Mafias and do nothing to improve the city they chose to live in. But none of this can justify the hundreds of innocent young students being assaulted (yes literally assaulted with stones, sticks, kicks and punches) for daring to come and work in Maharashtra. I can understand hooligans and politicians indulging into all this, but I just cannot understand educated people like me (and in all probability, you as well) voicing their support for this. What is their grievance, what possibly can it be?
1. The migrants are snatching their jobs - Well if they are working hard for it, they deserve it. Anyone who is an Indian is a son of the soil and is free to seek his livelihood anywhere he chooses to.
2. The migrants refuse to speak their language - I don't think there is any migrant who will refuse to speak Marathi even if knows it. And if he doesn't know it, then he is probably speaking with the local people in Hindi. This is not because he considers Marathi to be lesser language, it is just because you both seem to be on more even terms on another language which is not Marathi. It may still happen that he doesn't want to learn Marathi, OK so leave him to his fate. He will suffer, not you. You cannot mandate a person to learn your language, just because he is staying in your place. 
3. The migrants litter their place - Yes, I am afraid they do. But have a better municipality to deal with this, don't go around beating them with sticks just because of it.
4. Population proliferation - Well, again you didn't earn a right to live in a place just because you grew up there and others didn't lack a right to live in a place just because they did not grow up there.

I don't understand what is happening, but I just know that it is all too sick. There is a serious rabble-rouser there who has perpetrated the most sinister of crimes and has people who have made a champion out of him. Beating 19-20 year olds who have studied and seeked to get a job fair and square is just not on. It is not their fault that they were born in a state that doesn't offer opportunities. They are seeking to sweat and earn (not claim) a livelihood elsewhere in their country. 

(Nothing new about all this. If 75 years from now, Patna becomes what Mumbai is today and Marathis come seeking a job there, the Biharis would do the same thing, even if there is no MNS and the deeds it did in the old journals)


kaushik said...

has anything in politics ever made sense!

This regionalism is not restricted to Bombay. There was a period in Bangalore when they banned releasing movies in non-Kannada languages (not the government, but self proclaimed son's of the land) because Kannada movies were flopping.

The derision of TN people to learn Hindi is another.

I don't think you are going to see people not playing regional politics. But the worst part is that the Central Govt is doing nothing. It is their duty to ensure that a hard-working Indian is allowed to look for work in any part in India. I would like to see the home ministry take sterner action against such hooligans, but with the useless Shivraj Patil sitting don't even want to hope...

Anand said...

From what it seems this time, central government has tried to exert some pressure, but the state government is not responding to it. Manmohan Singh is even believed to have even said "What (more) can I do. (I am helpless)?". Well, they can impose a President's rule or send a team to get the situation in control. It is total nonsense that if big figures are arrested, situation will get out of control. If the police wants to curb it, they can. Just look at the manner in which Raj Thackeray was arrested at the first pace. The ploice kept uiet for the whole day, suddenly went and first took into custody his supporters who were likely to cause problems and then went to his home and apprehended him. All done in a matter of hours after midnight.

It is not that the other side is not at fault either. After a passenger was beaten to death in the train a few days back, Lalu immediately said that he will canvel all trains in the region if the safety of Railway passengers and property is not assured. Why couldn't he make the same statement when bogeys were being arsoned in Bihar. This was another thing which shocked me. Pople in Bihar went for a mass destruction of Railways property. What kind of protest is this?

Yes, similar things have happened elsewhere, but people are being killed here with no restraint! That is a serious issue. But as I have said what has shocked me the most is no. of educated people in Maharashtra supporting the matter. Just go to Orkut or YouTube and search for Raj Thackeray, etc.. you will be shocked to see the results.