Friday, February 5, 2010

Mud slinging on Marathi


Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray has been getting shriller in his keep-outsiders-away-from-Mumbai campaign. The new pitch is attributed to the success his estranged cousin and political rival, Raj Thackeray, has enjoyed in recent elections, mainly as a result of his Marathi Manoos campaign.


In the last few days, Rahul Gandhi has taken on the Thackerays over their migrant politics for Mumbai. Gandhi said that "Mumbai belongs to all Indians." He also said that during 26/11, many of the commandos who fought to save Mumbai were from North India. Gandhi's remarks were made in Bihar, a state whose residents have repeatedly been targeted by the Shiv Sena in Mumbai.


It is painful see our leaders engaged in such acrimonious, non-productive but potentially harmful debate, when number of pressing problems directly affecting common man lie unattended. I think both the quarreling parties need to see the light. The constitution of India allows all citizens to move freely, settle and pursue livelihood in any part of the country. The mother India should count first for every citizen; region, state come only next. On the other hand, it should be seen if "Marathi Manus" has a genuine grievance. There is huge unemployment in Maharashtra, despite its rapid growth. The common man thinks outsiders grab jobs which legitimately belong to them. That is the reason why hate campaigns in the name of language, region gain ground.


Being a commercial capital of India, citizens from different regions have settled in Mumbai and also made substantial contribution towards its growth. But why oppose Marathi ? The best way to assimilate with the local population is to learn the local language. The leaders who oppose Marathi should in fact encourage their followers to learn the language. That will only help foster brotherhood and goodwill.


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