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Culture/Religion Politics

The Language of Raj Thackeray

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) led by Raj Thackeray is all set to redefine the politics of Maharashtra and spoil the dreams of Hindi Nationalists. The Maharashtra Assembly on Monday witnessed the manhandling of Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA Abu Azmi by MNS legislators for taking oath in Hindi.

The phenomenon of Raj Thackeray at the outset appears to be a reenactment of decades old drama of Shiv Sena.  However, Raj espouses issues different from his parent party. Even if the issues are similar, the priorities and conscience of the people or the electorate have changed in the past decades.

Shiv Sena was born to do politics in the state of Maharashtra against outsiders originally meaning the South Indians and later the Muslims. In its journey to capture and enjoy power, Shiv Sena has compromised with its originally declared policies. This is a logical evolution for any regional political party. The DMK of Tamil Nadu with regional agenda also softened its ideologies and has split many times.

MNS projects Marathi Language and mostly centers around it. While the rest of the linguistic groups in Maharashtra have merged with the local population only the Hindi speaking migrants refuse to toe in line with Marathi sentiments.

Mumbai being a wonderful city of opportunities, represents a passport to progress for the people of Hindi heartland since New Delhi is not enough for them, Calcutta is poorer, Chennai is far way.

Keralites looking for Chennai, Tamils growing around Bangalore , it all happened out of opportunities available in these cities for the livelihood of people breaking the barriers of languages. The migrants from Utter Pradesh and Bihar to the rest of the country have to learn a lesson from Keralites of Chennai and Tamils of Bangalore on how to live with the local population without compromising their own culture. It is the illusion of the Biharis that they should be considered as Biharis only that creates trouble. The pretension of being a law abiding patriotic Indian does not work at all the times in a state created based on the language.

Consider the confusion created by a booking clerk from Bihar who knows only Hindi appointed in the reservation counter of Mylapore Railway station in Chennai the capital of Tamil Nadu or in further down remote towns like Sirkazhi. Why should a service be rendered in a language known to a service man rather than in a language known to the consumer? Those who come across such nuisance can understand the language of Raj Thackeray.

Why were the examinations for even ordinary posts of Railway Recruitment Board ( RRB) all along conducted in Hindi and English only? Is it justified ? Can we conduct a survey on all India level appointments made in the tenure of Bihari Lalu Prasad and see how many Biharis knowing only Hindi were favored? Although everything was done legally such appointment of candidates knowing only Hindi to places like Tamil Nadu is not justified. In these days politicians facing even corruption charges claim that everything they have done are legally correct.

It is in this context Raj gets his action justified and everyone is now happy with the recent decision of Mamta Banerjee, the Minister for Railways  to conduct the examinations of RRB in all regional languages including Urdu.

This is a country where millions are deliberately left illiterates by successive insensitive governments. For many decades money order forms of post offices and withdrawal slips of public banks were printed only in Hindi and English. The politicians of  Tamil Nadu had to struggle, sometimes violently, to see their language in such public services.

The behavior of MNS MLAs in Maharashtra assembly against the SP MLA for not taking oath of Office in Marathi should not be considered as an isolated incident and should be linked to the comprehensive issue of Language policy of our country. Recurrence of such incidents cannot be ruled out if the root cause of the problem is not addressed. How many times and to how long the elected representatives can be suspended from doing their democratic duties? That itself shall become unjustified act although it confirms to our constitution.

When the so called patriotic people expect Muslims to recite Vande Matharam, which Muslims consider to be against their faith, they do not mention under which clause of the constitution it is required. But the same people invite a clause from the Indian Constitution allowing people to take oath in any language in the schedule.

If the constitution is inadequate we should only consider amendment in favor of the people. It is pathetic to order Mr. Azhagiri an MP already elected to Parliament and appointed Minister to speak only in Hindi or English.  It is an insult not only to Tamil but also to the languages spoken all over India. How different is our constitution from the dictates of Raj when a minister is not allowed to address in his mother tongue spoken by more than sixty million Indian people? This is the case where the language of Raj will be understood by the Hindi Nationalists. We may have to wait for Raj to become a central minister to remove this inequality.

The politics of language is quite natural all over the world. It is artificial to contain Linguistic feelings in the name of Pseudo nationalism or one language policy in a multi lingual multi religious and multi cultural country.

Earlier Lalu Prasad Yadav described Raj Thakeray as a mental case and MNS should be banned. Now after finding successful journey of Raj in Maharashtra, Lalu Prasad says

“The PM should immediately call an all-party meeting to discuss the action to be taken against MNS for deliberately indulging in anti-national activities, The behavior of MNS legislators should be treated as an act detrimental to the country’s integrity and unity”

Do we need introspection to conclude whether Raj is really Anti National?. Why not we say that Raj is helpful to question the Linguistic policy of India in his own way applicable  to a stupid system which refuses to change in favor of the people and thus actually Raj should be considered a champion of National Integration?

Raj is out to sensitize the Hindi Nationalists like Lalu and they will receive the dose they administered to others.