Unity in diversity! This is what every Indian keeps hearing since childhood. We are taught to respect people, no matter what religion, caste, sect, colour, gender, they belong to. However, looking at a very recent experience, why is the divide and rule policy over shining us? The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader, Raj Thackeray’s statement which has lead to so much chaos in the country, may have many hidden motives. However, we need to look into the real causes as well.
There could be many political interests behind making such comments like gaining publicity and causing unrest in the society. One cannot simply do away with one’s responsibilities by making a public tamasha of the concerns of the people of his religion or caste. By telling the natives to demand their share of land and jobs from the ‘foreigners’, who have intruded upon their place, this misconception cannot be removed. For instance look at the people who have been migrating. From the 1980s and 1990s, when there was shift in Maharashtra from being a capital base to being a speculative capital base, many of the people living at the lower levels had been fighting for their minimum needs. There have been increased problems of survival in the unorganised sector. Maharashtra is a big state yet the resources and opportunities it provides to the people are limited. There is a very serious problem of scarcity of employment for the people belonging to the lower strata of the society.
At the same time we have states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh where in the living standards have not advanced much. According to the statistics, there aren’t many means to a healthy livelihood. So, people from such places, move to other cities and towns for making their careers, improving their standards of living, etc. Maharashtra is one such place where many people have migrated from different parts of the country. The natives have prejudices about these ‘so-called outsiders’ and they somewhat feel that they have taken over their space and positions. And then, when some leader or any such powerful authority talks about helping them get back their legitimate dues, there is a spark.
All those who have not been getting their rights due to the scarcity of resources, which should have been the prime concern of the state first, resort to fights and creating riots, setting up disputes and mob acts. Thus, we forget or deliberately sideline the root cause, which is the creation of employment facilities for the people. The economic, human, and other resources need to be utilised by the state in such a way so that there are enough economic activities for the people.
If we look back in to history, the Hitler phenomenon in Germany sounds very similar. We need to learn from the mistakes that have already been committed.We need to understand that all have the right to fulfill their dreams and aspirations. What should be of major concern is how to increase the size of the pie in proportion to the seekers rather than quarreling on who has got how much.