Recently, India once again saw a great political fiasco driven by sheer regionalism and consecutively, an entire media circus. MNS Chief Raj Thackeray, with his pampered gang of goons that consist of some disillusioned jobless youth, went on a rampage on the streets of Mumbai and Maharashtra as a whole. The issue was anti-north Indianism. They organized rallies on this issue, damaged properties of ‘outsiders’, threatened them and even insulted their rituals. And in spite of that, the man who ignited all this violence paid a visit to the marriage of the Mumbai police chief’s daughter. And now Udhav Thackeray has come onto the scene. He is demanding Airport construction jobs to be confined to only Maharashtrians. And herein lies the threat.
With Raj expressing his ‘childish politics’, as Bal Thackeray terms it, there was a perception all over India that this is just another law & order problem where a politician has invoked regionalism to meet his vested interests, something India has been witness to over the years. Apart from this, India as a whole and specifically North India had the feeling that the views expressed are completely personal, and do not apply to Marathi’s as a whole. But with Udhav joining the scene, the scenario has become all the more complicated. It won’t be wrong for the Hindi heartland to assume that this Anti-hindi stance is no longer of a mere party but of the state as whole. This kind of feeling gets nurtured especially when one sees an impotent government at Mumbai and a not so serious Home Ministry at the Center. Even worse, political parties of the North won’t waste this chance to incur same amount of hatred for Maharashtra making the situation worse, adding fuel to the fire.
One cannot afford to forget how Bal Thakeray incited large-scale violence in the 60s and escaped without a trial.
If the same happens now, Udhav in all probability will enjoy the same immunity. And it is also significant to note that in spite of Samna’s, (the official mouthpiece of Shiv Sena) continual attack on Raj on the issue, at least till now, Raj has maintained a dignified silence. So one cannot predict what happens tomorrow. .
But what is for certain is that if this persists, it will pose as something more than a law & order issue and may become a matter of national security. And thanks to consistent airing of such footage, one can’t really promise how long the Hindi heartland will exercise restraint.
Looking at the big picture of our country’s security, we can simply urge the two Thackeray’s to be more responsible the next time they face the microphone. Only if however, they think themselves as a part of this country.
[Image courtesy: http://www.dnaindia.com/imageshow.asp?objid=1093582]