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Maharashtra, nay Madhyarashtra

Even A cursory perusal of the history and cultural background of Maharashtra tells us that the region, as it is located, has naturally enabled and encouraged the inhabitants to receive things, ideas, theories and influences from all quarters.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2008 00:54 IST

Even A cursory perusal of the history and cultural background of Maharashtra tells us that the region, as it is located, has naturally enabled and encouraged the inhabitants to receive things, ideas, theories and influences from all quarters.

No culture takes and keeps anything that is not suitable to it — though it takes time to test the new arrivals and assimilate them.

Musical instruments, methods of exploring their potential, new media, new forms, performers of all kinds, languages, literary nuances and artistic expression from all quarters have found it easy to enter the cultural scene in Maharashtra as a matter of course.

This region — so centrally (ie madhya) located — has never felt shy in presence of the new.

And Mumbai is an even more special case, situated on the coast, temperate in climate, full of curious people. No wonder Mumbai has grown into a metropolitan city.

In brief, in every living civilisation we have villages, cities, towns, urban conglomerations and metropolitan cities. They present us with a hierarchy of less and less cohesive societies consisting of more and more clusters or sub-groups of people that are dynamic because they are not rooted to a single pattern of generating stimuli and providing responses.
They learn to live together because, ultimately, they all stand to gain. Such places do not belong to anybody — though everybody may belong to them!

Such cities produce Ideas that give strength to societies to meet new challenges. These cities are the leaders,
and without them whole areas would stagnate and meet their gradual cultural extinction.

If Mumbai does not allow new and even unknown forces in, it will cease to be a centre of Ideas and be reduced to a virtual village.

No doubt, non-cohesive societies and nascent democracies go together. Therefore, till the new hierarchy based on legitimate capacities and abilities is established, black sheep in every flock will raise their heads.

But that is an occupational hazard for a truly metropolitan city like ours. The mantra for such cities is: Look for differences, not similarity. And respect those differences.

Hold to your own, but study the different.

Laws are meant to create conditions conducive to cultural growth. Life processes must not be hampered, and higher cultural functions must be allowed to play their roles in fast-developing modern conditions of life.

Regions and nations — and regionalism and nationalism — are fast losing ground as real forces. It is time we all realised this.