The north Indian community, which has been at the receiving end of MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s anti-migrant campaign, has decided to have a grand celebration for the Maharashtra Day on May 1.
This is the golden jubilee year of the state’s foundation. Programmes like poetry recitation, folk dances, processions and felicitation of eminent personalities will form the crux of this event.
The Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad, an NGO, has organised a poetry recitation programme and has instituted an award in the name of the eminent poet Mangesh Padgaonkar. “Our aim is to show the natives that we are partners and not competitors,” said Mangleshwar Tripathi, the president of the organisation. He said that poet Narayan Surve will be the first recipient of the award.
Similarly, The Uttar Bhartiya Morcha has planned to organise a cultural procession at Malad, which would focus on the Maharastrian ethos. “We belong to this place and share the same culture,” said Shamsher Singh, President of the morcha.
The Nagrik Lokhadhikar Saurakshan Manch will organise a folk dance and singing competition at Kalyan. “We have nothing to do with Uttar Pradesh as we have been associated with this soil for decades and hence it’s natural to celebrate this big event,” Parasnath Tiwari, president of the manch.
Abhiyaan, another NGO that celebrated this day last year at Benaras in Uttar Pradesh will have a cultural programme at Santacruz this time. In the last two years,
Thackeray has been running a campaign against the north Indians blaming them for taking away jobs from the locals.
His cadres beat up north Indians who had come to write railway examinations in October 2008.
The MNS dismissed the plan calling it a drama. “It is good if they are celebrating this event but they should be sincere in their cause,” said MNS legislator Pravin Darekar.