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It seems that just to sideline or to erode the influence of Bal Thackeray the Congress and NCP combine Government is playing with fire in Maharashtra, writes Syed Hassan Kazim.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2008 15:14 IST
Syed Hassan Kazim
Syed Hassan Kazim
Hindustan Times

First Rahul Raj and then Dharmdev Rai, the former a Bihari youth and the later a UPwala from Gorakhpur-- both of them have become the victims ofthe hate campaign or (better to call it regional chauvinism) patronized by Raj Thackeray.

It seems that just to sideline or to erode the influence of Bal Thackeray the Congress and NCP combine Government is playing with fire. At this point of time the very idea of unity in diversity seems to be hollow and non-existent. We have reached at a stage where perhaps an Indian can only be identified by every other identity of religion or region but not as being an Indian.

A few days back Kundan Pratap, a resident of Patna’s Kadamkuan locality could not even think that he would be lighting the funeral pyre of his son Rahul Raj on Diwali when Rahul was supposed to light the crackers.

Cutting across the party lines all the three stalwarts of Bihar politics, Union MinisterLalu Prasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan and the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, joined hands in criticizing the killing of gun wielding Rahul Raj by the Mumbai Police. A journalist friend of mine says, " Anybody killed by the police action or mob violence in this country is firsta Bihari, a Marathi, a Kashmiri, a Keralite or a Hindu, a Muslim ora Christian than being a son , a brother or a husband. And no one cares about his identity as an Indian."

The situation gets worse when a person sitting on a responsible chair makes and irresponsible statement. When Mahashtra deputy CM RR Patil makes his “bullet for bullet” statement it reminds me about two of the most irresponsible statements in the history of post independent India.

First the " When a big tree falls….." statement of Rajiv Gandhi after the assasination of Indira Gandhi and the second "Newton’s Law" statement ofNarendra Modi post Godhra communal riots. Whenever such type of communal or regional tensions arise, nearly all the political parties and politicians miss no chance in taking political mileage.

After the MNS attacks on Bihari youths in Mumbai, life was brought to a standstill in Bihar by the agitators due to which Indian Railways had to cancel a slew of trains crossing the state. One can understand the intensity of the situation from the statement of BJP MP from Bihar Shahnawaz Hussain that “ The treatment of North Indians in Maharashtra is something not done even in Pakistan.” May be he made this statement to have an effect on the Muslims in his constituency but there is no denying the fact that it will be shame for Mumbai and for India as a whole if its citizens are restricted from migrating within states in the country.

Let us assume for a moment that there is not any kind of migration of people between the states. Won’t it have an effect on the growth and development of the states and the nation as a whole? The act of MNS has entered the "psyche" of "locals" everywhere. If we assume for a while that the Bihari workers or the labour class from UP do not come to the Metros like Delhi and Mumbai, thenwho will work in the construction sites of highrises in Mumbai.

Just to get his presence felt in the “Bal” dominated politics of Maharashtra, Raj has gone a long way, resulting in inter state rivalry, which is as dangerous as any type of terrorism for the country. In fact the means which Raj Thackerey has opted for his drive against North Indians is totally unethical. If the people of one region settle or migrate to the other it helps to break the stereotypical image of either the states or regions, and also helps to imbibe some of their culture, heritage and practices. Even Shivaji’s ancestors came from Rajasthan. Yet today they are regarded as a symbol of Maratha pride.

Why is it that the police force on the behest of the political class lets no stone unturned to crack the terror modules, while at the same time they let go the goondas and goons of MNS to create mayhem in the city which seems to be losing it’s tag of being the ideal metropolitan for a country as diverse as India.

Special: Regional Chauvinism

First Published: Oct 31, 2008 14:03 IST