Indian Dilemma

Real Burning Issues and Current Affairs

The Legacy of Bal Thackeray

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At 3:33pm of 17th November 2012, Balasaheb Thackeray died. People of Maharashtra always loved him, but with extensive media coverage given to his last rites, whole nation witnessed how popular Balasaheb was. In national media, there were many debates on his legacy and what he stood for. Many political observers and thinkers expressed their opinions based on their observations, but no body in my opinion, was successful in explaining the phenomenon of Bal Thackeray.

He is often termed as populist, fascist, right wing, Hindu extremist. He is often blamed for divisive politics. His comments on Biharis, Madrasis and Muslims, his praises for Hitler, Nathuram Godse are always quoted to support these theories.

He founded Shiv Sena in 1966 as an organization which would fight for sons of the soil. At that time all the government jobs needed knowledge of English. Though Maharashtra is a Marathi linguistic state founded in 1961 after a decade long movement, Marathi language was still not used in administration. This deprived locals from government jobs as most of the Maharastrians learned English as their 3rd language and that too for 3 years in secondary schooling. In South India, many people knew English and they used to get jobs easily in Maharashtra government. On this background, Shivsena took up the issue of compulsion of Marathi in Maharashtra government job interviews. But as usual, the government did not pay attention to it forcing Shivsena to start agitation. Only after that agitation, government understood the gravity of the issue and Marathi got its due place in state administration. Many locals got job in government after that.

India has a track record of insensitive and deaf governments who neglect people who are traditionally not their vote banks. Congress especially thrives by adding votes of minority community to its bucket and therefore is very sensitive for the causes of minorities. It makes Congress leadership’s job very simple, first it just needs to placate the minority community leaders and second it does not need to be accountable for governance to majority section of the population. Worldwide minorities always transform into vote banks, India is no different. The only thing which differs in India from place to place is the kind of minority…it could be racial, religious, linguistic or caste based. Congress has mastered the equation of adding these minority vote banks and winning the election. But look what happens when some other does the same thing…take example of UP and these states congress has got a dose of their own politics and now Congress is nowhere.

What Balasaheb symbolizes is the politics of majority. In his entire career, he never indulged himself into class politics. The reason a Brahmin could become chief minister of Maharashtra was Bal Thackeray. The politics of majority is essentially a politics of common man. Its a very difficult brand of politics to practice in India where society is fragmented in multiple divisions in the name of caste, language, religion, race etc. The reason Shivsena did not win elections lies in the fact that it never resorted to divisive politics.

There are few things which needs to be understood before commenting on Balasaheb’s statements. First of all, his Hindutva is different from Hindutva of RSS or Hindutva of Savarkar. Bal Thackeray in his entire life always called India as Hindustan and people believing in this nation as Hindu. This stance was very clear and whoever reads his newspaper knows it. I come from a place where Shivsena MLA was a Muslim. Bal Thackeray always supported Muslim cause when it comes to social reforms and their secular wellness. All the reformist Muslim leaders in Maharashtra found support in Bal Thackeray. Take the famous case of Asghar Ali Engineer.

One should also know the background of Balasaheb. His father, Prabodhankar, was a well known social reformist and was extremely critical of bad traditions within Hinduism. He did not believe in rituals and worships. Balasaheb inherited the same progressive legacy and therefore was the only person who suggested to build National Memorial Hospital in Ayodhya after the demolition of Babari. No body supported him including congress.

He was always critical about people who keep their faiths above the Nation. He criticized many Muslim leaders openly who refused to place India above Islam, the idea was to expose them and not to spread hatred against Muslims in general. Most of the times his comments were reaction to some writings in Urdu media. The national media never tried to understand the background of his statements. Once he said, “take away right to vote from Muslims and we will see how many political parties support Muslims”. This statement came in national media as Bal Thackeray demanded withdrawal of voting right of Muslims. It resulted into ban on Bal Thackeray and he could not vote for next six years.

Few words about his regional politics. It was again a part of his Majority politics. He made it clear several times that in Maharashtra you are a Marathi, in Punjab you are a Bengal you are a Bengali because the Indian states are organized on linguistic basis, but when it comes to fight against foreign terror we are Hindus (the word he always used for Indians and it does not have any religious connotations). Its a responsibility of the minority community to adjust with the culture, learn the local language. He always praised Tamilians for that. In Tamil Nadu, you have to learn Tamil to survive. As per him, the governments should always think about Majority section of the population and not about the minority section. In 1st world democracies, the minority rights are given very high importance, but in country like India where the resources are limited, it becomes necessary to decide the preferences.

People loved him because he never changed his stance, he always believed Politics of Majority community, he always put the interests of people above his political interests. Calling him a fascist is a joke if one understands the meaning of Fascist. He believed in benevolent dictatorship only because of factional politics played in democracies which he thought is not in the interest of majority (and not based on the wishes of the majority). His political agitation often involve violence because of the insensitive governments and government inability to protect interests of the people in general while protecting the interests of minority vote banks. If there exists any other way by which government can listen to the people, he would have adopted that. See what happened to Anna Hazare’s movement.

He could manage this kind of politics with fair amount of success (though limited) for last 46 years only because of his leadership qualities, his oratory skills and clarity of thoughts. He not only delivered speeches, but also built a cadre based organization which is allover in India now and even in Nepal. Therefore question also comes in my mind about the future of Shivsena. Unless Uddhav Thackeray continues to carry on the legacy of his father, Balasaheb’s disappearance from the political horizon will leave a huge void in Maharashtra politics.


Written by shailendrasinghpatil

November 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Politics

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Lokpal is needed in elected Aristocracy, it becomes redundant only in true democracy

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The only difference between british era and post-independence era is the selection of the rulers…in Britsh era they were appointed by Britishers and now they are appointed by people of India….61 years of this Indian rule has proved the fact that democracy is not just about elections….its more about systems, conventions and traditions…

We empowered our elected representatives to modify the systems so that it will serve interests of Indians…but like any other rulers they modified systems to protect their own interests (yes there still is a ruling class)…sycophancy became convention and corruption became an important tradition..Now it is high time that we force our representatives to modify systems appropriately.. just changing representatives in every five years is not working …’Power Corrupts’ everyone… the system should have inbuilt checks and controls…Lokpal could be one of these control mechanism…

Elected representative will oppose such controls on the pretext of supremacy of parliament, but it was these representatives who have not done enough for last 60 years in terms of changing orientation of the system towards the citizens. Citizens always suffered due to bad governance..Simple processes like getting birth, death certificates,land purchases, ration cards, licenses, clearance for any form of businesses are not just time consuming, but they also make citizens run from one office to another..these processes have encouraged corruption..Politicians have vested interest in not changing these bureaucratic processes.

Agreed that Lokpal will not change any of these, but it may act as a strong deterrent for those who take undue advantage of the loopholes in the system. Importance of Lokpal will automatically go down when suspicious activities within system go down. So we just hope that eventually politicians would bring changes in the system and make Lokpal redundant…We will wait for that day 🙂

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

September 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Posted in Polity

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Article 370

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article 370 was introduced to abide by the terms of J&K’s accession. The accession of J&K was conditional.
India desperately wanted to prove 2-nation theory wrong and wanted a muslim majority region under its fold, also the strategic significance of Kashmir and willingness of Kashmiri leaders to have separate state for themselves (under protection of India) were the main reasons why India went ahead for accession of J&K.
When Instrument of Accession was signed, constitution of India was not ready. As per clause 7 of the Instrument of Accession, J&K was not committed to accept the future Constitution of India.
In 1949 november when all the princely state heads and provincial heads of Indian dominion were supposed to issue proclaimations making Constitution of India operative in their respective states and provinces, J&K refused such proclaimation refering to the clause 7 of Instrument of Accession. This is because the draft form of constitution refused separate constitutions for the states and J&K always wanted their own separate constitution.
There was a legal imbroglio in this situation, the accession issue was already with united nations and in such situations India has to abide by its promise. This lead to Article 306-A of the draft Constitution of India (which became article 370 in the actaul constitution).
Considering the overall situation prevalent, Article 370 was a major step forward at that time. The Article at least paved the way for the Republic of India to make several laws and provisions of the Constitution of India applicable to Jammu & Kashmir State beyond the strait jacket of the Instrument of Accession. Besides, Article 370 was conceived as a temporary arrangement, with hopes of a full integration in time to come.

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

November 9, 2008 at 9:01 am

Need for Judicial Reforms In India

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Few days back a historical case was closed after 65 years. It is historical, because perhaps it was the longest running case in India.
The case was to recover money of Jaggery sold to some party which then refused to pay back. Looks like a trivial matter, isn’t it? But still it took 65 damn years..the 4th generation of the petitioner got the justice(?).

This case is not an exception in our judicial system. There are so many pending cases and the least unit of time-line for closure of any case is years (and not days or months).

Here are some facts around our judicial System:
Pending cases: 25 millions
Out of which Criminal cases are: 18 million
Cases pending with Supreme court: 50000
Cases Pending the lower courts: 15 million
Yearly Increase in pending cases: 2 million

With such a dismal state of judicial system, no one expect justice from it. People think hundred time before approaching courts. There is a old proverb ‘Justice Delayed, is Justice Denied”. So it is not even appropriate to call our judicial system as ‘Judiciary’. Because it is no longer able to deliver justice to common man.

On the contrary, this same system is being used by rich class to get away with any crime. One just need enough money to hire a good lawyer who will be able to postpone the case for years. But there is a problem if you don’t have money and that is a problem of 80% of Indians. So Indians please don’t expect any justice in the current system. It is not meant for you, but to protect rich class from the rule of law.

This is one side of the story. The other hand it shows the state of our society and the growing criminalization. As a society are we progressing? The answer is sad, no. The morality of society is degrading. There is no value of ‘values’ and ethics. The more ethical your conduct is, more is the chance that someone will fool you.

While degradation of our society is rampant, the judiciary is not ready to change. It is following the same old procedures. Even the laws need to be simplified and our legislative system should work upon that. Computerization will help a lot. If every panchayat has a facility of teleconferencing, it could be used by the courts instead of summoning people in the court. There has to a time-line for each kind of case. Each case need to handled as a project and enough resources should be allocated to it.

I think it is all about following good management practices than following old bureaucratic processes. With good management practices courts will be open more than 190 days a year, at least we can expect a norm of 225 days of work per year followed by our judiciary.

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

November 9, 2008 at 8:58 am

Posted in Politics, Polity, Social

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Prices of Petroleum products

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With the rising prices of petroleum products, inflation has increased a lot worldover. In India, governement provides subsidies to stabilize petroleum prices. The subsidies are around 1.5 lakh crore per year. Double the amount spent in waiving farmers’ loan.
Our middle and rich class also get this part of subsidies which is not correct. They can pay. Why should they get subsidized petrol, diesel and Gas cylinder? Per gas cylinder government pays subsidy of rs.210. Is this justifiable?
Every time we read editors of leading newspapers talk about the farm subsidies. Why don’t they talk about petroleum subsidies?

The ideal solution to this problem is to have rationing of these products. But the problem with India is that we can not implement any system correctly. So rationing will be another fodder for the corrupts in PDS.

To me its really a dilemma. If government abolish the subsidies entirely it will increase the prices of all the products and which in turn will raise inflation to a historic high. And if they don’t abololish subsidies, they will increase taxes which will again affect all the people.

We should immediately start the usage of public transport. Especially based on electricity. But the scarcity of electricity itself is a major cause of concern.

What i can see is that india is certainly heading towards a major economic and energy crisis.

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

November 9, 2008 at 8:49 am

Posted in Economy, Social

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Communism and Socialism

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There is basic difference between Socialism and Communism, though they both believe in the social/national ownership over all the resources.

Socialism aims distribution of resources as per the efforts and kind of efforts one makes. Since the doctors and Engineers are lesser in the society, demand for them is higher and supply is shorter, they will earn higher in socialist economy. If someone does not work he won’t get anything in socialist economy. Socialist government does planning for the society as a whole, the planning of economy is done accordingly.

Communism aims the distribution of the resources as per the need of the individuals in the society. So in communism, the needs of the individuals are predefined and government tries distribute the resources through the means of very strict planning. Hence it becomes oppressive for the highly skilled and enterprising people in the economy where monetory incentive for efforts taken are meagre.

Some people does not agree with socialism to start with. To transform from feudal economy where the resources are concentrated with select few to a modern economy, if we start with socialism it gives undue advantage for the richer class and middle class who has already aquired knowledge and monetory resources.

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

November 9, 2008 at 8:46 am

Posted in Politics

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Indian Nationhood

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Indian Subcontinent was never a single state in the entire history. Some big empires were there but still they did not cover entire India.
British empire was spread across the subcontinent, but 1/3rd of the area of princely states was not ruled by British. So there was not a single state rule over subcontinent. When India became free, again it was with the partition based on two-nation theory. But majority chunk of subcontinent is ruled by Indian State.
The question is whether it is a nation-state?
What is nation-state at the first place?
For that we need to understand the difference between nation and state. Nation and states are two separate entities. Nation formation takes place when various people and societies realize commonality amongst themselves on the basis of eternal and perennial bonding they have. So it is just a feeling of coexisting together based on certain bonding. This bonding can be provided by language or culture.
When such nation demands a state, no-one can decline such demand. Indian freedom struggle was nothing but a formation of nation. But unfortunately in its last phase, the scope of this nationhood was restricted on the basis of religion. The two nation theory was proposed which stated that hindus and muslims are two different nations.
The so called scholars like Jinnah, Savarkar, Ambedkar accepted this concept of two nations.
Savarkar and Ambedkar, though accepted two nations, wanted a single state to administer it, while Jinnah wanted two states for two nations.
Congress never accepted the two-nation theory. Due to communal violence Gandhi agreed upon the two states. So India was partitioned. But the India remained as not a hindu nation. Its nationhood was described by Nehru as ‘Unity in Diversity’. It is essentially a cultural nationalism on which Indian nation stands today.
RSS names it as ‘Hindutva’ (this is very different from Savarkar’s hindutva which was based upon religio-geographical hindu identity).
The issue of Kashmir is therefore more important to India. Kashmir is proof that Indian nationalism is not just a hindu nationalism. The presence of so many Muslims in India also proves the same. The two-nation theory was proved wrong when Bangladesh was formed.
India today is a nation-state and all Indians are proud of that.

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

November 9, 2008 at 5:36 am

Posted in Polity, Social

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Scarcity of national leaders in Indian Politics

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After freedom struggle Indian politics conspicuously lacked the true national level leaders.

This has done considerable damage to our national psyche. The growth of regionalism can also be attributed to the fact that our polity could never allow pan-Indian thoughts to flourish. Election could never been won on the national issues, local issues always mattered the most. The local MP is always blamed for the non-development of the region. So there are lesser incentives for a leader to broaden his thinking.

Therefore the coalition politics was always inevitable.

Because of this, sometimes i feel, the nehru-gandhi regime was needed in India. It was the only factor which kept India away from nuances of coalition politics. Now when there are no popular national level Nehru-Gandhi family member in politics, India is in trouble.

At least there should have been a leader of Vajpayee’s stature who could provide leadership to the small leaders. Even that kind of leaders are not on the political scene.

Therefore ‘who after Manmohan Singh’ remains a big question in Indian Politics.

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

July 1, 2010 at 1:54 am

Posted in Politics, Polity

Do Maharashtrians hate Hindi

with 3 comments

The recent ‘slap’ episode in Maharashtra assembly, made Raj Thakre’s MNS overnight hit in Maharashtrians. Abu Azmi, an elected MLA of Samajwadi Party insisted on taking oath in Hindi and MNS MLA manhandled him in the assembly. It started different debates in media..right from whether Hindi is a national language to whether it was a petty attempt to grab media attention.

But in various internet forums, when common people from Hindi belt reacted…they claimed that Maharashtrians hate Hindi and it is an attempt to dishonor Hindi.

Do maharashtrians really hate Hindi?

In ancient India, there were three dialects of Prakrit
1] shaurseni
2] magadhi
3] maharashtri

Maharashtri was prevalent in today’s MP and Maharashtra.
Maharattha is a ‘Apabhransh’ of Maharashtri. ‘Apabhransh’ was a form
of language spoken by common people.
Marathi language evolved mainly from Maharashtri.

The people speaking this language were referred as Maharrthis or Marathis.

Marathis always were a marshal race mainly due to the tough terrain.
They have to fight hard to earn their livelihood.

Shivaji carved a nation out of these people. But his vision was never
narrow. Shivaji always talked about expelling foreigners from entire
India and talked about ‘Hindavi Swaraj’. The Swaraj of Hindavi’
(locals of Hindustan) people. Therefore it spread all across the India
in future, but the then Marathi rulers could not spread nationhood
everywhere and Maratha State became a confederacy of some feuds.

Though this history gave Marathis a national vision. The Marathi
leaders in 19-20th century were never confined to Maharashtra.
Gokhale, Tilak, Hedgewar, Savarkar, Dange were pioneers of different
political streams in India.

Even when Indian cinema started, Hindi was adopted as its language.

So if someone thinks that Marathis hate Hindi because they are narrow
minded or paranoid, he needs ‘Atma-shuddhi’.

Marathis do not hate Hindi. They watch Hindi news channel, hindi
movies. They speak in Hindi with non-marathis.

When Marathis support Raj Thakre, it is not because of the paranoia,
it is mainly because they hate the political culture which comes along
with North Indian vote bank. Marathis do not oppose ‘chhat puja’, but
can not see Lalu’s, Mulayams making inroads in the Mumbai politics.
Therefore the support to Thakres is because they at least take up
their issues fearlessly.

Go back and check the history..Bal thakre took up the issue of jobs
for Marathis in 1969.. When it got solved, it took him 20 years to
rise in politics (that to with Hindutva)

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

November 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Politics

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Single Secondary School Board in India

with 4 comments

Recently Mr. Kapil Sibal’s announce his ‘educational vision’. He wants to see single secondary school board in India. This will bring uniformity in the education all across India.

If this is a case, let us examine the syllabus of CBSE (central board for secondary education). What is meaning of uniformity? Does that mean imposing Hindi Belt history, culture and geography? How much history of north-east, bengal, orissa, gujarat, himachal, punjab, Maharashtra, does CBSE cover?

This looks very similar to BJP’s demand on imposing hindu civil code in the pretext of having uniform civil code. Aren’t these parties very similar? Strongly centrist?

There was a time when Nehru used to talk about ‘unity in diversity’, now it is a time forget Nehru.

Mr. Sibal has also forgotten the fact that education is mainly a State subject. Is he not crossing his limits? Why not have a single government at the center then? Why not have a single Party rule?

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

June 27, 2009 at 7:57 am

Posted in Polity, Social

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Indian Political League

with 3 comments

Though IPL is shifted outside India, still there won’t be any dearth of entertainment this summer, another IPL (Indian Political League) is going to take place. It is going to be a huge show with official governmental spending of 15000 crore rupees (three time the amount spent in US elections). Who will be the winner in this reality show?

The tournament will take place in two rounds. In the first round, people of India will vote and elect their representatives. In the next round these representatives among themselves will decide about the winner of the competition.

It seems as if people of India are divided on who should lead them. Some people will vote based on caste, some will vote based on region and there will be very few who will vote for the betterment of the nation. The result of the first round is therefore a foregone conclusion. hung assembly with no coalition getting clear majority.

This therefore makes second round more interesting and offers minnows a chance to get top chair. So who are the main contenders?

1] Mayawati
2] Mulayam singh
3] Lalu prasad
4] Sharad Pawar

Mayawati is an official third front candidate backed by the Left, TDP, Jayalalita etc. There are good chances that Third front will get around 120+ seats with Mayawati winning 30 odd seats nationwide. But will either congress or bjp support mayawati? Looks difficult as she is politically very ambitious and will trouble congress and bjp both in Uttar pradesh.

Mulayam Singh will get support from Left and congress will also support him to thwart Mayawati. But considering the Mayawati wave it seems difficult for him to repeat the success of 2004 elections when he won 35 seats. So for him to become PM he just needs to win more seats than other smaller parties which still looks difficult.

Same is the case with Lalu Prasad. Nitish Kumar is doing too good in Bihar to allow Lalu to get 20 odd seats in Bihar. But he manages to do that he will be the first choice for congress and Left is not going to oppose him on ideological grounds.

Sharad Pawar also has good friends across the parties. SP has already declared support for his candidature. Last year Left parties have already made clear that in UPA he is the only consensus candidate.
His main problem will be support from congress.
Will congress support him over Mayawati is a main question. Some people in congress do not consider him a long term threat like Mayawati. That could go in his favor.

Whoever wins it is really going to be a terrific competition this summer. The reason I did not even discussed the candidature of Adavani and Manmohan (or for that matter Rahul) is simply because both BJP and Congress can not win 120 odd seats this times which will make the combine number of other smaller parties bigger. After all it is a number game.

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

April 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Politics, Polity

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Raj Thakare Episode: A larger picture

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Raj Thakarey’s agitation against north indians in Maharshtra was criticized heavily by everyone right from the pseudo-intellectual news media like times of india/ndtv/cnn-ibn to the psuedo-dashing media like aaj-tak, ibn-7, star-news,india-tv etc..
But unfortunately no-one has even taken a notice of the fact that Raj Thakarey got the support from common Maharashtrian people. Is it the indicator that the most progressive state of India is facing a social mass-paranoia?
Let’s analyze the scenario.
There is a nation who adopted federal polity. Some states are developed while some are underdeveloped. The underdeveloped states remained underdeveloped not because of the lack of natural resources, but because of the gross mis-management, corruption and social issues. The people from such underdeveoped states migrated to the developed states. The developed state was pretty liberal and already had a sizeable amount of rich class people who are immigrants and the native people of those developed states are mainly into manual labour and unskilled jobs. As the influx of people from underdeveloped states increased, the competition in this labour class people increased. The immigrants live in slum illegally with extremley low standard of living and hence are less costly.
Slowly these migrants start displacing the natives and many native become unemployed. As the size of the migrants increased, the natives become restless.
On the backdrop of this situation, the politicians from the underdeveloped states start increasing their presence in the developed states considering the high number of migrants. These politicians want to polorize the immigrants and to convert them into their vote bank. And for that purpose they incite the immigrant community by distributing weapons.
They receive a strong reaction from the politician who is trying to establish himself in the state politics. Both are successful now. In this fight the immgrant and native communities get polorized. The law and order situation becomes serious. Since the natives are in huge numbers and immigrnats are minority, the immigrants suffer badly in this conflict.
The politicians from both side daily take care of fiercing this battle by issueing new statements. And the media who considers itself equivalent to judiciary, has already passed a judgement putting the native maharashtrian people in bad light.
No one even remotely reckoned that their exists an issue due to which there is a widespread recentment in the native people of maharashtra. The economic issue is important and also important are several other issues.
Cultuarally maharashtra is going through a kind of downfall wherein marathi language is suffering a lot. Once the rich in literature/sports/theatre/music with some stalwarts like V.Shantaram, Lata Mangeshkar, Sunil Gavaskar,Tendulkar,Shirwaadkar, p.l.deshpande and many others have created very high level of standards which the modern day marathi literature, cinema, theatre, sports, music are not able to match. The western culture and literature has started dominating marathi minds and has literally overwhelmed them. Natives started losing their faith in Marathi language and maharshtrian culture. Though they can not express that social feeling openly and hence entire maharshtra is in state of cultural anxiety.
Examine maharshtrian in this state. On top of that they started facing the unemployment issues due to growing influx of North Indians into the state making the natives unemployed.
That’s the reason why Raj got such overwhelming support from the common people of Maharshtra.
Though Raj is using these sentiments in his favour, people of India should understand these sentiments and should not take comfort in just criticizing Raj.
This issue is widespread. Since the Raj Thakarey is soft target (and even he wanted the reaction from north indian politicians), all the North Indian politicians right from Mulayamsingh to Laloo Prasad raised voice against him. Where were these leaders when more that 500 biharis were killed in Assam, Punjab, Kashmir during last 2-3 years and where was media and what was its verdict on that?
The main issue is not whether Raj is correct or not, but the main issue is why is he getting support? If we did not address this issue, we will find several Raj Thakares emerge from different regions of India.

Written by shailendrasinghpatil

November 9, 2008 at 2:47 pm