Monday, March 10, 2008

Written a few days ago- an attempt to revive my blog

"You Marathis!" Yes, that's what people call us now...especially after Sena's former youth leader and now MNS chief launched his recent tirade against 'outsiders' in Mumbai. The violence was unwarranted, deaths of two innocent men in Nashik...shameful! Much has already been written about Raj and his ways. So how was the experience for a Maharashtrian, watching the happenings from a distance? From a state where she could easily be deemed an 'outsider'?
Working in 'bhaiyya' land, living in a multi-cultural Delhi... and as a journalist, deeply missing the coverage in Maharashtra. Luckily, DTH allowed the viewing of Marathi channels, continuously beaming Raj's war of words. An absolute entertainment! If, even for a moment, we could keep Raj's deeds aside, we would see in him an excellent orator. The ideas, the tone, the face...much like his Uncle whose public appearances have been legendary for the Sena's electoral fortunes. And the ease with which those daring phrases flowed, the face not flinching for a moment...in fact, the sarcasm intentional.
So is the above praise a show of support for the taandav Raj launched in one of India's most developed states? Hell no... not in a hundred years! In fact, apart from MNS goons and some misguided youngsters, I am certain no well-meaning Maharashtrian would have hurt even a fly. A senior at work said- it's not the mentality of an ordinary Maharashtrian to indulge in hooliganism, Maharashtrians are content leading their own little lives- and I, who was brought up in an ordinary middle class Maharashtrian family, had to agree.
When Raj claims that jobs in Maharashtra belong only to the Maharashtrian youth; he is not only making a politically volatile statement but also threatening the validity of a part of the Constitution. But the Marathi manoos is not devoid of political opinion. And he is certainly not devoid of a strong sense of his cultural identity. So when mediapersons rushed to get the view of the common (Marathi) man, surprisingly, many seemed to be on Raj's side...not for the vandalism, but for the debate that had ensued.
It's at these times I shy away from being a journalist- a mere observer- because the sentiments being tossed in public are part of my personal identity. In vain, I try to explain why Raj's dramatic claims touch a familiar chord somewhere in a Marathi mind. Born and brought up in Pune, I never had to speak Hindi... not with the Marwadi grocer, unknown rickshaw wala (auto wala for the people up here) or my Gujarati neighbours. I spoke in English with my friends, most of whom were non-Maharashtrian, as was expected in my convent English-medium school. Hindi was limited to mugging dull poems for exams and Bollywood films.
So my first few months in the national capital must have been quite amusing to whoever spoke to me in Hindi about anything under the sun. From being unable to string together a single Hindi sentence without stammering, my Hindi has improved to haggling quite comfortably with the ready-to-fleece-you auto wallahs and behold, doing simple lives with our sister Hindi channels. So surprise surprise... when I went back to Pune last year! No matter where I went, people spoke to me in Hindi!!! The Marwadi grocer, the unknown rickshaw wallah, the employees at my favourite Udipi restaurant and the assistants at the never-needed malls in Pune. Some of them were Maharashtrian, as I later found out from their conversations with colleagues. And I was left trying to absorb a city that was no longer the Pune I knew. Imagine my relief when Pune's only commercial radio station had RJs speaking to us in Marathi... at least, 70% of the times.
The changing face of Pune- I call it cultural erosion, and people call me xenophobic. Let them. Punekars take pride in their language and culture and it's disappointing to see it fade out like that. Especially after the year I spent studying in Chennai. I have never seen a people so fiercely possessive of their language, a defining feature of their culture. And contrary to what the ignorant have to say about 'Madrasis', I had an excellent time... because I attempted to learn their mother tongue. My half-baked Tamil opened several doors for me... and I earned many friends there- the grocer, the Kollywood-crazy rickshaw walla, the Annas at the local restaurant and even the frowning big moustached policemen.
We are not talking about violent anti-Hindi riots here, like the one Tamil Nadu saw in the late sixties. In fact, that should be the last thing on the mind of a mature democracy. And nothing or no one can make native Indians leave from Maharshtra's cities or abandon their respective languages. But let the unique cultural fabric of each city be preserved, not by force but by habit.


Blogger yogsma said...

Wow...good to see you back again...and the topic is to complex to digest...I just feel that every indian should consider India as his first place and then come regionalism...but our politicians and some freaky people make it reverse way...Are we developing in forward direction or in backward direction???

Keep writing...the content was too good and it shows your journalism skills in a best possible way.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Jemima said...

Thanks ya! It feels good to be back. Hope I can blog more often.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous ameya wadekar said...

the problem is not Raj thakre the problem is the biased media itself.
Media today indulges in sensationalism .the Hindi and English media has a history of selective reporting with covert and overt acts of omission, everyone knows its partial reporting during Gujarat riots which is why many news channels were banned then in Gujarat.

Jemima u are in media and u must know the blatant partisan attitude which media took in this whole affair. Raj Thackeray first of all had only commented that if person like Big B could think of his home state then a small man like him can also think of Maharastra. He was speaking at a function of Kolis the original community of Mumbai, he was using the example of Big B only to advise the fishermen community to work more hard, when people from UP Bihar can work hard why cant they?

A small speech which had not malice shouldnt had been transformed into such a big issue by media,in the first place. Then next day was a raly by Samajwadi party where highly objectionable speeches were made by Amar singh,Mulayam singh, Abu Azmi at Shivaji park. The one taxi which was shown to be attacked by MNS workers, was infact carrrying Samajwadi party goons who were shouting and abusing Raj thakre that too in Dadar Shivaji park, place where Raj lives as well a strong hold of both Sena's. The MNS people only retaliated. It was no attack on Bihari or UPite. This incident was played up in such a manner that as if all Biharis are being bashed by MNS.

One wonders what media will say if Marathi leaders come to Delhi and provocate the local leaders, one cant even imagine Marathi leaders going in place like Banglore or Patna and incite the local marathi population against the Biharis or Kannadigas. What amar singh and co did was exactly this, now tell which political party will tolerate intimidation that too by a person belonging to other state coming and hammering out at you in your own den?

You say MNS goons, this has become a fashion for media to term some one as goon! while SP workers were Raja Harishchandras and Mahatma Gandhis!wow

And why did Raj react in such a way? instead of attacking the symptom attack the disease, Mumbai is city which has outlived its capacity long back its now all over for Mumbai to take in more people. where will local mumbaikars go if more and more poeple come and take their jobs away? agree one can go anywhere in nation but every rule has a limit and an excpetion

10:38 PM  
Anonymous ameya wadekar said...


And those who come to Mumbai make no effort to integrate with Marathi culture. everyone talks about rights of migrants what abt rights of local people? where will the fishermen go if people from outside take away their jobs? these men have no other means of living as theirs is a traditional ancestral business where will these poor Koli men and women earn money?

I live in Pune i am no regionalistic man but i have seen people from Delhi and north india coming to Pune and having utmost contempt for Marathi culture i have seen them lampooning the Marathi manoos as they feel he is "Ghati". the migrants make no effort to learn Marathi. the blatant Hindi imposition is destroying Marathi culture. Marathis are to be blamed in big way also.

Today u speak abt constitution and the regular commonplace statements like "Everyone can go ne where and settle and work" and all that stuff.
But constitution article 19(1) also states the migrants shudnt cause problem to locals, care shud be taken that interest of locals are not harmed. You have right to have your "rights" but you have no right to trample upon rights ofo ther people.

Your freedom to punch in air stops just short of my cheek. No city in India can absorb unlimited migration, today Banglore is also facing an anti outsider campaign with Bangloreans complaining that outsiders have no interest in learning their culture. Media talks hard on the Shiv Senas but hides its face when Biharis were killed in Haryana,Manipur. Biharis are also targetted in Delhi,Punjab.

if u speak Hindi u are an outcast in south indian states! Maharastra and Marathis have always welcomed everoyone with ardor,we have never complained and made fuss over Marathi speaking, thats why it is the most cosmopolitan state in India. go to the remotest village u will find essence of India in it.

but whenever we try to just murmur and crib that Marathis are lagging behind or Marathi culture is being destroyed the sudo Indian media bashes us left and right as if we have no rights to talk of our people!

when the whole Raj thakre episode was going an similar incident occured in Banglore where Kannadiga Rakshina Vedike and Pro Kannada organization whisked away about 500 UP Biharis who had come to give exams and'steal' the jobs in Railway dept.Their complaint was locals were not represented properly.

why did the media remain silent on this? why does the media not say a word when CM Dharam Singh spoke of injustice to locals in IT industry in Karnataka? and asked for IT barons to give more jobs to locals or else IT industry wont get ne benefits.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous ameya wadekar said...

when TN CM Karunanidhi asks TVS motors who set up plant in Chennai
, to give more preference to locals no one complains of regionalism.

when M Karunanidhi and its entire MP's vehemently oppose the disinvestment of Nevyl Lignite a govt PSU in TN, on the grounds that those Tamils employed there will be kicked out due to privatisation. is this regionalism?

When Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit complains abt unmitigated migration from UP Bihar causing problems to Delhi isnt that regionalism?

If no then when Marathis speak of their rights which they can speak with no constraints then why is it termed as regionalism?

when Income Tax dept in Mumbai hires only 30 marathis out of 500 posts its surely going to serve a discontent for us when Railway jobs which are meant for locals are given to outsiders then its sure to cause resentment in locals?
when for odd 200 jobs if 2000 people apply and no advertisement or info ab the same jobs is given in local newspapers then isnt it injustice meted out to us?

We have all rights in our capacity to speak against such seething discontent. Sub nationalism amongst so called north indians and so called south indians east indians north east indians is much intense (as u experienced in chennai) than sub nationalist movement in Maharastra. no one has right to hit out at us Raj may have erred but it was Media which fueled the fire and magnified small incidents which only incensed warring parties.

11:12 PM  
Anonymous ameya wadekar said...

India is not a single culture, single language nation. Its a place where diverse cultures have come together and contributed to development of India just like many rivers flow into sea!

India is a federal structure and each state has right to protect its own people and has every reason to protect its culture and language. the blatant Hindification and arrogance of hindi chauvinist on non hindi population has been bane for India.
This uncontrolled migration and reluctance of migrants to assimilate with local culture is the root cause of regionalism. It was the neglect of Punjabi and blatant use of Hindi in Punjab was one of the reason for Khalistan movement, same is cause for seperatist movement in Assam where the assamese are squeezed between the Bangladeshi immigrants and Bihari migrants both of them who have taken away their jobs as well as obliterated Assami Culture.

Same is the case with Maharashtra, i have nothing against peopele coming here but its my ruthless opinion that those who come here must and must assimilate and respect Marathi culture and MArathi language. U have been able to stay put in Delhi cause u assimilated with Delhites u spoke Hindi which is the local dialect had u survived if u resisted Hindi?

or rather i wud like to ask will Delhi wallas accept a person who has contempt for Hindi?? how will they feel if Marathis flock in large numbers and create problems for locals? no society accept its indiginous culture being destroyed. neither can marathis accept it.

Instead of treating the core problem which is non development of BiMaRU states, which is causing burden on all other parts of country, instead of censuring the Bihari UP politicians for doing nothing for their states u slam Marathis when we speak of our basic rights which are same as that of any other men in India!

Instead of fulminating at Raj Thakres media must as question to jokers like Laloo and Mayavati who have pushed there states in dark ages and even after 60 years these states continue to act as retarding force on nations development.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous ameya wadekar said...

constitution is not a holy bible or gita or Torah which cannot be changed. Thomas Jefferson once stated "every generation has its own constitution"

constitution can be amended if some thing is in interest of the nation. it can be amended by Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament. Politicans use this language of const selectively, constitution is routinely amended by lawmakers this is the same constition which puts restriction on movement in Kashmir by giving it special status, does the media ask questions of "we-can-go-anywhere" category in this case?

so Jemima i think Raj has not violated any tenet of our preamble and if majority of people in India feel that locals must have preference over opportunities in their own states then there is no reason why our laws must not be amended to suit the needs. even Beijing and Shanghai make work permit compulsory to enter in,even for the Chinese people from other regions,to avoid over crowding of the cities and protecting the demography.

U accuse Raj of being anti constitution but the whole idea is itself very ambigious, laws are made by us and laws of today may be obsolete tomorrow. what i feel is companies and orgnizations must themself prefer and employ considerable amt "sthaniya" men and rest can be from ne where.

The entire episode of Raj Thakre is out come of diverse complex factors which cannot be discussed in one day or one week. we must go to root of the problem of regionlism in India. selective targetting will only exacerbate it.

Media on its part must act with sense and equity and not involve in bashing ne one party, where even amar singh and laloo yadav shud have been criticized by the media only Raj was targetted by taking meaning out of context and choosing selective parts of his speech and publishing the MArathi speech in an distorted manner so as to incense the Hindi people.

The media, the civic society, the courts, the govt and also all Indians must come together to solve this seething problem.

We are proud to be Indians and Indian is "unity in diversity" concept lets not destrot diversity in name of unity. let all cultures bloom with due respect let all people get there due in development.let us end these internecine conflicts.

If Raj was wrong he is only part of this erroneous system. there is so much to ponder over

12:05 AM  
Anonymous ameya wadekar said...

i have written extremely long comments but couldnt stop myself from writing those. i may have erred in logic and arguments but i think i have conveyed my central idea.

i also admire u for ur blog as well as ur article.cya

Jai Hind Jai Bharat.
Ameya Wadekar,Pune

12:09 AM  
Anonymous sonal chitnis said...

jem...its a good effort to get into the topic......but i agree to ameya wadekar 100%

its all about respecting the indigenous, along with the influences.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous sonal chitnis said...

it is very essential for the masses to give right vision about these so -called 'news'....by the media.....because being a conservation architect when i am trying to signify the fort architecture of Deccan, and shivaji's genius as a strategic military architect, i am openly accused of getting into the regionalism of 'Marathas' by my professors....which is just so wrong...!!!!!
who will then do this job....of conveying....the right concerns of the point raj is trying to make...its applied to any part on India and its diverse culture.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed 100%..but who is going to bell the cat

3:48 PM  

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