Who is Out to Disintegrate Bharat?

DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI analyses the prevailing situation in Maharashtra and asks a very basic question.

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DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI analyses the prevailing situation in Maharashtra and asks a very basic question.

Hate pays. Hate, not long ago, paid electoral dividends profusely in Gujarat. Would hate pay similar dividends in Maharashtra also where election would be held in the near future?
In the backdrop of mercifully two deaths (only) and injuries to a few thousands, besides loss of property running into crores, nearly 15,000 migrants from Bihar and U.P. have left Maharashtra. It was partly for this purpose that the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had unleashed an organised violence.
At state level, no politician or political party, except the Samajwadi Party and its Rajya Sabha Member Mr. Abu Asim Azmi opened the mouth on the mayhem. It looked as if all of them had vegetated. Yes, threatening noises were made by the Chief Minister. The police stood by like a dispassionate observer. It was the media alone that did not forget its professional and moral obligations.
At the central level, it appeared as if the Congress-led UPA government had deliberately decided “not to interfere into the internal affairs” of the Congress-led state government in Maharashtra. It sat quiet over anarchy after dispatching a few battalions of the Rapid Action Force. Only the HRD Minister, Mr. Arjun Singh volunteered the suggestion: the Centre should intervene.
Mr. L.K. Advani, breaking his silence, said the MNS campaign was against the Constitution and national unity. From his lips, quite unexpectedly, it was a whiff of fresh breeze. Otherwise some observers remember he was found giving Rs 20 each to those leaving Mumbai in the wake of Mumbai riots in 1993.
It perhaps never occurs to the likes of Mr. Raj Thackeray and his admirers that their brand of politics is disillusioning the plural polity of the country.
How would you, incidentally, explain the fact that the day Mr. Raj should have been in jail, he was enjoying the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s sumptuous dinner?
The truth is Mr. Raj should have been arrested on the very first day when he spewed venom. Ultimately a day came when he publicly thanked the state Chief Minister for not arresting him. The nation, believing in functional democracy, has a right to know whether it was lethargy or political compulsion or both. Doesn’t it amount to undermining the very spirit of democracy?
Who is the real Mumbaikar? To this question Mr. Bal Thackeray drove all of us a few years ago. To quote Mr. Amrish Misra: A quick glance at Mumbai’s history shows that it was never a ‘pure’ forward caste ‘Marathi’ city. As ‘Bombay’ it was a string of islands, first under the Portuguese, and then from the mid-17th century under British control. Shivaji, the personality whose movement provided cohesion and status to the Marathi identity, never developed Mumbai as his base. Shivaji’s base was Raigad in the Konkan. During the 18th century, the time of the Peshwas and the great Maratha expansion to all corners of India, Pune was the Marathi cultural and political capital. Currently, out of the 19 million population, North Indians, both Hindus and Muslims, constitute between 30-40 per cent of the total figure, South Indians 20 per cent, and the Marathi component only 28 per cent. So the Mumbai Street is a hybrid mix of many cultures – it cannot by its very nature express a singular, anti-North Indian sentiment. Also within the 28 per cent Marathis, OBCs and Dalits constitute the majority. The form part of the remnants of the Marathi work force was once a major player in the city, Mr. Amresh Misra, the author of War of Civilisations: India AD 1857 adds.
Mumbai is Mumbai, the most cosmopolitan among the cosmopolitan cities. It is not a mofussil hick town. The concept “unity and diversity” is seen at its best here. It is Bharat’s business and financial capital. It is for this reason the sons-of-the soil concept has no relevance here. In the plural polity of heterogeneous India, there is no room for nativist politics. Nobody is “outsider” here.
It is not the case of Mumbai or Maharashtra alone. The national Capital, Delhi has several Maharashtrians who have been living and prospering here. For generations about 900 Maharashtrians have been living in Varanasi. The Sahastrabudhe family is one of them. Besides the Maharashtrians, Gujaratis, Kannadigas, Andhraites and Tamils called the Panch Dravids – have made Varanasi their home for centuries. Similarly, people from every corner of Bharat have come to Mumbai. They have contributed to its life and advancement. And this is almost true of all the 28 States and eight Union Territories of the country.
Observers should have noted that Mr. Raj Thackeray tried his level best to be arrested. The game was aimed at adding height to his ever-diminishing political stature following his fight with his cousin Mr. Uddhav, the son of Mr. Bal Thackeray.
It is a political fight in the garb of fight for development between the two estranged cousins. Mr. Uddhav in Mr. Raj’s one-upmanship realised he would lose the ground if he allows Mr. Raj to dig his heels unchallenged. As a prudent measure, he followed the line of his estranged cousin.
To quote Mr. P. Sainath: On one count, Raj Thackeray has already scored. The main Shiv Sena is in a bind. Even as it mocks his ‘antics’, it feels compelled to reiterate that it, and not he, is the defender of the Marathi people of Mumbai. Uddhav Thackeray has warned that the new airport project had better hired Marathi people only, or else….
As a short term measure Mr. Raj might gain a point or two. But as far as possibilities of development are concerned, the ground reality is different, as the State’s Economic Survey puts it: it is “essential to promote non-farm and unorganised sector employment.” The survey notes that “employment in the organised sector has decreased continuously over the past few years. The State has about 45 per cent of its youth population in the age group of 15-40 years.” They have to be “brought into the economic growth mainstream.”
If Mr. Raj, or for that matter his cousin and uncle, does not agree with this cosmopolitan approach and continues his crusade against all non-Marathis, and more and more Rajs and Uddhavs are born in Bharat, the day is not far when all of our 28 States and eight Union Territories would have their respective Constitutions, flags and Presidents, Prime Ministers and Parliaments. Foreigner’s entry would be subject to visas on passports.
The question that emerges is: Are those who are sowing the seeds of disintegration for their narrow ends the well-wishers of India?