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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

November 25, 2009

The politics of hyphenation

Continuing with Sachin from my previous article, it is rather sad to see him drawn into an unforeseen controversy. I am referring to his comment that Mumbai belonged to all Indians that drew ire & adverse reaction from Balasaheb Thackeray & Shiv sena. I am a bit surprised that the same Shivsena or the MNS did not react when Sachin inaugurated/Flagged off the local Belgaum Team in the Karnataka premier league , a local edition of T20 cricket in Bangalore. Belgaum is the bone of contention between the 2 states and the Marathi & Kannada torch bearers are quite active on this issue.

Maybe Balasaheb read too much into the nomenclature, otherwise a ‘Maha’rashtra would never have come before the Rashtra. To be fair to Sachin , his comment of ‘all Indians’ included Maharashtrian’s too. Why take offense when the ‘Marathi Manoos’ is also included? The way Balasaheb reacted, it gave a sense that he wanted to hyphenate the interest of the state & its local interests from that of the nation. The nature of the reaction and its ‘Us-Them’ undertone is what raised the hackles of many people who now believe will undermine the unity & federal character of this country.

The ‘aamchi’ feeling defined by a linguistic & cultural affinity in a large diverse country is normal but whether it is getting hijacked by a narrow political agenda is debatable. It depends on which angle you look at it & how affected you are or simply put how much you stand to gain by exploiting it. To put this thought in perspective I will relate to an issue that I had to contend with recently. Talking to members of what I call ‘ a dysfunctional’ association , a ragtag motley group of sneery members whose style of functioning clearly reflects on the condition of the building I live in, one of the issues I pointed out was their insistence on having a ‘Hindi’ speaking security guard at the Apartment. So much so that a Kannada speaking guy (local) was summarily chucked out of the job for his lack of Hindi knowledge. To cover it up, these members came up with another excuse which is a different matter altogether. But the moot point is that such an issue would no doubt have raised the heckles of a segment of local population (unemployed youth ) who could only perceive it as an affront for such kind of injustice perpetrated by ‘outsiders’. Who better to nurse such a grudge than politicians who would not stop highlighting the fact that they were slighted by the opportunities robbed from them by people outside the state. But who is to blame? The Politicians or the Association members (as in this case). Both displayed the parochial mindset, didn’t they?
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