The editorial “Mainstreaming chauvinism” (Nov. 11) highlights the need to curb the unconstitutional acts of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena MLAs who stooped so low as to slap Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi when he began taking the oath of office in Hindi. The incident was a sordid precedent in the history of any Legislative Assembly where the national language and the MLA who wanted to take the oath in it were insulted.

The cowardly and audacious act of the MNS legislators was against the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution.

Gurmit Singh Saini,


The MNS-sponsored mayhem in the Maharashtra Assembly is condemnable. No right-thinking individual can tolerate violence as a means of settling language preferences. The multiplicity of languages and culture in India is an asset few nations can boast of possessing. Our politicians would do well to remember that.

Trivikram Tantry,


It is astonishing to see the picture of the four suspended MNS legislators being garlanded in Mumbai (Nov. 11). Who is responsible for the MNS gaining in strength? From where does it get its resources to unleash goonda raj?

As the editorial points out, the MNS has a large support base among the young who justify the party’s chauvinist tendencies. Identity, rather than people’s issues, is gaining ground in Indian politics.

Shubhi Rai,

New Delhi

The MNS led by Raj Thackeray has shown once again that it does not believe in democracy and the Constitution. It has more faith in the culture of street fights, as manifested in the ugly incident that took place in the Maharashtra Assembly on Monday when its MLAs attacked Mr. Azmi for taking the oath in Hindi.

N.C. Sreedharan,


I agree that the Congress-NCP coalition has handled the MNS with kid gloves. Initiating criminal proceedings against the MLAs who attacked Mr. Azmi in the Assembly and its leader might solve the problem for now but they will be back soon. The main reason for the MNS gaining in strength is the lack of administration in the last 10 years. Fed up with the government, the people of Maharashtra have started looking up to the MNS, which promises the Marathi people better governance and so on.

Dundi Ajay,


That a party has been given the liberty to hold an entire State to ransom is unbelievable. The MNS has a very small political base but it derives its strength from government inaction. In the Assembly election, the Congress-NCP combine did not come to power because of its policies or welfare programmes. It won because the MNS split the Shiv Sena and the BJP votes. And, considering the enemy’s enemy a friend, it has allowed the MNS to wreak havoc.

Kunal Ray,


The MNS has been incessantly campaigning for separatism in the name of Marathi pride. The sons-of-the-soil agenda of the MNS and the Shiv Sena show that they are bereft of political ideals and etiquette. The acceptance the MNS has received among the rural populace is disappointing. Parochialism and the lack of strong government action have rendered Maharashtra vulnerable. The acceptance of the Sena brand of politics may lead to other parties adopting it elsewhere in the nation too. The government should relinquish its soft stand and initiate action against the MNS activists and their leader.

R. Sooraj Mon,


It is parties like the MNS that should be banned before Maoists are banned. MNS activists are not treated like naxalites only because the party has the support of the rich and powerful. At least, the Maoists address the socio-economic issues of people.

E.A. Ibrahim,


While it is one thing to insist that all those living in Maharashtra should have a working knowledge of Marathi, it is quite another to force the language down the throats of others.

What has made Mumbai what it is today is collective toil. There is no place for parochialism in our democracy.

D. Balakrishnan,


One can understand the MNS championing the cause of the Maratha Manoos but its hatred for Hindi is inexplicable. The party should acknowledge that the whole country stood by Mumbai to make it second only to Hollywood in the annals of movie making.

Seshagiri Row Karry,


I cannot believe that the ugly incident actually took place in the Maharashtra Assembly on Monday. The attack on Mr. Azmi by MNS activists was not just against an individual but an entire nation. Whatever happened to the spirit of “ Hindi hain hum watan hai, Hindustan hamara?”

Muhammad Kafeel Ansari,

New Delhi

Linguistic chauvinism has caught the fancy of only the conspicuous section of the underprivileged youth who join any movement that appears to espouse its cause, including the sons-of-the-soil agitation. The average Maharashtrian even in rural areas is broad-minded, decent and proud of his language and culture without being chauvinistic. I spent a good part of my life in Maharashtra. In my job-hunting days, my Maharashtrian neighbour was keener on finding a job for me than for his son of the same age. A Mumbaikar, whether home-grown or ‘outsider,’ is far more accommodative than his counterpart in other metros.

R.S. Pillai,


Unlike Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai which have the distinct stamp of region and language, Mumbai is cosmopolitan. Every industry and sector is dominated by non-Maharashtrians. The labour force is distinctly north Indian. The pain of Maharashtrians at their jobs being taken away is understandable. Unfortunately, the State that gave the nation stalwarts like Tilak, Gokhale and Dange is at the mercy of a confused and disoriented Thackeray family. Only an enlightened leadership can solve the problem the State is facing.

T. Santhanam,


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