The attack on Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi by MNS legislators in the Maharashtra Assembly for taking the oath in Hindi, and the Shiv Sena’s demand that he be expelled for making some remarks on Bal Thackeray are condemnable.
National integrity should not be left to the mercy of some unscrupulous elements. Mumbai has a track record of standing united whenever the situation demands — whether during rains or a terror attack. It is once again time for Mumbaikars to display their unity and express their aversion to the parochial designs of self-styled champions of Maratha pride.
Biharis and other north Indians have been at the receiving end in Maharashtra for many years. Only recently, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were not welcome in his State. Is Bihar not as much a part of India as are Maharashtra and M.P.?
One should speak only in Marathi in Maharashtra. Hindi is no-no in Tamil Nadu. In fact, if your child does not study Tamil, he is not qualified to get the first rank even if he scores the top marks. At this rate, one cannot live in some parts of his own country. Tomorrow, you will not be able to live in some districts of your own State and every district will say people from other districts are not welcome.
A strong nationalist spirit is more important than economic strength. I feel we are not doing enough to inculcate it. We don’t even encourage the singing of the national anthem and the national song frequently. How many of us know them well? While talking of education, we talk of grades and other issues but not about acquiring knowledge on our own nation and how and why we should feel proud of it. Many of our politicians do not travel beyond their States. How can they be expected to promote the spirit of oneness? Gandhiji was perhaps the last person who did a real Bharat darshan.
The legislators of the MNS exposed their immaturity when they indulged in violence against Mr. Azmi in the Maharashtra Assembly. We can understand the party’s mission to promote Marathi but violence is no way to do it. Parochialism is opposed to the spirit of democracy.
The display of linguistic chauvinism by the MNS legislators is condemnable and deplorable. Having said that, I must say the Hindi-speaking people are equally to blame for such incidents. Hindi is only one of the many official languages. Other languages continue to have their pride of place. When members take the oath in their regional language, they establish a connect with the local culture.
I don’t condone violence in any form, whatever the purpose, but I do endorse the view that it was the stubborn attitude of the Hindi protagonists of yesteryear that has given birth to linguist chauvinism in India.