Special Correspondent

Affront on heritage of tolerance of Marathi saint-poets, social reformers

NEW DELHI: A group of eminent Maharashtrians have urged their fellow Maharashtrians to reject outright the regional chauvinists “who are engaged in dangerous games for electoral gains.” They have called upon the authorities in the State to thwart the designs of regional chauvinists with vigour.

In a statement here on Monday on the recent attacks on north Indians in Maharashtra, they said that perpetrators have defied the rule of law and challenged the fundamental right of the citizens to travel, study, reside or earn a livelihood anywhere in India. “What is more, their cause – the interest of the ‘Marathi Manoos’ – smacks of regional chauvinism,” they said.

Expressing their anguish , they said these “illegal and unconstitutional actions” were an affront on the heritage and the traditions of tolerance that Marathi saint-poets, social reformers and intellectuals have cultivated over many centuries.”

“Regional chauvinism jeopardizes the very future of Maharashtrian youth in whose name the chauvinists are agitating. Maharashtrian youth, like youth all over India, have legitimate aspirations to acquire education, develop skills and successfully compete in the market place to get better jobs and higher incomes. These are indeed legitimate aspirations and can be met by a dynamic and united India,” they said.

However, they pointed out that a failure to check and punish the regional chauvinist forces would be detrimental to theinterests of the State . “Sooner than later, this failure is bound to subvert the unity of India. Scores of Maharashtrians, alongside their compatriots , have made the supreme sacrifice of laying down their lives for the sake of the unity of the nation.”

The signatories to the statement included Air Chief Marshal (Retired) Anil Tipnis, Dileep Padgaonkar, Harish Salve, Rajdeep Sardesai, Suresh Tendulkar, Tasnim Mehta, Air Marshal (Retd) Satish Inamdar and Vijay Kelkar.