I have been postponing this post since quiet some time now. But, after yesterday’s assembly poll results, I couldn’t think any other post would be more appropriate. Bagging 5.6% of total votes of Maharashtra and 23.8% of the total votes of Mumbai in its maiden elections, Raj Thackeray has proved to the world and the Marathi Manoos (whom he says he’s fighting for) that he’s got worth.
For those of you who aren’t very well aware of politics in Maharashtra (with its epicenter in Mumbai), Raj Thackeray, is the nephew of the great Shiv Sainik Bal Thackeray. In 2006, he broke his alliance with the Shiv Sena and formed his own party named the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). Since its inception, MNS has been drawing both attention and controversies. The newspapers have at least a report about MNS or its activities everyday and camps are being formed on the basis of pro-MNS or anti-MNS even in the newsrooms. While, Raj Thackeray tries to justify his policies and acts, and the media stands against him, this publicity which was a gift to him by the media, proved to boost his mettle in the assembly elections which led his party to fare amazingly well for a party contesting elections for the first time. He broke Shiv Sena’s myth of invincibility and proved that Marathi Manoos has his self interests above the needs of the political parties.
I was first motivated to write about this on my blog when I saw an interview of Raj on TimesNow, the first national news channel to have the privilege of interviewing Raj Thackeray, the king of controversies. I really like this news channel because there it’s more of viewer interest and less of nonsense. There is this host on prime time everyday, who also happens to be the Editor-in-Chief of the channel, Arnab Goswami, whose side in the Newshour Debate (the show he hosts) is ambiguous as the one of any mediator should be. He is someone who doesn’t use a word in any other language except English and he was interviewing the one who hates anything that isn’t created in Maharashtra, Raj Thackeray. Questions are posed in English and answers are in Marathi. What an interview that was! Who except Raj Thackeray has the guts to go on air on the national platform and not speak one complete sentence in either Hindi (considered to be the national language) or English (a language accepted universally across India).
To be frank, I also have been caught in the fray of the debate whether the policies and plans of MNS and its supremo Raj Thackeray are correct or is it just to attract media attention. But, since some time, I have really begun to think about his policies with an open mind and have found them appropriate in most cases. And, albeit the world isn’t in favour of what he does, it’s evident that he and his activities are taken seriously by the world because after there was his unwritten order of having Marathi boards outside every shop, there were boards of shops (even those in big malls) and even the name of the malls in Marathi.
The countries are broken down into states for better legislation. The legislators are elected by democratic processes in most of the places and they make the laws best suited for the region as they and their ancestors have lived there since centuries. They know the region, the terrain, the pros, the cons, the needs, the weather, the culture, the tradition and what not! They have been there since the beginning, seen it change and evolve. Raj Thackeray is also one such scion of Maharashtra. And, I guess that’s the reason he is so pissed off over various issues those he propagates. Let me address each issue one by one or else I won’t do justice to what is the heart-of-the-matter.
Use of boards and hoardings in the language everyone in the state understands is just something that isn’t to be passed as a law. It’s just another marketing tact. If you want to reach out to the maximum number of people, use the language they understand the best.
Marathi education a must in schools in Maharashtra. Isn’t it so very necessary and essential? If you are staying in a particular state, shouldn’t you know the culture and tradition well so that you can mingle well with the people who are actually the original inhabitants of the place?
Giving jobs to the Maharashtrians before those who have migrated from other states. This reminds me of the time when there was the Railway exam to be held in Mumbai. The newspapers in Maharashtra didn’t have any advertisements of the exam which would appoint bureaucrats and officials of the railway who would work in Maharashtra. Rather, those newspapers in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had advertisements and people came to Mumbai just to give that examination. How fair is that? Again, if you are going to work in Maharashtra (for whatever job it may be) don’t you need to know the language the Marathi Manoos understands, don’t you need to know the region in which you are going to work, don’t you need to know everything about the place, why do MNCs appoint their country heads from within the staff of that country? In short, you need to know many things more than just the basic art of working.
These are the things I think have invited most of the havoc and controversies. The final decision to like his opinions and tactics lies onto you as I am nobody to force my choices on your shoulders. But, as far as I am concerned, I really admire this politician. I think, he is one of his own kind.
I may lose many followers (if I really have them) after this post, but, I guess, blogging is about writing what I feel and thus, I ain’t ashamed to say that I admire Raj and his persona.