Maharashtra is a State blessed with early streak of development. Bombay, the financial capital of India is also the hub of trade, commerce and industry. People from all over India come see Bombay and enjoy its glamour. Most of the people come to visit the city but some come to make living. It is the same as people going to Calcutta in old days. In recent decades, big cities have experienced phenomenon growth; and there is shortage of indigenous man power, both skilled and unskilled, to support the mushrooming demand. It just so happens that the people of two most populous States of India, namely Bihar and UP, eagerly migrate in search of livelihood; and accept jobs and work hard. They fulfill the needs of businesses and try prosperity at the cost of doing even menial jobs.
Now the question is: should they be made to give up their religious practices and made to learn the language of the host State.On the legal ground, I would argue that Hindi is a National Language and speaking Hindi should not be bar for movement and relocation anywhere in India. As far as learning the language is concerned, it should be left to the individuals. If they wish to be assimilated in the mainstream of the local society, they will mimic the tradition of their adopted place; and language is one thing they have to learn for integration. However, such a change cannot be imposed. It should be the natural outcome because some do not accept change but continue to live in their adopted place as good citizen. Those who change enjoy prosperity and success.
May I equate the people of Maharashtra and Gujarat who live in the USA with the people of Bihar and UP who live in the big cities of India? There are a lot of Maharashtrians and Gujaraties who are functionally illiterate in the USA. Neither they have tried to learn the English language nor they have been made to learn. Such people work in Hotels, Motels, gas stations and grocery stores; and clean toilets at bus depots and airports to make living. In America, it is called the dignity of labor. Away from work, no body cares why do they practice their rituals, worship their Sai Baba and eat Indian foods. No body hounds them for practicing their custom or detest them for speaking in their gibberish English because, as human beings, they have the freedom and right to do as they wish even though local Americans have hard time understanding them.
Personally, I admire them for maintaining their identity whether it comports with the religious and cultural tradition of the USA or not. Likewise, the people of Bihar and UP come to Maharashtra to make living and no one has the right to discriminate against them.
Let us assume that Raj Thackeray is the man who rules the State.of Maharashtra, and his State consists of Moslem, Christian, Sikha and Hindu population. We all know from his previous political pedigree that he hates Moslems and he hates Christians. Now he has devised a ploy to hate the people from Bihar and UP. Is there a secret behind his ploy? Perhaps, there is a secret and it is his political ambition. He wants to establish the hegemony of his MNS so that it could be counted as a political force and as its leader he would the person other parties would recognize.
The story of his political ambition is not a secret at all. He left his renowned uncle's Siv Sena to seek a greener pasture in politics. Evidently he stole the knowledge of political brinkmanship from his firebrand uncle but he did not learn that politics in democracy could not be self-centered, brutal, quarrelsome and destructive.
However, Raj Thackeray is a cunning fellow. First, he marshaled the resources of his tyrannical group to subdue the people of Bihar and UP, then, challenged the State administration when he foresaw weakness. The circumstances of his arrest was the failure of both the Chief Minister Deshmukha and Home Minister Patil. Perhaps they surreptitiously helped Raj Thackeray to create the chaos for political reasons.
There is parallel in history of the people like Mr. Raj Thackery. He is the leader of the group that calls itself MNS similar to the group that once in the USA called itself Ku Klux Klan or KKK. .KKK advocated white supremacy, anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia and nativism. Indeed they were hate mongers, bigots and lynched blacks to demonstrate that blacks were inferior and any right they had was subordinate to the wished of the white people. Exactly the same is the behavior of Mr. Thackeray and his MNS. In the guise of protecting the culture of Maharashtra from the influx of migrants of a particular region, he is using the same ploy as the KKK did. Possessed with the mussel power of the goons of disgruntled Siv Sainiks, we could candidly state that, whatever he is doing, he is doing it with impunity to gain fame. Of Course he has at his disposal the backing of the disruptive forces that could main and lynch the people of Bihar and UP. But can he match the determination and zeal of the these people. Probably not, because, the people of Bihar and UP know the importance of hopes and dreams and they realize them through toil and struggle. However if they were forced in such a conflict, it would be intense enough to engulf the entire country.
If Mr. Raj Thackeray is that rogue a person what should be done to him. I would argue that the rationale should be presented to the people of Maharashtra so that they could put Raj to shame by disowning him and taking him into task for being divisive and ungraceful to fellow countrymen. He could be exposed only through the purifying process of reason to be declared as an insane person with venomous ideas.
I would further state that Raj Thackeray is not the friend of the people of Mharashtra. He is a blemish on the good name of Maharashtra and a threat to our National Integration. In nutshell, he is an outlaw and his organization, the MNS is involved in inciting violence, and disrupting peace and harmony.
In the concluding paragraph, I would argue that Mr. Raj Thackeray is not an activist for good causes because he only appeals to a few hooligans and exploit their emotions and prejudices. He is not a populist either because he violates the civil rights, constitutional rights and human rights of the people and creates disorder and upheaval. Could he be a demagogue? I would say no because, demagoguery is primarily applied to political leaders and not to criminals, Raj could not be a demagogue. He has penchant to be a crime boss who controls his criminal empire by the use of fear and force. To confuse him with a political demagogue would be an act of sympathy for him; and he does not deserve sympathy. .
Nawal Pandey, USA