Sunday, November 02, 2008

Why Raj Thakre is the winner

Nobody knew this nephew Thakre (ok English media writes Thackeray) till a few months back. Now any "small kid" does, and how! One should admit this guy has succeeded in grabbing the spotlight. Cutting across classes and cultures -- educated middle class to the Bihari labourers -- he has become an object of despise. In our "national media" and in our private parties alike, we dismiss it as "cheap tricks".

Because we really don't want to admit this war is real.

That this person has managed to gather good support among many "aam" Maharashtrians.

It is not rocket science. It is not Raj's intellectual property either. It is the basis on which Shiv Sena built itself. That is how SS got unprecedented kind of mass support in the seventies. Rooting for locals when it comes to jobs in Maharashtra, especially Mumbai. (The Hindutva came much later to Shiv Sena).

The jobless Maharashtrians is a real issue. As is lack of jobs in Bihar or UP. In other words, the imbalance in our very development model itself.

One may say "India is my nation" and be proud about it (Shiv Sainiks also do, and so do Maharashtra Navnirman Sainiks) but it remains a fact that Bombay is "the place to go" for most Indians. Then there is at most one Delhi, one Chennai, one Bangalore. And may be some smaller cities. A large part of India lives in darkness, without basic healthcare, without access to primary education, without anything.

No matter how much you try to romanticize the "village life" sitting in the air conditioned comfort of your city abodes, people are flowing from these villages to cities. And these cities are overcrowded, to say the least.

The living conditions in a slum in Mumbai are quite bad, but that does not put any breaks on the inflow. Which essentially means that the situation at home is worse.

And as long as we refuse to address that, as long as we do not wake up to the need for a more distributed and more localized development, as long as we are blinded by the "growth rates" and flying sensex (at least that has stopped for now), we are digging our own graves. The regional battles are here to stay.

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[a related link: Marathis in US justify Raj demands; but condone his means to achieve it, from NDTV dot com]


Raj said...

quite true ... UP does desperately need self-reliance right now

Heera said...

well this is not the case of UP/ maharashtra... this is the case of all states , they realy need self reliance. i realy think karnataka also will become another maharashtra.

Raj said...

i don't quite think that the same ethnic group can and will be attacked in the same fashion there... Upeities/Bihari's are not that weak, helpless or hard to get along with or even offensive in any way as they may have been made out to be in MH, that's why every other group supports us in our anger our being targeted this way...

Ashutosh Sovani said...

1. He is not the winner. Getting name in media is not winning. In my opinion, even getting assembly seats doesn't mean winning. For that matter, Modi got re-elected with a thumping majority after Gujarat 2002. But the events still haunt him and that's the only show-stopper from him becoming a PM candidate.

2. Raj's fight is not for jobs for Maharashtrians. It is only for the sake of electoral gains. It is staged, unreal, incomplete and short sighted. It started with Marathi Sanskriti. Then went on towards Marathi language on sign-boards and has now turned towards Marathi jobs.

3. The Congress government in the state should have controlled the matter swiftly and quickly in February 2008 - instead of waiting till October for the RJD and the SP to tighten the screws at the center.

4. After February 2008, Raj was asked - from where will he bring the 20,000 Marathi labourers to the Nashik belt - to replace those who had fled Northwards. I have not since read about the promise that Raj made at that time - that he will send 20,000 un-employed Marathi youth.

The point is - public memory is too short and everyone is looking at short term gains and in the process ruining the future in the long term.