Voice of Separatism Once Again Heard in India

The day of November 9 this year was certainly a historical and great day for the united Germans. Twenty years ago, on the same day, the people of East and West Germany felled the dividing Berlin wall. That’s why the 9th of November has such a great importance for the entire world. But unfortunately, while the Germans were celebrating the 20th anniversary of their unification on November 9, on the same day, some selfish chauvinist elements in India were planning to create a ‘wall’ of hate on the name of language.

The legislative assembly of Maharashtra state witnessed a very sorry situation when Abu Asim Azmi, a legislator of the assembly was manhandled by the legislators of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) just because he was taking the oath in national language Hindi. It is to be noted that a week earlier, the chief of the MNS, Raj Thackeray had ‘directed’ all the legislators of all parties to take the oath in Marathi language only. He also threatened if any legislator would take the oath in any non-Marathi language, its consequences would be seen by the entire house. At last, the warning of Thackeray proved right. The legislator Abu Azmi ‘violated the direction’ of Thackeray and he faced its consequences.

In fact, this is not a small incident which it seems to be. The legislators of the MNS didn’t object to those who took the oath in English instead of Marathi. Why only the legislator taking the oath in Hindi, was targeted? During this shameful incident the MNS legislators showed a black banner on which those states such as Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Gujarat, were mentioned where their respective regional languages are spoken. Therefore, Raj Thackeray’s MNS is spreading the venom of separatism not only in Maharashtra but it is also trying to evoke the chauvinist elements of other states too.

raj thackeray MNS President

The Marathi love of Raj Thackeray becomes clear from the fact that his children study in a well reputed English medium school in Mumbai. Not only his, the children of all the Marathi ‘lovers’ of MNS are getting their education from English medium schools. All these people watch Hindi movies, are making profits from the business arising out of the Hindi films. Even to spread their message in the entire country, they use the Hindi media. Despite this, what is the reason of their opposition of the country’s official language, Hindi? What compelled the MNS legislators to act in such an insulting and shameful manner? Even the MNS regretted this incident later.

In fact, this ‘fight’ in the name of language is not new. The linguistic and regional issues in Maharashtra are being used just to polarise the votes in the name of language and region, so that Raj Thackeray can establish himself as the ‘great’ Maratha leader, and following the same way becomes the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. In many of the Indian states, these types of voices are heard from time to time. A few selfish politicians themselves made the issues and spread them in public just to catch power. They try to link such issues with respect, dignity, pride, culture and identity and play with the emotions of the people. Politicians with separatist and chauvinist ‘ideology’ are well aware of their ‘strength’ which tells them that they don’t deserve to be in national politics because of their low level thinking and standard of politics. They lack such political dynamism which can make them popular out of a particular region. So there is no question of such leaders attaining national popularity. Therefore, they find easy to practice separatist politics, to emotionally blackmail people in the name of language and culture, so as to achieve their limited selfish political ends.

Praveen togaria Vishva Hindu Parishad leader

The incident of November 9 of Maharashtra state assembly was seen by the media in various ways. A part of it called it as a slap of the face of Hindi, other called it as insult of the national language in the state legislative assembly. But interestingly the most ridiculous comment came from Pravin Togadia, the firebrand leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Instead of condemning Raj Thackeray for the shameful incident, this ‘nationalist’ and culture contractor charged Abu Azmi of ‘deliberately’ taking the oath in Hindi to spread enmity between the Marathi people and North Indians. This statement of Togadia once again shows his communal prejudice. Such statements by the VHP clearly signify that separatist, communal and divisive powers are supporters of each other. The same powers are the real enemies of the nation. Any communal or regional chauvinist posing himself as nationalist is always exposed by his ambition of capturing power, as is evident by Raj Thackeray and other so called nationalist leaders.

Question is that in the present circumstances, who seem to be the real enemy of the country? The nation is facing more threat from whom? The terrorists coming from across the border or these hypocrite ‘nationalists’ who evoke an Indian against the other Indian in the name of language, region, caste, class and religion. People like Raj Thackeray and Pravin Togadia have no positive issues. So, to maintain the whiteness of their clothes, they have the best way to play with the emotions of the people. In these circumstances, the need of the hour is that the Central government take legal measures against these narrow minded and divisive forces and it is the duty of the people to understand the motives behind such activities of such people. In our country, respect, dignity and identity is based on the principle of Unity in Diversity and there is no place for narrow things like regional chauvinism.

Tanveer Jafri is an award-winning journalist and peace activist, based in India, covering communal harmony and social activities.