The state of Maharashtra was supposed to be at the forefront of social and political movements. A host of leaders such as Mahatma Phule, Shahu Maharaj, Agarkar, Ranade, Gokhale, Tilak, Karve, Savarkar and so on. The list can be elongated further. It can also be edited to make it more ‘liberal’ or ‘patriotic’. But the point is not that.
Now let us look at what is happening today.
In the assembly, an MLA was ‘suspended’ because he refused to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. Predictably, Shiv Sena MLAs supported the action, profoundly sad that BJP took it up first and SS had to play second fiddle. So they added a bit of spice by calling for a ‘permanent suspension’. BJP upped its ante and asked for ‘social expulsion’. Remember the scene from ‘The Great Dictator’, when Hynkel and Napaloni sit in height-adjustable chairs and each tries to hoist himself at an upper level?
What is there to worry? It would be worrisome if BJP & SS don’t do such acts. But this time, who supported them? Congress and NCP, the ‘secular’ side.
Cut to – more generalization. Everyone should be ‘patriotic’. How does one define ‘patriotism’? Don’t say anything against the interest of the nation? No, that would be only half the portion. The other half – don’t say anything against the policies of the government.
Who are likely to be the trouble makers? Of course Urdu writers. So simple solution – let us take a declaration from them.
In these times of economic turmoil – the mounting NPAs of banks and looming famine – if there is a systematic effort to shift the entire focus to such ideas, it is really worrisome.