As I watched the news stories recently, listening to the vivid descriptions of the threats by Shiv Sena workers, I wonder where our country is headed. When Shiv Sena workers can go around proudly preaching the world of the right and wrong, where is the voice of India? Do such groups represent the natives as a whole? Where is our legal system, not cutting it off at the bud?
Shiv Sena might be an example of the big underlying problem. We have just learnt to accept and tolerate people bullying us. I do not deny that the natives of the land will have to face more competition for survival by migration of people from different states. What would Mumbai be without all those who contributed into getting Mumbai as the Financial Capital of India? Indeed migration is causing many socio-economic issues like unemployment, conflicts of cultures, etc. If there are problems, let us deal with them instead of taking the “goondaistic”(if I may coin the word) approach. Why is a Marathi expected to accept he is a Marathi first and then an Indian? Now whether a person wishes to speak in Marathi or not should be a “choice” and not a rule. If just speaking in Marathi enriches our culture, then God save the limited minds. Not even the stalwarts are spared. Aren’t we as Indians entitled to voice our opinions? Why do we need a Shiv Sena to act as moral police, deciding what is right and wrong? Isn’t this just a case of open mockery of our systems?
One important question that arises is that, does Shiv Sena or the like actually represent the common man or the natives of the land? I would prefer to not accept. Now if Shiv Sena actually fought for the native Marathis, then what significant work has been done for them that has solved their day-to-day problems? Instead of fretting and fuming over celebrities and moral policing, more constructive work could be done for the Marathis. At least these celebrities are bringing in revenue for the state. That is a strong enough reason to tolerate a so-called “outsider”.
And this surely is not the case of Mumbai alone. Almost every city which is pole-vaulting to luxurious economies and flourishing businesses is facing the same. I, being a Bangalorean have seen drastic changes in the face of the city in the past few years. What existed as a pensioner’s paradise is now the hot and happening place. This development got Bangalore on the world map. The native Kannadigas have seen the difference. There has been a sudden increase in population, traffic jams and many more after effects of migration of people. A city which was once sleeping, has got a free chance to discover wildness today.
Some years ago, one hardly even knew the term pub and today we have the youth of the country thronging to these places. There has been a complete lifestyle change in most homes. Economy increased, so did the ability to buy and proportionally the prices too have increased. The natives here blame the sudden development in the city. Point taken, but why do we have a short-sighted view and crib only about our problems and not relish our benefits. Goondaism in the state takes different forms here.
When a stalwart hero dies, there is almost a curfew in the city. There is more damage to the city during these times than any other. What do we gain by pouting in our anger like this? The life would never return. Innocent lives and property are lost. And in such situations, more than the actual “fans”, frustrated souls would be given a free pass to damage anything in sight. Why do we tolerate such acts? Why aren’t such things condemned? If this was a one-time issue, it could have been ignored and forgotten. But time and again, in different corners of the country we are seeing a fall of democracy.
What if one fine day, Shiv Sena or such chauvinistic group’s workers decided to rule the country? Will we all still sit back and watch in fear and indifference? When will we ever get out of the attitude “it doesn’t matter to my life”? What is the use of such a democracy where people never voice their opinion? If for each national issue, we all thought there is nothing I can do or it doesn’t matter to me, then this land is not “of the people”. If people cannot stand up for themselves or their rights, then no law can help them.
There is a harmony required for a balance in society. It is the law of nature. Everything comes at a price. If you need a flourishing economy, learn to tolerate the by-products of it.
Instead of leaving patriotism to books, burn it alive in your hearts. Stand up for yourself and your country. If we as citizens don’t strive to improve our country who else will? You need to first clean up your own homes before you clean the world. I hope, we become more tolerant towards our fellow citizens and extremely intolerant towards “goondaism”. Raise your voice bravely where it is needed.
On a final note I would like to say, spend your energies in improving your system rather than wasting it on deciding what is right and wrong. We have an elected government and a law system to take care of that. Let us strengthen it in the right way.
The writer is a journalist at Youth Ki Awaaz