Now that we have that "pressure" out of the way, we can begin talking...
Gone are the days when people of India could safely distance themselves from anything that was political or nationalist in nature. The bigger issues of today are staring into our faces and sometimes breathing down our necks. Let's accept it: Whether we want it or not, we ARE all involved in the happenings around our country.
Take the issue of Maharashtra for instance. It indeed should not have become an "issue" to begin with! To insist that Marathi be spoken in the whole of Maharashtra( including Mumbai...some people refuse to accept that for reasons largely vague) is quite beyond my understanding. Is Tamil spoken in Tamilnadu? Is Kannada splashed all over in Karnataka( including Bangalore...it's better to make it clear that the capital of the state is not an exception to the rule)? Is Bengali spoken in West Bengal? Shouldn't Marathi be spoken in Maharashtra? The answers are a big "YES". It's so simple. I fail to know why it is undemocratic, unconstitutional and unfair.
Let's ignore Raj Thakre and the other Thakres for a moment. The Marathi banners in shops should have been made compulsory by the B.M.C. and the State Government. It is their responsibility. But that they have been sleeping on the issue, a Raj Thakre had to rise and threaten to implement it. Funny how hastily people termed it undemocratic. Mumbai is not independent of Maharashtra. How can it be? Intellectually impotent people who revel in blatant displays of "sophistication" want Mumbai to be given an autonomous status. Ok. Then let Maharashtra stop supplying power, water to Mumbai. Let Mumbai produce it's own power. Is it possible? I am not even beginning to talk about Samyukta Maharashtra movement! Was it for nothing?
Now let's turn towards the "educated idiot". There are lots of them around in the guise of our own friends. I know one such 29 year old woman. She is an Engineer and has been working for a VERY reputed software firm from many many years...has lived in the USA( that somehow gives her the prerogative of growing horns on the head) and her mother tongue is not Marathi. Just yesterday we had an argument about this entire issue. Needless to say that she is dead against Raj Thakre...so much so that she wants him dead.
Well but as far as the next national hero "shaheed" Rahul Raj is concerned, she had some very interesting arguments. For example:
1] "He just had a gun. He at least didn't kill anybody. Had he wanted to kill, he would have...but he didn't. He just shot someone in the leg. So why did the Police have to kill him?"
Rahul Raj was an infuriated young man WITH A GUN who COULD have easily killed somebody. Nobody in with a sane mind would trust someone with a gun who is shouting like a mad man, "phone lagao! Main Raj Thakre ko maarna chaahta hoon!", and has hijacked a BEST bus, has grievously injured a passenger(am sure there are people out there who would argue about what exactly amounts to being "grievously injured" ) and had the potential( owing to the gun) to injure many others! And the Police did talk to him asking him to surrenderbut of no avail. So the Police should have captured him alive. Even I would have liked that. After all he was a young man of 23 with a life ahead of him and much more potential than just wielding a gun. But the Police have done their job. And if that hurts "sentiments", well nothing should be done about it. Rahul Raj was no freedom fighter, nor a soldier. At least don't doubt the integrity of Police each time who actually run the risk of losing their lives...and they regularly do. But if anyone thinks they can come to Mumbai and threaten the citizens here with life-threatening tactics like these, they should be and they will be shot down.
2] "Even Guru Nanak had a weapon. So did Rahul Raj. But they didn't hurt anyone."
Honestly, I am at a loss of words. My "educated" engineer friend said this. Hating Raj Thakre is one thing. But putting Guru Nanak Dev and Rahul Raj on a similar platform is an utter lack respect for life, spirituality and goodness. And somehow posthumously everybody acquires a halo of sorts. Rahul Raj has suddenly become the new-age "martyr". I feel ashamed of people who defend Rahul Raj's actions. Or may be he should have killed 5-6 people on the roads of Mumbai for giving the Police enough reason to kill him. What a shame is this kind of thinking!
3] "Lalu Prasad Yadav is not at fault if he gives advertisements for the Central Railway Board Exams only in regional dailies of U.P. and Bihar. If candidates from Maharashtra, Karnataka or elsewhere want to appear for it, it is THEIR responsibility to find out if exams are happening or where and when they are happening. It's not Lalu's responsibility to play it fair."
At exactly this point my brain and all the other faculties had practically gone numb. Somehow there is a perception that people in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra are rolling in luxury! How poor is public memory about the dire straits of farmers from Vidharbha. We are not living luxuriously. The past CMs of Maharashtra have worked towards making Maharashtra what it is today. Maharashtrians have a legacy of culture, language, music, history and art which we are extremely grateful for and proud of. Maharashtrians are hard-working and honest people which has taken Maharashtra to the position that it is today. But my point is that because I love Maharashtra, I don't hate other states! Obviously not! If all of us start thinking a little more about "how can I help my home state some more?" and start objectively looking at whether my Chief Minister is really doing his job well, then won't we all progress as a Nation? Shouldn't people from Bihar question the CM: Why don't you ever talk about supporting the dying farmers of Bihar instead of encouraging us to "attack" Mumbai in scores for Chhat Puja!Where are our jobs in Bihar? Why are there no jobs in Bihar? Where are reforms? Where is the infrastructure? Where are the basic necessities of life?
If we all start looking towards our home states and start asking these questions, it will have an effect. The only solution to unemployment in other states does not lie in coming to Maharashtra. And it's not fair on the local people here. In fact it is a funny sight to see "bhaiyas" selling fish instead of the local Koli women.
Really, if I get a transfer to Coorg or some Tea or Coffee plantation area, I will not bring thousands of Maharashtrians one by one and start working as "tea pickers" and "snatch" the livelihood of the local Kannadigas! It's not right.
This is not called "drawing borders". This is not regionalism. Everyone is welcome here and everywhere else. We are not dividing. Come here, buy yourself a home( but surely not a shanty on the footpaths of Mumbai!), work here( earn your job), enjoy the culture and diversity with your own culture, adapt, contribute, respect( the language and customs) and we can all live happily ever after!