Patriotism Vs Parochialism

Patriotism Vs Parochialism





*Rajesh T Bhatt

“No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its power of acting and reasoning as fear”

The above Quote from Edmund Burke fits well to the political situation created in Maharashtra. On the one side, for fear of loosing his political foothold in the state, Raj Thakrey of the MNS is making desperate attempts to present himself as son of the soil by spewing ruthless remarks about North Indians. Surprisingly though, Shiv Sena which had been trying to reach other sects away from their core ‘Marathi’ base has also started echoing the same voice. So much so that even Uddhav Thakrey warned that he would parcel back outsiders who comes to look for jobs in Mumbai. In the fear that Raj would hijack their political agenda, Shiv Sena has made this abrupt about turn.

The situation gets worse with every new parochial statement! This political fear-mongering has reached the level of insanity. At one time the Shiv Sena supreme is advising Amitabh Bachan to emulate Rajnikanth and be loyal and faithful to his ‘Karmboomi’. Not to remain behind, Raj has called on the leading industrialists of Mumbai to reserve 80% of their jobs for Marathis.

There is no denying the fact that betterment and upliftment of the people should be the prime concern of politicians. But progress at the cost of other dear ones doesn’t make any sense. Prohibiting people from outside Maharashtra from seeking employment is a real assault on the fiber of India. Raj may have briefly emerged as another hero for Maharashtra and the plank holder of Maratha pride after his uncle and Shiv Sena boss but in the longer run his actions will result in similar parochial politics from powerful politicians in other parts of country, especially UP and Bihar where fear of a backlash might be expected.

Our constitution has given us the fundamental right of status and opportunity inside our country and migration is to be considered within this perspective. Besides it has been instrumental in maintaining the unity and integrity of our nation. Therefore be that Raj of Maharashtra, Lalu of Bihar, Mulayam of UP or even Dr.Farooq of J & K, no one has the right to participate in the disintegration of India. These leaders should be responsible, dutiful and respectful towards India and all of her people. We want our politicians to be the upholders of national patriotism and not just to be the guards of their regional priorities.

Under the present circumstances, my major concern is about the culturally rich community of Kashmiri Hindus. They are already on the verge of losing their cultural identity after their mass exodus from Kashmir in early 90’s. If regional parochialism continues to exist, there will be no one to take up or uphold their cause. Taking the example of Maharashtra, a good number of displaced students of the Kashmiri Hindu community pursue their studies in various professional colleges after being granted admission under a special category. The help that Shiv Sena has provided and continues to provide in their time of crises can never be underestimated. But for the future, it is hard to even imagine what will be the repercussion of the present circumstances.

If the regionalism plank spreads to other parts of country, India will again be divided into many small fiefdoms and provinces. The ‘Unity in Diversity’ theme because of which India has always been viewed as a successful nation will just vanish making all the regions and people vulnerable and weak.

*Rajesh T Bhatt (freelancer), a Kashmir valley resident from Anantnag, Education: Post graduate in computer Science, working with Telecom sector for last 8 years. Father retired from defence services. Presently living in Delhi with his family.
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