Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Pioneer > Online Edition : >> Sena is belittling Shivaji’s legacy

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    • Sena is belittling Shivaji’s legacy
    • Swapan Dasgupta
    • To only blame the Shiv Sena, or its estranged cousin Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, for injecting intolerance into Mumbai is to exonerate another culprit. The State Congress played an equally cynical game by attempting to impose a language test on aspiring taxi drivers. It was apparent to everyone, not least the Congress high command, that this was Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s way of getting a slice of the Marathi manoos constituency.
    • What the Shiv Sena is in effect demanding is an Article 370 for Maharashtra that would confer exceptional rights on ‘State subjects’ and deny these to others who would presumably be categorised ‘guest workers’. Apart from the sheer insanity of distorting the momentum of India’s business capital — whose beneficial fallout also touches the Marathi manoos — the Shiv Sena has now begun to question the primacy of Indian citizenship. In effect, the Sena is demanding a two-tiered sovereignty for Maharashtra, a demand that is qualitatively little different from the demand for ‘dual sovereignty’ in Jammu & Kashmir. Has Uddhav Thackeray and his cousin weighed the implications of what they have undertaken? Do they realise the chaos if every second State presses for exclusionary laws?

      It is time the BJP considered the implications of associating with a party that seems hell-bent on fracturing Indian nationhood. The muscle-flexing of the Sena has gone unchallenged and unquestioned for too long. If the BJP doesn’t want to stand up and be counted, it may as well proclaim that all that lofty talk of idealism and ideology is pure humbug.

      As for the Shiv Sena, it should realise that Shivaji didn’t proclaim himself the King of the Deccan; he was anointed the Hindu Maharaj; his kingdom was the Hindu pad padshahi. The Sena is ensuring that Shivaji’s grand canopy is shrunk to the size of a handkerchief.

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