I was watching the 12 o’clock news this afternoon, when this whole episode came back to me. One of the main headlines (yeah, you guessed it... ‘Breaking News’) was that Shiv Sainiks in Kandivili (... in Mumbai) and in Aurangabad were holding violent protests against the screening of the latest Shah Rukh-I-open-my arms-so-wide-the -whole-world-can-run-into-them- Khan movie, My Name Is Khan.
SRK apparently voiced his opinion that Pakistani Cricket players should not be prevented from playing in the (overly hyped) Indian Premier League
Yeah, I know what you are thinking... What the hell did he exactly say that offended a political party so much??
But apparently the Shiv Sena is so deeply offended by this that they have resorted to vandalising public properties and even suggested that SRK should go to Pakistan and stay there (umm, hello??...the guy is like one of the most popular Indian icons abroad... and pays all those crores of rupees in tax which
Mumbai has been witnessing regular political turmoil off late, owing to issues of regionalism and communalism. Why should it be “Mumbai for Maharashtrians”? I’m a Bengali, and I’ve stayed for years in the city, and love the place. Why is my right to live and work in Mumbai any less than that of a Marathi? Of course one can talk about excessive migration and that a city cannot accommodate population beyond a point. But that’s more to do with unbalanced regional development, how are tirades against communities a solution?
But why one city... it’s the same with many parts of the country. Several states have been so wrought by communal politics that it has hampered their economic development (...example, West Bengal). Aren’t there like a dozen or more issues more important than umm... excuse me, but what’s your mothertongue?
It sometimes seems ironical that India is the largest democracy in the world. Fascistic, parochial and communist ideologies are more prevalent here than the whole ‘social, secular, democratic’ spiel contained in the Preamble. Is street violence and intimidation the sign of a republic? The only place where the whole ‘of the people, for the people, by the people’ concept seems applicable these days are the ever-so-loved reality shows (public voting, SMS’s et al). As for elections, I really don’t see what impact they have at grass-root levels; it’s the same old story year after year.
I wonder how far the ever-growing economy of this country is gonna go, supported by a decadent political system. I wonder if we’ll ever overcome these regional, religious and communal divides. I wonder whether I will feel the same sense of frustration thirty years from now, that I feel today... or will it be worse?
PS : Does anyone else hate the word ‘Hindutva’ as much as I do??