Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Poisonous Politics

While the country was rightly united against Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray’s chauvinist attack on cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar in an editorial carried by Samna, the Sena mouthpiece, what is far more important is how we commit ourselves to the idea of India, rejecting and defeating the Sena or the Raj Thackeray-led MNS brand of hooliganism that militates against the very foundation of our democracy. What was Sachin’s fault? From the parochial Sena viewpoint, Sachin’s ‘‘Mumbai belongs to all Indians’’ comment is a blatantly anti-Marathi sixer on Maharashtra’s ‘‘political pitch’’ that he must stay away from for his own ‘‘well-being’’. So Sachin, or for that matter any Marathi, cannot say he is ‘‘a proud Maharashtrian, but an Indian first’’ as the cricketer said! This is poisonous politics that brings with it the possibility of it being emulated by certain self-styled sons of the soil suffering from a deep-rooted us-and-them malady elsewhere too. Thankfully, Mumbai’s cosmopolitanism is extraordinary, hence sustainable despite the Sena ruffians. The city is also the country’s financial capital — due not to any Sena contribution but to the wonderful mingling of minds and expertise from across the country. Mumbai, therefore, belongs to each one of us in that sense. True, locals must get preference in jobs, but must the whole business also remain so mean as to be a total compromise on special skills and merit? Why do not the locals rather compete if they have merit and deserve what they deem theirs exclusively? The world is becoming more competitive by the day. THE SENTINEL

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