Xenophobic sub-nationalism

Read veteran journalist Mrinal Pande’s column in Mint about Bombay and the Thackeray phenomenon-

Every migration, irrespective of its cause, nature and scale, carries the seeds for violent conflicts, self-interest and xenophobia being historical constants that predate settled societies. One would like to raise a question here, which even if it is not central to the question of migration, is a matter of life and death for all of us who live in India, whatever their “native state”. Is the country actually habitable? Is it possible to live with people who will set out on organized manhunts from time to time? In a heavily populated country such as ours, with wide disparities in income, people must move out of their native place to earn a living, especially the rural landless poor. This right of theirs is sanctioned by our Constitution and must be guarded by the state.
Most of our vocal philosophers in the weekend TV channel discussions do talk of this. But they speak neither Hindi nor Marathi but only English, and seldom pay attention to the fact that by speaking in English they shall remain totally incomprehensible to both the street fighters of Thackeray and their victims. Has it ever occurred to them that in the long term, renouncing India’s vernaculars may have consequences which might harm their entire intellectual class?

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  • tugenensis  On November 6, 2008 at 10:21 am

    A good read, Mrinal. But the solution to the problems of a dense and disparate India is not to make it even more extreme. The solution is to make more Mumbai’s so that people everywhere can reap the benefits. For decades, the opportunities have been squandered by the Bimaru states. Those who didn’t, are now better off than Mumbai/Maharashtra, in some sense.


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