Culture, the unique spirit that binds people of a particular ethnic identity, is making news like never before. The self-acclaimed custodians of culture have come to the fore, and not for the first time, causing an aspect of human life which unites and integrates , to divide.
The essence of culture comes from within and is seldom, if ever, subject to outside force. Threats, arson, harm, chaos never exact willing compliance. The distinctiveness of a cultural identity must be so endearing that it initiates ready acceptance rather make the ‘outsiders’ want to mix their identity in it. It ought to be grown, nurtured and promoted than imposed against will. It must be a matter of pride than one that exacts meek submission to the whims and fancies of a powerful few. Culture must be appealing to imbibe oneself into it and the promoters of this great human aspect must inspire trust and confidence than fear of a loss.
The Sena brigade is miffed with Mukesh Ambani, angry at Sachin Tendulkar and threatens anyone who dares proclaim Mumbai is open to all Indians. This is so laughably against the laws that govern the land of which Mumbai is just a part of. And to see them gain in strength with popular trust and belief with such ideology beats common sense.
A look at the citadels which protect this Maharashtraian culture, the forts of the yore, cuts a sorry tale. The once pride and prestige of this state built by Shivaji Maharaj, the icon of Marahi identity, presents a sad picture. They lie in shambles and remain as old relics invoking only thoughts of what they would have been. Not one of them is looked upon or cared for as a site of heritage. This is where the actual Maharashtrian history lies. This brought glory to the land. A hero's legacy is being wasted. They lie in wilderness with little respite and cry for their resurrection for the generations to come and admire its glory. Indeed, is this not what we pass on as culture in its true form?
Dance and literature rarely find mention as a means to promote the distinct Maharashtrian identity. And there is no dearth of either. Music, cinema, history, food are not seen as an effective medium to champion the cause of the identity. MNS is obsessed with the taxi drivers in Mumbai and seeking apologies from filmmakers. The Sena is hell bent on calling Mumbai its own. Breaking TV channel offices and howling outside movie actors homes takes up much of their actitivity and now deciding what age is appropriate for marriage(not for everybody, just Rahul Gandhi)
The RSS has finally realized that being a partner to such a crime would only draw flak on the national front to its political outfit, the BJP. In a year when Bihar goes to elections, being a spectator to acts which potray regionalism in its crudest sense would not garner much needed votes to save face. Its politically correct stance at the opportune time only adds an interesting dimension to the brotherts-in arms relationship with Shiv Sena here in Maharatra. That it took this long to react to the injustice meted out to the 'outsiders' could not have come at a better time. It remains to be seen whether this standpoint of the RSS and the BJP stands the test of time and lasts beyond the state elections in Bihar and more importantly till the next elections in Maharashtra, which of course are a long way off from now. Given the current political scenario, the answer seems obvious. Till then it is likely that the custodians of the Marathi culture remain isolated in their endeavor of driving out north Indians from the 'their' grounds