Monday, November 30, 2009

A Raj Thackeray in every state...

Everybody hates Raj Thackeray. Er. Except those 13 seats he won in Maharashtra... And there were other seats where he did not win, but got quite a few votes. What of them? Oh alright, mainstream media hates him then. The truth is that whatever the shouting screaming hosts of English TV channels may want to say, many people think Raj Thackeray is their voice.

What Raj is doing is tapping into the Marathi Manoos "anger". No, not that Gavaskar, Tendulkar or Nana Patekar, Ritesh Deshmukh et al are angry - they got their opportunities. There is a class of people there who feel that they don't have equal opportunities as compared to others. This is his basic premise. And he is right. The truth is that in India, there are no equal opportunities. (There are equal outcomes. And he is trying to fix the outcome the way he perceives.)

Is there anything wrong with that? Perhaps no, considering the state of affairs today. What Raj is saying is a very simple thing. I am a representative of Maharashtrians. My people do not get jobs. (You can argue whether they are his people or whatever, all that is beside the point). Give them jobs. Exactly the same way we dole out reservations. Some representative of a caste (or subcaste, religion or a combination of them all) comes and says, give me reservation. Give me preference, give me jobs. And if it does not happen, burn a few buses, block a few highways to achieve it - and get a few votes transferred en masse from one party to another showing their power. The government (any government, I mean) has shown the way that this is the only way it can happen. So, each time reservation is extended anywhere to any institution, any job - they are all arguing for the same thing. ( Essentially Raj has brought a new dimension to the reservation issue. He is demanding reservation on the basis of language - not religion, not caste - hitherto the favoured basis for reservation. So, other politicians have to be wary. ) Did I hear you say merit? That went out of favour long ago. And reservation is just one thing - it happens in the way ministries are doled out, "important people" are protected - it is all a network of patronage...What is the wrong in the way that Raj is going about his job? The truth is that every government runs scared of mob violence (regardless of whether it is against cartoons or by cartoonists) and bows to it...


And then say, he comes to power with or without support and then, what gives? Every party has pushed its own agenda... (The media may say that is no justification etc. etc. Big deal - as if that is going to stop him. Each time they do it, his popularity increases. It is possible that this is a tacit arrangement between one Maratha strongman and him. Perhaps...)

From reservation in institutions to reservation to a city is just a logical step. We have reserved electorates where you fix the candidates - he is saying fix the city. It is tough to argue with him because we do exactly the same thing everywhere else, dont we? So, what is the way forward? The truth is that given the state of affairs in our country, there is sufficient political space for a Raj in every state. (Actually some of them are already there, they just have different party names.)

The only reason, it may not happen everywhere - is because, you see, not too many places in India have made that kind ofprogress and attracted migration to such a large extent. Until India becomes a meritocratic society with unlimited opportunity, the truth is that there is no other truth...

1 comment:

kevinhil123 said...
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