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Once you get your degrees, a post in the MNS will be waiting for you. No probation period, thanks to your excellent academic record.
Like, duh !
Remember the case where an author was dragged to court for using the word ghati in his book? The book where the word was used by a fictional character? The same case which I thought I wrote about but now cannot trace?
Well, the court threw it out.
Justice V M Kanade, himself a Maharashtrian, seemed to agree with the author. “Ghati is common slang word. For every community there are such words,” the judge observed.
“There are many such words for Parsis, but they don’t mind it. The unfortunate part is that our tolerance level has gone down,” Justice Kanade said.
Well, something there for freedom of expression, now that M.F. Hussain won’t paint nudes in India.
Had Pu. La. Deshpande been around, I wonder if he too would’ve been dragged to court for the use of ghati in one of his essays.
This is a MarAthi asmitA song composed (and written, I think) by Kushal Inamdar. I quite liked this song, although I hope they put up a better quality version at the Star MAzA website. This video saves me one post on the silly culture debate.
Notable absentees : Pushkar Lele. Any others you could spot (or not) ?
After their initial attack on Tendulkar for his statement that was a veiled condemnation of the Shiv Sena’s ideology, the Shiv Sena went ahead and praised Gavaskar for being a better Maharashtrian than Tendulkar :
Continuing its attack on Sachin Tendulkar, the Shiv Sena on Sunday said there was no instance of him helping any Marathi cricketer while Sunil Gavaskar was a “genuine Maharashtrian” and had given Test caps to many players from the state during his tenure as India captain.
Let’s not even go into the fallacies and intricacies of the argument : it is absurd to even suggest that an Indian cricketer should give a chance to his regional mates. I would be more enraged at this statement if I were Gavaskar, more than Tendulkar. While the idea automatically falls under nepotism — and nepotism is the most popular ideology in the political (and every other) sphere in India — we might be reaching a tipping point where nepotism is openly condoned and assumed to be right. The Sena’s statement should rejected for just that.
Delving further, it is obvious the writer of the piece, Sanjay Raut, doesn’t see the irony of praising Sunil Gavaskar. Gavaskar has been outspoken against the Sena during the ’92 riots and another story tells of how he “left his apartment and took up position at the building’s gate to block Shiv Sena thugs as they searched for Muslims during the 1992 Mumbai riots”. I hope the Sena learns to stay away from Marathi icons like Pu. La. Deshpande, Tendulkar and Gavaskar — it usually ends up shooting itself in the foot.
The MNS has been wiser — they called Tendulkar to get the exact extract of his statement, then chose to stay away from the topic. Tendulkar’s statement was clearly against their ideology. They didn’t stand a chance of blaming the Hindi channels for misquoting him and blowing the issue out of proportion.
As they say, age does not a wise person make.
Sachin Tendulkar had famously said a couple of days back that Mumbai is for all Indians (or was it a Mumbai Indians pun ?). Bal Thackeray goes for the easy bait :
“There was no need for him to take a cheeky single by making such remarks,” Sena mouthpiece Sammana quoted Thackeray as saying.
“By making these remarks, you have got run-out on the pitch of Marathi psyche. You were not even born when the ‘Marathi Manoos’ got Mumbai and 105 Marathi people sacrificed their lives to get Mumbai,” he said.
Anyone wants to take a guess who got run-out here ? You have one chance.
All the Sena had to do was keep quiet about the issue — didn’t 50 years of the Congress teach everyone this one small thing ?
It also says :
Thackeray expressed displeasure that Sachin “left the crease” and moved to the pitch of politics by making these remarks which have hurt Marathi sentiment.
If an average person should not talk about politics, who do you think votes leaders into power ? As much as this attitude irks me, I cannot help but admire how politicians want the average person to stay away from politics, except of course during elections.
And now an open letter to all kinds of Sainiks :
Listen up Sainiks, and I mean to say this in the sweetest way possible – You don’t mess with Tendulkar. You go around hitting everyone in Mumbai, but you don’t mess with Tendulkar. You comply (allegedly) with rioters, but you don’t mess with Tendulkar. You dig up pitches, but you don’t mess with Tendulkar. You do all the nonsense in the world, but you DON’T mess with Tendulkar.
A minor statistic – you have around 5 million voters. The guy has a billion die-hard fans — and that’s only just Indians.
So if it comes down to choosing between you and Tendulkar for Maharashtrians, you stand as much a chance as Warne stands with Tendulkar. As irrational as it sounds, it is true.
So what did you get — you don’t mess with Tendulkar.
P.S. : Oh and you also don’t mess with the BCCI. Recall the last person who messed with them and isn’t messed up now.
After the Shiv Sena and MNS, I read about an upcoming Food Taliban in Maharashtra — a non-political group of people batting for Maharashtrian cuisine :
They have also written to the higher education minister to include authentic Maharashtrian cuisine in the hotel management curriculum offered by various institutes. If the state fails to act on the appeal, they are all set to approach the court.
They’ve also appealed to state-run hotels and resorts to promote Maharashtrian cuisine. I’m fine with that, the state rarely does things that are sensible anyway. But approaching the court to include the cuisine in institutes ? Yeah right.
The report also adds :
Every year, 22,000 students pass out from catering colleges.
I am personally a huge fan of Maharashtrian food. Legend has it that as a toddler, I used to escape to neighbours’ homes to have Maharashtrian food. (Btw, I just had above-average PuraN PoLi at Chaat Paradise in Mountain View — do check it out). But I digress.
What I’m getting at is that Maharashtrian cuisine is hardly ubiquitous for such appeals to make good business sense. And really, what is the difference between enforcing a cuisine in curriculum and the saffronization of textbooks ? Both claim to help preserve an entity. I’m all for such noble causes — just please do it in your time with your money.
While at that, do read this piece “An Attitude to Serve” by the best food writer out there, Vikram Doctor. Pasting an excerpt that gets the crux :
And it is here, I have to say, that Maharashtrian food has often lost out thanks to the disinterest of its restaurateurs in really promoting it.
Many of Mumbai’s first eateries were Maharashtrian, in the khanevals or community canteens opened by workers from the region who came from the end of the 19th century onwards to find employment in the city’s booming mills. Most of the small restaurants I mentioned earlier had their roots in such khanewals, but the point is that they stayed rooted, and never tried to expand or appeal to a larger clientele.
The best example of this is Anantashram which is famous for its simple, but entirely delicious food that’s cooked over charcoal fires and served in an atmospheric house in the old area of Khotachiwadi. But Anantashram is also known for the rudeness of its waiters, who refuse requests to photograph the place and deter any attempts to ask questions.
A few years back Khotachiwadi organised a weekend festival to show off its quaint small backlanes and old wooden bungalows to the rest of the city, but Anantashram refused to participate. And that Sunday it closed, since it was always closed on Sundays, despite the fact that there were hordes of hungry visitors who it could have profited from.
I don’t need to add anything about Maharashtrian entrepreneurship — all I want to say has been said by Pu. La. Deshpande in his essay Mumbaikar, Punekar ki Nagpurkar.
This post on the MNS is much lighter.
Do have a quick glance at the 4 MLAs’ profiles who were suspended.
One dug up the cricket pitch when Pakistan was visiting, one wears 2 kgs of gold on himself and one is a “childhood friend of Rahul Mahajan”.
Heh. It’s almost like MNS handpicked its MLAs like the Ocean’s thirteen.
I came across this video of Ramesh Wanjale, the one who wears 2 kgs of gold jewellery, thanks to Pushkar S.
Translating for non-Marathi audience : The guy wants to pursue a Ph.D. When asked in what, he replies, Saint Tukaram. The reporter rightly points out that he is a dropout from school, to which the reply is that he plans to start studying seriously from now on — 12th, B.A., M.A. and then Ph.D.
Now that he’s suspended, he’ll get ample of time for studying.
Watch from 4:45.
To be fair, the guy amply knows what he is talking about — I just loved his nonchalant answer that he wants to pursue a Ph.D.
May I recommend PhD Comics to him ?
I don’t have anything new to say about the MNS MLAs attacking a colleague in the Maharashtra assembly and their subsequent suspension, but I think it is unfair on the people of the 4 constituencies who now will have no representation in the State assembly. If people are still bothered about such trivialities, the least they should do is hold their legislators responsible for their unruly conduct.
On the language issue that is the root cause here, I don’t think I should be speaking. Although I consider myself a Maharashtrian (definition here), my views of the MNS have often been misconstrued as the views of an ‘outsider’. As for myself, I can pass off as a Maharashtrian easier than some Marathi friends of mine, but that isn’t pertinent here.
I have come to believe that the only ones speaking or discussing the issue of MNS should be the Marathi people. Far too much noise is made by others for someone to pause and ask a Marathi person about his say in the matter.
Trust me, you’ll see some alarming results. I have come across individuals (in the U.S., ironically) who explicitly or implicitly support the MNS. You’d think that someone who studied at Stanford (purely used as a metric of education, extent of global awareness, ubiquitous ideologies and lack of friends from other universities) would know enough to disagree with the MNS, but I’ve seen exceptions.
When the mainstream media makes this much noise, they are only helping a Marathi person feel more marginalized, thereby aligning him further with the MNS ideology. We don’t really want to know that the MNS MLAs’ kids study in English medium schools. We don’t want the opinions of Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad Yadav whenever the MNS raises its head. The average Marathi person needs to hear moderate and liberal views coming from Marathi people, and therein lies the biggest problem — lack of Marathi voices against the MNS ideology. This could imply 2 things :
– the average Marathi person supports the MNS, which is quite rational if you ask me. Why would you not support — or why would you speak out against — someone who claims to be fighting for you ? Heck, tomorrow if there is a TamBram superhero who goes around beating up non-Tamils, I might not speak out against him (Of course, I will. That’s just an example).
– the average Marathi person doesn’t care.
In both these cases, the clout of the MNS will only grow, because you need individuals who disagree with the MNS to halt their march. This needs more Marathi voices to be heard on public forums, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and GTalk status messages. The Marathi voice is silent there.
In a sense, the Marathi person faces the same situation an average Muslim faces in India. You cannot just sit at home and criticize your ilk — we, and it pains me to say so, need to hear your opinion aloud.
I came across this interview of the Thackeray cousins by Rajdeep Sardesai, filmed separately of course.
Rajdeep Sardesai queries Uddhav Thackeray in English, Uddhav replies in Hindi.
Rajdeep Sardesai questions Raj Thackeray in Hindi, Raj replies in Marathi.
They sure have the whole concept of language messed up, no ?
But I shouldn’t bother, as long as they speak any language without coercing others. As far as language is concerned, I was debating over the issue of our national language with a friend and I mentioned language should be considered as a means of communication and nothing more. That would get rid of a lot of problems.
Imagine if the Neanderthal man got all worked up about preserving his language and culture, this post would look like “aaaa .. eooe .. uuu .. bbaaa“. Good luck decoding that.
P.S. : The interview in itself though, has nothing to talk about, just typical stuff. But you may check it out.
Before proceeding, I’d like to lay some much overdue groundwork. As Kunal S. points out here, Marathi people refers to people whose mother-tongue is Marathi, Maharashtrian should refer to people who are part of Maharashtra.
Amongst ‘offendees’ in courts is this recent example :
May be some Maharashtrians won’t like to be called ‘ghati’ to their face, but would it amount to an offence under the Indian Penal Code? This is what Bombay High Court will have to decide, as a writer has approached the court seeking to quash a police case he is facing over the use of this term in his novel.
If you don’t already know, Marathi people and more generally, Maharashtrians are often referred to as ‘ghaati‘ by non-Maharashtrians. Of course, this ghaati is different from the uncouth/gAvthi sense Marathi people use it in. It literally means, someone from the ghaats (mountains). I also learnt that this was, in fact, used by the coastal people (KoBras, if you may), to refer to the people from beyond the ghats.
An analogy would be terms like Mallus, Gujjus, TamBrams, Diggs and Gults.
In Pune, most guys never come across this word as it is used predominantly in hostels and by groups of non-Maharashtrians. I myself wasn’t aware of it, until someone used it and assumed I would know its meaning, probably because of my last name. But once I knew about it, I saw it being used quite often around me. The usage is extremely common in IIT’s and IIM’s I hear. Heck, I have been called a ghaati as I tend to identify more with Marathi people than South Indians. The love for mountains that I have, I don’t mind the tag at all.
People who have heard Pu. La. Deshpande’s AsAmi AsAmi, might recollect the use of this word. This issue was also very recently tackled in the juvenile Mi Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy.
If you didn’t already know this, I am sorry for having to be the one breaking this news to you.
On the other hand, if you are from the north, and hear the acronym TDC, that is an ethnic slur referring to you.
I’d like to hear from the Marathi and Maharashtrian readers, would you find ghaati offensive or do you think of it as an identity that you don’t mind ?