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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) ?
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 ?
A classical language, is a language that have a broad influence over an extended period of time, even after it is no longer a colloquial mother tongue in its original form.
Apart from this, the Indian government has certain requirements that need to be fulfilled like :
A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers; The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community; The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.
In 2005, Sanskrit was accorded the status of a classical language.
In 2008, Telugu and Kannada were accorded the status.
You can see where this is going.
Not surprisingly, there is a demand for Bengali to be included in the list. I am pretty sure even Marathi fulfills the above requirements, but currently we are beating some North Indian guy. Catch ya later.
You know what is going to happen the day any language is rejected. The usual bandhs, riots, loss of life, property, economy, etc. And it is unfair that the other languages are not given the status because now it is at a point where it is just about pride. According this to any language apart from Sanskrit was going to start this. Sanskrit is fine though. Firstly, no one speaks it as their mother tongue to actually feel proud or superior to anyone. And even if there is someone, who the heck is going to understand what he says !
This is exactly what I have been proposing all along. Adopting democratic tactics to protest against injustice.
I am sure they will think twice before attacking a north Indian in the future !
Thankfully the senseless regional politics in Maharashtra is coming to a close sooner than expected :
Wonder how long before they realize that Ram and Krishna are both ‘bhaiyyas’ and turn atheists ?
.. comes from the father of the youth from UP, lynched in a train in Mumbai, who was offered Rs. 2 L as compensation by the Maharashtra government :
To be honest, I woudn’t advocate such a thing too. That would just mean moving further away from a democracy.
A certain M.K. Gandhi had said “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. What if the people are already blinded ?
Rajdeep Sardesai writes in an open letter to Raj Thackeray pretty much what it is on everybody’s mind. Hope we get an answer :
When you started your party a few years ago, it had been pitched as a party committed to a “modern” Maharashtra. If that vision still stands, why don’t you take it forward in real terms? Why don’t you, for example, set up vocational courses and technical institutes for young Maharashtrians to make them competitive in the job market? Why not, for that matter, start English-speaking classes for Maharashtrian students to equip them for the demands of the new economy? If cultural identity is such a concern, why not launch a statewide campaign to promote Marathi art, theatre and cinema by financially supporting such ventures? If Mumbai’s collapsing infrastructure worries you, then target the politician-builder nexus first. And isn’t it also time we realized that Mumbai is not Maharashtra, that the long suffering Vidarbha and Marathwada farmer needs urgent attention? Why not use your political and financial muscle to start projects in rural Maharashtra instead of focusing your energies on Mumbai’s bright lights alone? An employment generation scheme in a Jalna or a Gadchiroli may not make the front pages, but it will have far greater value for securing Maharashtra’s future.
Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra!
Methinks the answer is obvious : Because .. it is tougher.