Sunday, July 17, 2011

Culture, Language, Region and Linguo-Culture political parties

Shiv Sena, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, and all such parties, including those in Tamil Nadu, fall into the category of Linguo-Cultural identity parties. And yet, if you take a closer look, their confusion comes out.

Firstly, we need to point out that this article is not against Marathi or Tamil or any such language. Rather we want to call the bluff on the confusion in their understanding of themselves.

As examples, we take the parties from Maharashtra. Both the Shiv Sena and MNS claim to follow Chhatrapati Shivaji. Was Shivaji for Hindu pride or Marathi pride? To make the distinction further clearer, let us sub-divide and use the terms culture, language and region independently. Please note that the same confusion can be generated in relation to Sanatana Dharma, Sanskrit and Indian-subcontinent.

Let us consider a few examples, all of these are hypothetical and we hope no situation mentioned in these examples ever happens, and yet our answers to the questions posed in these examples will help us clarify our understandings about these terms.

For example, if we were Marathi, we would identify ourselves with the culture propagated by the philosophical writings of Sant Dnyaneshwar (Gyaneshwar), Sant tukaram, Samarth Ramdas, and their ancestor sages. The vehicle of the communication has been Marathi language, and the peoples upholding this culture have for long resided in a region now known as Maharashtra.

Now, let us try and answer a few hypothetical questions:

1. There are two groups of people, one group reads and practices Dnyaneshwar, Ramdas and others through English, and another group which reads and practices Karl Marx in Marathi. Who will you identify with?

Our answer is, we identify with Dnyaneshwar in English rather than Marx in Marathi.

2. There are two groups of people, one group from Maharashtra naturalized citizens of UK, working in London, and another group from America, naturalized in India working for Maharashtra. Who will you identify with?

Our answer again is obvious.

3. God forbid, tomorrow if China annexes the region of Maharashtra and hordes of Chinese thrive in Mumbai while crores of Marathi speaking people are languishing in Africa, who will we support? The region or the people?

Our answer is again obvious.

There can be many such questions. And similarly a Tamilian has to find from himself if he prefers people following Periya Puranams in English or those following the Koran in Tamil.

We have nothing against language or sub-region and so on. However, these leaders and their followers must understand that if they are not clear, they will do disservice to their own cause. We also do not claim that this article makes all aspect clear and provides a final understanding. However, what we emphasize is that such questions must be asked and answered in sufficient details so as to attain clarity of understanding without which the leaders and their followers remain eternally confused and thus move about meaninglessly in circuits.

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