Thursday, April 9, 2015

Stand up for diversity, not isolation

The dispute between Shobha De and the Maharashtrian government is making headlines these days. When the Maharashtrian government made it mandatory to show only Marathi movies in the theater at prime time, the novelist tweeted her protest against the move. She might have went a little overboard by using terms that the Shiv-Sena and some of the Marathi community found offensive. The use of words like 'dadagiri' and her alluding to 'vada-pav' and 'misal', the popular Marathi foods sparked a major protest. Shiv-Sena protesters reportedly sent her a box of the aforementioned snacks. They also retaliated on her comment on dadagiri by saying that had the Marathis not resorted to 'dadagiri', she would be in Pakistan today and would be attending Page 3 parties in burqa.

I found the entire protest over the issue misplaced and derogatory. Upholding one language over another in a multilingual country like India is an extremely un-democratic move. It goes against the basic tenets of freedom enlisted in our constitution. The government might be trying to recuperate Marathi cinema or might be trying to advocate its supremacy over other streams of Indian cinema. But either way, the move takes away the right of the cinema-goers. It takes away their right to choose. 

When Shobha De tweeted on Marathi foods replacing pop corns, it became a protest against Marathi culture. As I read, I wondered why. I did not feel that it was an insult against any culture. What I felt was that she was insinuating at the possibility of one culture over-riding the other culture's existence and how it would lead to a muffling of the diversity of our nation. Shiv Sena was miffed as it took the remark literally. 

The remark on her attending Page 3 parties in burqa was derogatory against another culture. It was not called for. Freedom-fighters had fought for our nation's freedom. It was a freedom not just from physical bondage. It was also a liberation of mind from petty prejudices and closeted mentalities. India as a nation stands upright because its people believe in its rich diversity. We ought to hold the sanctity of those who fought for us and refrain from making such remarks.

But whatever happened to the move on showing only Marathi films at prime time? Wasn't the real issue skirted away?

I love my language. I am proud of my mother tongue. But I don't want to impose my likes and my identity over anybody else. Just as I respect my own roots, I need to understand that the others may have sprouted from a different soil. I ought to give the other the space and the dignity that it his right. I wish everyone ponders over this for a while. 


  1. well let's hope Ms. De gets to your article, Sunaina and learns a lesson or two! :-)

    1. why just shobha de? i did not have problems with her remarks.....!

  2. Great article ..interesting read !