From The Speaker’s Diary


Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee seems to have understood why the Parliament is more a circus, rather than a House that debates and delivers decisions on national issues.

Chatterjee, widely respected for his conduct during the infamous cash-for-votes scandal, has taken a daring dig at MPs for making the sessions a joke. As if, meeting 32 times a calendar year at the expense of such a large, tax-paying democracy wasn’t enough.

Keep the tricolour flying, sirs.

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PERSPECTIVE: Ban the MNS

In times of appalling terrorism, a financial crisis with grave repercussions on a developing economy, the return of communal violence and ensuing vote-bank politics, it is extremely despicable that we have to deal with insane anti-social elements like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and its founder chief Raj Thackeray.

The “new” Sena is an indisputable threat to the integrity of the Union of India with its unconstitutional, undemocratic approach to the promotion of its ideology, which for all intents and purposes, is absolute rubbish. Despite the arrest of Thackeray, it is uncertain that life in the state, and more importantly Mumbai, will improve. The inaction of the Congress-NCP government has already helped the MNS gain decent political mileage and the cause of the Marathi manoos will only pick up pace unless more rigorous steps are taken – the first being, a complete Centre-enforced ban on the MNS and its activists.

The issuance of a gag order on Thackeray was also needed, as is some stringent regulation of the media reporting on him and his malevolent politics. With his devilish charm and wicked intent, such a man can only cause more havoc with his baseless speeches and grandiose misdirection of the Marathi youth. It’s best if he is isolated in terms of his reach within the mainstream media.

The MNS are a bunch of hoodlums, whatever you say. They have little concern or respect for the concept of a sovereign India and would be willing to go to any extent to do what they intend to do. With their commitment to such ridiculous acts of violence as the beating up of Railway Recruitment Board exam applicants in Mumbai and Thackeray’s daring rhetoric against the state government and the police, one can only wonder why the rule of law had become a mute spectator in the face of such parochially divisive politics in a state that has produced the likes of B.R.Ambedkar, Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar.

What should make us more apprehensive is that such anti-India forces have a tremendous impact on the minds of the people, especially the locals. Raj is hated throughout the outline of India, but he has his own support and the concept could produce future leaders who see some logic that the majority of us don’t, in the cause. The coverage offered by the media can also be criticized, to a certain extent. Raj has been portrayed as the moral guardian of the Marathi cause, but what we as Indians should realize is that a regional cause does not exist and our democracy is THE only honorable cause.

The impact of Thackeray’s politics will bear heavy on the liberal locals. Marathi intellectuals should come out and shun his words if they have any modern sense of opinion. The loss of face that Marathis will have to face everywhere around the country and the world will be colossal, if the MNS continues to reign supreme. CM Vilasrao Deshmukh stated that no one was above the rule of law. He forgot to add that the rule of law should have been implemented in a time-bound frame and not as a show of secession to political pressure from the Centre. Ideally, action should have been taken a long time ago.

It’s time Thackeray learnt a thing or two from his fellow “local”. When Tendulkar was recently asked by a CNN-IBN journalist about how proud he was to be a Marathi in the wake of him becoming the highest run-getter in Test cricket, he fittingly replied:

I am an Indian first. Yes, it’s true that I am proud of my state and my roots. But more than anything, I’m proud to have played for India.

Thackeray, on the other hand, seems to be telling us only one thing – Me Marathi, You Indian.

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