MMS, MNS and rumour mills
How long will we witness the fanatic madness with which the regional divide is being widened, through the exploition of sentiments and emotions and through verbal verbal onslaughts? No doubt, our constitution has granted us liberal fundamental rights. Does this mean the blatant misuse of such rights, causing not only discomfort to other fellow citizens, but leading to an uncontrollable situation – destinations with no return points – and, above all, unprecedented chaos and anarchy in the country? Are we ready to face this? Certainly not. We will have to think and rise above the situation to defend our freedom, our democracy and the nation with all our might. Further, we will have to put our heads together to stand and work in tandem to spread the basic idea of India against disintegration.
One may observe the fact that MMSes, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena [MNS], SMSes and rumor mills, working overtime, have been instrumental in putting petrol on scattered flames to turn them into a jungle fire. It becomes difficult to control a jungle fire as it continues to spread. The morphed MMSs shattered the very roots of mutual trust, leading to the abrupt departure of the northeastern persons employed in the southern states to their respective native places. The scene at the railway stations and inside the trains was pathetic and horrible. Political analysts, while stating the cause, described it as the so-called cyber-attacks instigated by a known neighboring country. The MMSs and SMSs were forceful enough to spread hatred and a sense of fear which would otherwise not have happenned. The state governments had to strive to restore confidence and bring back the northeastern persons to their place of work before a backlash took place in the northern States, where the situation is yet to become normal. The loss to business, and, moreover, to our social fabric, is not so easy to assess.
The recent scenario in Maharashtra, especially Mumbai, is becoming alarming with each passing day. The posture of the MNS and its Supremo Raj Thackery, is not at all in tune with the established ethics of political dharma. In fact, it takes an extraordinary struggle to understand the real base and the fertile field of the mentality which aligns with the Maratha Manush by creating a wide trench between locals and outsiders, that is, the North Indians and others.
Raj thought of using tactics similar to those which his cartoonist uncle Bal Thackery applied to develop a constituency best suited to his ambitions during 1960s and 1970s. Raj, after being unable to leave behind his cousin in the struggle to gain the hereditary status, thought of applying the trusted and time-tested formulas to acquire an early fertile ground. Bal Thackery favoured his son Udhav in the war of succession in the Shiv Sena as blood is always thicker than water. At this point of time, Raj was not left with any other alternative but that of gathering his own trusted fellows to take up a separate path. This also suited the parties opposing the Shiv Sena, as a division of the votes in the Sena fortress was bound to help those parties in gaining more seats than the Shiv Sena and its allies.
Raj has once again intensified his venomous approach by assessing the weaknesses of his uncle due to his fragile physical situation and the age, which is not going to help Udhav sustain for a longer period. Hence, Raj is going all out to use all the tricks which helped his uncle consolidate his position, first in Brihan Mumbai, and later, throughout Maharashtra. Taking a final call, Raj has since started calling Biharis infiltrators and demanding their ouster from Maharashtra. He has taken a calculated risk when attacking Hindi news channels as this will widen the gap between the Maratha speaking people and the Hindi speaking people, hence, consolidating Maratha speaking votes in his favour. His designs might prove helpful to him though they are going to create a permanent divide which will be difficult to overcome and will be a loss to our unity and integrity.
It will be appropriate to understand the damage caused by the rumor mills. I remember two instances. The first takes me back to the 1984 riots when persons of one community in Delhi spread the rumor of the contamination of drinking water at the source through the addition of poison. This created panic and spread hatred. The other one takes us back to a period prior to 1975, when a nationwide rumor shook all cities and villages. This was that the government had started giving a special sort of vaccination to the children in schools which was going to make then infertile. The rumor spread like jungle fire and the government had to take recourse to radio and television to dispel the fear. It took a few days to restore confidence. This shows the harmful effects of the rumor mill.
To conclude, one will have to imagine what will happen in case MNS-like parties appear in all the other states. The situation will become explosive and it will be impossible to safeguard our national integration. Hence, we have to mitigate the effects of MMSs, MNS, SMSs and rumour mills for the sake of our hard-earned freedom.
Sat Pal is a communication consultant and has worked with several central and state ministers