Among the latest critics of Sena’s hate agenda is Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi. At a public interaction in Patna, Rahul Gandhi asserted that every part of India belongs to every Indian. BJP president Nitin Gadkari invoked the constitutional provisions that guaranteed the right of every Indian citizen to live and work in any part of the country when he supported Bhagwat’s criticism of the Sena.
More voices have joined the opposition to the exclusivist politics of Shiv Sena and its breakaway group, Maharash-tra Navnirman Sena. Follow-ing statements from Mumbai civil society luminaries and the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, senior politicians across political parties have criticized Sena’s myopic view of Mumbai as the exclusive preserve of Marathi speakers. Their interventions are most welcome.
Among the latest critics of Sena’s hate agenda is Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi. At a public interaction in Patna, Rahul Gandhi asserted that every part of India belongs to every Indian. His intervention prompted even Maharashtra Congress leaders, so far conspicuous by their silence on Sena’s hate politics, to talk about the unity of the country and that everyone, irrespective of their regional or linguistic origins, should get equal opportunities. These leaders, especially since they run the government in Mumbai, must now act on their words. However, Rahul Gandhi’s political rhetoric regarding the role of NSG commandos from UP and Bihar has created a controversy. A headcount of the regional origins of those who fought to save Mumbai is pointless. The only relevant point is that the nation was united in repulsing the terrorist strike. Rahul Gandhi’s logic limits the idea of being Indian to a framework defined primarily by a citizen’s response to national security. National security is, of course, important. But we need to go further and define citizenship in terms of rights enshrined in the Constitution.
Interestingly, BJP president Nitin Gadkari invoked the constitutional provisions that guaranteed the right of every Indian citizen to live and work in any part of the country when he supported Bhagwat’s criticism of the Sena. On February 2, senior BJP leader Vinay Katiyar reiterated Gadkari’s view and argued that the BJP must rethink its alliance with the Sena. According to Katiyar, the Sena’s political position threatens national unity. Language, he argued, can’t be the basis for discrimination or for attacking people and businesses. Wise counsel, of course. We hope that Katiyar’s and other Sangh Parivar leaders’ notion of national integration includes opposing all forms of discrimination, not just on the basis of linguistic and regional identities but religious as well.
That’s possible if the Constitution is taken as the touchstone to define the rights of an Indian citizen. The Constitution protects not just the right of Indians to live and earn a livelihood anywhere in the country but also the right to freedom of speech and expression. Political parties like the Congress Party and the BJP must remind the Senas that the threats issued to Shah Rukh Khan for speaking favorably about Pakistani cricketers are unconstitutional and, hence, unacceptable.
Courtesy: The Times of India