THE greatest single crime committed by our elders in the past has been the creation of linguistic states, even if it was done in good faith, it is just as bad, if not worse, than the acceptance of Partition by the Congress Party of another era. It has been dividing Indians, turning one linguistic group against another.
The stir in Karnataka against the sharing of waters of the river Kaveri, is a case in point. Kaveri does not belong exclusively either to Karnataka or to Tamil Nadu. It belongs to India—a point that needs to be stressed again and again. The Kannadigas are not the owners of the river and cannot claim the sole right to use its waters. This must be made very clear to them. In fact it is time a Riverine Authority is formed at the Centre to handle all the rivers in the country and the even distribution of river waters to all those living along the entire length of each river. If people at one end of a river suffer from lack of rainfall within that geographic region, their distress must be shared by people at other end. That is our national dharma. The point was sharply made by the Bhavan’s Journal (October 15). The journal founded by that distinguished patriot, KM Munshi, pointed out how political parties are pitching “the interests of farmers of one State against the farmers of another”. It quoted the Karnataka Chief Minister as “adding another dimension to the vivisection (of the country) by declaring that not a drop of Cauvery water would be allowed to flow into Tamil Nadu where the river, incidentally runs a far longer distance than in Karnataka.” It is sheer impertinence and Delhi must have called him to order.
The Bhavan’s Journal added—and deserve to be highly commended for its courage of conviction—that all legendary rivers must be “nationalised” and the country informed that they are “the common property and heritage of the country as a whole”. It said: “There is only one way by which local politicians can be prevented from using river waters as their State’s exclusive property and that it is to nationalise the inter-State rivers…. All multi-purpose river projects on these rivers are to be administered by the Union Irrigation Ministry. What we need is the restoration of Indian nationhood in the minds of people of different states of India. The holy rivers are the best places to start this process.”
The worst enemies of India are those in Mumbai who have been trying to maintain a distance between locals and ‘outsiders’. In India there is no such thing as ‘we’ and ‘they’. Anybody who insists on propagating this seditions concept must be considered—as Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India noted in The Times of India (October 16) as “traitors to the nation and should be given harsh punishment”. They are consciously or unconsciously destroying the essential unity of India. Without mentioning any name Justice Katju said a “politician in Maharashtra has threatened to brand Biharis as infiltrators and force them out of Maharashtra if Bihar authorities take legal action against Mumbai policemen who picked up a teenager from Bihar without informing their Bihar counter—parts.” This particular tenager is alleged to have vandalised the martyr’s memorial in Mumbai during the Azad Maidan protest on August 11. The politician is reported to have said that if the Bihar government tries to become a hurdle in a police investigation “then my party would dub every Bihari in Maharashtra as an infiltrator and force him to leave the State”. In the first place anyone committing a crime in Maharashtra deserves to be arrested and tried and punished. His State origin is of no consequence. The fact that he is a Bihari does not make it mandatory on the Maharashtra police to inform the Bihari police. Indeed the Bihari police must actively cooperate with the Maharashtra police in providing the background of the criminal. Bihar is not a separate nation, nor is Maharashtra but if courtesy demands that there should be some link between police authorities in different states that courtesy should be observed. But as Justice Katju says: “Assuming that some Bihari authorities did something wrong, does it justify branding all Biharis as infiltrators in Maharashtra”? The very word “infiltrator” is wrong. It is an insult to the Constitution of India, and undermine its relevance. The Thackerays are bringing a bad name to Maharashtra by their atrocious behaviour.
As Justice Katju sees it, India is broadly a country of immigrants and “about 92 to 93 per cent people living in India today are not the original inhabitants of India”. And, adds Justice Katju,” if the ‘sons of the soil’ theory is implemented, 93 per cent of Maharashtrians would also have to leave Maharashtra, because they are also not sons of the soil”, the only ‘sons of the soil’ being Bhils and other tribals.
Importantly Justice Katju makes the point that “modern industry requires a large market and unless modern industry emerges in India, we cannot be a prosperous nation and only a united India provides such a large market”. Ergo, adds the Justice, “Any attempt to break up our country will therefore doom our people to poverty.” Besides, what if each State in India follows the Thackeray philosophy and seeks to drive out ‘outsiders’ including especially Maharshtrians? What if each State prohibits sale of goods manufactured in Maharashtra? Has the Thackeray clan ever given thought to such sickening concepts which looks ridiculous but which the clan seems to be pushing through? As Justice Katju says: “Where will this all end?”
Incidentally, The Hindu (October 16) carries an article closely examining the Kaveri issue. It regrets that the “Central Government has proved to be a weak and ineffective force, unable or unwilling to play its constitutional and statuary roles” vis-à-vis the sharing of the Kaveri waters. What is even more sickening is “the propriety of Central Cabinet Ministers becoming partisan advocates and implicitly questioning their Prime Minister’s decision.”
Sub-nationalism is getting increasingly noticeable and the country should wake-up, before these forces destroy the country. The people of India must stop thinking in terms of their linguistic heritage and see that those in opposition are adequately dealt with. The growth and greatness of Bharat is at stake and nobody should be allowed to come in its way, whether in Maharahtra, Karnataka or ought else.