When I wrote my article ‘Excessive Nationalism and Blurring of Local Identities’, some readers interpreted it as promotion of excessive regionalism. In fact, I never did that. In that same article, I wrote the following:
Excessive nationalism when not really in use sometimes vents itself as other isms- such as regionalism or communalism. As a corollary, certain groups starting out with parochial and radical regionalisms and communalisms get legitimacies when they portray themselves as nationalists. For example, Shiv sainiks who named themselves after Shivaji (who is considered a patriot under a national banner), first targeted Tamils in Mumbai, displaying their excessive regionalism, and later transformed themselves into a group targeting Muslims, displaying their excessive communalism. They get their legitimacies from many educated Hindus when they champion nationalism. Many Hindus laud Bal Thackeray and his Shiv sainiks when he takes a belligerent stand against
Certain groups move between these various isms very easily. The defenders of Kannada in Bangalore target Tamils on Cauvery issues, and then vent it out on non-Kannadigas during other incidents showing excessive regionalism, but also portray themselves as the defenders of the nation when protesting against Narayana Murthy over his comments on National Anthem. BJP and its affiliations use this card on a regular basis. They are defenders of national prestige and pride on the national arena while targeting Muslims and Christians in their local constituencies.
Why I touched upon excessive nationalism in that article instead of concentrating on excessive regionalism is very simple. In
Since, I have decided to touch upon this topic, let me write a bit about excessive regionalism.
I am against excessive isms. Either it is excessive socialism or excessive capitalism, or excessive regionalism or excessive nationalism – it is not good for anyone.
In that article, I asked for promotion and tolerance of local identities. That does not mean rejection of other local identities or imposition of our identities onto others.
Promotion and tolerance of local identities does not mean support for excessive regionalism, just the way promotion of diversity and different cultures does not mean support for excessive nationalism.
Raj Thackeray and Marathas
Raj Thackeray is a byproduct of Shiv Sena ideology. He only pushes the agenda of Shiv Sena little too prominently to the discomfort of its leaders who want to play a national game. He comes as an embarrassment to these leaders, but in reality, his agenda is an outgrowth of the core ideology.
The way Shiv Sena grew into prominence is by targeting non-Marathis, South Indians in Mumbai, not very different from what’s happening now with Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.
Excessive regionalism, as clearly promoted by Raj Thackeray, that targets people of other states has its roots in Shiv Sena who target Muslims at the national level. Many Hindus love Shiv Sena on the national level because they target Muslims, but balk at what Raj Thackeray is doing because one of their own kin is now being targeted.
I keep repeating in this blog many a times that the common element in all these groups is hatred. Once you foment lot of hatred, it is not like a tap or a hose that you can turn it off when you want to or focus it onto one single element. That hatred once stored is bound to come into open and it will negatively affect all kinds of people.
Narendra Modi and
When I wrote my article, ‘Excessive Nationalism and Blurring of Local Identities’, some readers pointed out that Modi is an example of regionalism that I was purportedly promoting.
This is what I said:
"What will save
To which, Ledzius said...
And I believe this is precisely one of the reasons Modi won. Unlike any Congress leader who would have been a stooge of the Centre, Modi was seen by many Gujaratis as a symbol of Gujarati pride (more than even that of Hindutva). The fact that Sonia resorted to name-calling only helped Modi further, as many Gujaratis were incensed by what they felt was an affront on Gujarati pride.
That is an extremely wrong extrapolation of my thesis. Let me explain.
Narendra Modi is fomenting hatred. He is marginalizing Muslims to win marks from Hindu worldwide. One day, if he has his way, he would have marginalized them enough to make them a completely incapacitated group without any voice.
After that, haranguing against ills from Muslims will not fetch him votes. He will turn his hatred to others. Who are these others?
Already, Narendra Modi and his workers have clearly outlined their hidden agenda- for those who want to see it. They would like to target Christians, and that will be even faster and easier job since they are in a much smaller minority in
In many speeches, Narendra Modi and his party members rallied the voters towards him on the slogan of a great
Excessive Nationalism and Excessive Regionalism
Hate groups have the capacity to move between excessive regionalism and excessive nationalism at will. On the national level they are bound to target enemies of the nation or enemies of an identity that identifies them as a nation-group. On the regional level, they are bound to target enemies of the state or enemies of an identity that defines them as a state-group.
My thesis of promotion of local identities is to allow, promote and tolerate various identities without have to reject others or impose ours onto others.