Politics of Identity is literally the identity of politics in
By Vidya Bhushan Rawat
Assam has been too sensitive to the issue of immigrants and over the past fifty years a huge chunk of Bangla immigrants have infiltrated in the state creating panic of a demographic change in the state. It is not just the Muslim immigrants which the Hindutva organizations often blame, but also the dominance of Bangla speaking people have become a bone of contention in the north east. Last year, the Hindi speaking people from Bihar were targeted in Guwahati and other parts of
Language nationalism started from Tamilnadu when Periyar and his self respect volunteers rightfully targeted the imposition of Hindi all over the states where Hindi was just a foreign language. Periyar’s fear was that this Hindisation of Tamilnadu will be a death knell for the Dravidian Tamil culture. There might have been other reasons also for the anti Hindi agitation but there were not many immigrants from the Hindi heartland. The real thing was that
Similarly, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were carved out of
Indian people have multiple identities. And the most important one these days were caste identity. A veteran like Editor of Dalit Voice, V.T.Rajshekar says that caste is the most important among these identities as every Indian asserts his/her caste identity more than anything else. Caste surpasses even the religious identities. Interestingly, when the states were reorganized, they thought that the language was unifying force. Definitely not. The interest of the Dalits in Maharastra are very much different than the interest of the upper caste Marathas. In fact, it was the Shiv Sena and its goons that went bloody to oppose the name of
The politics of
But it is also true that language can be a strong cultural identity as happened during the time of creation of
But in the modern politics of identities in
The BJP created the three states out of its own compulsions. It knew well that it was difficult for it to regain power either in
While language became the main focus of formation of state but as the new forces of interest are coming in, one hegemony is being challenged by the other one and those who do not have the numbers are the most isolated ones. The problem in the Indian subcontinent is our deep disregard for the minority rights. Experience has shown that the politics of identity is often detrimental for the individuals and minorities unless they have the power to challenge. It has often shown contempt for dissent and often poor people become victim of its ‘ultra-nationalist’ approach. Hence, the slogan of Jai Maharastra is nothing but a signals to those who are not born Marathi that they can not claim the legacy of the state as Marathi nationalism is quintessentially an upper caste Marathi dominance.
At the time when the Dalit-Bahujan consciousness at political level in Maharastra was threatening the status quo, this issue has divided people on language line. Congress used
the growing discontents in the state against the MNS for its own purpose and result would be a compulsion for the north Indians to join forces with Congress to ‘save’ multiculturalism. Already, Muslims are at the receiving end from the Shiv Sena and now this situation has further polarized the society.
Muslims seems to paying a price for the partition of