The recent feud between Maharashtrians and non-maharashtrians these days seems like a déjà-vu. Every time something or the other has been happening like this in India since its independence. One prominent reason for such divides has been language and it’s worth mentioning that India has been divided on linguistic basis. The division of Madras Residency into the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, being the first example. The problem is, it has not subsided, rather, particularly because of this division, other states followed suit and we feel its repercussions even today. To mention a few, Gorkhas are demanding a separate Gorkhaland in Darjeeling, a feud between Nepali speaking and Bengalis, Bodo’s demanding a Bodoland in Assam on the basis of Bodo Language, one can go on citing minor incidents though nevertheless they keep appearing in papers for few days and then dies down, though the issue itself remains. Maharashtra has always prided itself on being “Marathi”. I remember, in the early nineties it was South Indians who they were dissatisfied with and now, it is Biharis. Of course, though it does not categorically touch the language issue, its characteristics are similar. Being a Marathi is what matters! This unrest does not stem from the fact that other non-maharashtrians are not Marathi speaking people, but they are someone who does not give an opportunity to them to come up in life economically and socially (reason- workforce is dominated by non-maharashtrians). It is this idea that breeds the divide, which later takes a turn into being linguistic (divide). And this also arises, because, India was divided on linguistic basis.
The economic and social unrest of the people belonging to a particular state takes a different hue. At the outset, the idea of linguistic divide has not been understood at all. One must note that there has never been a cultural divide in India and essentially India’s Unity in Diversity concentrates only on the aspects of culture, which allows the other culture like Islam and Christianity (I do not mention these two as religion, for culture includes religion)to co-exist peacefully, and not particularly on the languages, which is why India is divided on Linguistic basis. Of course language is part of a culture, but when one says “I am a maharashtrian”, he says it because he speaks Marathi, not because he follows Hindu culture and this is the divide which we do not pay attention to .If it were a rich diversity, there would not be any rift. But again one faces the problem of identity. We need to realize that Linguistic division was done for the convenient management of Political India (Democratic and Social, Republic), for there was a necessity of government after the exodus of the British. The necessity arose from the fact that technology had advanced well enough to make possible the relocation of citizens from one state to another in search of opportunity and settlement and also English Language became a unanimous mode of speaking and connecting element between learned, because of which the bridge between princely states diminished. With so much scattering around, one needed a proper political management which the British were already giving us in a colonial form and we needed to continue with the same parliamentary system of government because the presidential form of government would not have suited India for it is not possible either for a president or for the prime minster to speak one language to interact with people, as Mr. Obama is doing today for election campaigns. This was the reason why India was divided into states based on Linguistic basis.
Making Hindi a national language (using the word “national” for the sake of convienience-the constitution states it as “official language of Central Government”) was also necessary, because, a country should have its national language and Hindi is one language which bears similarities to many dialects spoken and also it provided a direct link to ancient language Sanskrit, which is supposed to be one of the heritages of India. English would have been a better alternative, only if it were our own and not England’s, for anything English came to be detested after independence, at least among the majority and so it became a second language – an inevitable process, for, the schools before 50 years to independence, started imparting English education, which no one seems to have opposed then. So from the moment Hindi became national language, the till then dormant element, became prominent and the division became like a crack in the glass (India) which is visible all over. It was then that the diversity of languages became prominent; also the beginning of factionalism and India became a place where it was better to be known as maharashtrian or a tamilian, rather than Indian. From here starts the divide. Whatever be the reason for faction, it ultimately comes to saying “you are not a Marathi” Little do we realize that language is not at all the issue. For it were so, there would be no peace at all, for every region within states have got its own dialects and all of them should be fighting with each other.