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A postcard from Bombay for Raj

October 7, 2009

Don’t think it’s a good idea and you’ll do it one of these days. Do it today! Go to your nearest post office, buy a postcard and address it to Raj Thackeray. Don’t be abusive, write a peace message, and when you write the MNS office address, write BOMBAY instead of Mumbai. And shoot it off today! If you like the idea, buy more than a few postcards and give them to friends.

Details here.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Ritaja BasuMullick permalink
    October 8, 2009 1:51 PM

    While condemning Raj Thackeray, we must also protest against the step-motherly treatment of all NATIONAL languages except Hindi by the Govt of India.
    It is also true that Hindi-speaking people refuse to learn and speak any language except their mother tongue. It is also quite usual for them to ridicule the food habits and other social customs as ‘REGIONAL’ and their own as ‘NATIONAL’.
    And, then you have RajBhasha Prachar Samity. The name ‘Rajbhasha’ is itself derogatory to all other NATIONAL languages as mentioned in Indian constitution.

    • Garga Chatterjee permalink
      October 21, 2009 10:30 PM

      I totally agree. There can be no promotion of one language over another – and this is true for even within states. It does not matter if Hindi speakers refuse to learn – why should non-Hindu speakers care? Just that any funds for Hindi bhasha prochar has to come from Hindi bhashis.

  2. Sunil permalink
    October 14, 2009 2:07 PM

    Its not about Raj Thackeray. Its about calling a city by its own name and not the one which is given by some third person who ruled. It used to call Mumbai before british people came here. They could not pronouce the name and thats why they changed it to Bombay for their convinience. So do we still want to cherish the days of slavery. On the world map its Mumbai. Would you call Madras instead of Chennai, Calcutta instead of Kolkata…then why you all people stress on Bombay when its Mumbai.

  3. Manash permalink
    October 14, 2009 3:00 PM

    Ms Ritaja,

    You quickly moved from critiquing the Govt of India to the whole of “Hindi-speaking people”. I can easily call it your “Bengali-speaking” bias. I can also list a number of cultural prejudices and fantasies that Bengalis suffer from. I think whatever you have written about people who speak Hindi is utterly ridiculous. At worst, you might be true as far as your elite circle of friends/colleagues are concerned. That should make you question your “class” rather than communities. I think the anxiety to become “national” is more among the Bengali middle class than Hindi speaking people. I don’t think there is anything derogatory in being “regional” as compared to national. And lastly, ridiculing other communities is very much a Bengali pass time. I know, being a Bengali myself.

    Mr. Sunil,

    You should be aware that the politics of turning Bombay into Mumbai has had an uncomfortable Marathi bias. Bombay has never been, however, a “regional” city. It is Rushdie’s hotchpotch city, where outsiders are welcome to chase or fail their dreams. The politics behind re-naming Bombay isn’t about getting out of “slavery” – it can also be an attack on Bombay’s plural, secular and modern culture. The “slavery” of the Shiv Sena vis-a-vis all forms of orthodoxy can be equated with their love for “Mumbai”. A city’s name is symbolic of a history it has undergone. To merely twist that history to suit a particular group under the argument of nativity is I think quite dangerous. Let Bombay be Bombay for those who like to name it that way – you carry Mumbai in your head if you want to.

  4. Ritaja BasuMullick permalink
    October 16, 2009 8:15 PM

    Manash,
    You missed my point on state patronage of one specific language and the ill-effects of the same.
    I made my point. Counter me with facts and figures on Rajbhasha issue. First find out the financial disbursements to promote Hindi and compare the same with other Indian languages

    And, finally it is pastime NOT “pass time” and hodgepodge NOT ‘hotchpotch’. Check you spelling, please! my dear Hindiwallah!

    • Garga Chatterjee permalink
      October 21, 2009 11:37 PM

      @ Ritaja.

      Now that was sad- you had a point in your initial comment and I supported you. However, the spell-correction strain did sadden me. What if Manash gets the spellings “wrong” – did you not understand the content of his argument?

      @ Manas

      The broad stereotyping you do is without legs in addition to the assumption of what a commenter has or does not have idea about – come to the content. If Urdu suffers more than Bangla, can a Bengali not point out that Bangla suffers? Is it wrong to have NO attitude at all towards another language? What if I am a Oriya and have nothing good or bad to say about Hindi – I just want that no other language should get state patronage exceeding the proportion of the population that claims to speak it. Whether Hindi or Bangla has great writing is irrelevant. Also, whether certain mediocre Bangla writers have had undue fame is a ridiculous statement when you provide no names – whoever they are, you may not have liked what they wrote – and who cares about your personal preferences?
      You clearly think that one’s human identity is somehow not at its fullest expression till one’s specific identity is transcended -and that is true – why? because Nirod Chaudhuri says so?

      I commend you on your stance of spellings.

  5. Manash permalink
    October 17, 2009 9:24 PM

    Ritaja,

    Both hotchpotch and hodgepodge are correct spellings dear spelling teacher. And “pass time” was a hurried mistake. Point is – wrong spellings are less harmful than prejudiced ideas and mindsets. No dictionary or grammar book can rectify them. All English teachers in school aren’t the best examples of humanity.

    You have no idea of the whole politics behind Hindi. State bias towards language is obviously a bad thing. But there are languages like Urdu which suffer far more than languages like Bengali. And the accusation of state patronage need not qualify you to speak rubbish about any community. It is amply clear from your attitude, you don’t give much cultural credence to Hindi. Am sure you think highly of Bengali. Though you should know, Hindi literature post-Independence
    has been remarkable in many ways. And lot of mediocre Bengali writers have got more accolades than they deserve. This happens because Bengalis have a great time flaunting and trumpeting their literary culture. But many of them, like you, know very little of great literature from other Indian languages.

    You belong to the species of Bengalis for whom, years back, Nirad C Choudhuri had raised an important question, taking the cue from a famous couplet of Tagore where he castigated Bengalis perfectly. The question Chaudhuri raised was: “Bangali hoibo na manush hoibo?” (Should I be a Bengali or a human being?). I think the predicament still exists.

  6. October 19, 2009 2:21 PM

    Manash writes: “Both hotchpotch and hodgepodge are correct spellings dear spelling teacher. And “pass time” was a hurried mistake. Point is – wrong spellings are less harmful than prejudiced ideas and mindsets. No dictionary or grammar book can rectify them. All English teachers in school aren’t the best examples of humanity.”

    Bravo!

  7. pankaj chauhan permalink
    October 21, 2009 1:23 AM

    I don’t know why you guys are fighting like kids , instead ,we all should come forward unanimously against all kind of prejudices , be it of state or language , the point over here to be noted is to get into action rather than blaming each other. In the end i believe we all very similar to raj thackeray , by being very possessive about those things which belong to all of us .

  8. Ritaja BasuMullick permalink
    October 23, 2009 10:10 AM

    Assumption is bad for health and is more harmful than spelling mistakes :)-
    Manas says – “You have no idea of the whole politics behind Hindi. ”
    – how do you know that? Indeed, a bad assumption.
    Manas also says – “Though you should know, Hindi literature post-Independence
    has been remarkable in many ways. And lot of mediocre Bengali writers have got more accolades than they deserve. ”

    – Where is the evidence? Who are those mediocre writers who have got more accolades than they deserve? Sweeping remarks like this are surely more damaging than those spelling mistakes :)-

    “But many of them, like you, know very little of great literature from other Indian languages. ”
    – I speak five Indian NATIONAL languages apart from Bengali. In fact, I was born & brought up in Delhi only and studied in a school where Bengali has never been taught.

    Nirad C was an agent of British intelligence when he used to work as a secretary to Late Sarat Chandra Bose. I hope you have managed to read some of his Bengali articles published by Ananda Publishers. Ironically, Nirad C’s views about great Hindi-brigade are also well documented in his writings.I would request you to go through the same before using him as a shield to obfustcate issues.
    The issue remains and I am yet to get a response on this
    “You missed my point on state patronage of one specific language and the ill-effects of the same.
    I made my point. Counter me with facts and figures on Rajbhasha issue.”
    If this is not sorted out, we will have more Raj Thackerays outside the Hindi-Hindu belt in another decade.

  9. Ritaja BasuMullick permalink
    October 23, 2009 10:14 AM

    I apologise!

    One should read ‘obfuscate’ in the sentence “I would request you to go through the same before using him as a shield to obfustcate issues.”

    With malice to none!

  10. ank|t . k permalink
    October 30, 2009 12:33 AM

    First:
    Coming back to the original post, I do think that there is more to it than restoring Bombay its forgotten heritage by calling it Mumbai; there might be a hidden political agenda like many of you hinted.
    I’m just curious about how many people knew that Bombay was infact Mumbai, I’m a breed of the 90’s and tell you the truth I never knew of “Mumbai” until there were talks about changing its name.
    Bombay will always be Bombay for me!

    Second:
    Hindi is the national language, fine, then why do we only study it until 10th grade, why all our higher studies are in English, why are most of us at loss of words when asked for Hindi translation of an English word? They say national language is suppose to bring us together, but all its doing is magnifying our differences.
    I say get rid of the “national language” crap, lets talk whatever we want to, besides inevitably English is going to take over, so….

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