‘Patil’s Marathi political identity’s a non sequitur’

Pratibha Patil may become the first Maharashtra resident to become President. But her impending ascension to the Rashtrapati Bhavan is not to be confused for a Marathi icon in the making says Loksatta editor Kumar Ketkar in a piece in today’s Indian Express.

“To non-Maharashtrians, this may appear to be strange. But the fact is that the average Marathi person is far less ethnically chauvinistic than he is made out to be by the Shiv Sena and the English media. With malice towards none, one can say that Maharashtra does not have the ethnic-cultural-linguistic pride which is so dominant in Bengali, Tamil, Telugu or Punjabi societies.

“In communist West Bengal, from Vivekanand to Jyoti Basu and from Rabindranath Tagore to Sourav Ganguly, each stalwart generates proud ethnic waves. In the south, MGR in Tamil Nadu and NTR in Andhra Pradesh captured people’s imagination. There is nothing comparable to this regional pride in Maharashtra…

“Not because the Marathi people disrespect Pratibha Patil, but simply because she does not represent a comprehensive Marathi ethos—if indeed there is such a thing.”

Read the full article here: Great Maratha who?