If BJP has been accused of dividing Hindus and Muslims on communal lines, then Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan will soon face the possible criticism of dividing the nation on North vs South Indians but not without reason.
The president of Jana Sena Party, Pawan Kalyan categorically denied that he is against any Hindi or North Indians per se but against the discrimination meted out to South Indians in all walks of life, government appointments, financial bodies and key powerful positions.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, he said: “I am not against north India or Hindi language. What I am questioning is the hegemony of the north Indians over South Indians. Many north Indians are being appointed in key positions in south, but are any south Indians getting any good positions in north?” he questioned.
Lifting the mantle of defending the south Indians, Pawan Kalyan has asked the north Indians not to look down upon their southern counterparts as second grade citizens. He warned that such discrimination would lead to disintegration of the country.
Ruling out that he was ever scared to speak to Modi, he said he would repeat the demand when he meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon. “I am not scared of Modi. This is a fact and I do not hesitate to bring this to the notice of the Prime Minister,” he said.
Pawan Kalyan has also extended his support to Left parties which have called for an agitation on May 15 demanding higher remuneration for farmers, especially for mirchi crop. He had also extended his support earlier for the postponement of Group-II examinations in Andhra Pradesh whcih was duly fulfilled by the government. “It is a genuine cause. Jana Sena will always be in the forefront in taking people’s issues to the notice of the government and fight for getting them resolved,” he added.
Why North-South Divide Now?
Way back in the early 1960s, when Hindi was made compulsory, erstwhile Madras state of south Indians was up in arms and riots broke out in streets against forcing Hindi on South Indians whose languages differ widely from the North Indian languages. But since English was allowed to remain a lingua franca for the official business of the government, the animosity subsided.
But the recent CBSE ruling to force implement Hindi as compulsory again until 10th Standard is one such trigger that might go against the South Indians who would be burdened to study not only their own mother tongue but also Hindi until 10th Standard as against 8th till now. No South Indian language was made compulsory in the North, showing how discriminatory the move is against the South Indians.
In central services too, most of the appointments in the corridors of power or Bhavans around Rajpath go to North Indians while clerical positions remain exclusively meant for hard-working South Indians, especially Malayalis and Tamilians. The absence of South Indian bosses has often left a feeling of servitude among the South Indians that may prove costly later on.
In judiciary too, south Indian judges were often discriminated and many panels and probes go to North Indians and the yardstick of response to guilty is not the same always. Even in political parties, South Indians get fewer berths whether in BJP or Congress, which has resulted in more regional parties in the South than anywhere else.
Bollywood is another divider perpetuating the North-South cultural discrimination. While few South Indians succeed in Bollywood, the perception gap is cystal clear. Making the accent of South Indians a target of ridicule in comedy scenes is almost taken for granted. The recent Bahubali 2 success is something that many North Indian actors and producers are unable to digest even to this day.
Moreover, some actors have made ignominous remarks about the colour of South Indians, triggering protests over racial discrimination but the incident has left behind a sense of being second-grade citizens for South Indians in their own land, reflecting the days of British Raj when the Whites ruled India. It is time to wake up and correct the mistakes and asnwer Pawan Kalyan lest many such dissenting voices will be heard down the Vindyas.