For the past three years, I have been living in Mumbai. The city never ceases to amaze me with its variety, its vibrance and the sheer number of people it feeds. One of the threads that is seen snagging almost all the political conflicts in this place is the Marathi Manus. I think the term was coined and abused by the senior Thackeray, after which it has become the Congress equivalent of the Aam Aadmi.
Ask yourself this, how many times have you seen this ubiquitous Marathi Manus in action?
- How many times, is he given an accolade for some achievement or something?
- How many times does the society celebrate him?
- How many time does he get cited in the newspaper (and not as a collective noun)
The list could go on, but I guess, if any individual does manage to do any of the above, then that person is automatically separated from the collective identity of the Marathi Manus. It’s a socialist collective noun.
And, that’s precisely where you will see him. The morchas, the ganpati mandals and the gokulashtamis, the political party rallies and the voting booth stints, the fairs and the trains. All places where there is a sea and no scope to stand out, that’s where the collective stands out the most.
That saddens me, the fact that this term requires a collective to define itself, and will always stay around a collective. A collective which is meant to be led, and to be manipulated.