For a while now, I've been asked to descend from my ivory-tower-philosophical-mind-over-matter topics and come down to the real world and talk about the real stuff. Although I firmly believe that mind-over-matter helps more in day-to-day life than talking about BT brinjal, today I would like to take up a topic that is very important to me because I have seen people very close to me suffer as a result of this.
I have grown up in Dubai, which has an extremely metropolitan culture, in terms of not only people of different states of India living together but having neighbours who are Chinese, African, Arabs etc too. I've seen my parents interact with people of different nationalities with the same respect as they do with our relatives. In the backdrop of this upbringing, I assumed that all educated people in Pune, Maharashtra would be horrified with the MNS beating up anyone remotely non-Maharastran and Shiv Sena proclaiming that Mumbai belongs to Maharashtrans. I am sorry to say that I was way off the mark.
In private circles, a war far more emotional and damaging is being waged. In a supposedly metropolitan environment, Maharashtrans in Pune tend to always stick together. Their easiest and most potent weapon is Marathi. They refuse to talk in any language other than Marathi with their Maharashtran friends. Lakhs of students come from every corner of the country to the "Oxford of India" in order to pursue their higher studies. Thousands of them stay back here to pursue jobs and improve our IT industry. I have lived alone for 4 years in Pune before Mom and bro came back. Even though I was living in my home town, surrounded by ALL my relatives (20 in all), I used to feel lonely. Just imagine, how people from Rajasthan, Delhi etc feel in Pune? They have no one here. The only people they can rely on for companionship is their friends at college, their colleagues at work...
Why do we isolate them? Why do we refuse to talk in any language understandable by them? If we want them to learn Marathi and respect our culture, taking them into our conversations and lives would have a better impact rather than isolating them and forcing them to make their own non-Maharashtran groups. My best friends are from Bengal, Rajasthan, Delhi. They are witty, intelligent people and it pains me to see that they never understand the conversation or jokes going on around them. I implore you, my Maharashtran friends, at least consider speaking in Hindi when some non-Maharashtran is around. This psychological warfare is not going to be of any use to anyone.