Maratha Kranti Morcha – why are Marathas taking to the streets?
While reporting about Maratha Kranti Morcha (Literally: Maratha Revolution March), English and local media have repetitively accused these Morchas of being politically motivated and Sharad Pawar being the instigator of these agitations.
Nothing can be farther from truth. These rallies, albeit well-organized are not sponsored by one political party or ideology. This is a rare moment when Maratha community has gathered under one banner, cutting across political spectrum as well as different ideologies. For the first time, politically and ideologically fragmented Marathas have gathered together to lodge their protest for different problems faced by community. These Morchas are receiving tremendous response from all parts of Maharashtra.
Many of the so-called political pundits have predicted that these Morchas won’t receive response beyond Marathwada. Their incompetence and prejudiced ignorance will be exposed when these Morchas go down in every districts of Maharashtra. Many of the district organizers have already declared the dates of these Morchas from all parts of state with a large rally planned in Mumbai to conclude the series of Morchas.
These pay-rolled political pundits are determined on declaring these Morchas failure as they have blatantly declared Marathas of being aggressive and destructive in past. They fear their incompetence will be exposed if these Morchas are conducted peacefully. Some of them are so prejudiced that they have a problem with the cleaning drive taken up by volunteers after these Morchas are concluded.
The rape and murder of a minor girl from community has served as an instigating point for Marathas to take to the street for their longstanding demands and problems faced by a larger section of community. Being agrarian community, Marathas have been taking the heat of falling prices of agriculture produces. Education is beyond reach of common Maratha despite many Marathas running prominent educational institutions. Barring the 5-7% Marathas in politics and industrialists, the community suffers severe economic problems.
The current and previous governments have ignored their plight for so long. Ban on James Laine’s controversial book had been lifted by court and B.M.Purandare, one of the people Laine had thanked in his book has been awarded with Maharashtra Bhushan. He is known for his falsified account of Shivaji’s history and twisting facts in his writings, the award is seen as an insult to the community. Community’s long demanded Maratha reservation is also stuck in the court.
Demands put in these rallies are simple.
Justice for the victim of Kopardi rape and murder with stringent punishment for the culprits
Reservation for Marathas in education and jobs
Financial aid to Late Annasaheb Patil Economical Development Corporation
Implement recommendation Swaminathan Committee report for farmers
Barring these four major demands, the community feels that SC & ST Prevention Of Atrocities Act has been misused to settle rivalries. There is a strong notion that this act was used as a tool against the family of Kopardi rape and murder victim. They demand that act be amended appropriately to prevent its misuse. This demand of amendment has been wrongly portrayed by media as a demand to scrap the law, which is utterly false.
These Morchas neither target any community, nor any political party. There are no slogans raised. No speeches given. No leader. Five girls from every district read out the memorandum to be given to the district collector before the community members in each rally and these girls only hand over the memorandum.
Marathas are putting forth their demands in peaceful manner and in large numbers. There have been repeated attempts by some fringe elements to incite violence by posting hateful comments and articles against the community on social media. But the community is undeterred and pronounced towards putting their demands in constitutional ways.
Picture: Maratha Kranti Morcha, Beed
Photographer: Shivraj Mane