Caste-based Cricket Tournament Organised by Maharashtra BJP MLA Triggers Marathi Pride Debate

Representational Image.

Representational Image.

The BJP has called the issue a private event and said the party has nothing to do with the cricket match.


Manoj Khandekar

Mumbai: In a suburb of Maharashtra, a cricket tournament organised by a BJP MLA became the centre of controversy even before a run could be scored.

Tensions began after details of the upcoming match revealed players from only Gujarat, Kutch, and those belonging to the Marwari caste will be allowed to enter the tournament.

‘Namo Ramo Trophy’, the tournament being organised by BJP MLA Ravindra Chavan, will be held in Dombivali, a Marathi-speaking suburb of Mumbai. The local tournament stirred a row after a video showing the contentious poster of “Marathi pride” went viral on social media.

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Namo Ramo Trophy's poster (Mohd Meeqat Hashmi/News18)

The Shiv Sena and the Marathi-speaking community have called the event a violation of their pride and opposed the tournament. Local Shiv Sena leader Deepesh Mhatre said if such tournaments are organised, it would lead to greater fragmentation of the society.

The BJP has, however, distanced itself from the issue. An ex-MLA of BJP, Narendra Pawar, called it a private event and said “the party has nothing to do with this”.

Hindi-Marathi Controversy on ‘Tarak Mehta’

The controversy came a day after a contentious statement about native languages in Mumbai was made in popular Hindi TV serial ‘Tarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashma’. In a dialogue, an actor says Hindi is the language of common people in Mumbai.

The statement triggered objections from the public as well a strong response from political organisations, including Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

The chairman of the film wings of MNS, Amey Khopkar, issued a video on social media in which he criticised the producer. Another leader threatened that the set of the show “would not exist if Marathi pride becomes targeted again”.

The producer of the serial, Asit Kumar Modi, soon stepped in and tweeted, “Mumbai is in Maharashtra, and the language of Maharashtra is Marathi only. There is no doubt about this. I am an Indian. I am a Maharashtrian and a Gujarati as well. I respect all the Indian languages.”

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