Every person has a right to express unhappiness

Author and columnist Shobhaa De stirred a political hornet’s nest with her views on the new state government rule that multiplexes should show at least one Marathi movie during the prime 6-9 pm slot.

Her exact words (including the atrocious punctuation) on Twitter were: “Devendra ‘Diktatwala’ Fadnavis is at it again!!!From beef to movies. This is not the Maharashtra we all love! Nako!Nako! Yeh sab roko!” This was her first tweet on the subject.

Her second tweet read: “I love Marathi movies. Let me decide when and where to watch them, Devendra Fadnavis. This is nothing but Dadagiri.” To top it, she said: “No more pop corn at multiplexes in Mumbai? Dahi misal and vada pav only. To go better with the Marathi movies at prime time.”

In reaction, the Shiv Sena, a political party that often romances with misplaced jingoism, decided to give it back to De by organising a morcha to her house. The state legislature an efficient arm of our democracy that does everything possible to bring prosperity to the lakhs of farmers currently suffering from combined forces of drought and debt that often lead to suicide decided to bring a privilege motion against the outspoken Mumbaikar. At the time of going to print, she continues to receive abuse on social media and from political parties.

Perhaps, if the Sena leaders are reading this, it is a good time to remind themselves that we are still a democracy and that every person has a right to express unhappiness at a government’s decision. It would also be apt that our MLAs, proud as they are of Marathi culture, remind themselves that bringing a privilege motion in an issue that is as trivial as voicing an opinion brings down the stature of the institution.

In a state that desperately needs a reboot to keep itself at the top of the growth charts, our lawmakers and politicians cannot be seen as supporting acts that take away attention from the real issues that face us. The Shiv Sena and the state legislature are doing just that. It is a strategy doomed to fail.

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