Maharashtraians turning over sensitive?

VJTI lecturer beaten over Shivaji poem

2 Feb 2008, 0157 hrs IST , TNN
     MUMBAI: It was meant to be a fun occasion for the teaching and non-teaching staff of the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI). Instead, Friday evening’s get-together turned into a shocking affair, with activists of Shiv Sena’s labour wing thrashing a lecturer.

     Activists of Bharatiya Kamgar Sena assaulted lecturer Sanjay M G for reciting a poem with “objectionable content” against Shivaji during the annual get-together. The lecturer is also an office-bearer of the National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM). No police case has been registered.

    The institute had organised a get-together of all teaching and non-teaching staff members to promote team spirit. Several faculty members and non-teaching staff share light moments during this annual get-together.

     As the evening progressed, Sanjay recited a Marathi poem, “Mi Kadhi Risk Ghet Nahi” (I never take a risk). The poem, penned by Taliram (pen name), speaks about a man who reaches home after a day’s work and then gets high on alcohol. In his ramblings, the man imagines Shivaji Maharaj (portrait hung on a wall) smiling back at him. “Shivaji Maharaj is laughing loudly. Shivaji Maharaj is cooking. Shivaji Maharaj never takes risks.”

     As Sanjay completed reciting the poem, some union members of the college slapped him several times, said a faculty member who was present there.

     “Marathi is rich with its poetry and literature. Why did Sanjay have to recite this poem?” asked an infuriated member of the union.

    “Many staff members have been waiting for an opportunity to beat up Sanjay and this was an opportunity,” was what a senior faculty member had to say.

     Albert Pinto, secretary of the Bharatiya Kamgar Sena, and other members then met the institute director K G Narayankhedkar and demanded that Sanjay be suspended.

     Documentary filmmaker Anant Patwardhan, an old friend of Sanjay, said, “I absolutely condemn this incident. It is reflective of the growing intolerance in our society.

      What matters now is whether the state will take any action against the men who attacked Sanjay. It is about time that the police started taking these incidents seriously and did something to deter them

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