A “silent march” will be taken out in Nagpur on October 25 as part of statewide mobilisation by Marathas for their demands like reservation in jobs and education, but the Kunbis, a dominant community in Vidarbha region, have been excluded from the agitation. With cracks seem to be developing between the two factions of the community, the Sakal Maratha Samaj, which is organising the silent march in the city, has excluded the Kunbis from the protest. On October 25, the march will start from Reshimbagh and trek through Cotton Market, Tekdi Road and Sitabuldi to reach Kasturchand Park. From there, it will proceed to the district collector’s office with young girls carrying a memorandum of demands.
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It will be a silent march and follow all norms like being non-political and maintaining cleanliness that the community is adhering to in different cities, the organisers told reporters in Nagpur on Saturday evening. According to sources, the clubbing and naming the banner as Maratha-Kunbi Samaj March is apparently the point of discord between the two factions.
There is one section of Marathas (essentially the warrior clan) which has nothing to do with the Kunbi community having agriculture as occupation, they said. The Maratha-Kunbi is a mix typical to Vidarbha region where the two seem to have assimilated.
Over six decades ago, this happened with the initiatives of stalwarts like late Panjabrao Deshmukh, the Agriculture Minister in the then Jawahralal Nehru Cabinet, allowing ‘roti-beti’ (exchanging food and allowing marriages) relations between the two. The descendants of the warrior community, tracing back to Chhatrapati Shivaji, want to assert their lineage and maintain separate identity, the sources said.
So far, the Maratha-Kunbi Samaj, that has overwhelming presence of members of Maratha Vidya Prasarak Mandal and Maratha Sewa Samiti, has been dominating the morcha scene. It had earlier planned the march on October 16, but later claimed that the state-level coordination committee instructed it to defer it till December when the winter session of the Legislature commences here, to put pressure on the state government, the sources added.