As a Mumbaikar, I take great pride in associating with it the tag of being the one of the most, if not the most cosmopolitan cities in India. It is a city whose identity lies in the fact that it has allowed people from across the country to make it their home, at the same time, allowing them to contribute to the growth of the city as an economic and trade hub of the nation.
The entire fracas created by MNS leader Raj Thackery and his workers seems to be such an outrageously despicable attempt at publicity. He doesn’t have the right to say his party represents public opinion because his was the most underperforming party in the recent BMC elections. Saying the ‘North Indians’ are taking up the jobs which belong to the locals and killing the employment opportunities for the Marathi Manoos is a gross misinterpretation of an average Mumbaikar’s opinion. He has resorted to violent measures to rectify a problem which most of us know doesn’t exist in the first place.
If he was so worried about creating work for the unemployed section of Maharashtrians, then he should have thought about starting community - based cooperate initiatives - help an aspiring entrepreneur acquire funding for his project, get a person looking for livelihood his own taxi so that he can earn his bread on his own, start a formal association to manufacture pottery/handicraft items giving the women of the community a chance to work – the options are available. The only thing that he can do for them is instigate them to support his unimaginative and short-sighted political agenda.
Mumbai is a city of survivors. If you know how to make it through the competition and hardships the city poses, you have the right to stay in the city, despite of your being a Punjabi, Bihari or Marathi. As long as they pay their taxes giving the government its due for maintaining the public machinery and remain responsible law-abiding citizens, no one has the right to tell them the city doesn’t belong to them. We can’t forget that the city’s prime industrialists and business leaders are mostly not Maharashtrians. Do you throw them out and with them the thousands of openings they create for the residents of the city?
When I came to the city six years ago, not once did anyone treat me differently because I didn’t know Marathi. In fact, the thing which made me fall on love with the city was the fact that people here were very hospitable and willing to treat you as one of their own. Today, I have a friend circle which has people from all corners of the country- Gujuratis, Tamilians, Maharashtrains, Sindhis, Delhiites and Bengalis. Never once have we disrespected or behave differently with someone just because he or she is from another part of the country. We take as much pride in being Mumbaikars as we do in belonging to our respective communities/states.
One of the politicians supporting the movement gave reasons like “North Indians do not follow the law of the land. They are rash drivers and responsible for many accidents.” He proved it himself how ‘justified’ the motives behind the movement are. I don’t think the ‘North Indians’ were ever a problem. Our politicians seem to be quite jobless, to have come up with amusing crap like this to keep themselves busy. Their idle mind is in deed a devil’s workshop!