The Mumbai Times: Raj, Shobhaa and the Common man

The Mumbai Times 
Raj, Shobhaa and the Common man

India looks so close from Mumbai! The first picture that comes to my mind, when I think about this city of cities, is how, people arrive at it’s doorstep, armed with virtually nothing, and carve out their long standing dreams at the heart of this city and what amazes me truly about Mumbai is that, it never fails to deliver. The potential, the indestructible spirit that Mumbai has always held and the virtually unputdownable enthusiasm that made Mumbai, what it is today, is what has always attracted me towards it. To be very honest, whatBangalore couldn’t do for me during my 4 years of graduation, Mumbai did it 4 months. I started considering it as my second home.


It has been 8 months since I had last flown over the queen’s necklace, but the picture still looms over my eyes, as it was yesterday and I feel an urge( much greater than that of a fag) to go back into the laps of the hard love that the city gave me once. When I landed into the Chhatrapati Shivaji domestic terminal I felt the city bustling and moving. An enviable melting pot of cultures, practices, religions and dreams- the economic powerhouse of modern India. I knew from day one that if there’s one city in India that can spark off your imagination sky high and fuel your ambitions, it can be this city of dreams. After spending years in the Southern parts of India, I came to know one thing, that even if North Indians graduated from sight seeing dwellers into the money making machine, they are not welcome. I was happy that Mumbai won’t make me feel as if I ventured into a foreign territory.  The discrimination that Bangalore made wouldn’t be here, or so I thought. It was true, to its every bit. But now when a Raj Thackeray comes to the forefront with a vested political agenda, and strives to break the image that I had harbored about this city, it pours fuel into the fire. What Raj is aiming is filthy street politics, bounding Mumbai in the parochial confinement.  


When we talk about Mumbai, about how different it is from other cities, we advertise the diversity that Mumbai holds up its skin. One thing I noticed about Mumbai that sets this city apart from other Indian states is, people doesn’t look for ‘matre’ or a ‘dharne’ at the end of your name, they value your work instead of your Marathi-speaking credentials. Mumbai doesn’t dwell on useless issues of provincial details. Work and result are in a perfect balance, you give your 100% and take the accolades home. This is what the Mumbai model was. And it would be interesting to quote that Maharashtra has been the only exception in the nomenclatural identity among all the other Indian States (Bengal, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh all focuses on the cultural or the geographic entities). This open mindedness of the unique work culture has made Mumbai what it is today, ‘The Financial capital ofIndia’. What Mamata did for Bengal, Raj is doing it for Mumbai. What he doesn’t understand, that if he succeeds with this projection of a non-existing divide between the locals and the migrated, it can bring down Mumbai to where Bengal is now. That is what happened when Jinnah projected the inequality of Hindus and Muslims.  Raj has been clever enough to encash on the sensitivity and the gullibility of ‘us’ Indians on this cultural and racial issue. He knows that this might well be the agenda that can propel him into the super league of Indian. We know it too, but still the media is giving us enough ‘crisp’ fodder to munch on at the breakfast table, and we are gulping it down. The final result – Raj will sit cozy in the political limelight after a few months only somewhere much higher up the ladder, and life will go in Mumbai, but what about the divide that he has created? Does he care enough, to come and mend it? NO! Where was his voice when the blasts ripped apart Mumbai? When thousands were stuck for days in the devastating floods last year? Only if he could filter out the Maharashtraians, and save them from their plight. Raj wont’ be noble enough to acknowledge that when the so-called outsiders are ‘taking away’ jobs, they are contributing their very own, but small part to make Mumbai the one among the greatest cities of the world, and of course his agenda to political super stardom.



Once upon a time in private news channel Ms. Shobhaa De made certain derogatory remarks on why Raj is right on his agenda. She says since Mumbai is a Maharastrian city, people who live here, should learn and speak in Marathi, she further reasons that people who stays in Bengal or Punjab speaks in their respective native languages, and nobody minds. Ms. De I would like to remind you, that to be great, to lead, you have to embrace the entire world, not shun it, not impose such logics and restrictions on people’s mind. I still remember one of my experiences in a distant Bangalore police station, when I went to lodge an FIR against a theft, the complaint was written in Kannad, and the inspector was such an imbecile that he wouldn’t translate it for me in English or Hindi. How would you feel if Mumbai starts behaving like this? Would you be so proud of your city after this, as you are now? Would you be able to boast about a future Ambani or a future Ratan Tata? Would you able to speak as highly of the Mumbai model as you do now? I don’t think so. What example would you set aside for cities like Calcutta or Ahmadabad if such things start happening? What Raj has raised in here, is an inherent feeling that is present in all Indians, don’t you think it’s wrong and unconstitutional? And you should try and nip it in the bud. People read you, and value your opinions, don’t you think that you should rise above parochial confinement and tell where Raj is wrong? Somewhere else you state that you don’t find Maharashtraians in any of the construction sites in Mumbai. I don’t think so that the construction companies have any enmity towards the locals. Or do they?  I don’t understand the logic behind your thinking is this respect. I guess you could object if they started putting up the ‘non-maharastrian’ criteria, in their recruitment process. Else not. You say that you want protests, you want street plays, and literature, people raising their voices against the Raj, but where are you? When families come from other states and never want to live, it’s not a problem Ms. De, it’s a privilege.


One last question. Ever thought of changing the name ‘Mumbai Indian’ IPL team to something less attractive?   


9 responses to “The Mumbai Times: Raj, Shobhaa and the Common man

  1. if such a situation happened to you in karnataka,get someone to translate the document for you,imagine if such a situation happened to a non-hindi speaker in bihar or up?isnt he also justified in calling the police officer an imbecile because he refused to translate documents into english or any other indian language?apparently by your logic all that is required for india to break into a million little pieces is for people of a capital city of a state to learn the official language of that state?

  2. “I would like to remind you, that to be great, to lead, …”

    When did Shobha De say anything about becoming great? She said when you are Maharashtra, you should learn Marathi (just like when you were in Karnataka, you should have learnt Kannada, then you wouldn’t run into a situation where you call the cop an imbecile for not writing in English/Hindi and he won’t call you an imbecile for not knowing Kannada).

    “How would you feel if Mumbai starts behaving like this?”
    What do you think ordinary Maharashtrians feels when you come to Mumbai/Maharashtra with a sense of righteous entitlement expecting the residents to bend over backward to accomodate you?

    “Would you be able to boast about a future Ambani or a future Ratan Tata? ”
    Do you think ordinary Maharashtrians give two hoots about the Ambani’s and Tata’s? They are busy making their ends meet so they can survive in a city that is rapidly pricing them out of their livelihoods.

    “What Raj has raised in here, is an inherent feeling that is present in all Indians, don’t you think it’s wrong and unconstitutional?”

    Wrong and unconstitutional? What comes first in a nation, people or constitution? When the constitution is not working, it is in dire need of amendments.

    “don’t you think that you should rise above parochial confinement and tell where Raj is wrong?”

    We should rise over parochial confinement? What have you done to rise over parochial confinement in your home state besides escaping it to come to Maharashtra?

    “When families come from other states and never want to live, it’s not a problem Ms. De, it’s a privilege.”

    It maybe a privilege for them, but it’s a problem for the locals. Have you traveled in the local trains lately? Would you like your children to travel in the same inhuman conditions or possibly worse with uncontrolled migration?

  3. Pingback: Out of touch … « Manooski·

  4. Out of touch,

    Would you care to explain that if people are more important than the constitution… what would your answer be when the ugly head of provincial politics raises its ugly head in almost each and every state of our nation? When the entire north eastern region is vibrating under the this threat? When the SC’s and ST’s demand the seat reservation in every nook and corner of our country? if today I gather 200 people and demand a seperate state, would i be right? there are various ways of expressing your thoughts, and we have given ourselves the education to not to act on emotions… thats why humans are political animals.

  5. @tugenensis,

    The choice is yours… you either enter the rat race, or opt out of it… nobody’s going to make a way for you, or is it? You always fought for a dream, then why are you afraid of fighting it this time? Oppurtunities are there to be noticed by every one… and god damn it.. there is no maharastra or bihar or bengal in our country, this is a one nation. Don’t you understand the political gimicks…? be informed and dont run on biased thoughts and emotions. These are mere administrative boundaries, do not let them eat your capability of the right judgement. Again I ‘ll say that the choice is yours.

  6. sauvik, if as you say, ‘the ugly head of provincial politics’ is raising head, should we just dismiss it as such or try to understand why this is happening? if we never care to understand the root cause of this behavior how do you expect to address it and fix it? do you think in a democracy such as in India, people, even the lay villagers, vote on irrational emotions alone? if so, why does india have so much anti-incumbency? as regards the north east, have we bothered to figure what ails them. are you familiar with the Prashant Tamang-Radio Mirchi episode? can we be sure that such attitudes are not ultimately responsible for the disenchantment of the people from such remote parts of India? as regards to your question about gathering 200 people and asking for a separate land, lemme point you to an interesting fact. Do you know some states in the US have the right to secede if they so wish? Why is it then that these states don’t secede from the US? Because, ultimately all the americans feel that they have a stake in the future of the country. In the long run, no country has managed to prevent any part of itself that WANTS to secede from doing so. The political map of this world was not the same before and will not be the same going ahead; this is just a simple fact of life that everyone has to ultimately accept. Talking about the rat race, been there done that, but please take a look at my latest post, on Opportunities are for every one to see indeed, but the opportunity costs are not the same for everyone. Some people are being forced to make sacrifices that others are not. It is easy to look beyond the borders for most of us, the educated elite, who typically tend to benefit from this. But, we don’t represent a typical Indian even by a long shot. Most of the people of this country are illiterate, un-educated. Many of them have nothing but their lands to live by and an equally large no. don’t even have that. The borders that you see are not only linguistic but also socio-economic as different state governments follow different policies. IF possible try to live the life of a small farmer or a farm laborer and you’ll get a better perspective on the situation. Education is still a privilege in India and not yet a fundamental right. Do you seriously think people don’t understand political gimmicks? If you think the vast majority of Maharashtrians are focussed on Raj Thackeray, you are grossly mistaken. Only a handful identify themselves with his tactics, most of us look beyond into what is affecting the people. When you say these boundaries are administrative, do you even understand the significance of ‘administrative’. These administrations decide whether a poor farmer will get booted or get to keep his land. Nobody’s good judgement is affected, if you care to look at the other side of the story as well. A significant portion of India’s east is under virtual Maoist control; that itself is a serious threat that should keep the educated elite awake before they make grandiose statements. All indians, educated or not, will have to address it some day and the answer will not be guns and bullets.

  7. @tugenensis,

    ‘The political map of this world was not the same before and will not be the same going ahead; this is just a simple fact of life that everyone has to ultimately accept.’

    – This doesnt explain anything… does that u support the killing of inocent people ? what did they do tuge? they are poor men .. going from their places to other states where they can earn a living ..and survive because that place is giving them a chance to relive their lives in a new way ? How else can i interpret ur lines in here ….U r in search of the root cause of this …? then do it without harming inocent guys ….do it without without supporting the madness in mumbai … do it in a sincere way .. not this way …. and i will be with u … What is happeining in mumbai cant be forgiven … no way, the killing, the loots the rampage, the lynching, what is this … and u say that the mahatma is from our country ? get some compassion in u … love is missing from the world … am very much aware of the administrators tuge…. but u have to change urself … to change the world … be the change u wnat to see…. mahatma once said …


  8. You are not eligible to live in any other state. Instead of complaining about bangalore police and mumbai people go to your Home state and improve it. Be a man.

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