Point to Ponder Over Raj Thackeray

I agree that this post on the speeches by the MNS chief Raj Thackeray has come quite late but I intended it to be delayed as my first response is quite impulsive and need not be of any wisdom. Now I do not claim that the post contains unquestioned knowledge, deep thinking or wisdom but obviously it would be less inflammatory, less impulsive which makes it worthy of a look.( mind you not read) The second reason for the delay was that I intended to do a lot of research before I write this one. (And for a change I did that but forgot to take down the notes.)

If you have been following “The Hindustan Times” you must have not missed an excellent article on the issue by Vir Sanghvi I too, in my last post tried to make a subtle point with my sarcastic humour, which to my great regret went unnoticed.

Now statistics tells us that about 22% of the mumbai population is of UPites while Biharis comprise about 3%. So, one can agree that to some extent the north Indians are a burden on the city’s infrastructure. I, therefore takes Raj Thackeray’s words on the face value and agree that North Indians should leave the Mumbai, but before I do that I have some issues.

Going by your logic, Mr. Raj the Gujratis must leave Mumbai before Biharis and ultimately the city should be handed to the handful of fishermen community which were the original inhabitants of Mumbai.

Let’s even forget the above logic. Mr. Raj Thackeray is the elite leader of India, so as a commoner I am sure I have twisted the fact to suit me! And Mr. Thackeray is right when he asks the North Indians to leave, but let’s look at the facts again. Mr. Thackeray says we provide cheap labour and hence we are depriving the “sons of the soil” of their livelihood. Again during the entire protest period your target group were daily wage labourers, and the Taxi drivers. Though you spoke against the white collar jobs but you did not target them. Evidently, they are of secondary importance to you!

Hitler in his Mein Kemph said on the very first page The German people have no right to indulge in colonial policies until they have brought the brothers of the same motherland under one Reich (Sic). If it’s true then by the principle of duality, if you have to move your own people out of your home, make sure, the illegal aliens are turned out first.

I want to ask Mr. Raj Thackeray as to why no campaign was targeted towards the illegal Bangladeshi immigrant before targeting the North Indians. Dharavi the largest slum of Asia,is in Mumbai and a majority of them are illegal immigrants working as petty labourers and often unlawful activities. Yet almost every tenth house sports the MNS flag in Dharavi. These illegal immigrants have got their fake voter cards and huge vote bank for any political party in the city.

So, my dear Mumbaikars and Indians, wake up if we can’t see the true colour of these politicians and keep on falling in their dirty traps and electing them time and again. We will be proving the SOB Winston Churchill claims right that India in 50 years will be ruled by 3R’s Rogue, Ruffians and Rustics!!!

Anecdote on Thackerays

I remember it was about five years ago, when Shiv Sena resorted to violence on “The sons of the soils” issue. The “Marathi Manoos” took laws into their own hand. The Thackeray brothers beat up the North Indians from UP and Bihar coming to take the railway recruitment board exams. They went on record to say that such incidents will be repeated if priority is not given to the “Marathi Manoos.” Shiv Sena at that time shared power at the centre as a partner of NDA.

The following year, the government changed, Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav became the railway minister. The railway recruitment board exams were held again in Mumbai but this time there was adequate protection provided in form of CRPF and other para-military forces. And the Thackrey brother (Raj if I am correct) went on record to say, “Hinsa kisi bhi samasya ka samadhan nahin hai hamen baat-cheet se masle ko samjhana chahiye.”

It is for you to decide and choose Thackeray as your leader. You all are wise enough!!!

Ps: For those looking for proof of the statement, I admit I have none. At that time I didn’t think it was important enough!!!

Political Games being Played all Over!!

MUMBAI IS in headlines for last few days and we have seen some very parochial politics being played in Mumbai and in the country over all. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists are on rampage against North Indian migrants in Mumbai and Maharashtra.

Amar SinghThe ‘bhaiyyas’, common pejorative for North Indians living in Mumbai, are being targeted because MNS believes that these migrants, especially from Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar are creating nuisance in the city and are taking the share of Marathi people.

Raj Thackeray is struggling to gain some political relevance and ahead of 2009 assembly polls, he has aroused regionalism to meet his vested interests. He wants to project himself as a true saviour ‘Marathi manus’. But he has touched a new low in the politics by pitting people of one region against another. Such tactics can be very deadly and may lead to total chaos and unrest in Mumbai.

RajThe state government also kept quiet for a week, chief minister and deputy chief minister were busy attending functions, while police commissioner of the city hosted Thackeray at his daughter’s wedding. There is an allegation that Congress-NCP (National Congress Party) kept quiet because it knew that it would be difficult to regain power in Maharashtra after ten years in the office. If Thackeray can eat some of the Marathi vote bank of Shiv Sena, it will ultimately help Congress-NCP.

Mumbai ViolenceOn the other hand, Samajwadi Party (SP) wants to expand its base in Maharashtra following the large population of North Indians in the city, and this tirade of Thackeray has provided SP a golden goose they were looking for. They are leaving no stone unturned to project themselves as saviours of North Indians.

Both MNS and SP are at loggerheads in order to woo the voters. BJP, a national party that is struggling to project its pan India outlook, is reluctant to change the hollow and illiberal outlook in Maharashtra. The criticism of Thackeray by BJP appears hollow. Instead of mentioning Thackeray for his ugly remarks, they demanded the resignation of the chief minister. It seems that they are on some other track. They need to be told that the resignation of the chief minister is not going to diffuse the tension, which is primary at the moment.

The notion that a particular city belongs to its natives and the people from other states or regions cannot work in that city is totally against the very essence of our Constitution and concept of national unity. Our Constitution has given right to every citizen to work and earn living anywhere in the country. But the recent incident has made me think on two points.

Firstly, what makes people leave their homes?

Herein lies another aspect of our politics. In the last 60 years, our political leaders and political parties have succeeded in enjoying themselves in the politics of non-development. The national parties are mainly responsible for this. They never paid heed to the development of India as a whole. In fact, the little development that has happened is centered around the state capitals and mostly around Delhi and Mumbai. The non-development in the other cities leads to birth of regional outfits and parties, which have no sensitivity towards the nation as a whole. No one can deny the fact that maximum job opportunities are available in these two metros only. Therefore, people migrate to make better living. In Mumbai, there is 70 per cent population of migrants who have come from every nook and corner of the country. Thus, Mumbai, South Asia’s biggest city, is choking. Everyday over 40 families arrive in Mumbai.

United Nations (UN) report says that Mumbai will have 30 million people by the year 2015, which makes it the world’s second most crowded city after Tokyo. This rising population stretches the infrastructure such as roads, water, railways, electricity, residences, law enforcement, etc. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is considered to be the best in the country, has failed miserably to create better infrastructure. The hindrances from various political outfits are also making life difficult for BMC. If it tries to replace slum, there are protests; if it takes action against illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, there are protests; if it takes steps against unauthorised settlements, it is not allowed to do so.

Mumbai is crumbling but none of the politicians are taking any comprehensive review of this chronic situation. They are unable to act tough, as they may loose something politically. Mumbai requires Rs 2,34,000 crores for infrastructure development but New Delhi has budgeted Rs 35,100 crore for whole Maharashtra. We need to be more practical and focus on the solutions rather than aggravating it. A more inclusive approach is required, and driving away immigrants is not going to help anyway. One of the approaches can be to decentralise the jobs from Mumbai to nearby areas such as Panvel and Vasai. The world’s largest cities like New York, Shanghai, Tokyo that faced similar problems have successfully implemented this solution. Then why can’t Mumbai? Political will is required.

Secondly, why people from UP and Bihar migrate most?

If you observe closely, you will find people from these two states all over the country. Punjab, Assam, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, to name few. One reason is that the labour from these two states is cheap and hardworking, ready to do jobs such as driving taxi, housekeeping, milkman etc. The main reason, though, is that the politicians of UP and Bihar are worthless with no self respect. The elections in these two states are never fought on the agenda of development, but on the petty issues of caste, community and religion. The politicos are so corrupted that they eat all funds diverted by centre for development. Mayawati government stalled Anil Ambani’s power project in Dadri, probably because it was cleared by her political rival. When a private player is meted with such a treatment, how can you expect him to set a factory in the state? This politics of ‘vendetta’ has led to dearth of private sector in UP and Bihar. There is no infrastructure in these two states and the politicos have no knowledge of the economics. For them, development is restricted to opening of new parks, lawns, memorials, etc. They never ponder to encourage the growth rate, number of private players, boosting agriculture, small-scale industries, and power plants in the state. With no option left at their disposal, the people of these two states are also needed to be blamed for the condition of the state. They always fall prey to vested motives and are very happy with underdevelopment in the state. Otherwise, they should have made their elected representatives more accountable.

The politicians from UP and Bihar are baying for Thackeray’s arrest but if they feel so insulted, then they should take the daunting task to provide job opportunities to people in their own state. Instead of expanding their political base in other state, they should concentrate on the well being of the people in their own state. Every regional party wants to go national but their motives are regional centric only. I would be more happy if Amar Singh, Mayawati, Lalu Prasad, who are ‘true saviours’ of the people from their state, do something to improve the living standards in UP and Bihar. The people of UP-Bihar have immense potential and are showed by their success stories with reference to number of engineers, doctors, and civil servants. But unfortunately, their own state cannot tap their talent. I will be happy to sacrifice my multinational corporation (MNC) job and work for upliftment of my state, provided government shows some positive signs.

Whatever is happening in Mumbai is very sad. It is basically part of regional chauvinism and parochial politics played at the expense of some very poor people. Nothing will come out of this situation and only poor will suffer. Political games are such that the people never understand these but they do play and become a part of it.

Mumbai is for all.

The dogs in Mumbai have been unleashed once again by power hungry regional politicians. Petty ‘taxi drivers’,’chaat waalah’ and other poor vendors are being accused and abused physically in broad daylights, in the heart of financial capital of India, Mumbai. Indian newspapers are full of reports that North Indians (particularly those from the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) in Mumbai are being attacked by supporters of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, a regional political party founded by Raj Thackeray in Maharashtra. Raj has been giving anti- North Indians statements for quite sometime and is ridiculing the festivals of Northern India (particularly the Chhat festival of Bihar). Just a few days back, he alleged the superstar Amitabh Bachchan of not doing enough for Maharashtra and insulted him for his love for the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP).

Marine DriveThe comments of Raj are not only naive but stupid as well. Mumbai has 30% population from North India. The trades related to Dairy, Milk production, education, Paan (beetel leaf), Taxi transport, Flour Mills, Vegetables, Security Guards and junk items are being managed by North Indians in Mumbai. In fact these people have become part and parcel of the life in Mumbai and they are doing their best in making this city the financial hub of India. As such a blatant attack on them is likely to hamper the overall functioning of the city. Raj is of view that Mumbai should be run by Maharashtrians and none from outside should meddle with Marathi Speaking people. But attacking the innocent is condemnable act. He is just targeting poor and daily earners and none from those who control the economy. This is the way he want to bring “Navnirman” in Maharashtra. Going by his worldview, some native Americans should now vandalise Indians out there, right?

The Shiv Sena’s changed ways – the party wants to go beyond its traditional Maharashtrian vote bank and hence wooing North Indians – have given Thackeray a chance to make a bid for its traditional voter base. And Raj Thackeray, hoping to divert the Marathi manoos to his party, has jumped in to occupy that space.

I have been in Mumbai for last 3 years and find it very nice. It was the first time in my life when i saw the various cultures together. The Marathis, Gujaratis, Marwadis, Rajasthani,North Indians, South Indians, etc. This is what is known as spirit of Mumbai. Mumbai has something for everyone and this is what so very especial about Mumbai. Mumbai is considered to be the Global City of India. It is home to one of the world’s top 10 centers of commerce in terms of global financial flow. Mumbai is also the commercial and entertainment capital of India, and houses important financial institutions. But the incidents like this certainly dent that image of Mumbai.

The recent developments have revived the question whether those living in metropolis have a right to target migrants from other states. It is high time that as a Social Secular Democratic Republic, we rose against regionalism and learn to treat all as Indians? This political gimmick is unnecessary, unwarranted and will spark tensions among common residents of the city of Mumbai and state of Maharashtra. Raj has lost his political sheen since leaving Bal Thackeray & forming his own party MNS. Instead of Nav Nirman his party is only busy in destroying things. The situation needs to be calmed very soon because the Political Games hve begun (Reference to speeches of leaders from Samaajwadi Party, MNS) and one more incident can lead to chaos in Mumbai which will be totally uncalled for. A sense is required from people of Mumbai and don’t fall prey to this situation. I really hope the people would show a great maturity at this hour.

An Open Letter to Raj Thackeray

Raj ThackerayRAJ THACKERAY, the name, which in the last two days has drawn a lot of flak nationwide, started his political career as a youth-wing leader in the Shiv Sena, Bal Thackeray’s (his uncle’s) party. He steadily rose up the ranks with his charisma and was seen as the number two in the party. However, this was before Uddhav Thackeray (Bal Thackeray’s son) entered the scene.

Reportedly, as insiders claim, Raj’s decline in the Shiv Sena started in the 90s due to his alleged involvement in the Ramesh Kinny murder case (seen as a political murder). As a result, Bal Thackeray pushed his youngest son Uddhav into the limelight.

Always seen as a firebrand speaker, Raj was well known in the Sena for his aggressive ways to hold demonstrations and bandhs. However, recently it seems, he has bit more than he could chew. His recent outbursts against migrants from Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar are totally unconstitutional and uncalled for.

Does he want to divide India on the lines of states of origin?

He shouldn’t forget that it took the efforts of one man, better known as the iron man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to integrate the erstwhile 600 princely states into one dominion, India. Is Raj’s agenda to again disintegrate India – at least his idea of Jai Maharashtra, makes one believe so. If he really wants to be a national political figure and command respect, shouldn’t his slogan be “Jai Bharat”?

Maharashtra is an integral part of India. Any Indian or for that matter any foreigner, with correct antecedents has the right to work and earn a living in Maharashtra as long as the person is contributing to the nation (and not just Maharashtra). However, it seems that Raj Thackeray, either doesn’t have the political finesse or is incompetent to deal with issues that are much more serious than this trivial issue.

What has he done for the farmers committing suicide in Maharashtra and Gujarat? Or, since he is more concerned about Maharashtra, at least for the farmers in Maharashtra? What has he done about the welfare of the Maharashtrians?

His sympathisers might say that he doesn’t have the power. But is Raj fit enough to be given the power, with his evident play of divisive politics? His acerbic tirade against the icon of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan, cast aspersions against Raj’s frame of mind? His question is what has Amitabh Bachchan done for Maharashtra?

The writer’s question is what have you done for Maharashtra, Raj Thackeray?

When the Indian cinema was dying in the late seventies and eighties, it was Amitabh Bachchan’s movies that gave bread and butter to thousands of technicians, junior artistes, carpenters and painters, including Maharashtrians (though the writer prefers to call them Indians).

What has been your contribution to the nation’s or your Maharashtra’s economy, Raj Thackeray?

With the photos of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s activists rioting, vandalising and spreading hooliganism in Dadar area in Maharashtra, are you really concerned about Maharashtra? The damage to public property means additional expenditure for Maharashtra’s government to resurrect it, are you ready to pay for the damage to the government. Moreover, are you really a well wisher of Maharashtra? What about your alleged irregularity of funds in Kohinoor Mills’ deal?

Lastly, how can Maharashtrians even think of giving you an electoral mandate, when you, in a cowardly act (universally condemned), send your activists (or hooligans) to throw bottles at Amitabh Bachchan’s house?

With the conscience of most of the politicians dead in this age of power, fame and wealth, it will indeed be heartening to see, if this letter touches your conscience somewhat and renders an apology from you, for your unpardonable divisive act targeted at our secular nation, India.

By Sanjay Ara in Merinews