Some time back, our city was known for it’s accommodating nature. The way Bombay welcomed everyone with open arms and embraced their culture, was what defined it. Our culture was a tad different from the rest of India and so was our language..and yes, the Mumbaikar was proud of it. It was the city where dreams were made and shattered daily. A city that created Bachchans and Ambanis , Shahrukhs and Tendulkars out of common men.
What has happened in the recent times is shameful and has destroyed what Mumbai has stood for so long. I knew that there will be ugly repercussions , but what has again hurt me is the apathy of the Police and the authorities.
The loss of property was enormous. Some lives were lost too.
1. MNS workers beat up Railway applicants from UP and Bihar at the Kalyan railway station. One Man succumbs to his injuries.
The Police say that this was a railway accident.
2. Well, some educated guy from Patna holds a bus to ransom and tries to do a “Rang De Basanti” in real life. Shoots a commuter in the leg out of panic.
Result : The Police fire 5 rounds into his head and body.
Eyewitnesses say that the Man (Hell, he was only 23) was repeatedly yelling that he would harm nobody. A la Rang De Basanti climax from the Police still.
3. Some goons bash a poor guy in the train just because he is from North India. He loses his life.
The Police attribute this to a fight over a window seat. They say that it was not a hate crime.
This is not a state of denial by the Mumbai Police, but mere hogwash. The rise of regional terrorism has damaged the very social fabric of the city. I know some people stand to gain from these moves and most of them have been largely successful. Raj Thackeray has certainly managed to hog the national headlines. From being the sidelined Thackeray, he has emerged as the roaring cub who is willing to fight for the Marathi cause. From being a rip off to the Shiv Sena, the Maharastra Navnirman Sena has now carved off an identity of it’s own. Mayawati’s BSP would now fight for the Bihari cause whereas the Congress has divided the Shiv Sena’s Marathi Vote and the and Mayawati’s Dalit Vote by giving Raj a free run. That was a nice political move. I know that a sense of morality was never there but this unabashed display of apathy towards the National cause has hurt me.
The hatred that one attributed to political parties and fanatics has slowly started seeping into the common man’s mind as well. The hate has trickled down to households now. I have seen instances of educated individuals indulging in discrimination and also the educated being discriminated against. No place in Bombay is bereft of hate now. Trains, buses, schools , BPOs you name it, the hateful propaganda is running successfully everywhere.
But one can’t confine hate to a particular community. Most of the Maharashtrians I know are disgusted with the way the things are turning out to be. I for one, am ashamed for having hailed the formation of the MNS once. For me, Bombay without the quintessential Bhaiyya is not Bombay. We all are the “Sons of the Soil” so what if the language spoken is a tad different? I’d rather not be a part of a Bombay that is not welcoming anymore. I would rather settle in a hated Patna than be a part of a hateful Bombay.
I hope. I pray that sanity prevails.