Archive for Raj Thackeray

Why Raj Thackeray is wrong-and right

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 11, 2008 by xpressindiaon

There’s is something about the nomenclatural identity of India’s 28 states. All, except one, have names with either regional (Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland) or geographical (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh) significance. Maharashtra, which means ‘Greater Nation’, is an exception; its self-identification is national.
It is, therefore, distressing that certain local political formations in Maharashtra succumb to the temptation of parochialism every once in a while by projecting non-existent antagonism between ‘natives’ and ‘outsiders’. Invariably, it is Mumbai, India’s first and still the most cosmopolitan city, which bears the brunt of their insularity. In the 1960s, their target was Dakshin Bharatiyas (South Indians). Now, resentment is sought to be whipped up against Uttar Bharatiyas (North Indians).
The notion that any city or part of India belongs only to its ‘natives’ is unconstitutional, repugnant and injurious to the ideal of national unity and integration. From time immemorial, our people have freely moved from one part of the country to another, believing all of India to be their own. As far as Mumbai is concerned, although it is the capital of Maharashtra, people from every corner of the country have migrated to this city of dreams and opportunities since its inception. Mumbai is what it is today because of the contribution of diverse communities inhabiting it. In particular, the two sources of its national and international profile — business and Bollywood — would be unthinkable without a grateful recognition of the role of non-Marathi speaking communities. It would be a great misfortune if Mumbai degenerated into a provincial capital.
Therefore, Raj Thackeray, whose Maharashtra Navanirman Sena has made impressive strides in a short time after breaking away from the Shiv Sena, has done no good either to Maharashtra’s proud reputation, or to himself, by making ill-advised remarks about North Indians in Mumbai or about a national icon like Amitabh Bachchan. He has a promising political future. He would, therefore, do well to win the support of the city’s considerable population of North Indians in his inclusive political strategy, without being apologetic about espousing legitimate Marathi pride.
While one must condemn anything that weakens our unifying Indian identity, it would be hypocritical to turn a blind eye to certain harsh social and political realities of Mumbai. With 1.9 crore residents in the Mumbai Metropolitan Area, which includes Navi Mumbai and Thane, its population has rapidly grown to become greater than the combined population of nine Indian states. Its once-famed infrastructure is highly overstretched, lowering the quality of life for rich and poor alike. It once had the best municipal governance in India; not any more. Fifty-four per cent of its residents live in slums, most of which are so unbelievably congested and squalid that it is criminal on the part of any government to let people live in such inhuman conditions. It is well known to authorities that tens of thousands of Bangladeshis, many with voting rights, are living in Mumbai. Some 20,000 houses in the older part of the city are in a dangerously dilapidated state, the reason why every monsoon one reads about people dying in incidents of house collapse.
Mumbai is decaying. But few politicians in the city, state or country are taking a serious and comprehensive view of its chronic condition, and fewer still are willing to take the tough decisions to set things right. By tough decisions, one does not mean banning ‘outsiders’ — north Indians or Indians from any other part of India — from settling in Mumbai. That certainly is wrong. But is it wrong to hold that encroachments should be stopped, that people must not be allowed to occupy pavements and places earmarked for public utilities, or that the cut-off years for regularisation of slums must be strictly adhered to?
Indeed, some political parties have developed a vested interest in allowing unauthorised settlements to proliferate for vote-bank considerations. When illegal settlements along the lethally polluted Mithi river were sought to be cleared after the July 2005 deluge in Mumbai, which claimed nearly 500 lives, it was stoutly resisted by local politicians who felt threatened that their voter-base would shrink. Mumbaikars know of hundreds of such examples of duplicity and political muscle-flexing.
The question that Raj Thackeray and many people in Mumbai are asking is: How can slum redevelopment and rehabilitation ever succeed if there is political patronage for the creation of new slums? How can Mumbai ever see orderly urban development, with world-class infrastructure and civic amenities for all its residents, if there is deliberate and corruption-induced disorder in the use of its most scarce resource — land? Indeed, which Indian city can grow well if short-term and partisan political interests undermine a long-term and integral vision of urban renewal?
Hence, some of Raj Thackeray’s concerns are right, but he has voiced them wrongly.

-Sudheendra Kulkarni


A Bitter-Off Bombay – Life In The Raj Era

Posted in Mumbai with tags , on November 17, 2008 by xpressindiaon

A Bitter-Off Bombay
Life In The Raj Era

Raj Thackeray’s politics of parochialism is bound to get its due share of popular support but is clearly unacceptable (Life in the Raj Era, Nov 3). The Indian citizen’s right to live and move freely in the country as guaranteed by the Constitution can’t be held hostage to acts of vandalism. Attacking innocents in service of a divisive agenda augurs ill for a democracy that epitomises the spirit of unity in diversity.
K.S. Thampi, Chennai

Why castigate Raj for asking that Mumbai be left for Maharashtrians? When casteist quota—an invidious policy promoted by the Arjun Singhs, Laloos and Karunanidhis of the country—can drag this unfortunate nation down the road to disaster and is accepted as genuine policy even by the Supreme Court, why deny Raj?
Vedanta Rao, Hyderabad

Thanks to Raj Thackeray (or should we say Thakre), the once-cosmopolitan Bombay has been reduced to parochial Mumbai, no more financial capital of India but just a state capital, like Patna or Lucknow.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun

I can only fear the worst if someone who professes to be an unabashed fan of Hitler comes to power. Maybe we will have a forced mass exodus of UP-ites and Biharis. It is sad that no moves have been initiated so far to ban Raj Thackeray or his party from contesting elections on sufficiently incriminating grounds of promoting hatred among communities.
Dennis Mendonca, Mumbai

My dharma tells me to treat all who come to my door as godlike guests and feed them. My dharma also tells me that I must provide succour to my children and that when I do not have enough to feed both, my children get higher priority and I must ask the guest to go elsewhere. Especially when my guest brings with him not just his family, but his brother-in-law, his third cousins, their friends and the village barber.
Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai

I have just one question to ask Raj Thackeray. Why does he allow the ladies in his family to wear salwar-kameez? Doesn’t he know it’s a north Indian Punjabi dress? Ditto for his own attire, the kurta pajama. He should start practising what he preaches and have his family wear only Maharashtrian outfits like the nine-yard saree for women and the dhoti-kurta-topi for the menfolk.
Rashmi Dugal, on e-mail

Like all thinking citizens of the country, I too condemn the violence by MNS activists. However, a few questions do bear thinking about. First, Marathi-speaking Mumbaikars have been denied a fair share of jobs in the organised sector in the last 3-4 decades; second, the impact of migration from BIMARU states, which was earlier felt only in Mumbai, is now felt even in Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Nagpur and other cities of Maharashtra; and lastly, the failure of political leadership in the BIMARU states, coupled with the usual problems of corruption, has made these states unlivable. This is what forces better-administered states like Maharashtra to bear the burden of large-scale migration from here. The Centre and the state governments concerned need to act immediately on these distorted fundamentals.
Narendra Apte, Dombivli (E)

Twice, the members of the railway board submitted proposals to hold the RRB exam outside Mumbai, and twice the railway minister ensured the exams were held in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra. This when RRB exams are held circlewise to facilitate local candidates. What was the logic behind the minister’s move to make north Indian examinees travel all the way to Mumbai when the tests could have been conducted closer home?
Raj Bharadwaj, Mumbai

Politicians from Bihar have dominated the railway ministry since 1996—except for a brief period when it was headed by Mamata Banerjee. And they have not been averse to milking the railways to help their ‘constituents’. Ram Vilas Paswan made nearly 1 lakh ad-hoc appointments during his tenure and most of them had to be regularised later. Laloo too is reported to have been generous with appointments for people from his state. No doubt, in this age of competition, the railways should look for the best talent in the country, especially for key technical and administrative posts, but for recruitment at lower levels, there is a case for giving some weightage to the locals.
J. Akshobhya, Mysore

Industrialise massively. Look at how raw material, say, ore from Bellary, Karnataka, is being exported. Given a proper environment and infrastructure, it could create lakhs of jobs.
Vidyadhar Madhusudan, Bangalore

Isn’t it strange that the head of the Western Railway should be in Mumbai when Gujarat is more west than Maharashtra? But such is the power of the Shiv Sena that no government will be able to dare shift it.
Devendra Patel, Ahmedabad

Jawaharlal Nehru sowed the seeds of the balkanisation of our nation when he divided the country into states on a linguistic basis. Thackeray and his ilk are only carrying this legacy forward.
M.A. Raipet, Secunderabad

Where was our dear friend L.K. Advani and his party when it came to speaking out for the north Indians and denouncing Raj Thackeray?
Navien K. Batta, Muscat

We should do all we can to support Raj Thackeray and take his initiative even further. We can, for instance, tell our child that if he’s second in class, he needn’t study harder. He can just beat up the student coming first and throw him out of the school. Our Parliament too should have only Delhiites as it is located in Delhi; our prime minister, president and all others too should only be from Delhi. Bollywood should stop churning out movies in Hindi, all of them should be made in Marathi. All Maharashtrians working in other states should return home forthwith as they are thoughtlessly contributing to the income of another state. Access to the Taj should be restricted to the people of UP. We can also throw out all mncs from Maharashtra, and return to swadeshi. Have a Maharashtra Microsoft, MH Pepsi and MH Maruti et al…
Praveen Uprety, Delhi

What exactly are Maharashtrians complaining about? Their Lokadhikar Samiti ensures non-Marathis get no jobs, leaving them to do small businesses like selling vegetables, delivering milk, collecting garbage or plying taxis and autorickshaws. The Shiv Sena runs a parallel government, its rowdies have infiltrated the police and judiciary, hijacked law and order. Indira Gandhi was the only one who could control the Thackerays. Ever since they have run amok.
Bhanumati, Jhansi

Bombay is an island off the mainland of Maharashtra that no one much cared for till the Brits developed it. It was founded by the Portuguese who called it Bom Bahia or ‘good bay’ and has nothing to do with the Mumba Devi myth concocted by the Marathis to buttress their claims. The Parsis and Gujaratis too contributed mightily to the commerce in Bombay. Other than being the largest ethnic community in Bombay, what have the Marathis contributed to the port city except changing the names of places and buildings?
Gaurav Gupta, Santa Fe, US

Once our leaders sacrificed their personal lives and belongings to build the country. Today politicians sacrifice the country to build their lives. Maharashtra is a classic example.
N. Venkataraman, on e-mail

Support Raj Thackeray and take his initiative…

Posted in Mumbai with tags , , , , , , on October 30, 2008 by xpressindiaon

We all should support Raj Thackeray and take his initiative ahead by doing more…
1.       We should teach our kids that if he is second in class, don’t study harder.. just beat up the student    coming first and throw him out of the school
2.       Parliament should have only Delhiites as it is located in Delhi
3.       Prime-minister, president and all other leaders should only be from Delhi
4.       No Hindi movie should be made in Bombay. Only Marathi.
5.       At every state border, buses, trains, flights should be stopped and staff changed to local men
6.       All Maharashtrians working abroad or in other states should be sent back as they are SNATCHING employment from Locals
7.       Lord Shiv, Ganesha and Parvati should not be worshiped in our state as they belong to north (Himalayas)
8.       Visits to Taj Mahal should be restricted to people from UP only
9.       Relief for farmers in Maharashtra should not come from centre because that is the money collected as Tax from whole of India, so why should it be given to someone in Maharashtra?
10.   Let’s support Kashmiri Militants because they are right in killing and injuring innocent people for the benefit of their state and community..
11.   Let’s throw all MNCs out of Maharashtra, why should they earn from us? We will open our own Maharashtra Microsoft, MH Pepsi and MH Marutis of the world
12.   Let’s stop using cellphones, emails, TV, foreign Movies and dramas. James Bond should speak Marathi
13.   We should be ready to die hungry or buy food at 10 times higher price but should not accept imports from other states
14.   We should not allow any industry to be setup in Maharashtra because all machinery comes from outside
15.   We should STOP using local trains… Trains are not manufactured by Marathi manoos and Railway Minister is a Bihari
16.   Ensure that all our children are born, grow, live and die without ever stepping out of Maharashtra, then they will become true Marathi’s
You forward many mails cracking jokes on our country and people but if you are a citizen of our Country first and then of your state and think what MNS is doing is wrong and should be STOPPED.

– Lancy L.