February 4, 2008

A Band Apart

Mr. Raj Thackeray has had it with the influx of north Indians in Mumbai. So what does he do- sends his 'army' to thrash the bejesus out of anyone who isn't a Marathi manus. I read my friend's rather interesting take on the whole 'outsider' issue and thought of expressing mine as well.

An outsider is, according, to me someone who does what locals do and extracts more fun out of it! A few days ago I was stuck in a traffic jam and like most things in life I have made my peace with chaos in the name of 6-lane roads; people around me (locals) believed otherwise and were tearing their hair apart. In the middle of all this was a firang, stuck like the rest of us in the traffic jam but she was smiling and clicking picture on her digital camera!

Ask any army brat what being an outsider means! We had to shift every three-four years and strangely we never lamented the loss of a friend or not being able to continue being in love. As a matter of fact most Army kids love the idea of shifting and posting so much so that if I don't do something drastic every three years I feel something's amiss; earlier a haircut would do the trick but not anymore.

The whole concept of Bombay was based on essence of cosmopolite. The bygoners considered it to be an equivalent of Lahore, which was considered an eastern equivalent of Venice, and people from all over helped it get its identity. In the 1960's when Mr. Bal Thackeray didn't like the south Indians taking up the jobs meant for the locals and now when his nephew's taking the next step, suggest that is Mumbai's 'identity' under siege?

The people who made Bombay into what it once stood for were, no offence meant, not really locals. They have become locals by the virtue of their actions and feel great affinity towards the metropolis so I really don't think the old locals should mind the new locals who were accepted by the older locals.

Historically, and history here means more than 60-100 years old and not the mid 1990's, Bombay was never considered Maharashtrian enough; even the thoroughbred Maratha rulers never had Bombay as their capital. Bombay became truly Maharashtra only when it became the capital and we all know the 3-grade logic applied for it to become the capital of Maharashtra and not an autonomous city-state as many deemed fit.

I think Mee Mumbaikar should be We Mumbaikar. Make the outsiders Mumbaikars and see the change. When people will have one issue less to fight, then they might just end up doing some work. I offer a solution to all this- all 'outsider' should start sporting a Hitler like moustache and Mr. Raj Thackeray might not abhor them anymore for the young leader admires Hitler and would love to see resembling acolytes walking the pothole laden streets of Mumbai.

I wonder if a little of Bihar, UP and Delhi can cause such a reaction, imagine what'd happen if Mumbai actually becomes Shanghai...

Please read Sudhesh's interesting tirade on the whole issue @ dilli silly

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