written by Shobha De
Correct me if I am wrong, Raj... but I consider myself an assal Marathi manoos. Born in Maharashtra to Maharashtrian parents etc. Proud to be Marathi (even though my language skills in my mother tongue are embarrassingly dodgy). I don't know how to make the perfect puran poli but I do love aamti.. This is clearly not enough anymore. Going by the checklist, I could be disqualified on several scores. I am married to a Bong, who has lived and worked in Mumbai for over 30 years (but alas, has not been appointed ambassador to the state of West Bengal yet!). He attends Durga Puja regularly and prefers maacher jhol to vangi bhaat.
Fortunately, we don't have a daughter-in-law to name a college after, either in Kolkata or Mumbai.... And our children (like yours) did not attend Marathi-medium schools.. We employ people based on their competence, not caste or region. And I have never asked the vegetable vendor, breadwalla, taxi driver, dhobi, sweeper, elevator attendant, security guard, pizza delivery boy or any of the other people who make my life easier, which part of India they come from.
This is Mumbai, meri jaan! Who cares where anyone comes from? Dhanda is all that matters.. Mumbai is India 's most powerful magnet. Once you get here, you never leave. Don't believe me? Ask those innocent bhajjiwallas and doodhwallas who were beaten up and stoned by your men last week. Even with blood-soaked bandages around their heads, and broken hearts, they are staying put. As they should.
Aaah, the natak of your dramatised 'arrest' was not lost on anybody.
Had Rakhi Sawant's slapping stunt not grabbed those eyeballs on Valentine's Day, viewers would still be stuck with the image of a nattily dressed you (mmmm...loved the styling), clambering in and out of the police van. If Rakhi cleverly stage-managed the incident, what should one say about your brilliant coup? Overnight, Raj Thackeray was elevated from being the discarded Thackeray to a national figure.
In one well-orchestrated move, you went from being a neglected nephew of an ageing tiger, to a sharp-clawed, teeth-baring cub with an independent act of his own. The circus acquired a brand new star attraction — you!
It was never easy being a Thackeray. Ask Balasaheb. If he targeted south Indians in the '60s, you smartly headed north. Same agenda, diametrically different directions. By questioning the bona fides of those who have made Maharashtra their home, both of you tapped into the vulnerabilities of the average Marathi manoos. It is worth asking the very people whose interests you are protecting, whether they really want to do the dirty work currently being handled by the northies.
Will the Marathi manoos agree to put in 18 hours a day plying taxis, selling veggies, washing clothes and so on? Who's stopping them from turning into vendors of milk, food grains, and other commodities?
Perhaps, the Marathi manoos considers such occupations demeaning? The truth is, these jobs have always gone abegging, and there have been any number of hungry, unemployed people from other states ready and willing to grab them. Kick the 'outsiders' out at your own peril, and see what happens...
Why do farmers commit suicide in such numbers only in Maharashtra ?
The answer, dear Raj, may surprise you.
In your defence, let me say you received the worst press — biased at best, and shrill to boot. Most of the semi-hysterical reporters from prestigious news channels were embarrassingly ill-informed as they blabbered incoherently each time a leaf moved outside the magistrate's court!
Surely, you are not complaining? Everything seems to be going according to the master plan. You have 'made it' in one swift move.
And women are finding you kinda cute in that sleeveless baby blue pullover. Great copy, great photo ops. What more does a neta want? To keep Mayawati and Lalu out of Maharashtra ? Now, that's a tall order!
My Reply to the whole event:
but not illegal. The Maharastra state law promises to provide
reservation upto 80% to Maharastrians in the local jobs. And clearly
states each hoarding/board to be Marathi. He is only exploiting a
provision provided in the state law.
And if you permit me to draw an analogy, what Raj is doing to
northies, Christians in america are doing to Asians. Boundary of any
sort, national or state, need to be dropped in such a time when
problems like hunger, health and education no longer belong to one
country but to entire humanity and unless the world fights such
problems unitedly, no country is equipped to solve all its problems on
its own. Like India needs business from US to cure its poverty and US
needs spirituality from India to fix its disoriented people and
Humanity needs no boundary because problems humanity is
facing today has outgrown the capacity of a single country. The
divisive politics the world is into must be dropped. The world can't
sustain the looming threat of a world war. The nuclear and destructive
weapons the world has amassed can wipe out this world 1000 times but
the world unfortunately has yet not stopped accumulating such weapons.
Everybody is not Jesus Christ that a resurrection would happen.
I know that Raj is doing a gruesome wrong but then so is George Bush,
Manmohan Singh and all world leaders. Restricting my scope to India,
Raj should be tried for sedition, disruption of public harmony etc.
but who has the guts to arrest and try him in court for such offenses
because no party and no politicians would like to be noticed by locals
for opposing their interests which Raj, at least in their eyes, seems
to have taken up.
Politicians' problems can still be understood but
what about Amitabh Bachhan who went to the extent of apologizing Raj
for his wife having spoken in favor of Hindi in Mumbai. In addition to
the larger-than-life Amitabh enjoys on his own, he also enjoys the
friendship of top most Industrialists like Anil Ambani and of top
ranked politicians like Amar Singh. if someone of his stature and
contacts had to apologize for no fault of his or his wife, what
message he is passing on to the people of India and to the world. He
failed to stand against the injustice while he had the support of law,
muscle power and money power. People look upto him as an ideal and he
did such a cowardice act for which he must not be forgiven.
Indian politics is probably at the lowest rung and what more down it can go to now. But my understanding which I wrote above, politics doesn't bother for right or wrong. Raj wants to project himself as a leader of national importance and he succeeded. It is the politicians and their lust for power which throughout the history has been responsible for gruesome massacres of billions of people. The very nature of politics and politicians is that and expecting them to
behave for betterment of human beings is same as expecting sea-waves to be peaceful. But our problem is that we are not trained to think of a world without politicians and hence we have been and will be made victims of their ambitions.
If peace at all is warranted in the world, it must be made devoid of
politicians!!! We just need administrators to administer various
functions of a good governance and NOT politicians.
We must reach the very source of the problem and not just keep curing