Category Archives: Mumbai

Balasaheb Thackeray – All You Need To Know

Balasaheb Thackeray, a cartoonist, a politician, a public figure who is not on news everyday but yet is known to all. When he is on news, we know there is something major, something to watch out. But since he is on news rarely, only a few know much about him. Also, considering the fact that in the past 10 years or so, he’s hardly done much, this left a big amount of crowd, especially the urban literate to not respect him because they know him as a man who instigated violence and fear(thanks to paid media, may be), and some Valentine’s Day protests. This post is mainly to highlight some of his acts, with explanations if possible.

Call it paid media or the fact that he didn’t do much in the past 10 years, I think this is a big failure of Shiv Sena to educate every class about his achievements. Many supporters themselves may not know all and only know some instances. When it comes to vandalising property, creating fear, his supporters blindly followed his commands without really understanding why. I take this as a failure too, not that his commands were wrong, but highlighting the cause, giving reasonable reason is necessary too. It will help in moving forward the legacy too, educating the crowd for what he really stands for. This is the main reason why at times there’s violence even when there is no order from the Shiv Sena leaders. They are unable to control their own followers. Nevertheless, he is not perfect, no one is.

Coming down to achievements which I doubt anyone will disagree on. He started off as a cartoonist and must say a good one. Even in the later stages his cartoons did speak a lot. If he has lacs of followers who just go by his word, it definitely means a lot, says a lot about his leadership skills. Inspite of a few goof-ups here and there, he has managed this large number of followers in a way none of us can even imagine. His oratory skills are evident from the fact that within a couple of years he could manage to gather lacs of people to just listen to him. And this was done with only speeches and writing down some amazing articles in his magazine in the very early stage of his career. He has helped his community in a way like no other. You may be from a different community, feel jealous that you don’t have anyone of that stature to fight for your community, but you can’t deny what he did for his community, gave them job security, food, shelter, and Life security too. He was fearless and pursued what he believed in, no matter what. No matter how many enemies he created in that course, it didn’t stop him. Here, we read inspirational quotes each day from the greats to do what you believe in, to not fear. He was a man who lived it and proved to the world that those are not just quotes, they can be put to reality.

Coming down to some issues which all do not agree on, I will raise my opinion here with explanations.
He is often known as an enemy to the so called “outsiders” in Mumbai. My family is Sindhi-Gujju, an outsider too, and we have never faced any issue ever from them, infact we have been saved and helped at times. Reason being my family is contributing to this nation, to the city by working, having a decent job, a decent business. He has given security to Sikhs during the 84 riots, that were almost spread into Mumbai too, but didn’t because of him. He gave security to Kashmiri Pandits, who were forced out of their own states. In Mumbai, there are many immigrants from other states with absolutely no idea of what they want, they just hop in here, and start the search for job, shelter, food. This leads to them using resources that are already low for the people here, increasing population which indirectly hits the city in various ways. Increase in slum dwellers, affecting the hygiene of the city, also a reason to lot many infrastructure development hurdles. Since am not from the 1970’s, I don’t know why exactly was he against South Indians, Gujjus back then. But today against UP immigrants makes sense, because majority of them are from UP, the very lower class, without a job, just roaming around with the main motive of eve teasing, spitting at public places. The one’s running auto, taxis resort to meter tampering, being rude to passengers. Compare this to Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi may be, there are immigrants in these cities too, but those are mainly service class people who first secure a job and then move in. They know how to behave too. They don’t just come in, make their own tent in some corner of the road and claim to get resources and land for free some years later. Yes, violence is not the way to treat this issue, but the issue raised isn’t wrong.
BJP ruled Maharashtra from 95-99. And it’s not a secret that Balasaheb was the ‘remote control’ minister. That was the time when Maharashtra witnessed a lot of development, but that was also the time when the development didn’t reach his own true followers, the poor Marathi Manoos. May be, he went wrong in distributing the development equally. Since then Mumbai has been losing it’s charm slow and steadily, in subtle ways, for which you can view my blog post on Mumbai written a few months back,  Mumbai – A City Of Dreams, Yet?
Balasaheb may have been linked to violence a lot many times, most prominent being the one is 93. The question is why. No one likes violence, especially not a person who is working for the welfare of the state, of the people. Not going much into details, that was the time when various events took place, which sparked one another. Someone needed to take charge and ‘retaliate’, retaliate to protect and stand for Hindus, that someone was Balasaheb Thackeray. Many of this generation parents would not have been alive today or rather worse would have been raped if it were not for him to protect at that crucial moment. I somehow remember this quote now from the man who is known as the epitome of non-violence.

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Balasaheb himself said that he is not against Muslims, he is against those Muslims who are against India. Well, aren’t we all against them? Atleast, I am. I don’t want people like Kasab to be called Indian Citizens and spread terror in the country, in the name of being a minority. Infact, the Muslims who are not against India will not like themselves to be called a minority because they know how much they are loved by all.

Me, being born and brought up in Mumbai, having my parents live the 1984, 1993 riots in Mumbai, I admire the man for the way he’s shown courage, for what he has managed to accomplish, for the strength, for his accomplishments as a politician, as a public figure, for the hold that he has developed over the city, like no other can. Yes, I may not agree to all of Balasaheb’s acts, techniques, but then me and him are not the same. I respect him for the amount of work he has done, I doubt most of us can even achieve 10% of what he has done in his Life.

Respect earned.

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Mumbai – The Next Step

This post is more of a continuation of my earlier post – “Mumbai – A City Of Dreams Yet?“. 

This earlier post is more about the deteriorating quality of life in the city of dreams – Mumbai. And this kind of deterioration is what leads to frustration, which indirectly leads to increase in Crime Rate in the city. Yes, am referring to the latest Keenan Santos case. If, you are unaware of the story then you must visit this link and read the gist of it. The headlines of the article read –> ‘Never thought something like this could happen in Mumbai’ . The headlines itself says it all, this has never happened in Mumbai, something that was never expected in a city like Mumbai, considering the past reputation of the city. You may agree or disagree, but indirectly it’s all the various changes that the city has undergone, that this had to happen. Everything is inter-connected in bits and pieces.

Let’s talk about what we can do to improve things, which is the main reason for this post.

  • Take part in politics, not necessarily get into it, just be updated about whats happening around you. Who are the one’s standing for elections in your area. Who deserved to be there leading your area. And finally, when time comes, vote for him/her. In democracy, if you say “Iss desh ka kuch nahi hone wala” and then ignore anything and everything related to politics, try and be happy with what you have, in the long run everything will be taken away from you and you won’t even realize until it happens to you. And this being my first point, is the most important one. This is one point which most of us don’t follow. Most of us don’t even know who are the one’s standing for local elections, most go and vote based on the BJP/Congress funda. Instead vote for the one’s who works the best in your area. Whichever party he may be from.
  • Infrastructure needs a massive boost in this city, all the on going projects are progressing so slowly that everything public seems outdated when compared to other cities like Delhi and Bangalore. The quality of buses, trains, autos needs to improve. Roads needs massive improvement. Not just the quality, but the length, width. New roads that could link major parts of the city. Metro, a new airport, both of them being the need of the hour.
  • Cleanliness – I have never seen any city where people spit so much as much as in Mumbai. I have no idea why, but this is the fact. People need to stop spitting on public places, throw away their garbage in dustbins, and if you don’t have a dustbin you can just put in some plastic bag (which you can carry along with you) and throw away later. You visit places like Marine Drive, Churchgate, which are cleaner than Suburbs like Andheri, you get that ‘feel good’ factor as soon as you enter such places. The environment cleanliness is not just to save the environment but also to make yourself feel good. A good feeling leads to better concentration, better thought process and hence better end result in any work you intend to do.
  • Stop Corruption – Again, practically you can’t “Stop” bribing, because the system presently is such that even if you don’t want to you are forced many a times to go with it. Eg : Buying a flat never happens with the “Black Money” component. The best you can though do here is reduce it, reduce it in places where you can, where you are not forced to follow the wrong path. Eg : Traffic Cops bribe. Pay the whole fine, ask for a receipt. These little extra money that you spend won’t hurt you too much, but will better the system to a good amount.
  • Spread Happiness – Try and reduce the unnecessary quarrels with friends and family. Share jokes, keep a good, healthy, lively environment. Live freely, keeping in mind the basic values of life. If that’s clear, everything else follows.
These are just a few ideas that came across my mind while writing this post. I will be more than happy to have more ideas as comments to this post.

Mumbai – A City Of Dreams Yet?

Marine Drive in South Mumbai seen during the n...

Aerial View - South Mumbai

The first thought that comes to our mind when we hear the word “Mumbai” is Marine Drive, finance capital of India(Money), Bollywood, Food joints, Dream City to put all of it in one. Almost every Mumbaikar, just like me, has this thing in his mind that “I love the city more than anyone else can. There is no city where I would even think of shifting. Jeena Yahan, Marna Yahan, Iske Siwa Jaana Kahan.” Many outside Mumbai, dream of shifting to Mumbai to earn plenty, live life and fulfill their dreams. Mumbai has seen a major transformation, and what I am looking at majorly is the Bombay to Mumbai transformation.

Now, coming back to reality, reality to what Mumbai is today. The charm of Mumbai has by far decreased rapidly since the past few years. Population has increased to the extent that there is hardly any place to sit quietly even at night 2:00am. Mumbai being so huge, many Mumbaikars in general spend 2 hours a day travelling in mad rush of trains, buses and extremely slow moving traffic between home and college/office. With the traffic comes pollution, air pollution than can make you sick, with a running nose, cold every second day, Noise pollution that will mentally just make you feel dead tired even if you are really doing nothing. The pot holes on roads of Mumbai, well known throughout the country, thanks to news channels, worsen the travelling experience all the more. Water Logging that happens every year during monsoons, they can literally halt the city that never sleeps. Education here has changed from Education to Business, dirty business, which involves only money and no quality. Dirty garbage, pan spit lying on every corner of every lane in the city, makes even the beautiful city look ugly. The number of slums in the city have risen, in-spite of all the ‘so-called’ slum rehabilitation measures that are at work since past few years now. Not to forget the infrastructure quality is far below the standards of any other Metro in the world. You look at the local trains, stations, bus stops, many streets, this is not the class of a Metro City that pays huge amount of Income Taxes for the country.

Mumbai airport has not changed much since the beginning, while the traffic that the airport takes has multiplied N number of times. To get business, this is a basic requirement to be able to communicate, travel with ease. The new proposed airport at Navi Mumbai has been in the planning stages since ages now. Work has yet not started. The idea behind Navi Mumbai was to ease the pressure that Mumbai is taking all alone, but again lack of quality transport facilities between the two neighboring cities have not let Navi Mumbai grow to an extent that we really need. To solve this issue, Metro was considered almost a decade back, and work on just the first phase of Metro has been on since the past 3 years now, while New Delhi on the other end have planned, built and implemented successfully many phases of Metro in the same amount of time. Similarly, Bangalore has been very good with getting IT into the city, with having some very good infrastructure facilities, a better lifestyle. Pune is on the growth rate too, especially in the education front, though not yet at par. Gujarat overall, specifically Ahmedabad has changed drastically in the last decade, and is soaring high, taking away business from Mumbai slow and steadily. None of the cities have yet reached the level of Mumbai, but they soon will. Mumbai is losing its charm. A common man cannot even think of buying a flat, not even in the suburbs of Mumbai, forget South Mumbai. So, after all the hard work, struggle that a man does here, he gets nothing but poor health due to the stress.

Talking about what Mumbai still has with it, is the people who still love the city, the land that’s created memories in their mind of their childhood, of the stories they have heard about Bombay. The city still has Marine Drive, just that now the beauty has decreased a little with the number of couples all over it. This city still has many age old businesses, joints that yet maintain the same quality, same environment that Mumbai is known for. Mumbai has changed, Mumbai has changed from Bombay to Mumbai. What we love, as mentioned in the first para, is Bombay, and not Mumbai really. Bombay needs a come back, else Mumbai will keep on losing its charm and one day shall become just another city in India. The little that is left in Mumbai is because of  the past, which will soon make way for the future alone. All of it lies in the hands of the governance that Mumbai has. If it was led well with the right set of people, this wouldn’t be the case today. Vote for the right people and not those who plan to change the city from Bombay to Mumbai. Also, do your part in every aspect to not let this city down. Make Mumbai grow, with it’s values that it’s known for.

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