Holding Mumbai to Ransom

I just got home from the bank. Usually there is a long queue there. Not today, though. Almost no one was there. Why?
” Oh, because of Raj Thackeray.” I was informed. “Nobody wants to take the risk of going out of their homes.”

Raj Thackeray is being taken to the Courthouse at Bandra. I do not live at Bandra. But every store in my area has downed its shutters. Even the vegetable and fruit sellers have hidden their carts under jute cloths, lest supporters of Raj Thackeray think that they are defying the ban.

Raj Thackeray and his goons have brought the activity of Mumbai to a standstill. And all for the ‘Marathi Manoos‘. When I listen to his speeches on the television or read them in the newspapers, I am ashamed of being a Maharashtrian.

Have we come down to such a low level that we do not think of ourselves as Indians anymore? Only as Maharashtrian or Biharis or Kanadis?

We rue the fact that we cannot go and live in Kashmir or buy property or get a job in Kashmir, even though it is a part of our country. But we do not realize that people like Raj Thackeray are trying to bring this same situation to every state in India.

The economic slowdown means hardship for many people. Jobs are scarce and people are desperate. But fighting against one another will not enable us to find a way out of this situation. Raj and the goons of the MNS are taking advantage of the common man’s desperation to find a job. For many years the Shiv Sena regularly held Mumbai to ransom. Now Raj Thackeray is doing the same thing.

We Indians are very fond of shrugging off responsibility. It is the Government that should do something. Or the Police. Or maybe some prominent leader. But never us.

Let us not slip into this type of mentality now. Because now is the time for the common man to protest against this Goonda raj. We will surely regret it in the future if we keep silent today.



  1. thank you for writing that the responsibility is with “us”. i fail to understand how somebody can answer a question that i am from bengal or UP when the person has been residing in bombay for 30+ years.yes all localites are possessive about their area. i am not a marathi manoos but i am a maharashtrian. i once worked with the bombay police for an year and never felt alienated because my mother tongue is not marathi.every region has its goonda, it is dawood and thackeray in bombay. they have been trying to kill the spirit of the region since 4 decades or so. has the migration to bombay ever stopped because of this?the people who decide to live in bombay have an undying spirit. and it is such spirit that is distinctive – the people of the other places in india will die to have. the goonda raj will never reign. they will make some noise and leave. and who ever hears “noise”?


  2. im pretty upset with MNS and raj thackery myself..getting to work and back was quite a bit of a problem today….i wish they’d pick up real issues and work for the development of the country instead of all these worthless activities.mandira


  3. anrosh- Hi! I agree with you that any person residing in Mumbai for 30+ years is a Mumbaite. I too hope and believe that the goonda raj will never reign!Mandira- Yes it must have been a problem getting to work. And it is even more annoying when we know all the inconvenience is just because they want to get political mileage out of the situation.


  4. True!! These politicians are utilising the unemployed strength of the state and converting it to a danger zone!If only someone really wants to do something for the people of the state they should initiate knowledge sharing workshops on entrepreneurship and conservation of ecology. This way they will acquire good number of votes, they wont require to go to jail and the place will be safer to live!I am sure someone must have said this earlier but since i dont know who……I re-quote “One should invest time in constructing and not in destructing what the other person has built, only to gain more importance” 🙂


  5. Peppy- Unfortunately it is easier to engage in destructive activities than in constructive ones. And a person can get more publicity also. 😦


  6. Hello!RT is speaking a language that is music to many unemployed youth. unfortunately, in Maharashtra, for the last ten years we have been ruled by thoroughly ineffective, inefficient and corrupt administration. Maharashtra has just not been able to create multiple opportunities where the youth can aspire to make a decent living. When there is no hope, a leader like RT comes as a saviour to these people.The scene in UP and Bihar is completely out of hand and there is no development at all. But have you heard of people from Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh migrating for jobs and a living.You will find people from Bihar, UP, Rajasthan, Kerala migrating in search of a living.The root cause is different. RT is taking advantage of circumstances to cement his place in politics.


  7. Mavin- Yes, states like Bihar and U.P. are less developed and there are less job opportunities there. That is why their young people come to other states in search of livelihood. Jobs are not in plenty in Maharashtra also, and the jobless youth here may see Raj as their saviour. But what a dangerous game to play! Already there have been instances of Maharashrian youths who are working in other states, being beaten up.How will all this end?:(


  8. Hi, Manju! I came over from Mavin’s My Voice and found this ‘close to my heart’ topic of Mumbai and Maharashtra. What is wrong if someone says they are from UP even if their grandfather had left it to come to Mumbai? One does search for one’s roots, isnt it? One does not become less Maharashtrian by saying he is from UP, does he/she? An eager fellow Indian sometimes asks which state, which district, etc to find some bond with him after all, isnt it? As regards the “cause of the Marathi Manoos” that RT is taking up, one wonders what cause can be served by destabilising the state by divisive politics. Would fresh investments in the form of Industry come to Maharashtra with this backdrop? Sorry to hog your comment space, but I just had to say this!


  9. I am a tamil living in mumbai for the last 50 years. Unlike many other non-marathis most of my relatives are still living in Chennai,which I can call my native city. Despite belonging to a caste which is the bete noire of the ruling classes of Tamil Nadu, I still am emotionally attached to that State and given a chance would readily emigrate there and be where I belong. I believe everyone in his heart of hearts will have a similar inclination. ideally, it’s the State’s responsibility to ensure that large scale migrations are avoided by creating employment and other opportunities towards this end. It is unfortunate that bal and raj thackerays have to germinate to force the State to wake up belatedly if indeed it does so. Slogans of ‘one nation, one people’ will not wash for long.


  10. rv- I agree with you that employment opportunities should be available in all the states ,so that people have the opportunity of employment in their native state. The Central government has ignored this necessity for too long.However, I feel that any Indian should not be stopped from working in any state that he chooses. We are one nation, and as a nation we will be strong only when all citizens feel this way.


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