Friday, October 2, 2009

Yeh hai Mumbai meri jaan!

Mumbai has a new four letter word, or so the MNS would have us believe.

Denizens of Bombay better revamp their vocabulary, lest the brain dead followers of a desperate-for-attention chief of an increasingly redundant-facing-obscurity party decide to make you revisit it.

Does anyone in their right mind actually believe that calling Mumbai Bombay is an insult and offensive to the Marathi sentiment? I know of at least 3-4 Marathi families where the kids routinely call the city Bombay cos thats what they have grown up with! Maybe he needs to ask the average sensible Marathi if his sentiment is so shallow that it takes a word uttered by a fictional character in a Hindi movie to shake it.

Well, probably to Thackerey and his brand of vigilantes it does, cos face it, other than being jhingoistic, does MNS or he have a platform to stand on? From prince-in-waiting to a wannabe, the ignominous journey has clearly prompted delusions of grandeur with Raj Thackerey donning the mantle of a self-appointed champion of the Maratha pride. What better way to ger air time just before elections?

In fact my recollections, what little I do have, of the man are blinkered, conniving but always opportunistic - no North Indians in Mumbai, Kini murder case, Kohinoor Mill controversy, pledge to plant 76 lakh trees across Maharashtra, a project that started, but never completed etc... I could understand and pity the guy if he suffered from parochial attitudes but this is naked, shameless political opportunism.

Are Thackerey and his goons blind, deaf and mute or have they deliberately missed Bombay Central Terminus, Bombay Brassiere, Bombay Suburban Electricity and Transport Corporation, Bombay Blues etc..the list is quite long! After all, it's easier to take on Bollywood when they are dependent on your goodwill to ensure that your goons don’t destroy their initials?

Inane stands taken by an aging inconsequential politician are not a cause for cynicism as is the obvious opportunism of the ruling party to take advantage of this man's inherent stupidity. Clearly his brand of jingoism, appeals as it does to a minority, cuts the Shiv Sena vote bank benefitting the ruling coalition. So the defenders of our constitutional right of freedom of speech and expression choose to turn a blind eye and allow Thackeray to remain unreprimanded.

Should Karan Johar have not caved in? Maybe, but he is a business man and he'll do what it takes to protect his business plus he didn’t volunteer to be the safekeeper of our rights. We entrusted that right to our elected representatives who are so mired in their greed for power that they forget why they were elected in the first place.

So finally it boils down to whether each one of us is willing to allow a Thackerey to dictate what we can say and do, even a simple thing like calling Mumbai Bombay! History is witness that India is a civilisation that is very tolerent and has welcomed and embraced every intruder that crossed her borders and invaded her and has made them her own whether it was the Aryans, the Moghuls or the Persians...and anyone who did not get absorbed had to retreat (the English, Portugese etc). So Mr Thackerey be warned, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it!

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