Mumbai and Bombay. Somehow the usage just seems to -- inadvertently -- denote the biggest difference between how people see the city.
Bombay, of course, is cosmopolitan. Open for everyone. BUT Mumbai is only for Mumbaikars. Raj Thackery (who finally someone, even if it was Lalu Prasad Yadav, called a mental case) has been arrested, and as I type, is going to be taken to court shortly.
As you all might know, Raj and his band of MNS workers have been attacking non-Maharashtrians in the city, claiming that they are taking away jobs that actually belong to Maharashtrians. The hysteria has been a multi-pronged strategy, which has included calls for all shop signs to be in Marathi, all state communication in the same language, beating up taxi drivers and so on. The sheer power of Raj -- his ability to lead other goons like him -- made the state government nervous about arresting him. Bombastic threats were made, to the effect that "watch what will happen if you arrest Raj Thackerey!"
This entire deal has been making me think of identity as an Indian. The fact that Raj has a following is most disheartening to me. But its not just as an observer. I'm half Kashmiri and half Maharashtrian. Since I wasn't born in Kashmir, I can never buy land there. (Consider this my pitch to change that law!) Chances are, especially since I can't speak Marathi fluently (and plus not a pure breed), if it was up to Thackerey & gang, I wouldn't be welcome there. Delhi is my home. I can't imagine what I would do if this state because some exclusive party too. But as my mother reassures me, I was born in the city! (Phew -- that has to earn me some brownie points!)
But then again, if I have to be fair, the Delhi CM also lamented a while ago about migration into Delhi. (Poor UP and Bihar). And the frustration stems from a real place, of course, because since movement within our country is a constitutional right, the government can never be sure of how many people will reside in a state on any particular month. So, resources are never enough. They cannot be planned well enough. Bigger questions about budgets follow.
Beating up people who are looking for a better life is not the answer. Many have argued that it is the fault of governments of backward states -- especially UP and Bihar -- that just do not have jobs and infrastructure to provide to their people. It's probably very true, and these states need to be developed with some long term aims. Bihar has been destroyed again, and I hope Mayawati is actually doing some good out in UP -- one mostly hears of her many statues and fights with Sonia, but I'm ready to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Our media, of course, is helpful as ever. Is this the face of urban terrorism, asked CNN IBN. I'm not sure exactly what the meaning of this new label is, and if that is really the point. Arnab Goswami, I was very happy to note, was holding representatives of MNS, Shiv Sena to task.
What will happen to Raj? Because I'd sooner go to Bombay for a visit than Mumbai.