Friday, October 31, 2008

A changed face of Mumbai

There’s a gap of four decades between the film Sheher Aur Sapna released in the 60s and Suketu Mehta’s book “Maximum City’. Film Sheher Aur Sapna dates back to the era of Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar. The film portrayed the agonies of people who in search of an employment migrate from Bihar-U.P.-Bengal to Mumbai. It depicted the pain of sleeping inside a pipe, on the rail tracks, under a bridge, over the staircase.

Talking about a migrated labour: at times of leisure films are his only friend and amidst all this if he manages to see some film star in a shooting, he gets filled with immense gratification. On the occasion of Holi, Diwali and Id when he goes back home to Gorakhpur, Chhapra, Darbhanga and Asansol, the stories of glam life of Mumbai are narrated and somewhere down the line he finds himself amidst the Mumbai life. And the dreams of settling in Mumbai in the eyes of these small city dwellers shape up wings for their new generation.

Four decades back Mumbai was not a Maximum City. It was a city of dreams where everyone wanted to be. If in a village someone erected a structure and if Mumbai’s income was linked with it then the building or the haweli was said to be connected with Raj Kapoor-Dev Anand or Dilip Kumar’s style. If on the occasion of Diwali-Id someone’s wife flaunted her new fashion, it was branded to be that of Meena Kumari’s, Vaheeda Rehman’s or of Sadhna’s style. These instances were even more said and remembered while waiting for a beloved. And year after year Diwali passed waiting for some event to happen in the village so that the pain recedes faster.

However after four decades, breaking the old image of Mumbai a new image has emerged which is full of crime and money. The image in which everything ranging from a railway track to the pipes, a dhaba to the under-bridge sarai, are a part of the unfortunate mafiagiri. And everyone is a part of this system. This division and partition has replaced the dreams of Mumbai and a new society is in the making. The enormous money influx is the new limb of this society; the money that can take this society abroad in a moment. This new breed is the 'Underworld’ in which division and partition can make lives.

In the 60s Kaifi Azmi migrated from Azamgarh to Mumbai and in the 90s Abu Salem did the same. In the 90s Kaifi felt that Mumbai was a suffocated place to live and became eager to return to Azamgarh. Mumbai, the city which gave his dreams a reality touch and a name to his own city; after 3 decades became unsustainable. He returned to Azamgarh to give way to his dreams. However in the 90s when Abu Salem’s dream reached Azamgarh, it was routed to Singapore and Malaysia via Mumbai and Dubai.

As the money crossed borders the openness of markets broke the socio-political fabric of the country. The new society was now based on money which is reality and not an illusion. The politics has transformed that reality into a dream. Ambedkar disseminated awareness but didn’t give a political platform where a dream of a transformed and a better society could be envisioned. When Mumbai changed from a dream city to a Maximum City, a dalit Marathi didn’t know about his means of struggle. And all of a sudden a dalit Marathi began seeing himself as a Marathi Manus.

The new game of making money from money has hampered the industrialization process which not only provided employment to the labour but also has maintained their societal existence. Mumbai, including other cities of Maharashtra have faced a closure of more that four lakh small and large scale industries over last two decades. Also, some industries faced inevitable industrial sickness. This made more than fifty lakh people in Maharashtra unemployed. The school going children of these troubled families began speculating regular conflicts at home, which actually materialized. Cotton fabric of Sholapur became history. Four large mills and more than 60 small scale industries supported by these mills, closed. Kolhapur, Latur, Beed, Aurangabad and Vidarbha faced similar situations. The land where these industries functioned didn’t face any problems though as the markets were open for them. Everything got converted into profit. However the generation that faced the crisis was that of the school going kids who when grew up, had nothing to do.

The sources of employment rested on the platform of politics which endangered the political ideology. Political unions formed as a result of agitations and movements succumbed to the influence of big political parties. Bal Thackeray was the one who presented his type of politics garbed in the veil of new politics. The concept of politics as a new form of employment was presented to the new generation, who actually grew learning about the revolutionary movements of Ambedkar-Phule. The differences between a father and a son which came up due to unemployment initially didn’t even stop this new generation from taking this destructive politics as employment.

Shivsena started 22 unions in the 90s. During the 1995 elections the youth was seen campaigning for Thackeray. They raised quotes like “Jidhar bum udhar hum”. However after coming into power Shivsena couldn’t successfully merge the ways of generating employment through politics; so that the game of division and partition can be put to an end. This generation realized that the politics of standing against the power can provide money for their employment. Bal Thackeray lagged behind due to his age and that’s where Raj Thackeray came into scene. Raj Thackeray is the result of that era of politics which has forgotten political confrontation; an era which is retaining power on the platform of money.

When Sharad Pawar formed NCP, he conducted a meeting where people who supported him were given a bag and a new jeep from Mahindra. In that era Pawar was very powerful as a Maratha. He is still powerful but it’s just that others have also become powerful; they have money now. The economy and not Manmohan Singh taught them the art of making money from money. This gave a direction to their politics and power. Hence saying that Congress-NCP didn’t keep a check on Raj Thackeray would be wrong. The politics of confrontation was forced upon the common masses by the Congress-NCP hence there is no point of a legal system coming in. The question is the building up of a state, with a way of living. The reason is that the fire which ignited in Mumbai is now proliferating in Bihar. Mumbai is where partition and division politics can be directly linked with power and Government. Government also needs money to run, which the politicians are gaining by forcing the youth into politics. Hence Raj Thackeray has instigated this pain in the politicians of Bihar and not the workers of Mumbai. For the politicians of Bihar, the new economic model is the complete revolution in itself.

1 comment:

Shifting Sands said...

this claiming-to-be-well-read-intelligent-visionary but a cheap wanna be 'politician' Raj Thackeray continues to gives fiery speeches, cites examples

from history of all over the world but the fact is that he doesn't have a clue. He tells the frustrated Maharshtrians what he thinks is the cause of all

of the problems of Maharashtra. Of course he tells them so because when growing up, 'politician' uncle Bala told him so. Of course Bala uncle didn't have

a clue either, somebody in a lungi molested him in his own childhood and he tried taking revenge on all lungi's when he grew up.

The stupid cunt has made it sound like Mumbai is fucking Singapore or Dubai and Bihar cum UP are as bad as Africa to the globe, the differences aren't

that bad!! it can't even be faked!! Its common knowledge that the British developed Bombay city as a port and well, we can thank them and all of the

communities in Mumbai since independence who made it the great city it is now. (of course that includes the Marathi community also which has always been

here in big numbers) while farmers continue to commit suicide, youth instigated by such netas as Raj himself carry on the violence, the truth is that

rural and semi urban Maharashtra has some of the highest number of Rapes and Murders in the country while development just isn't reaching these inner

parts of the state, it's limited to major urban centers like Puna, Nashik, Mumbai only...