Does India need Raj Thackeray?

Suhel Seth nails it in this article posted in Deccan Chronicle. Sums up exactly what i would have wanted to write. Am copying the full article below for easy reading. Pretty long article, but worth reading.

Does India need Raj Thackeray?
By Suhel Seth

I sometimes wonder what we have done as a nation to deserve politicians who continue to spew venom, who love to divide our country at the smallest opportunity and who don’t bat an eyelid about being blasphemous. I abhor the fact that the state is impotent and weak and can’t do very much about the mess that these people create. I then come to the conclusion that perhaps India deserves the politicians it has. We have a system that feeds on caste politics and Raj Thackeray is just a symbol of this feeding frenzy. He is just another one who believes that the politics of hatred will get him far, not realising for a moment that the common man is now fed up of this daily interruption which manifests itself in violence and more violence.

I was in Mumbai last week when Raj Thackeray and his utterances resulted in people being beaten up, small businesses being disrupted; not to mention the harrowing tragedies that these caused to the hapless citizens of Mumbai.

But then are we, as citizens, ever going to become more demanding? Accountability is a virtue very few of us possess and this is partly because we are too lazy and too mired in our own inadequacies to even consider bringing about a fundamental change in the way we think, in the way we vote and in the manner in which we select our politicians. The reasons for inaction are equally ludicrous. Vilasrao Deshmukh did not want to arrest Raj Thackeray since it would cause unbearable pressure on the state administration at a time when the President and the Prime Minister were visiting the state. The common man, once again, did not matter. It is almost as if the entire police force exists only to ensure smooth entries and exits for our heads of state and government. For Deshmukh, the misery of the common man and the emotional trauma that Raj Thackeray’s utterances cause are insignificant when compared to the effort that must go into a presidential visit.

While civil society in Mumbai is normally quick to condemn such utterances, their silence this time round was not a silence which signalled agreement, but instead one which signalled fear — and this is my worry. Civil society can no longer choose its battles. It must seem united against any form of oppression, and it is more important for the average Mumbaikar to protest this drivel that Raj Thackeray and his ilk utter rather than accept it as the sayings of a deranged or perhaps depraved mind.

I cannot imagine that Raj Thackeray actually believes what he said about the Marathi Manoos. This is political posturing, but one which is dangerous to the fabric of this nation. What is even more terrifying is that this idiom of pernicious belief is now becoming a means of gathering votes, something that even the Election Commission chooses to ignore. Add to the fact that on the day Raj Thackeray should have been in jail, he was busy attending the Mumbai police commissioner’s dinner, makes the nexus so apparent. But even this was not condemned with the shrillness that it deserved.

All this makes me wonder if we are slowly becoming a banana republic where everything passes muster only because people neither have the conviction nor the courage to raise their voices against all of this divisiveness. There is a palpable fear of politicians, which is different from the past. Today, in some strange way, we not only disrespect people in politics, we even fear them, for we know not what the consequences may be. We are failing to realise that in essence people like Raj Thackeray are cowards who want to pretend they are powerful, and in their intellectual bullying lies their enduring failure.

It would however be unfortunate if we only blamed Raj Thackeray. He is nothing but a poster-boy for such malicious thinking, but he is not alone. He represents a degraded political system which refuses to fight atrocities, especially when people from within are the ones that are causing this rapid decay. I am a great believer that this country has enough resilience, except that we have stopped expressing it. We are mentally lethargic, and what’s more, unwilling to take a stand. We are happy with mere tokenism, so there will be the usual effigy burning; but you won’t bury this once and for all by taking determined deterrent action. And this is what I missed in Mumbai last week.

The country and those who run it need to realise that Mumbai is more than a city. It is a symbol of India’s commercial and economic prowess. It is about surmounting odds and living the dream. It cannot afford nightmares like Raj Thackeray and his ilk, which is why decisive action would have worked. But like in most things in this country, we have postponed the problem. This will come to haunt us very soon. Only then will we realise that this country is in the habit of rearing demons that inflict so much destruction which we neither fathom nor prevent. In a strange way, we are suicidal, which is why perhaps we deserve the Thackerays and the Sorens and the Modis. I guess we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Above article courtesy: Deccan Chronicle


No comments

  • Rohit Rawat

    I guess being an Indian being that I could work anywhere in India without any problem. By taking such steps do Mr. Raj thinks that Mumbaikar’s should try for work in any other state? I guess the first man to be thrown out should be Mukesh Ambani then Amil Ambani then the Beaurocrats working with Mumbai govt, the IAS, IPS, Governor and the list goes on. I really want to get an answer from Mr. Raj on this. Jai Bharat !!!

  • Anonymous

    Don’t you people think, that in all this chaos, we have forgotten who we really are?

    No, not Biharis, not Maharashtrains.

    We are Indians. Have we forgotten that?

    In most of the anti articles I’ve read today, none of them mentioned that “India” is being affected on the whole. Mumbai is being affected, but India is being affected more.

    Mr. Bachchan on one hand, says that he has done more for Maharashtra than UP. Heck! He has done it for India.

    On the other hand, I also believe that the common man cant do much without a well-oriented leader. Look, if there’s this local goon in front of you, threatening to kill you if you cannot speak his language, you’ll obviously speak it if you know it. My point being, you wont oppose replying in Hindi and telling him that what he is doing is wrong. Noone will.

    There’s a huge difference between saying and doing. We can write page long articles about how sorry we are for our present state, but neither any one of us will actually do what we “think” is right.

  • Krishna Aradhi

    The more I think of it, the clearer it becomes that this is all a well-planned drama. Thackeray doesn’t really care for anyone. It was just to provide publicity for his party, the MNS.

    Now he has got it. Who wins in the end? MNS, with plenty of support from the weak-kneed government.

  • shama

    Wha’st happening today in Bombay will eventually drill down to communal voilence between hindu’s and Muslim’s. And as usual all the stupid citizens of india will go to thugs like Raj and Modi fo help. I feel pretty on the poor people who will suffer.. no matter what religion they are..

  • Liju Philip

    @ Arun, yup look at where Raj comes from. The Thackerays. That’s the house with the most rabid dog in Bombay Bal Thackeray.

    @ Rohit, as a young politician we would have had expected better sense from Raj. Sad, but he also chose to follow his uncle’s footsteps.

    @ Anon, true. We have a govt and police that sits idly looking at the mess that the opponents create. Till the public takes these people to task, nothing much is going to happen.

    @ Krishna, yup Bal, Raj, Udhav, the congress govt. Everyone was in cahoots with each other in this plot. I wish the people would never forget that and give them a fitting lesson in the next elections.

    @ Shama, the Thackerays are old hands at dipping their hand in the blood of innocents. They’re pretty good at it. With elections looming large, dont be surprised to hear more barking from the dogs around.

  • Liju Philip

    Akhil, I wonder if these frogs ever venture out of their wells? Actually the Thackeray’s are feeling the heat of Mayawati and Modi in their backyard. Remember their huge rallies in Bombay last month?

    @Cyberkitty, your comment hits the nail on the head. At least we expected something better from Raj. But then what else do you expect from the Thackerays. Regional chauvinists.

  • Rajesh Pune

    I don’t want to defend what Raj or Abu Azmi done. But want to give example of my friend who is good person from Kanpur UP. He completed all his education in UP. He is M Tech from IIT Kanpur. He has house in Kanpur & all his family members live in Kanpur & surrounding areas. Now he is in USA & want to come back to India. So he purchased flat at Pune because he want to settle there. I asked why he don’t want to go to UP or Delhi. He just smiled & said ‘I like pune’. I don’t have problem where he want to settle down but this is bitter truth that even educated UPites & Biharis don’t want to go back to their home states. This is failure of North Indian states & this is the basic problem. Recent incidents are arose due to this continuos failure of North states. From long term perspective if some system needs to address this problem otherwise today there is Raj to blame tomorrow somebody else. This cronic problem will remain as is & we keep bloggging about some acute problems.

  • Maharashtrian

    a lot of needless marathi and raj thackeray bashing is been done here . Expected . from the north indians . But it does not change the fact that , north indian states like UP and Bihar are failed states(just like pakistan is a failed state in the global context) , run by politicians who give two hoots about their people . It is the north indian attitude that is the main problem . If the north indian are s hardworking why they do not work hard in their own states ? Today it has happened in Maha , 2morrow in Karnatak and other parts of India , This is a deep rooted problem with the root cause in UP and Bihar.So stop this childish and dumb tirade against Marathi and Raj Thackeray . I am no supporter of Raj but this is just too much .

  • Krishna Aradhi

    Heh. Who is this ‘Maharashtrian’? I am from Pune. So I guess my view is also like a Maharashtrian. Here goes.

    Firstly, Maharashtra will be literally paralysed without north Indians doing all the jobs that the proud Marathi Manoos will not like to do. An example is the industry in Nasik, which has suffered losses amounting to a few hundred crores of rupees because the north Indians are fleeing to their home state.

    Secondly, Mumbai won’t be the financial capital of India if it weren’t for the ‘outsiders’. It would have been just another sleepy town in Maharashtra.

    Let’s be realistic here. If you want respect from the migrants, beating them up is not going to help your cause. Don’t get fooled by the vitriolic statements of Thackeray. He doesn’t give two hoots to the ‘Marathi Manoos’; all that he cares about is how to get maximum publicity for his party of stupid bigots.

  • Rakesh

    It is right that by constitution any Indian can go to any place in india for job & live any where. Raj can not correct by saying North Indians should go back to their states. But any north indian who thinks that Raj is wrong should introsect. North Indian migrated to Mumbai should ask himself if his state, his own politician not care about his “Roti/ Kapada aur Makan” then why should he ever allow these politician to take rallies in Mumbai for their vote. They will take rallies now, take your vote & tommorrow Mumbai become same like Bihar or UP. Before Raj kind of politician provoke “Son of Soils” against you, north indians should come together & kick those northy polititians. They should say that “We know how are you in Bihar & UP. That’s why we run away from you. Don’t come here to spoil our new home. If you want to come here then first do something like Banglore, hyderabad at Patna/ Lakhnaw” If those rallies never happened, Raj will not able use Son of Soil theory & whole matter is never happened. Still time has not gone.

  • Dombivlikar Marathi

    Marathis are always welcoming to people from other states. It should be evident from the large population of Non-Marathis in Maharashtra – not just in Mumbai but thro’out the State.

    The discontent among Marathis in my opinion also comes from unfairness demonstrated by Non-Marathis when it comes to offering jobs i.e. while Marathis tend to be fair when in position of power to offer employment, non-Marathis tend to hire some one that speaks their language. I certainly do not want to make a blanket statement. But that’s the impression I got by observing Upper/Middle Management/Employee Lists of Govt/Semi Govt establishments.

    For e.g.

    1. Look at Telephone Nigam Oraganizations in Delhi and Mumbai – don’t they look the same ? Marathis are almost missing from Mumbai MTNL. I’m confident many of these folks are Non-Marathis that do not know Marathi language or culture i.e. these are implants from outside.

    2. How can Dombivli (predominantly Marathi town) Rly Station ticket window has all Non-Marathis who know no Marathi working them?

    3. How can a LIC Development Officer in an area which is predominantly Marathi be non-Marathi who has no knowledge of Marathi?

    Believe me this can only happen in Mumbai/Maharashtra and if you reverse the situation its close to being impossible in any other state.

    I feel Marathis are targetted and positions of public interface are on purpose offered to Non-Marathis that way the masses are always brain washed with the theme that “business in Maharashtra” need to be conducted in Hindi.

    I do believe us Marathis are progressive, open-minded and are welcoming and tolerant of others as long as they play a fair game. We are proud to be indians first but only as long as others play a fair game with us. If non-Marathis are systematically and consistently willing to play the dirty game of favoriticism we’ve no option but to defend ourselves and our identity.

    I would also want to comment on some things with reference to Raj Controversy :

    1. Raj did not say any of his comments on his own, he was provoked and was reacting to comments from the Samajvadi Leader from North, was he not?

    2. Some people are now pushing for Hindi in Mumbai Mahanagarpalika. Again this kind of non-sense could only be tolerated in Maharashtra. Hindi is often touted as the National Language and therefore they want to replace English with Hindi which is not completely accurate. Those who have read Indian Constitution which is also available online know that the fact is all Indian Languages have been given the status of National Language by our Constitution.

    3. I often see comments that say Mumbai is made great by entrepreuners which are Non-Marathis and what if they all decide to leave. Here’s what I say – let them leave. They are not here in Mumabi conducting business because they love the city, Marathis, their language or culture. They’re not doing any favor to anyone but themselves. They’re here not for anything but their capitalistic interest, Mumbai provides them a safe place to conduct business with a large base of educated workers and consumers, they get the best bang for the buck here and that’s why they’re here. Its a 2 way street folks.

    The fact is non-Marathis that assimilate and respect the local language / culture and play a fair game are and will always be welcome in Maharashtra.

    In summary, I think the effective solution to these problems could be to adopt a 2 language system to conduct business with Marathi first and English second. If only Marathis speak their language everywhere most of the problems would take care of themselves.

    Jay Hind!

  • Chandra

    Ours is a federal state with a Central as well as a State Govt. We are not one nation, we are a group of nations striving to live together. We do everything required to live in a harmonious way and solve conflicts peacefully. Having said all that, no state gets undue advantages from another state. It is clear that poor quality of Governance is being exported from one state to the other. Now, does that mean we should bar them? NO!! Does that mean the said states should do something about it? YES

  • kartik


    I don know….but the idea itself makes me feel sad that he wants all the north Indians out of Maharashtra….
    i simply remember about all the golden days wen v nvr tot about all this differences…
    but now even among our own friends i c the diffrence when the talk arises….

    hmm….hop life will be better in mumbai….

  • Sarkar

    I don’t understand why everyone of you are “Fooling around yourself”, and trying to be Saints under the slogan of “United India” and “Dividing India”. Let me tell you, the truth is we all are divided since long, all states are formed on Language basis and Tamilnadu is for Tamilians, Gujrat is for Gujratis etc. , So where does the question of dividing come to picture.

    Secondly, the author is looking at only one side of the coin, in this way any one can prove anybody wrong. We have group of people who say “Lord Rama” was wrong and they have a good reason too. So I would say please look into the otherside also.

    Lots of people feel that Raj saheb is asking to quit all the North Indians, Noooo, he never said that, All he is being saying is we should stop the influx of new UP/Biharis that come to Mumbai. But this bastard Media is giving it a different shade.

    Everything that exists had a point of Saturation, same is the case with Mumbai.
    Mumbai has reached the point of Saturation not now but almost 10 years back and no more people can be sufficed in this great city.
    There is absolute shoratage of every thing you can think of.
    Even the basic necessaties like Water, Electricity, Fresh Air, Transport and even Vegetables are falling short.

    Its tough to find empty space of 20 feets even to walk, this is the state of Mumbai. All you Dombivlikars ask your old parents and your children if they have space to go for a morning walk or play cricket.

    Guys wake up, dont just ignore the fact under the guise of “Unity” of which really no one of us is truely bothered. Each one is just using it as a weapon of emotional sympathy.

    I am really touched when I see all Marathi people pointing at Raj saheb. I stay in Chicago, USA and I heard from our fellow Indians here calling Marathis people as “Crab” (i.e. khekda) who pulls his fellow Marathi’s down, I was very disturbed when I heard this for the first time, but now I know why they say so.
    I think we all Marathi people have an inherent problem of “Too much Analysis” we just keep analyzing people and try pointing out the short-comings.

    Marendra Modi becomes Chief Minister inspite of the “Godhra Tragedy”, when thousands we killed and hundreds of women were molested, but Gujrathis never though as Marathis think. This is the thing what we Marathis are lacking. Guys wake up its still not too late!

    This time too many people say, “This is a political Stunt….” I say to hell with this !!! Has any politician solved your problem; no one did. So why not try this new person, atleast with him you have a probability of 50% to have something new, but with the previous people there is 100% probability of nothing new.

    Just try to come out of your homes and go to the places which least bothers you, you all will be terrified to see whats happening out there.

    Have anyone of you abbove ever entered in Mumbra Slums, Kalva slums, Mankhurd slum. You will be shocked to see how these UP/Biharis rule in them. The simple looking innocent Bhaiya is like a “Gunda” when you see him jin those slums. You should listen to what they say about our Mothers and Sisters; and only then you will realise why Raj Thackeray is shouting only afterv these UP/Biharis.

    I have lot of such things to say, but my “Boss” is calling me so I have to leave, just kidding.

    Jai Hind
    Jai Maharashtra



  • Jashan

    Simple question to all of you…

    How come MNS n so many maharashtrians are opposing people from UP/ Bihar only?

    guys try to understand, we have never opposed any south indians, bengalis, people from North East n other region
    there is some reason behind it. MNS doesnt have any problem with all of them but yes problem with illegal immigrants. Mumbai/ Pune cannot shelter 1000 Bihairi’s OR UPites everyday.

    Y dont Bihar& UP create jobs within their states only?

    SADDEST thing again…our ‘so called liberal n educated maharahtrian society’ is not supporting our man.

    railway, mintistries, media everything has been lobied by those people n they have misinterpreted the cause.

    “noone is right or wrong, it is just the difference in opinions”

    I support Raj thakre in conveying the message to people who think Maharashtrians can take any shit


  • Sitesh, Mumbai

    Whatever may one say! but u guys don’t understand! Raj Thackeray is dividing the nation. He is following the divide and rule policy. His statements about the gr8 influx of people from UP and Bihar may not be much right but recently Tata Institute has shown the figures that 2.5 people migrate to Mumbai from Maharashtra and 3 lakhs people migrate to Maharashtra from all over India. This isn’t large. Gr8 cities attract people from each and every country. Just look at New York and London. Our Bombay can never become NY or London in a million years! but it has the potential to at least keep peace and harmony for the 1.6crore people who stay there. Due to Raj’s statement, the worse thing is that people are largely discriminated. It doesn’t even matter if u r frm north or south or east. Being an Oriya(east indian), people hav even used harsh words against me. People aren’t only opposing north indians, they are opposing non-marathis! this is a hard truth! truth is always bitter! At least, whatever hav happened but at least Raj should apologise for using such provocative words! Recently a video came which showed Raj cutting cake where Bhaiyya was written in Devnagri script and the way he cut is u know………it showed how much he hated north indians. how can people blindly elect a person who doesn’t even know to create communal harmony in his area where he’s ruling. The migrant issue isn’t a issue!!!!! this has been made a issue by these idiot politicians! Maharashtra has sufficient no. of industries and banks that it can handle the whole of American population. Marathis have been living nicely in Mumbai. there is lesser rate of poverty in Maharashtra as compared to other states. further, the migrants not only earn money from being in mumbai but also they create employment for others. the bhojpuri cinema has 70% marathis employed. now it’s goin to shift to Patna. now Raj should think of what those Marathis are goin to do. Raj thackeray is doin what Mamta Banerjee has done in Bengal. The consequence will surely be harsh for every indian. secondly, talking about language. aren’t we proud to talk in Hindi? the constitution accepts every language as national language but under a separate cateogory. Hindi and English are the official languages of the Indian Union. Now even if u speak Hindi in Mumbai, people will suspect u. it’s as if being a non-marathi is a sin. god knows what we are goin to b in the next birth! and ya, barack obama won votes and became a president. this shows how open and liberal are people in US. he is not only a black but also a muslim. but howz dat he won? it’s bcoz of his work! if there is reservation for marathi manoos then the justice for doin work won’t be there. Ya marathi people are tolerant but it isn’t that they don’t hav feeling for themselves unlike others. Go to Kolkata and Delhi! I hav been there in Kolkata for 3 years. It’s a mega cosmopolitan city. There are many UP-Biharis there but why aren’t those opposed? bcoz people there are proud to call themselves as Indians first. they feel that without migrants, their city won’t be nurtured! And ya there has been a greater role of the people of north to make Mumbai – the financial capital of India. Mumbai isn’t a big cosmopolitan city! there aren’t many Americans, Japanese, French, Australians, Brazilians, working in Mumbai. It’s a city where 98% of the population is of Indian. Then what’s the milestone that Bombay has achieved????? Earlier it was the Bombay presidency which consisted the parts of Gujrat, Maha , Goa and Karnataka. No big deal!!!!! It’s a fact that – united we stand, divided we fall! But as the present situation is concerned, Maharashtrians are even discriminated heavily in other states. The truth is that an average UP-Bihari works much harder without charging much! And also that the combined population of UP-Bihar comes to about 30 crores which makes 30% of India’s population. So with much limited resource where would one go? It isn’t that the Indians have created this Bombay! It was the task of the British! Land reclamation was whole heartedly done by the British! The Bombay Stock Exchange is there only bcoz of the British! Due to that the demand rose! The Britishers wanted the UP-Biharis to work in Godowns. That’s why these many people are present. It’s isn’t the task of the locals of Mumbai. We have to know that without migrants Mumbai isn’t anything!!!!!!!!!! Moreover there are other concerns like slums, black cotton soil suicide of farmers, pollution levels, education, etc of the people of Maharashtra! If people like Mumbai, the locals shud be proud that their homeland is a worthy article! but instead they are turning bullshit! This violence has to stop! It is eminent that those who are causing this will b goin to hell aftr death. And even Bombay isn’t a gr8 city! It is the 7th filthiest city and the most rude city of the world according to the Reader’s Digest Survey! It is high time now when all the injustices should not be accepted and the voices should be made against those who are dividing India for their own personal gains!!!!!!!

  • ajinkya

    all r pin pointing finger but no one understand basic problem.mumbai have some limitations ,today life in mumbai not easy .crowded,increased criminals ….etc.if peopple from backward state like up & bihar come to mumbai changing demogrphy …..increased slums ,how could good & sensible mumbaikar tolerate this.i think state like up & bihar should devolop …..make local people available job there rather than blaiming maharastrian .what is up & biihar today FIRST RANK IN ILLITRACY,RAPE,MURDER,ROBBERY, CASTISM,DIRTY POLITICS,UNEMLOYMENT,MORE SLUMS,POOR,UNHEALTHY,BUNCH OF CRIMINALS ………….what i mean to say to change first themselves then point finger on other…….

  • Trishul Palekar

    I am currently debating this with my friends and a few of their friends. Some hard core MNS supporters have gone to the extent of saying Maharashtra will be an independent country one day. I see something similar to the ULFA movement here. FYI! I am a maharashtrian and am ashamed of Raj Thakarey. He has brough shame to my great state.

  • Trishul Palekar

    Dombivlikar Marathi :

    You mentioned that we should “let them leave”. It is very easy for a middle class person with access to fan, ac, computer and internet to say this. Please try telling the numerous workers at Tata Motors, or the mills, or at Bajaj that you would not mind if these ‘outsiders’ leave Maharashtra and set up shop elsewhere. People who have the resources can indulge in such acts of terror, the common man is the one who gets caught in the cross-fire.

    The person from Chicago:
    Aren’t you a immigrant in Chicago? Don’t they hate immigrants who steal the local’s jobs? Do they ask you to ‘go develop your state first”?

    The population of Pune grew at 3% p.a. and so did the household income. 1000 people a day is exxageration. I don’t deny there is migration (illegal immigrants are not on Raj’s radar) from other states but believe me if you kick the labor out, more instances of companies moving out of Maharashtra will be seen in the future, just like Infy had to move 3000 jobs from Pune to Chennai because of MNS’s goondagiri.

    I am a Maharashtrian too and I dont think I want to see Raj Thakarey being synonymous with my state.