Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saffronizing a Pearl of the Orient

February last week of 2005; back then I used to work with ICICI One source for National Rail Enquiry Services as a Customer Service Associate. I was working in the night shift and as usual was late for the debriefing. It was then, we were notified with the “news” that our process NRES was about to get closed down; so as a part of it they were downsizing the workforce. Options that we received were either to move out to another process, quit the company or go on a deputation to ICICI Mumbai for a six month period.

Bombay (as we now know today as Mumbai) had always been a dream destination and a personal favorite for me. A city that never sleeps, its necklace of lights along the corniche, its magnificent British Raj architecture, the elegant Gate way of India, historical Ajanta & Ellora caves, graceful Mosque of Hajji Ali and Siddhi Vinayak temple; everything I remember of Mumbai was super fantastic. I stood up accepting the deputation program and landed on Mumbai along with my colleagues, on the 7th March 2005 which also happened to be my birthday. It takes roughly 24 hours on a train journey to reach Mumbai from Bangalore. During the train journey, Rubeena who was one of my best pals those days and who had previously been to Mumbai gave me the first glance on history of Mumbai.

Within the first few days I realized that this city had a charm of its own kind. A charm that had attracted people from different sects, societies, civilizations and continents to come and settle. A form of cultural co-existence that cities show when they are exposed to sea. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jews, Zoroastrians and almost every sect of every religion was to be seen in Mumbai.

On my off days I used to pick my backpack and go for random journeys within the city, as a part of localizing which I practice when I arrive into new cities. A large part of my present understanding about Mumbai comes from the information shared by Paan walas, chaai walas, dabba walas, dhobis, dhoodh walas, tender coconut sellers, ice candy walas and at one instance a chat I had with a prostitute in billa road. Most of them were not born in Mumbai; they had shifted to Mumbai in search for a better life and to earn their bread and butter.

It was during these days when I encountered first hand information on the Semi-fascist, chauvinist political outfit called as Shiv Sena and their genocidal lunatic supremo Bal Thackeray. In their five decades of existence, Shiv Sena has always shown systematic hostility against all sections of the society. One of the worst includes communal riots of Mumbai in 92 and Caste atrocities at various instances. They have always symbolized hindutva for their existence and made comparisons with “Marathas” a clan of brave warriors who stood up against a fierce Sunni Mughal Emperor “Aurangzeb” during the 1700s. However their atrocities are not just set to Muslim minorities but have now become a National concern. They made divisions on the basis of Religion, caste and on linguistic terms. Every Mumbai’kar or every Indian has been directly or indirectly affected by their acts of semi-fascism. Media persons, politicians, sportsmen, actors, actresses, trade union members and other minorities like Muslims, Christians and Dalits.

The first two demands put forward by Shiv Sena, soon after their genesis were, 80% jobs in the government and 80% houses in the housing board colonies for Maharashtrians. I was not present at this exotic place during this time however was able to understand the poison doing its work and till date being a challenge to the civil society. The first act of violence, rising tide of fanaticism by the cult of death was shown against South Indians, their establishments and south Indian producers who brought in Hindi cinemas to Bombay. This laid the foundation stone to the collection of protection money / extortion money, which until then was not famous among the infamous Mumbai Mafia. The first full fledge riot was launched during the end of 60s on the Maharashtra – Karnataka issue.

The communal mobilization of the Shiv Sena started by the mid-eighties when Thackeray took sides with the Hindus, during two Mandir-Masjid disputes (Durgadi & Mahikavati). Mumbai was largely starting to get infested with a wide selection of serpents namely RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh), SLS (Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti), Bharatiya Kamger Sena (BKS), Hindu Mahasabha, Jan Sangh, Rastriya Utsav Mandal many more and their respective leaders.

Thus on 1984 the communal division was inaugurated by the parties of god in Bhiwandi, Thane, Kalyan and Mumbai when Thackeray made a provocative speech against Prophet Muhammad , retaliated with a large protest action by a Muslim congress MLA. This ignited the minds of the fanatic Hindus who launched a wide attack taking lives of 238 human beings and crores worth of property being destroyed. The notoriety undertaken in the riot against Muslims was extremely heinous. It left a deep scar on the minds of Muslims which till date is not healed. Only one and one alone were to be held culprit on the death of hundreds; Shiv Sena and its bunch of goons and thugs. The reaction from the government was nothing and no action was taken against Thackeray and his bunch of idiots, which further added fuel on fire among the Muslims minds.

Further in the late 80s wide acts of communal riots were reported and as a result the Saffronists were capitalizing on their victory. Bal Thackeray and his Hindutva campaign were now to be heard nationwide. The acts of atrocities were not just concentrated on Muslims; Dalits were also being exploited in Maharashtra mainly at Vidharbha and Marathwada by destroying their crops, acquiring their lands and burning off their shelters. It was during this time when SS and BJP set an alliance which cemented the base for a new National brainwashing.

The worst face of communal violence in Mumbai was during the Early 90s. Soon after the demolition of Babri–Masjid at Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) an extremely venomous communal hate campaign was launched by SS. It brought utter shame on me personally simply because I was born as a Hindu. I was a teenager when this ghastly instance took place in Bombay. At one instance when I was discussing this issue with my neighbor he was justifying the act of SS with terms like Ram Janma Bhoomi, honour of hindutva and how we should flush out the Muslim invaders. Without a doubt his answers were convincing for me at that age. Religion poisons everything, yes it does, If it was not religion what else would have made me think that the act of these fanatic mass murderers were justifiable, even for an iota of a second. I agree with Christopher Hitchens, yes Religion poisons everything. This chapter of bloodshed didn’t end here, the ignited Muslim minds craved for vengeance thus it gave to an impetus birth to Muslim extremism in Mumbai; followed by the ghastly Bombay blasts in 1993.

The controversies of this mass murdered continues till date, the latest ones with Sachin tendulkar, SRK and against North Indians as a whole.

Will eliminating Bal Thackeray end all the troubles in this region; since he has already passed on the baton to his successor Raj Thackeray? Even though their paths are different their goals are the same “Saffronizing Mumbai and then take over India.

Can someone prescribe a medicine for this Cancer which is spreading at a fast rate?
Wipe off gods and religions on which they base their agenda; this and this alone can cure the cancer.

As of me, I left Mumbai by six months during my first term, later on quit ICICI and joined a Real estate group called SRK Constructions. After moving around in Cochin, Bangalore and Pune I came back to Mumbai for my second term of experiences which did not last for long as I was transferred to SRK Group’s first International office in Dubai.

I still cherish the memories of my Mumbai Term and miss my beloved friends.

“God it is not you, but your fans that I am worried about”.

No comments:

Post a Comment