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27 October 2008

Bombay becomes Bihar - well almost.

Diwali day, a festive day- and what do I see/hear - BEST bus no 332 hijacked in Kurla.

For a fleeting moment, Mumbai became Bihar.

The range of flabbergasted reactions that the news got went something like this,

*BEST* ? bus hijacked in kurla?
BEST *bus*? hijacked in Kurla
BEST bus *hijacked*? in Kurla?
BEST bus hijacked. in *Kurla*?

you know, lets face it…the only hijack attempts and guns Mumbaikars see - as in Really see- are, in the movies. (give or take a mad-man scenario ever so once in a way)

On screen. And on TV. Again, in movies and serials- CID, Haadsa, NYPD blue, Prison Break etc etc or when Tulsi, a very self-righteous mom in a soap materialises one out of thin air and shoots an errant son who has done some horrific misdeeds like rape a young girl or such. A gun is not our daily fashion accessory, so far at least. Then, there are those random reports one only reads about -the shootout at lokhandwala types. Question a cross section of average mumbaiker – no one has actually witnessed one- –encounter killings and such.

Hence, contrary to what the rest of the country thinks, the average mumbaikar leads a very average life even when he his bomb blasted and rioted. Say ‘On the run’ and you will get the response- local trains. Excitement is provided normally by a new purchase or sighting a film star.

(Before I forget, I also saw guns on TV when the election coverage of UP and Bihar were shown.)

So when an adult man takes a gun and threatens passengers in a public transport, the police after some tense moments for all around, fire shots and he is dead. Well, maybe in an ideal world, (a.k.a. movie’s) he’d put his arms in the air and surrender. Or a Bruce Willis commando style black cat chap would climb on the roof and immobilize him. But it wasn't a flim set. It was Kurla. And an Andheri-Kurla bus route that connects the two railway stations I think.

I am aghast at the tragedy, but frankly I don’t care much for such romantic notions a above. I know that I travel by bus a lot and even if I had not died by a stray bullet of the shooter or the police, I’d have died of a heart attack by the sheer fear & stress. And I am a strong person relative to small school kids, heart patients and other patients, old people, pregnant women etc all who do the daily commute. To work, to hospital, to visit loved ones, back to home.

So when I see politicians making mileage out of it and youth in Bihar on the rampage the following thoughts come to mind;

1. Guys, if you had done this rampage much earlier on for development issues, the poor would not have to migrate in the first place.

2. Instead of finding fault with a chap in a far off state, question your own leaders- what have they done for creating jobs and opportunities

3. With floods and thousands dead and in need of rehab, really can you afford to march to Delhi to meet PM for ‘inquiry’ and ‘ban’ of MNS? Wow, if only such unity was shown by political leaders in previous years- there would not be so much death and disaster.

I am aghast at the touchy feely sentimentally brush strokes being given by some 'select' channels. The chap had come to Mumbai looking for a job- which one? That of a hit-man? that he needed a gun? Is no one questioning, where did he get it and how? He was asking for a phone to call who-Thackeray? He owns a gun but not a mobile phone? where exactly did he come from again?

Bali ka bakra to usey banaa hi diya. Like a suicide bomber, he came, he hijacked, and he died. Like all good children, if only he had listened to his mom. Eat your vegetables, study and work hard & acche bacchhe bandook se khela nahin karte.

And last but definitely not the least, the whole crux of this post. The Bihar politicians are very aghast at a youth who was killed while hijacking a public transport bus in broad daylight and terrifying passengers and putting innocent public at risk. Wah! Taaliyaa!!! *Applause*

Remember Satyendra Dubey?

Well, he was also someone’s son, brother and breadwinner. And a citizen of this country.

On his death (killing, assassination, cold-blodded murder- take your pick of term) if you had marched to Delhi as one, asking for a probe into this young, upright, educated, citizen who was only doing his job and exposing rot, then Sirs, I would not be writing this post. I’d be campaigning for you for your win in the next election. But, as matters stand. FAIL!

And thank you for the invite, but no I will not be attending the shinding you parade as pooja on juhu beach. Which so far, I thought like all other sravajanik pooja functions in Mumbai was open to all and all citizens were invited, welcome and could participate. I will prefer to attend and perform the pooja with great devotion and love in Bihar when it is safe for me to travel there. Or, when you do it in Mumbai after you have won the hearts of all mumbaikars ( Did that even occur to you as a choice? I wonder). And, in case I forgot to say it, no thank you also for dividing our bollywood which till recent times were a beacon of solidarity and secularism. No Thank you also for creating rifts and calling names to my family members in our home.

So the powers in charge will announce and conduct a probe. A chowkidar, havaldar, inspector, driver will get suspended. Some leave will be granted, some transfer will be effected. Maybe some human rights, sarva dharma sammelan, society for prevention of cruelty to bus passengers of kurla all will make some gestures.

In the tradition of the best hindi film dialogues, - Yeh lacchan kuch acche nahin. Hum keh dete hai. Haan.


Anonymous said...

Just a one point answer is enough to your harangue to Bihar and Biharis: Satyendra Dubey was also a Bihari, a native of Bihar living and working in Bihar.

Bear in mind, the percent of Biharis among new migrants to Mumbai is just 2.3% (courtesy a study by TISS, a Mumbai based social research organisation)

TV said...

It is very easy to condemn Rahul's as an act of violence, but one has to understand the helplessness that he would have felt which made him take this step. He had no criminal track record. He was a good student. His brothers are sisters are all well placed: one is a probationer in SBI, another a Class I govt officer.

Statistically speaking, Mumbai has never been the destination of choice for Bihari job seekers, a few stray Shatrughan Sinha not withstanding. Two Mumbai based organizations, IPSS and TISS did a survey of the new migrants in Mumbai. These two studies put the percent of Biharis among new migrants at 2.3% and 3.2%, up from less than 1% in the 60's. Surely, if there is any truth in the claim of Mumbai being the financial capital of India and not just the state capital of Maharashtra, such percent cannot be termed large!

The real villainy of Raj Thackeray's agitation is that it takes away hope from the Bihari youth and replaces it with despair rather than real jobs. Slow progress in Bihar in the post liberalization era has made the state backward. But it is a gap of not more than 10 to 15 years, a very small period in the history of a state or a culture. Bihar can easily make this up.

History shows Bihar has had a popular youth uprising every 30 to 35 years. The three youth agitations of the 20th century were the Chaparan agitation (which made Gandhi the mass leader that he was), the 1942 quit India movement and the JP movement of the 70's. An ungrateful nation chose to ignore the contribution of Bihar in the last three and sees Bihar only as a poor state, which is a burden on the nation.

The 70s movement could have been against the discriminatory freight equalization policy. It could have been against Congress tendency to hoist unpopular leaders as CM of Bihar by removing true public representatives. It could have been against repeated low per capita allocation in the five year plans. It could have been against the denial of central funding for the Ganga bridge at Patna. Instead, Bihar chose to agitate against the tyranny and dictatorship of Indira Gandhi. Latest records of the Planning commission of India shows even the flood control allocation per capita for Bihar is lower than the national average!

Time is ripe for another movement. I hope and pray that unlike the other movements which were for the cause of the Indian nation, this one becomes one for the state: where economic issues facing the state are agitated against. In addition to the great philosophical tradition of Bihar, trade and commerce have had a long history. The tome of Chanakya is called Arthashashtra - the treatise of money. Sonepur has had the largest cattle fair of the world since time immemorial. The most exploitative Nawabs of Bengal could not diminish the mercantile importance of Patna during the 18th century. Time has come to reclaim the leadership in the economic sphere and the whole world will be at the feet of Bihar.

Deepa said...

@Anon Lol.I know Satyendra Dubey is of bihar. I have given a link to the wiki post too formore info. Satyendra Dubey he did not even leave out of bihar for a job, he was only trying to do his and yet, the politicians could not ensure his safety or justice for him-they have conveniently forgotten him while purely for political reasons, they express shock at a youth who has hijacked a bus. My 'harangue'is on the hypocrisy of the polticians who did not unite or speak up on his death (or life) and has since been forgotten.

As for migrants issue. I have very unequivocal views on this point. Every human- whether Indians going out of India or poor biharis who come to Mumbai- migrates in the first place to only follow money/opportunities or to escape desperate circumstances. This is a natural law and in the first place cos it means he/she could not find it within his place. It is also to some extent natural cos any one place cannot provide all opportunities. For instance, if I am/was an artist, Paris will the place I move to. So migration is a non-issue. Specifically, w.r.t. biharis in Maharashtra, I'd rather they come in more numbers than die there. If I could,I'd ensure we build houses and provide jobs for them. 'Jagah ghar mein nahin, dil mein chahiye' and Mumbai is a place where even ten people live in a small 10 X 10 space. but as things stand, it is an open secret that the politicians have only furthered their cause of creating vote banks in getting people purely for political reasons. Or they'd not incite violence but support and encourage them to assimilate in the society and learn and respect local laws and culture & discipline. For instance, rickshaw walas who tamper with meter and park anywhere they wish with an belligerent approach. Or clean up after the events you hold. *That* is not/is the Mumbai way of doing things.

btw, do post a link if you have it to the study you mention. No report is worth the paper it is written on if it ignores the dynamics of reality.

Thank you for flagging off the comments! :)

Deepa said...

@TV As I mention in my post, the incident was/is a tragedy. But there are other tragedies too, such as in the present, flood affected people who still have no relief and in the past-death of upright educated young people like SD who spoke against corruption and paid with their life. I'd like to see media space and politicians unite and work for these issues and citizens question these counts.

Whether bihar or bombay or bastar, it is like different parts of one body. No part can be more or less important to overall health. It is also my deep desire and wish to see every part of India evolve to it's best potential.

I am very happy that someone like you-specialist and active blogger has found it worth to visit and comment on the issues. Thank you and hope to have more interaction on the topics.

Anonymous said...

Hi Deeps .. While its no brainer that Bihar/UP folks are migrating due to the failure of their state govts to provide them with basic social needs. But somewhere its equally prudent to look into a bit of history on why this has happened and then it wasn't purely Bihar's fault (UP is a bit curious as UP is the second biggest Economy in India but eastern UP has never really progressed). Bihar was always more tuned to National issues rather than regional .. and some of the Central Govt Policies has really hurt them badly .. ever heard of freight equalization .. some of them continue even now .. a recent ex .. may be innocent one .. Central Govt came up with a bright idea that any Road Construction company can do only 2 NHDP Road Stretches at a time .. so while every one bid for everything once the allotment happened most of companies backed out from road building in Bihar ..
And Migration to Mumbai again needs to be viewed with a bit of history on its side .. Mumbai was never built to be a Mare capital of Maha .. it is supposed to be the economic capital of India (the whole country) so Federal policies has created lot of central insitis in Mumbai .. which could have easily been anywhere else .. so lot of Federal Capital (monitory and otherwise) remain invested in Mumbai .. so to trick it as a mare capital of Maha is like reducing Shivaji as a mare Maratha Leader rather than a Pan Indian Leader which he really was and most of us in Bihar UP read and thought it that way about Shivaji till few really started copy righting on Shivaji ..

What really pains is to see normal 'Marathi Manoos' seems to be fooled by the same trick twice once by the uncle now by the nephew (i seriously hope that this is not true and just a mirage created by over jealous media ..)

Deepa said...

Well as events have shown and are evolving, this has been and is quite obviously a political ploy (one more). We do not get the leaders we deserve, we get the leaders we elect! Sorry for the delay in reply.

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