Or why I like Raj Thackeray.
Imagine MNS wins the assembly elections in Maharashtra the next time around - with a landslide margin. That gives them absolute majority in the house. And on the day Raj Thackeray is sworn in as Chief Minister, he declares that Maharashtra will secede from the rest of India. Alright, constitutionally that is not possible, so he settles for silver. The Maharashtra government declares that you will need a permit to enter and work in Mumbai if you are not already domiciled in the state. (For the time being they let you work in other parts of the state, but Mumbai is a no-go.)
As a next step, they ask, politely at first, for a little more autonomy to Mumbai in particular and Maharashtra in general, failing which, they say, Mumbai will not pay its share of taxes to the Central Government. Considering that Mumbai does pay a lot of tax and buys a lot of tickets in the railways and generally pays all its bills standing in an orderly Q - that means a lot of trouble for India. Our fiscal deficit, horrendous as it is, will now become the equivalent of staring down the barrel of a very powerful gun. Maharashtra will become a rich state though, thanks to the financial muscle of Mumbai.
And they also pass a resolution that nobody from any other part of India can buy property in Mumbai. Let us also say, theoretically that he will drive out non Maharashtrians - if not by force, by frustration. (Actually he wont - he actually loves guys like me who can speak Marathi despite being born in another part of India). He would also want to wipe out every bit of non Marathi history of Mumbai - and that means that the Udupi restaurants, the Gujarati businesses, the Tamil markets, the Sindhi colony will all be given "secular" makeovers. And he wants to change the name of each and every town in Maharashtra. Or every street in Mumbai.
Let us take this a little further. Assume that he assembles an army of stonepelters and brings the city to a stop as per a pre-distributed schedule. Which is possible, once he arranges the funds to encourage his army of stonepelters who take aim and break every glass façade in Mumbai. And specifically target non Maharashtrian assets? And blockade the JNPT port? And the Mumbai airport? And let industry suffer losses worth hundreds of crores. What would happen?
Would the government sit silently and wait for it to happen? Would it send in the army to Mumbai - to protect its other citizens who are not in favour of seceding from India? And what if the army kills a few stonepelters? All of this is hypothetical. For all the negative publicity he gets, one thing Raj Thackeray is, he is a patriot and supports the idea of the Indian nation.
But would our media which is currently screaming and supporting the stonepelters in the valley through broadcasts and on twitter and various social communities, rise in support of Raj Thackeray?
The answer is that they would not. Obviously, that is where the twitterati and glitterati live and make money, for one. For another, we all believe every Indian has equal right over Mumbai. If it is true for Mumbai it is true for any other part of India. If Mumbai cannot secede and Raj Thackeray does not have support, why can Kashmir secede and Mr. Geelani and his band of stonepelters have any support? If article 370 is the bone of contention, this is the time for the Indian state to grow a spine and give it some rigidity as well. Both Mumbai and the valley are as much a part of India as Mizoram and Krishnagiri. And if that is so, I would like to know how right it is for the media to support and air the demands of a few paid stonepelters and their leaders who are holding a state and its citizens to ransom?
Remember this - if Kashmir can get Azadi, Mumbai definitely can. And if you encourage one, remember that you encourage the other as well.
Which is why I like Raj Thackeray. And which is why I think that every state of India should have a Raj Thackeray or more. People like him are the perfect antidote for people like one Mr. Geelani who encourages the creation of a nation of stone pelters while silent chief ministers and passive central governments allow him to.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Or why I like Raj Thackeray.