Why Mumbai Needs a Vilasrao Deshmukh
I know this statement might actually sound too alarming for many people. Some might think that I'm actually brokendown by the demise of the former Maharashtra CM who apparently had his name involved in almost all big scams that happened in the state. Some of them even linking to the most sensitive issues like that of the houses given to the wives of Kargil War widows.
The worst of all of was his official walk in the Taj following the 26/11 attack that happened 4 years back in Mumbai. The, then CM of Maharashtra who lost his position owing to the same "official walk" in which he was accompanied by his actor son Ritesh and infamous Bollywood director Ram Gopal Varma.
Vilasrao had reportedly said that he had asked Ramu to "hop along" since he showed interest in joining him to see the damage. His son was going to be a part of Ramu's next movie and so he also joined the company. Perhaps, it became too crowded and "damaged" the reputation of the CM. Owing to which he had to resign from the post.
This event made the Indian people feel "awful" about the insensitivity of the CM and those who otherwise might be even jealous of Mumbaikars suddenly showed sympathy for the entire city.
This and many other events that followed it never helped the late Minister gain a good repute among the urban Indians and non-maharashtrian Mumbaikars; not to forget non-inhabitants of Marathwada and Latur.
His son - Ritesh Deshmukh's marriage that happened early this year was something good to remember for most people. Others, finding that, too, as a new method of "scamming" Bollywood.
Some of them were viewing his illness also as a "scam" to escape from the "Adarsh Housing Society Scam". But his death left no doubt about it not being one. Yes, he perished in most unfashionable less known way. However, there were 7 lac people present to bid adieu to this very controversial leader.
This makes me and others like me think, why? There were women, most of them being women who were inconsolable. They had not taken a single morsel of food from the time they heard about their dear leader's death. So, are all these 7 lac people foolish? Are all of them as people say, "Indians are overemotional stupid people?"; Well, not all Indians wrote a single message on their facebook, twitter profiles about the death of this minister. They wrote about their heroes of 26/11, Kargil War and Indian freedom struggle.
Not all shed their tears or agreed with the half-mast of the Indian flag. Therefore, the argument gets settled. Indian people are not stupid overemotional beings. So, are those from Marathwada and Latur stupid? The number crosses the thinking line. How can it be?
The previous question reminds me of the state polls that happened in 2009. My elder sister asked me the same question about the same minister. "Why these people from Latur keep re-electing this man who is responsible for 26/11, telgi and so many other scams?"; "On top of it he is not even ashamed of behaving the way he did." "Yet he keeps getting re-elected, are these people so foolish? How can it be?"
My answer to her was that, "They are not fools, nor are they illiterate. I believe he works there and we say this because here he doesn't. In fact, here nobody works not even the elected natives. Remember, Latur was a poor region that used get knocked out even by a slightest earthquake. Those people would desperately migrate to Mumbai for daily bread. But you see, now they don't!"
She didn't quite agree with me at that time. My inference had come out from the fact told to me by my professor of journalism. He told me that "Sharad Pawar" (yeah! Big Controversy) had turned his village "Baramati" from a remote one to a high-tech one. The kids out their speak English and operate Laptops better than any kid from Mumbai.
However, this maratha minister has sympathy towards old "Pune" and in his heart cherishes the desire of making it a tech hub. Therefore, Mumbai is not his favorite daughter rather a step-one. Hence, mumbaikars are his step-grandchildren and so the city never sleeps (for all wrong reasons).
Sleep is harmful and ignorance is worse. Mumbaikars need to guard themselves against flooding, terror and unemployment as they constantly get targeted for being "lucky and fortunate".
Yesterday, my sister agreed with me after listening to the people of Latur who said that Vilasrao was next to god for them as he started sugarcane factories for this quake struck region and gave employment to everyone.
He started colleges, gave houses (no scam here!) and listened to everyone's pain with empathy. He solved their troubles and made them more than self-sufficient. Laturkars and marathwada residents are prepared to face any calamity but they weren't prepared to let their "God" die.
Irrespective of what happened in Mumbai, a few days back, Muslims from Latur have no qualms of calling Vilasrao their Allah or Bhagwan. Although, I don't buy that the incident that took place in Mumbai had anything to do with the local Muslims. I can say that the situation in Mumbai keeps getting worse day by day.
So, why is that there is unity, peace, flourishment in Latur and Marathwada and not here? My answer is we don't have a Vilasrao Deshmukh! Ghatis, as frustrated non-maharashtrians call the entire community are actually who are extremely progressive and family oriented. Maharashtrians are primarily divided into two categories konkanis and ghatis. Ghatis (especially those beloging to the maratha caste) rock in the maharashtra government while the konkanis move delhi.
Most ghatis don't work well with the delhi government (that includes Sharad Pawar). While the konkanis have a record of being "popular" in Delhi. Now why such a contradiction? Simply because ghatis can be cheats but they are not cunning, they can be greedy but they are not ruthless and lastly because they are success-oriented and not frustrated. They believe in a win-win situation and are incapable of starving someone to death.
Don't point towards the infamous "farmers suicides stories". Watch Aamchi Mati and Aamchi Manasa - marathi tv show for educating farmers. It has different but factual stories to tell. I'm not denying that there are inhuman and corrupt local authorities who rip off the poor peasants.
But the government has supplied tremendous aid of all types to the farmers. However, most farmers lack the "sense of economy" and this leads to the unfortunate deaths.
Other than those who might argue that Konkanis speak better English than ghatis and so they make it it to delhi. I would say learning capacity is not region-biased.
Unfortunately, Mumbai is a part of Konkan and so, plagued by the lack of sensitivity and ruthless greed of its own people the city actually never sleeps (peacefully).
Nobody thinks about the progress, development, sanitization, education and employment of the poor (yes) Mumbaikars. Those who rise to power are habituated to spit on the face of the city the moment the oath ceremony gets over.
Overcrowded trains, lack of roads, bad roads, conversion of a beautiful river into a sewer, terrorism, frustration and long serpentine lines of college admissions have recently changed the definition of the enchanting marine city.
The city that opens her arms to all those who are in need and wipes their tears with splash of her magical saline water seems to drown in her own tears with every passing day.
She is raped over and over again by the greed of those in power whose ungratefulness has no bounds. Today, I hope if not bhagat singh, rajguru, sukhdev, major sandeep unnikrishnan, karkare, salaskar, kamte or ubale is born here.
Then may be a Vilasrao Deshmukh can change the city for better. Atleast, he will be grateful to his birth city if not to the entire country. May be if we start from home the entire nation will become peaceful, united and flourished. Just the way Mahatma Gandhi had said, (no abusing the leader and his sexuality is not our concern) "Go back to your villages" which indirectly means "Charity begins at home".
But if god won't even grant us a Vilasrao Deshmukh then may be the geography can change and Mumbai might get merged with the western ghats of Maharashtra for good. In this way, they might shower some love on this orphan city that pays the highest taxes whether to the government or to terrorism, regionalism and even to those who believe that the inhabitants are extremely "fortunate"!