I wanted a teak wood, Chor Bazaar (Mutton Street, Crawford Market) Table repaired and trusted no other carpenter. I called our regular guy.
“The carpenters have gone back home, they’ll be available in May.”
“Have they ALL taken a break at the same time? Haven’t you got any karigar?”
“They have all gone back home, because of the riots in Feb…”
Oh My God! I hope they are alright, I thought. I tried to remember their faces. Couldn’t. 1984. 1992-93. 2002. Now this. What’s happening to this country?
Last week, when I had almost given up, I got a call from the carpenter.
But now he wants to leave by 5 pm. When pressed to finish some work before they leave, he looked scared, they had to go in time, he insisted, then hesitatingly revealed the reason. Local hooligans catch them in the bus or on the bus stop, and harass them.
“What do they say?”
“They ask us, ‘Why have you come here? Why don’t you work in North India?’”
“What do you say?”
“What can we say?” He kept adding nail after nail to make sure the mirror stays in place.
“You should have a two wheeler to commute independently.”
“No, we know how to ask for ticket in Marathi.”
THIS IS SO WRONG! WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DO BE AFRAID LIKE THIS IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY?
“Did someone beat you?”
“No they just ask for ten rupees.”
“Ten rupees for what?”
How helpless they must feel. Who do they turn to?
“One bewda snatched my mobile, he asked for ten rupees to return it. They do such things.”
“You gave him ten rupees?”
“People here are very aggressive.”
Raj Thakre should hear this!
I said, “He is doing this for Marathi votes.”
“What Marathi votes? We have a Marathi worker with us, he learnt to speak Bhojpuri like us, he has his Voters I-card also, but they beat him so badly, when he escaped, he did not even know which gali (street) he ran to.”
Think about it, what right has any local citizen to demand that other locals or so called outsiders learn the language? Now we have decent hard working guys being bullied and hooligans ruling. Raj Thakre has given these people a kind of sanction to take hafta from non-marathi speakers even if they are actually locals!
My driver told me how he was being threatened by a kannad fellow who did not want him to bring any outsiders to take up jobs here. The driver feels safe because he is Marathi but he was upset when one of his ‘outsider’ friends was not allowed to meet someone looking for a driver! Here the bully is not even a Marathi guy!
Does this Kannad guy speak Marathi?
Why is your friend afraid of him?
He knows all locals; they beat up so many outsiders.
The carpenter is grateful to a couple he worked for.
“In February I was working for them, they used to drop us in their car every day. It was not safe for us to go on our own.”
I thought Pune-Mumbai were the safest cities in the country!
I think we all need to wake up to what is actually happening. Are we going to just sit and watch a Frankenstein’s Monster being created?
There is no doubt that Raj Thakre will get votes. There is no dearth of power hungry, emotionally charged bigots in the country. Sad to say, I have seen people in Kerala talk about how Kerala should be an Independent country. So it is not surprising that people in Maharashtra believe that Maharashtra should be an independent country or at least a place where only Marathi culture is respected, only Marathi is spoken and only natives should reside. Have we forgotten Punjab and Khalistan?
Why do they say outsiders should respect Marathi culture, why not say, “Let’s respect each other’s cultures.” Although I really wonder who is disrespecting any culture except these politicians…they use ‘culture’, ‘language’ , ‘tradition’, ‘religion’, ‘caste’, ‘region’ for votes. And WE live in cities which are getting more unsafe every day.
What will become of Maharashtra without ‘outsiders’, who are equal contributors in creating these cosmopolitan cities?
Edited to add : We should SAY NO TO VIOLENCE…no matter what the justification.
Read a BIHARI point of view, read here. It’s hilarious 🙂
Edited to add this brilliant link, do read it!
Added another link – a must read, if you wish to understand what’s actually happening.