Saturday, March 21, 2020

Bollywood: A Perspective

Few days before, a friend of mine who is a staunch detractor of Bollywood for last 2 decades came up with an essay on how Bollywood has consistently spoilt, misled, ill-groomed generations of us and how it has worked towards making our younger lot lose faith in our religion and country, and how a big chunk of our society under influence of Bollywood has submitted itself slowly and steadily to the agendas of underworld, Leftists and enemy countries.  He has come up with all sort of convincing examples like transcripts of big stars chatting with the underworld lords sitting in Dubai, well concerted efforts in movies to malign Hindus and portray poor Muslims as innocent and loyal sorts, top stars’ love for Pakistan, some top star’s wife’s feeling of insecurity, Hindu practices trivialized and priests shown as crooks, and most recent examples related to few foolish or ill-intended stars who made anti-CAA statements and without knowing a bit about the issues participated in some protests at JNU. I called these convincing examples, because these examples are indeed very convincing.

And as I think more about it I too could come up with more… There are glorified and hyped writers and makers of movies that show orphan kids who grows into Amitabh or Rishi Kapoor later, being given food, clothing and shelter by Father from a church or by a poor Muslim family which can hardly meet its ends and then the adult Amitabh or Rishi will fight the Hindu upper-caste villain. The hero doesn’t enter a temple in his lifetime because the Hindu god didn’t do any justice to him, but he carries a metal badge with digits 786, gifted to him by a poor Muslim laborer and the badge keeps saving him from upper caste Hindu villains. Such writers and makers now preach us on tolerance. Some of them offer to return their awards if they see a slightest sign of perceived intolerance. Movie like PK spent reels on bashing Hindu religion but has only a slight, passing reference to Islam and Christianity. Movie like “Main hoon na” showed a Hindu terrorist and a patriot fighting him was a Muslim, and this movie came out around the time our Grand Old Party was writing a fresh narrative of Hindu terrorism. Great coincidence. And now we have celebs like Deepika stand united with JNU brigade, one that chants anti-India and free Kashmir slogans. 

All of his examples and his essay full of care for the country made me think, really think hard. How much an entertainment industry can influence the society? Or rather is it the other way round where art forms are a creative expression of the society? Is Bollywood a reflection of how and what we are? Aren’t the writers, directors and actors part of us? Isn’t their creative mind getting influenced by what’s happening around them? Aren’t their experiences shaping their psyche which translates into the creative outcomes? Or it’s a constant give and take and evolution?

If we let a large society be on its own while people live, work, stay together, fight and make friends, learn from experiences, make rules for themselves, and evolve, evolve and evolve… If we have such a real free society with no external influences manipulating it then definitely we are dealing with an ideal world where the society may express, learn, build and reflect and then express even better. There would be a constant churn where society may borrow ideas and learning from its creative outcomes to enhance itself, and feed it all back to next level of further evolved creative art. Such a society would eventually become a highly mature, liberal and romantic lot. Mesmerizing, isn’t it? Let us call it an ‘ideal free society’.

Well then, let us apply the same ideas to Indian society and Bollywood. India is full of varied castes, religions, languages, cultures within culture and similar is our Bollywood made up of us coming from varied states, religions and castes. A secular entertainment world reflecting a secular society. Is that so?

Are we really an ‘ideal free society’ left to itself to evolve, grow and mature? We were, we really were once upon a time, but not anymore.

We were the ones who built Hampi, Kahjuraho, Angkor Wat, Konark Sun temple, Caves and temples complex like Ellora enhanced by Hindus, Buddhist and Jain, Universities like Nalanda and Takshashila where people from world over flocked, and hundred thousand temples of varied faiths. We may have had our set of wars like Mahabharata and ones fought by Ashoka involving mass killings but over time we grew into the ‘ideal free society’ like I referred above, a mature, happy and peaceful society with little or no external influences, a liberal and romantic society at the core. Gradually over time we may have become so peaceful and complacent that we lost the zeal to fight and conquer or even defend ourselves. All this assuming that there is no reason to get into immature acts like burn and loot. Unfortunately rest of the world was not in the similar blissful state which led to the brutal rape, insult and looting of us that lasted for almost 800 years.

Remnants of our glorious past, the numerous exemplary structures built by varied faiths that coexisted, liberal that we were who flaunted Khajuraho too with pride, all of these evidences scattered across from Himalayas to Kanyakumari and from current Afghanistan to Mynamar and even beyond. This is the land of Hindustan where we had Shaiva, Vaishnava, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain as well as atheists and what not… all thriving, mixing, contributing and evolving together. We were invaded and ruled by outsiders who brought in a different style of evangelizing one’s religion as they believed that infidels had no right to live, something that we natives had never dealt with. Even during these times our core values still prevailed and we absorbed a lot of these outsiders with open minds and made them us and thus couple of more religions, Islam and Christianity got added to our mix.

After getting independence from the British Raj when the team led by Dr. Ambedkar defined our own Constitution (this is yet another example where we corrected perils from our past and openly accepted Dr. Ambedkar’s leadership), the original hand-written one signed by all its authors included sketches made by Nandlal Bose, of prominent historical personalities and incidents, like Ram, Krishna, Mahabharat, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Akbar, Maharana Pratap, etc. So even in 1950 it seems we were a secular enough society where followers and the leaders of no religion objected such pictures in the Constitution.

With all this said about how liberal and tolerant society we are, Bollywood, which is supposed to be our own expression should be a true reflection of what we are… Is that so?

What if the Government of India led by PM Narendra Modi decides to print and distribute copies of the Constitution now with a picture of Ram Mandir on the front page ???

How will it go with the society on the whole?
How will it go with the liberal Lutyens media, Bollywood and ‘prominent historians and scholars’?

Perhaps this may result into yet another Shaheen Bag like protest against saffronization of Constitution, where prominent Bollywood personalities will rush to support and ‘prominent historians and scholars’ may have yet another round of “award wapasi” offering. As a natural reaction the majority of the society may not cry foul but all these influential elements among us may strive hard to make us feel guilty, confused and weakly defensive.

Why and how did a truly liberal and mature society of thousands of years reach its current state and started shying away from calling a spade a spade?  Ram was a great king from this land, wasn’t he? Why does celebrating Ram translate to looking down upon other faiths to few? Shouldn’t we and don’t we celebrate all faiths.

A lot of wrong-doings to this society resulting into its current state have been done between 1950s and now, when this truly liberal and secular society, an ‘ideal free society’ was attempted to be corrupted, manipulated big way, used as an experimenting ground by Leftists during the cold war and esp. with full force and a free-hand after our Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was killed in Tashkent. Why blame just the Bollywood? Every prominent and potentially influential pillars, positions and institutes were exploited, corrupted and influenced. History books were re-written and Constitution too was not spared and the word “Socialist” was inserted in it during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule. Prominent plots across the country were doled out to institutes of certain faiths. Powerful positions were offered to leftward-leaning in media houses and large number of other institutes. Trivializing and shaming the majority religion became a regular practice such that we ourselves started looking down upon ourselves. Certain kind of movies and film makers were consistently getting easy funding from NFDC establishing whole new generations of movie makers, actors and award-winners (whom we see now as award-wapasi gangs), and the list goes on… all flourished abundantly during the times.

We were being manipulated to pose as a society that we were inherently not. All our wisdom, historically passed over generations was being trivialized and questioned. We were a confused lot, and all this continued for decades… Sikhs were massacred and Shahbano case verdict was twisted by misuse of brute majority and we looked on…

And then the first big reaction came out in open on the streets when RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, BJP and the likes mobilized the masses to react. To pour their hearts out. Ram Mandir was actually a symbolic protest actually against the manipulation and suppression of decades. But the damage of decades was too deep. Politics, media, Education, Judiciary, Bollywood, Theater, … it was all under strong left influence for decades. Supporters of RSS and BJP out in open were in minority and they were shamed publicly in media and questioned for forwarding RSS agenda – as if RSS was some ISIS-like anti-humanitarian institute. Its self-starter and self-driven supporters were lesser in numbers and not enough to elect a majority Government. So coalition Governments came up, led obviously by milder and widely acceptable personality like Vajpayee, acceptable even by the standards of liberals and thus relatively harmless. Vajpayee became an easy target to defeat when the next opportunity posed itself. So ‘Shining India’ was questioned and beaten down resulting into the long regime of Manmohan Singh. First term was fine but second was beyond all limits of tolerance even for the liberals, and varied protests were thrown up, fed and funded by varied sources, both right and the left.

And then came the advent of the social media. Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and the list goes on… It was a huge shock and the moment of realization for the common man. Shock that we are not the minority, rather we never were, a realization that we were being played with and manipulated for decades while most of us think alike and a lot different than the narrative forced down our throats for decades, that we are the deserving lot who should write the right about our past, define the present right and shape the right future for us.

The outcomes were enormous and earth-shattering and in 2014 the first wicket to go down was politics… Fed by the massive support of common man, Modi had no reason to mince words or praise Jinnah to make him look acceptable to the masses, like Advani did in 2009. There was no confusion whatsoever. Media started seeing few changes around the time and we had Arnab with Republic and also Times Now like channels openly challenging, trivializing and questioning Congress, Left and the Lutyens media, something unheard and unseen in this country so far. It was an easy win because every vote counts and the common man had those in big numbers.

Damages of decades are too deep. Politics, Media, Education, Bollywood, Theater, … and by now in 2020 only politics is decisively right, while Media and Bollywood are right to some extent. We still have Pranav Roys, Barkha Dutts, Rajdeeps and the likes as TV media editors, and we still have Girish Kubers and the likes leading vernacular media in many states. Left wing still has a good grip of few sectors though not as powerful like earlier but enough to tarnish the image of the society and the country by means of some Shaheen Bag or some riot. Education sector is not cleaned up fully and we still have JNU, Jamia, Jadavpur with hard core left wingers still winning student body elections year after year.

Bollywood’s underworld funding has shrunk massively after 2014 and we see a lot of Corporates funding and producing movies. Many positive movies are being made with top stars and also newcomers and succeeding too. We have Wednesday, Baby, Masaan, Uri, Toilet, Mangalyaan and Tanhaji succeeding while PK, Raees, Dabang sequels and Chhapak struggling to survive. While we have some Swara, Deepika or Javed Akhtars, now we also have Kangana, Payal, Raveena, Ajay Devgan, Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawals. A movie was finally made on Tashkent Files, almost 50 years after the incident.

Heavily manipulated Bollywood was casting its dark shadow on us for decades but not anymore. Damages of decades are too deep and it may take longer for sectors like Bollywood or the print and TV media to get themselves out of their own dark shadows. Here we can’t vote out the unwanted elements just like that one fine day like we can do in a general election.

A large number of artists are still living in an illusion and romancing the idea that they are part of an ‘ideal free society’. Few are unaware of the reality and fail to see the larger picture whereas few are aware but do not dare to acknowledge. Such sectors have their own eco-systems too and revamping the eco-systems will need more time.

We were the ‘ideal free society’ historically but not for few decades post-independence. Bollywood could have been our true reflection but it couldn’t because of the deep damage of the decades… Corrective actions are underway and it’s a matter of time…

Friday, January 15, 2016

Opposing a woman President of India: gender bias?

Its the first time in Indian history that we have a possibility of a female President for the nation, Pratibha Patil. A gift by our own grand old party to the nation!!!

So should we lose the opportunity or should we not? If we lose it, we will be termed by the world as the same old third world country not acknowledging women and less empowered of our country, their contribution to the nation building, etc. At least that's what is the picture being drawn.

Have we really acknowledged the other better halves and their contribution? Didn't we have that mighty woman Prime Minister for our country for several LS terms ruling with an iron fist? Wasn't she the one who forced us into the state of Emergency (for her petty political gains), the biggest blot to Indian democracy? Even now, who is running the show of our country? We have already had enough for us to acknowledge the women just for the sake of doing it.

It's the most sorry state of Indian democracy that the Prime Minster (why just him, actually the whole cabinet) looks like a puppet playing at some extra constitutional power's hands. Should the President too dance to the same tunes and entertain the world? The state is clear looking at the facts that it's someone outside the official power cicrles taking all the decisions and it's that person, even the district and state level problems are taken to.

Agreed that 'President' is a rubber stamp post, but at the same time he or she is the first citizen of our country representing us in the outer world.

So whom do we want to represent us?

Some typical petty politician, as per the news reports today, allegedly working on saving her brother from murder charges for a murder in her home state that took place just couple of years ago? Someone who passed some unacceptable remarks on our religious minority the next day her canddature was declared? It's the same grand old party playing again it's tricks on us with some symbolism attached - this time giving us the 'first woman Preseident' for our country.

And who is on the other side? Abdum Kalam. Someone who has played a major role in taking us on the path of becoming one of the chosen few - a nuclear power that none can ignore? Someone highly qualified and experienced and one of the most dedicated and patriotic Indians. If some symbolism to be attached - also from our most beloved minority community. He is one of the few who has positively inspired hundreds and thousands, year over year, to try the unbeaten paths.
Whatever we do and say and blog, we won't be having much impact on this issue as we are not the direct voters and there is hardly a chance of an indirect impact, looking at the trend in our politicians, of consistently and shamelessly ignoring the constituency that itself votes them to power.
But all of us - let us not give up and wait for the right opportunity which is not too far when we can make an impact, a solid one!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

मराठी साहित्याची दशा

साधारण ३० वर्षावरील कुणालाही विचारा, "तुम्ही मराठी पुस्तके वाचता का? आणी वाचत असाल तर तुमचे आवडते लेखक कोण?" एक तर फार कमी उत्तरे होकारर्थी येतील. आणी आलीच तर त्यातली जास्तीत जास्त आवडते लेखक हे १९९५ पर्यंतच्या काळातील असतील. तीच तीच नावे पु.ल., वपू, श्रीना, कुणी एखादा अरुण साधू यांचे नाव सांगेल. त्यातल्या त्यात तरुण लोक सुहास शिरवळकर यांचे नाव घेतील.माझ्या लहानपणी मुंबई मध्ये मुंबई मराठी ग्रंथसंग्रहलयाचे चांगले जाळे होते. हा १९८० च्या दशकातला काळ. आमच्या जवळच्या शाखेत ही दर महिन्याला नवी पुस्तके नियमीत पणे येत असत. तुमचा विश्वास बसणार नाही,पण ज्या रविवारी नवीन पुस्तके येत, त्या दिवशी आम्ही प्रामुख्याने १० ते २० वयोगटातली मुले मुली, लोकल मध्ये जागा पकडायला लोक धावतात तशी झुंबड उडवून आवडती पुस्तके पहिल्यांदा हस्तगत करायचो.आपल्या पैकी काही जण नियमीत पणे एखाद्या वाचनालयात जात असाल. गेल्या १० वर्षात काय नवीन लेखक आलेच नाहीत काय? आजकाल ची किती नवीन पुस्तके ही ताज्या कथा कादंबर्‍या असतात? मला तरी हल्ली जास्तीत जास्त अनुवादित वा इतरांच्या कामाचा अभ्यास करणारी अथवा फार तर आत्मचरित्र या पलीकडे जास्त काही दिसत नाही. नवीन कुणीही चांगले नाही असे मी म्हणणार नाही, पण चांगले हे अलपसंख्य आहेत.आता काळ बदललाय आणी चित्रही बदललय. याला कारण काय? कुणी म्हणेल याला दूरचित्रवाणी कारणीभूत आहे, पण मला तसे वाटत नाही. १९७० च्या दशकात ही दूरदर्शन सुरू झाले होते आणी जरी इतकी चॅनेल्स नसली तरी कार्यक्रमांचा दर्जा हा आतापेक्षा फारच चांगला होता. आणी त्या काळात ही लोकांना दूरदर्शन ची प्रचंड क्रेज़ होती. मला वाटते या बदलांना कारणीभूत आहे बदललेली सामाजीक परिस्थिती, आणी अशी परिस्थिती बदलत असताना आपल्या महाराष्ट्रातल्या सरकारांनी त्यांची पार न पाडलेली जबाबदारी.
बदललेली परिस्थिती म्हणजे आपल्या नोकरी धंद्यातल्या कामांचे बदललेले स्वरूप. समाजातला हुशार लोकांचा कल हा प्रामुख्याने अश्या नोकर्‍यात आहे, ज्यात एकतर माणसाचा माणसान्शी संबंध कमी आणि मशीन शी जास्ता येतो, आणी या नोकर्‍या मधला आपला जाणारा दिवसाचा वेळ. आता पूर्वीचे ८ ते ९ तास कामाचे दिवस जवळ जवळ संपले आहेत. आपल्याला हे नव्या स्वरूपाच्या नोकर्‍या दिल्या म्हणजे आपल्याला उपकार केल्या सारखे पिळून काढले जाते. त्या मूळे ८ तासाच्या बदली १० ते १२ तास काम हे कॉमन झाले आहे. मग या कामाचा वाढलेला ताण. त्यातून कुटुंबा साठी राहिलेला कमी वेळ. मग त्यातून उद्भावणारे ताण तणाव. या सार्‍यात चांगले वाचायला किती वेळ आहे आणि कुणाला आहे? वाचायला ही मग लोकांना इन्स्टेंट फुड सारखे काही लागते. म्हणजे चमचमीत मासिके, आणि वर्तमानपत्रे वगैरे. या सार्‍याच्या जोडी ला फास्ट फुड सारखे दूरदर्शन आहेच. या सार्‍या मूळे कुठल्याही उद्योगाला जे मागणी तसा पुरवठा हे ईक्वेशन असते ते इथे तोकडे पडते, कारण मागणी खालावलिये. शिवाय असल्या वातावरणात माणसाची क्रियेटिविटी ही कशी फुलणार?
ही सारी परिस्थिती अशी बदलत असताना, जसे इतर आघाड्यांवर आपली सरकारे मागे पडली तशी याही बाबतीत. सरकारला जसे प्रगती ला हातभार लावण्या साठी त्यानी काय केले पाहिजे हे कळले नाही, तसेच दुर्गति ला रोखण्या साठी काय करावे हेही सुचले नाही. भाषेला जगवायला आणि क्रियेटिविटी ला एक पुश द्यायला फार पैसा लागत नाही पण एक उत्तम "फेसिलिटेटर" ची गरज असते. आपल्या सरकारला मदत म्हणजे कुणाला तरी फुकट अनुदान या पलीकडे काही समजत नाही. असो, सरकारच्या नाकर्ते पाणाची कारण मिमासा हा फार मोठा विषय आहे.
गेल्या १ ते २ वर्षात इंटरनेट वर देवनागरी लिपी खूप मोठ्या प्रमाणात प्रचलित झालीए, मुख्यत्वे ब्लॉग्स च्या बाबतीत. ही फार महत्वाची प्रगती आहे मराठी भाषे ला जिवन्त ठेवून वाढवण्या साठी. आजकाल आपल्या कामाच्या ठिकाणी ही वर्कलाइफ बॅलेन्स ला महत्व येऊ लागले आहे, त्या मूळे पाहुया पुढे काय काय होते ते...

समाज आणि लहान मूल

कुणी म्हणते की भारतीय समाज म्हणजे मेंढरे. कुणीही कशीही हाका. याना हाकणारा कुणी हवा असतो आणि हाकणार्यांची मग काय कमी? म्हणूनच आपण राजकारणी पाहतो जे नित्य नवीन इश्यू शोधून समाजात फुट पाडत असतात, आणि आपला आपला गट बनवून त्याला झुलवत असतात. याला मग आपण 'वोट बॅंक पोलिटीक्स म्हणतो. मला वाटते की कुठल्याही समाजात लहान मुल असते, युवक असतो, वयस्क असतो. तसे पहिले तर समाज यांचाच तर बनलेला असतो, पण मला हे वयोगटांचे प्रतिनिधित्वा इथे अभिप्रेत नाही. मला समाजातले जे लहान मुल अभिप्रेत आहे ते वेगळ्या प्रकारे आहे.
आपण सगळे याला सहमत असाल की मुल लहान असतानाच त्याला आपण चांगले संस्कार द्यावेत म्हणजे मोठेपणी ते एक चांगला माणूस बनू शकते. तसेच समाजाचे ही असते असे मला वाटते. त्याला ही संस्कार देणे फार गरजेचे असते. चांगले संस्कार ना देता बापाने नुसते हातात पैसे दिले तर मुले काय करतात ते आपल्याला माहीतच आहे.
तर, लहान मुलाला जशी आपण शिस्त लावतो तशीच समाजाला ही शिस्त लावणे फार गरजेचे असते. आपण शिस्ता लावायला गेलो की कुठलेही लहान मुल ती टळायला बघते. वडील शिस्त लावत असतील तर आईचा आधार घ्यायला बघते. अश्यावेळा आई आणि वडील, दोघांनी ही समन्वय राखून काम करणे गरजेचे असते नाही तर मुल बिघडायचा धोका असतो. तसेच समाजाला शिस्त लावायला गेले की त्याचा ही कल तिला एन केन प्रकारेण टाळण्याकडे जास्त असतो.
आपण पुणेकर असाल तर आपल्याला आठवत असेल की काही वर्षांपूर्वी एका ट्रॅफिक डिपार्टमेंट च्या इनस्पेक्टर ने पुण्याला लेन्स ची शिस्त लावण्याचा आटोकाट प्रयत्न केला होता. पुणेकरांनी त्याला ना जुमानण्याचा खूप प्रयत्न केला, पण त्याच्या शिस्तीच्या बाडग्यापुढे काही चालत नव्हते, पण शेवटी या सार्‍या प्रकरणात असुरक्षित वाटू लागल्याने राजकारण्यांनी त्याची बदली करून टाकली. म्हणजे समाजाला हाकू शकणार्‍या दोन घटकांमध्ये समन्वयाचा संपूर्ण अभाव होता आणि त्याचे फळ म्हणजे, अजूनही पुण्याच्या वाहतुकीला अजिबात शिस्त नाही. आपण म्हणतो की पुणेकर मुंबई ला गेले की कसे वाहतूकीची शिस्त पाळतात? आणी अमेरिकेत गेले की बघायलाच नको, तेथे अशी शिस्त पाळतात की अमेरिकन ही मागे पडेल. याला कारण म्हणजे मुंबई चा समाज हे जास्त शिस्तीत वाढलेला आहे. आणि अमेरिकन तर त्याही पेक्षा जास्त. मग पुणेकर ही त्या शिस्तप्रिय समाजात गेला की तिथला होऊन जातो, कारण तिथे तो अल्पसंख्या असतो.
बहुसंख्य समाजाला चांगली शिस्त लागली, तो शिकला, शिक्षणाने प्रगल्भ बनला, तर तो विचार करेल आणि त्याने विचार केला तर तो लोकशाही मध्ये राजकारणीही चांगलेच मागेल, मग आजकालच्या राजकारण्यांचे कसे फावेल? पण या उलट, तो बहुसंख्येने बेशिस्त राहिला, अशिक्षित राहिला, उठता बसता बहुसंख्येने चुका करत राहिला, तर त्यालाही आपोआप बहुसंख्येने या भ्रष्टचारी व्यवस्थेचा भाग बनून जावे लागेल. जे काही विचार करणारे असतील ते अल्पसंख्य असतील, आणि ते अल्पसंख्य असल्या मूळे काहीही करू शकणार नाहीत, आणि थोडक्यात राजकारणाचे गुन्हेगारीकरण, भ्रष्टाचार, याला असला समाज कधीही आळा घालू शकणार नाही.
पुण्यचेच उदाहरण घेतले तर काही मोजकी मंडळी कितीही वाहतुकीचे नियम पाळण्या संदर्भात जागरूकता वाढवायचे केविलवणे प्रयत्न करत असतील, तरी त्याला यश येणे शक्या नाही. त्याला यश तेव्हाच येईल जेव्हा या समाजाचे पालक म्हणून जे घटक असतात त्यांना वाटेल की आता काही नियम राबवून घेतले नाही तर काही खरे नाही.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What are you up to, Raj Thakare?

I am a Maharashtrian. I was a Mumbaiite for whole of my life except for few years. I loved my city for the way it was when I was a child. Though it was crowded at times it was still feasible for a family of four like ours to take a peaceful bus-ride in the evenings from Dadar-TT to Babulnath to visit Choupati once in a week. How many of us can imagine the same now?
To start with, let me make it clear that there is a lot of meat in the issue of migrants raised by Raj Thakre and MNS. Earlier too, Mumbai was always being mercilessly milked to death by anyone and everyone in whichever power center that allows one do so, be it Centre, State, local Municipal Corporation and not to forget the builder lobby.  So far so good, because exploitation was limited by those in power or close to the power and it stopped outside our doorsteps, but worst came later when already failed BIMARU states crumbled further in last 2 decades under their own weight, which led to the current menace of migrants. This time the problem didn't stop outside our doorsteps but actually got in and has threatened our existence.
So, am I being too narrow minded while supporting the issue? Don't I understand the basics of our constitution, secularism, etc? Aren't all Indians my brothers and sisters?
Let me make few more points. Maharashtra is a developed state. Though not very good on this count, but a much safer place and perhaps paradise when compared to any of the BIMARU states. We Maharashtrians were always proud of the same and we still are, in spite of the recent attacks on Mumbai or the bomb blasts in the past. But are we being made to pay a very heavy price for being developed and progressive? Does anyone care about whether the infrastructure can support this ever-growing population? Compare this with a person who was earning enough for his family and the family living happily. Now his salary still being same, let us consider we are adding 2 dependents to his family every month. How long can the family live happily together or even survive? Thats the pathetic situation of cities like Mumbai currently and sooner same will be the state of next lot of cities in Maharashtra like Pune, Nashik or Nagpur where private sector is thriving we have started seeing early signs of a Metro in the making. 
The problem is that these real issues are not being discussed or thrashed out at all, because there lies the massive failure of our politicians, especially the ones from the states being targeted by Raj Thakare or his MNS. Why do we have so many migrants coming from north to Mumbai and not the other way round? Why is it that in spite of the states having the great and caring politicians like Lalu, Amar or Paswan, people there are migrating to Maharashtra? Don't these proud leaders care enough to lure their own people to stay in their own states and contribute to its development, create jobs, push for development, create infrastructure, invite industry and most importantly provide a decent law and order situation? And because nothing of this sort exists on ground how do they still manage a brave face and get away with all these failures? There starts the politics of Chhat Pooja, politics of glorifying Rahul Raj's death, etc. So its the same usual game of distracting a north Indian common man from his real issues to something else, something on which his emotions will run high, give him a great kick as he reacts to it and their job is done!
As far as the issues of migrants is concerned, Mr Raj Thakare, I am with you.
I was also with you for a short while when you were just out of Shiv Sena and made a statement that you can't see yourself standing in line with other Congress leaders to greet her when next time Sonia arrives at Mumbai. Your side, your stand was clear at least for a short while. You had all my sympathies. Even when you got sentimental when Balasaheb asked you not to use his image for your political growth. We too felt bad for you. It was like a lone crusader fighting it out to find his way thru' the chaos. You were still our man out there and that was the time when we would have perhaps chosen you given a choice between you and others. 
Slowly we saw the lone crusader, turning into a seasoned politician taking us for a ride like any other one. I am not sure whether you sense this but many like me have been very keenly watching your every step and every statement you are making.  
Please answer few questions if you will. If you could answer all of these positively I and many like me would be more than happy to switch our loyalties to MNS anytime.
Why do you think slums that house these north Indian peasants come up and stand there for years untouched? 

Who provides them all basic amenities, ration cards and then voter's cards? 

Aren't those who do all this are more guilty than the helpless ones who come here in search of job to feed their kids 2 square meals at the end of the day?

Have you ever gone to the root cause of these problems as far as Maharashtra is concerned and staged any agitation? Why shouldn't one call the acts of beating all north Indians a frivolous reaction to a real serious problem?

Are all those north Indians who provide them all this and also protect them from BMC and police? 

Have you staged any "dharna" against Maharashtra Ministers, PDS officers, BMC officers, slum lords and police for enabling all this?
Now let us look at what current Central and Maharashtra Govts have done in last few years. Mumbai earns the biggest share of Income Tax in India which goes to the Centre. It also earns a massive share of all sorts of taxes for the State. Its local trains network is the biggest grosser when it comes to Railways. How much does it get in return?

Why aren't you seen attacking those who are responsible for this state of Mumbai, and those who can still protect the city by using already existing laws? 

If you blame Shiv Sena for all this, then why were you a mute spectator to all this while you were in Shiv Sena for so many years?  

Why don't we see you taking a very clear stand while opposing Congress or its leaders? We find you playing safe games with them and hitting out at an imaginary non-existent enemy? Its a safe tactic to blame Lalu or Amar Singh. Who is Lalu to Mumbai voters anyway? Why not blame rulers Congress and NCP who are blind to everything thats happening around them and ruling the state for last 9 years? At your heart, don't you feel that SS-BJP rule was the best so far for Mumbai in last few decades, when they built 55 bridges, Expressway, etc? 

There is a serious migrants' issue for Mumbai. Opposing Raj Thakre's "Marathi maanus" cause is the easiest and most convinient way of looking at the issue and trying to be secular and true Indian. It makes one feel good and broad-minded to call others narrow minded. Instead of all Mumbai tax payers getting united to fight the cause, we all are divided as Marathi and outsides, or Hindus and Muslims for someone's convenience.

Though your cause has a lot of meat, unfortunately your style doesn't. Unless you change your ways, your political ambition purely based on violence against helpless is going to be short-lived.