Thoughts

Can we really kick the ‘outsider’ from Mumbai?

Let’s put the disclaimer first. I don’t have any political inclinations or favourites and also I surely don’t have anything against a particular caste.

The current Anti- North Indian attacks by MNS supporters on the streets of Mumbai is once again a show of undue power in the hands of few. And if that was not enough they even managed to irk the Bachchan family. Ok, so these guys are against ‘outsiders’ coming into Mumbai and making it rich or even a livelihood thus depriving the ‘locals’ of equal opportunity. Do you really think so?

Let’s get into a hypothetical situation and manage to really kick out all the "North Indians". Maybe we should start with Shah Rukh Khan first who is from Delhi. Who next? Your building watchman, doodhwala (milkman), dhobi (washerman), domestic servant, driver, galli ka paan-walla, probably many of your office colleagues too from Calcutta, Delhi, Ahmedabad … the list can go on.

Now imagine what we are left with. The film industry would be left without a super-star unless we move Bollywood to some other city where ‘outsiders’ are allowed to work. Will we have enough taxis running on Mumbai’s roads? Will we have the luxury of "chotus" and "rajus" from Bihar to make our beds, clean the floors? What about offices loosing some it’s best employees?

Should we be discriminating potential workers based on which part of the country they come from? Aren’t we supposed to be a democratic country  and provide equal opportunity to all. After all that Mumbai faced during the ’93 riots, it’s disappointing that selfish political leaders are once again making caste/community an issue for political gains. We should be ashamed if these leader ever come into power and rule the state.

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3 thoughts on “Can we really kick the ‘outsider’ from Mumbai?

  1. Very well said Kapil,

    Mumbai is Mumbai because of all the people that contribute to it.

    Hypothetically speaking, if the “outsiders” were gone, the only road side food we’d get would be Vada Pav – all those yummy pani puri stalls and pav Bhaji Stalls all gone.

  2. Hey,

    It’s interesting that you bring up this topic. I’ve been in NYC for over four years, and I heard a lot of people talk about the “North Indians” when I visited Bombay in Dec ’07.

    Two things came to mind…

    One, its such a leveler, this sentiment. Here in the States, the Americans are talking about how Mexicans and others from across the border are coming in and stealing their jobs (the jobs that no self-respecting White American wants to do). And it’s interesting to see how that same sentiment is now so strong among all Mumbaiites.

    Two, everything comes at a price. So. Mumbai is going through that big boom, where they want to make it the next best city in the world. No self-respecting Mumbaikar wants to be involved in the construction business and building tall structures. So, the Biharis (oops, I said it!) come along, get work, and then stay back to drive taxis and rikshaws after their work is done.

    So, you either find a way to stop more of them from entering (which you can’t), or find a way to ensure that they coexist and add to the spirit of Bombay (which may be possible). I don’t know what’s going to happen, but its interesting to see how the entire pulse of the city has changed in the last four years since I’ve left it.

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