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Mumbai for Mumbaikars

What is the solution to growing resentment of insiders against outsiders, whether it's among states in India or Countries of the world.

Six decades since our nation achieved independence but how is this nation of ours progressing sociologically? Our current events of hate-crimes only display our seemingly low gratitude and homage to the millions of people from different backgrounds who died with the dream of the India we now live in. The plight of Bihar and U.P.'s intelligentsia is most common and conspicuous thanks to the many political propagandas and even the audacity of a Mumbai University to create a counter exclusively to validate marksheets of students from these two states. If such respected institutions and influential people adopt such policies, can we blame the masses for being part of a discriminatory movement? It is a known fact that some of the nation's most brilliant minds originate from states like U.P. and Bihar and what a fitting honor we as a society credit them with.

In a compact society-driven nation like ours, whether it's the distasteful current events or incidents in the past, resentment between two communities or any two groups have always been very conspicuous. As for example, in the days of Nazi-run Germany, Jews were targeted and annihilated and now non-Maharashtrians are in the vortex of the Raj Thackeray-led hate strategy to gather more steam and power against his uncle, Shiv Sena supreme, Bal Thackeray. As is evident, this is sadly a political propaganda and many people in India's commercial capital, whether they are privileged or not, are at the receiving end. As popular UP-born residents bore the brunt of this seemingly fascist fate, now Bal Thackeray, to gain perhaps more support or to outdo his nephew has re-surfaced by calling Biharis, 'an unwanted lot,' the most popular being 'ek Bihari, saun bimari'. Such unnecessary political vote-bank gathering means, has even led Raj Thackeray to go to the extent of calling the popular North Indian Chhath festival a natak.

More than throwing light on communal politics, the most conspicuous outcome is how as a state, lawlessness and crime is most ubiquitous. The state Chief Minister, Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh even went to the extent of saying unless a particular section has been trespassed, charges cannot be pressed. The saddest part is watching the malfunction of our nation's judicial system who seem to have become nothing short of pawns in the hands of political parties.

As the world's biggest democracy, it is humiliating to see how 'Rule of Law' has collapsed. Now, a nation following communism run-government or one that practices a Two-party system, does not seem a bad idea. However, this is no result or suggestion. The point is, we are not only a nation of democracy but a quickly developing economy. The ineffectiveness of events like such are a green signal for miscreants with and devious schemes to gain entry into our nation. All the criminals in the country can rejoice. Come to think of it, if the custodians of the state cannot stop hooligans from damaging workplaces of Non-Maharashtrian big names, what can they actually do if things go out of control. In every possible strata of the country, be it sociologically or economically, situations like this will only lead to severe backwardness and doom for one and all. Think about it, small-time daily wagers claim to have never experienced antagonism between groups of different backgrounds until political leaders stepped in.

Latest developments show how Maharashtrians in other states have been prey to Raj Thackeray's Maratha Pride operation. The police might have registered non-bailable cases against MNS head honcho Raj Thackeray. In Bihar, two cases under Indian Penal Code's sections 153 'wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot' and 153 'promoting enmity between groups on the basis of place of birth, residence, etc' were filed against the MNS Head. As expected, he was bailed out just for a paltry sum of Rs 15,000/-.

No matter the economic or social standing of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's psycophants and followers, will they continue to carry forth with this senseless regionalism. After all, it is their own brothers and sisters who are facing the impact of their own criminal deeds. This vicious circle needs to be stopped abruptly before the city and it's many people go up in flames.

Political leaders, as educated and learned as they may be, fall from the common voters' eye, when they adopt 'ethnic cleansing' tactics. This was evident when 200 MNS party workers left their party for the mothership. Is this a solution? Not necessarily. Even if the Shiv Sena can continue to say that Raj's racist outbursts is just a battle between the MNS and the Samajwadi party, the whole nation knows that the Shiv Sena is the flagbearer of such episodes in the past.

Gaining political mileage through sectarian politics is not a new practice in India or any other nation for that matter. Maharshtra, for example has seen many occurrences of such magnitude before. The thing is, Raj Thackeray is a vote-hungry catalyst whom the media has been following for some time. Many other parties like the AIADMK, RSS and its ilk have practiced it for long in varied forms.

Our nation is not alone. Many nations such as the United States of America, France, Australia and many others have also shown such bitter abhorrence and non-tolerance for people of other ethnicities, foreigners or other minority groups. The answer to such a quandary can never be communal politics. In fact, it can begin by simply sensitizing the masses. In schools, homes or society, authorities must strive to educate and teach everyone on how to be more tolerant and accepting as a community. Everyone in the world is influenced sociologically and economically and to overcome such issues, authorities from world councils to local bodies should step in and punish the guilty as to a set a precedent.

On an objective note, if Raj is genuinely worried about the influx of the thousands of migrants into his city, he could genuinely plead the authorities to do something about the infrastructure. A step like this would garner more votes from his supporters and others alike instead of barging into people's homes and lives and destroying property etc. Mumbai as a city will continue to attract migrants, with or without the presence of people like the Thackerays. Instead of barring people or harassing non-Maharashtrians, why not expand the city. This way, the city, the people, businesses and it's 'sons of the soil,' can live without stepping on each other's toes.

To resolve a crisis of such magnitude in a city like Mumbai or between two bickering nations of different interests and backgrounds is no laughing matter but one to be addressed immediately. As idyllic as it may sound, a consensus must be drawn in the state. As this is an issue that resonates with everyone in the city, nation and the world, if the people of the city take up this issue in arms with the world's media watching and succeeds in doing so, this will bring in true Maratha and Mumbai Pride. Negators may say, the Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena, MNS and other parties may never come together but as the world watches and the city's population continues with tenacious strength, the political parties too will support this fervour. After all, if it is an issue of public interest, politicians and their party workers will try to take up the cause. And if this is a means to gaining political thrust, no woman or man would suffer. Also, what better way to gain the population's trust and faith than this!

Mumbai, in parochial terms is, 'the city of dreams'. Many a non-Maharastrian has made the city and state, his or her home and if nothing is done to curb regional politics of such extremes, soon it will become 'the city of dread'.