I happened to come across an article on your site, "Maharastra Violence: A simple Solution",
dated 23rd Oct 2008. I know the article is very old to comment, but the underlying issues are still burning. I have gone through many comments on the article. I am sure a lot of non-Maharashtrians must have responded on this and other related issues so far, saying how wrong Raj Thakrey is and how should he/marathi people be punished for violence against hindi speaking population. I am myself a big supporter of Raj Thakrey, not only due to his pro-Maharashtra stance but also due to his views on development (which I am sure are not shown on television). Before I begin, let me explain that I have been born and brought up in Mumbai and I experience all the issues that are faced by common Mumbaikar (includes everyone - Marathi and non-Marathi)
Its a human tendency to oppose anything that seems like opposing them. Similarly, when Raj thakrey brought up the issue of sons-of-soil there was a huge reaction from all over India. However, it should be noted that Maharashtra is not the only state and Raj Thakrey is not the only person who has opposed to migrants. In fact, migrants have always faced opposition throughout history all over the world. So what made this particular issue go national? I believe it was the media which grew it out of proportion for their TRP's. Mumbai is a metro citi and thus it has always welcomed residents from all parts of the country. But, each geographical area has its own capacity and Mumbai has already reached its capacity. Its very sad when we see that almost half the population lives in slums in Mumbai, in inhuman conditions. And most of these poor slum dwellers are from northern states like UP, Bihar and Jharkhand. It is disturbing to know that all those, who are supporting north indians during this regionalism issue, have never came forward to improve conditions of their own state residents staying in Mumbai.
Now lets just dig deeper and try to find out root cause of the issue. Indian constitution allows every resident to migrate to any part of India. We all agree to this. But, it is EXTREMELY important that any resident migrates to other parts of the country by choice, and not because he cannot survive in his homeland. I see many north indians doing petty jobs in Mumbai and I interact with them a lot. One thing that is common in most of them is that the bread-earner of the family stays in Mumbai while rest of the family stays back in Bihar/UP in their native village. Is this the kind of life we want for citizens of India, where a son cannot take care of his old parents, where a husband cannot spend those precious moments with his wife and where a father cannot offer his love to his kids. All that is important for the worker is to earn as much money as possible and send it back to his family so that they can stay alive. Why has it come to this? Is Raj Thakrey responsible for this mess? Of course not. It is the politicians and to some (or great) extent the population of these states who is responsible. India got freedom in 1947. Does that mean only Maharashtra got freedom and Bihar/UP did not? When all the states got freedom at the same time, then why is there a huge gap between where Maharshtra/Karnataka/Gujrat stands now and where Bihar/UP stands now? Whats even shocking is to know that all this while Indian politics have been dominated by north Indian politicians. Similarly, the population is also equally responsible for this situation as it is common man's duty to choose a government which favors overall development. There is no denying that UP/Bihar politics have been circling around castism for last many decades. Its high time that people educate themselves and start fighting for better tomorrow.
I am sure if Bihar/UP governments announces that all those who have migrated shall get vages equal to what they are getting in other states and they shall be able to find jobs near their homes, all the migrants shall return back to their nests to stay with their beloved families. Those who won't go back to their motherland even after such developments shall be staying back by choice and that will be right.
I work for a software giant in Mumbai and I see many north Indians working in big industries. All say only one thing. They want to find job near Delhi or Noida, so that they can be closer to their families. Why do we not see a student who has just earned a degree and he/she is excited that now he can go to Patna/Lucknow to pursue his career. Why do students want to go to Delhi/Mumbai/Pune/Banagalore for better career? This needs to be changed. If all parts of India are developed proportionately then there will a balance of cultures and we can avoid issues that we are facing currently.
Now, lets come to the railway recruitment issue. I appeal everyone and Bihar Times to collect list of candidates recruited for various positions in railways in and around Mumbai. Is it too much to ask that locals should be given preference in jobs, so that they don't have to go looking for jobs throughout the country, leaving their family behind. Having said that, I would also like to mention that no local candidate should get the job if a better candidate is available from other states. (But again, any candidate from other states should apply for such jobs only because he is willing to explore career opportunities, and not because he cannot find living in his hometown). However, if you see the list of selected candidates, almost 90% of candidates were from Bihar/other north Indian states. Do you really believe that locals and rest of the India is intelligent enough only for 10% of the jobs? I want your honest opinions. This was a big job scam where Biharis were given preference. What would be the reaction if a similar thing happens in Bihar? Would you accept it? When Raj Thakrey and his party resorted to violence (which I condemn) on this issue, many gave him advise to tackle the issue in courts. Even though I am not in favor of the violence, Raj's response on this advise was very true. Courts judgments take years to come, but these jobs were gone now and many local youths were denied their right.
I, as a citizen of India, would like to see this situation change. I have seen countless UP/Bihari people and I know they are extremely hardworking. This situation will only change once these states develop their economies. And for that to happen you will need a strong willed government. Thus, I appeal to all my north Indians friends, in whichever part of the country you are, please do not cast your votes where you work. Please go back to your states during elections and cast your votes for someone who will change the game. Remember, if you demand for change, supply will come. It might take 10-15 years more, but you will have to be persistent.
Finally, I am not a writer and this is my first attempt to express myself on this delicate issue. I apologize if I have hurt any sentiments, but that was never my aim. I hope we all can work towards building a better India.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this report are purely those of the author and may not in any circumstances be regarded as the official view of BiharTimes.