13 July, 2006

Thackeray and Dawood take on Mumbai. Let's take them on.

I am angry as hell. Can we do something about the two thugs who are screwing with our city?

One, our very own Hindu Nazi, Bal Thackeray decides to put on a show of strength by getting his ragtag Shiv Sainiks to burn down a few buses, torch a few Muslims and shut shops in our city on Sunday. Acts of carefully-planned violence supposedly in the name of “spontaneous emotion” over the defacement of some inconsequential statue of his wife in some inconsequential part of town.

Acts planned to impress the shopkeepers who had increasingly stopped paying “protection money” to the Thackeray family-run political party, the Shiv Sena – and to assert, somewhat impotently and unconvincingly - that old man with senile mind and rag-tag coterie still ruled Mumbai.

And what do we do? Nothing. We adjust our shopping schedules, our Sunday outings with our families, and go back to our lives, ignoring the man and his actions like one would shrug off an annoying but occasionally persistent flea.

Phone and travel records seem to indicate that two days later, our other home-grown thug, Dawood Ibrahim, now hiding in Pakistan behind the pajamas of tinpot dictator Musharraf, gets some Islamic militants to plant 7 bombs in our local trains and kill more than 200 people. A response not coincidentally timed to contradict Thackeray’s “I rule Mumbai” with a louder “Nope dude, you don’t.”

And what do we do? Not very much again – other than to bring out our hearts and repair the damage as we best can. We crowd hospitals till they say they have more blood than they need, we line the streets offering food and water to people walking home, we invite strangers to spend the night in our offices and homes till the public transport gets back into action.

You know what – I’m tired of turning the other cheek to these two jokers.

I’m sick of just doing what we Mumbaikars are supposed to do so well – what our supposed "Mumbai Spirit" is all about – which is to not be affected, to do nothing, to go on with life, to accept this as just another annoyance of living in Mumbai, like our small apartments, our potholed roads and our real estate prices.

Yes - just getting on with our own lives is probably the best long-term message we can give anybody. Just like we did after the 1993 riots – another Dawood-Thackeray showdown. Just like we did after every single idiot Shiv Sena rasta roko, after every single stupid bomb in our temples and trains. We showed that it didn’t turn us into quivering scaredy-pots, into trembling sissies. We just dealt with it and went on.

The point is, this lesson of “do what you will, we’ll ignore you” would work on a thinking thug who cared for what we thought. But these two aren’t after terrorizing us. They’re doing the “mine’s-bigger-than-yours” with each other, using our corpses as measuring tapes. We’re not critical to either of them. We’re just collateral damage.

I propose that we’re way too tolerant of these two small-time warlords. And in the interest of solving these annoyances, like we’re finally solving our roads and highways and flyover problems, I suggest we go after these two. Let’s take them out.

Let’s learn from the Americans and the Israelis. And let’s use tactics that we perfected ourselves.

Yes, I know Dawood’s squirreled away in Pakistan. I posit that he’s far easier to locate than an Osama Bin Laden in that country – being somewhat identifiable by his attendant accessories of women, wine, cellphones and Japanese sport-utility vehicles – habits a wiser Osama does without. How difficult would it be to do one of those surgical strikes – cruise missile anybody – and put him out?

I do think that asked politely – and especially if we promise to buy some overpriced arms from them after the fact, both Israel and America would volunteer some expertise in this regard. It would solve a lot of issues, not the least the usage of drug money to fund weapons for Kashmir militants, Musharraf’s kowtowing to the ISI, the Bollywood film-funding problem and lots of other grouses many countries face. No one would miss the man, other than the odd failed Bollywood starlet or two.

So let’s do it.

Thackeray is a knottier problem. Laser-guided munitions wouldn’t be an appropriate solution – and simply voting him out of power in the state didn’t work either – the man now uses street-gang power in place of an electoral mandate.

But we have a deadlier weapon – our tax sleuths. Remember, Al Capone was brought down for income tax evasion. So was many an Indian political career. Go after the failed cartoonist – and his failed cartoonist son – and find out where exactly the latter got the US$100 million to bid for land in Lower Parel. Where did Papa get the money for his Japanese SUVs, for his real estate holdings, his Italian shades, his club in the suburbs, his Swiss watches?

Bring him down. On the slightest excuse. Go after him legally. With as much firepower as we can muster. Be relentless. You’ll see that he’ll run out of friends very soon.

It’ll be much more fun, much more rewarding – and much better PR, in fact – than trying to bring down Amitabh Bachchan. That man has legitimate sources of income. This man writes bad grammar in a failing newspaper.

There’s so much I need to do – and I can’t take this crap any more. Perhaps it’s the 21st century, perhaps I’m not the super-patient Indian man I was brought up to be. I can’t take this waste of time, waste of life, waste of emotion any more.

And I sense this under-swell in others around me. We’re not happy to stand by and watch, like perhaps our parents were.

Let’s go after them.

When Thackeray and Dawood took on Mumbai now – as they did before – Mumbai won.

And when they take us on again, we’ll win again, give or take a few lives they don’t care about.

And we’ll win yet again. And again. And again.

But you know what – let’s not give them another chance to go after us.

Let’s go after them. Really. Shut them down once and for all.

Enough is enough.


Blogger newnimproved said...

Mahesh said:
"torch a few Muslims"
When was this done?
Get your facts right. The two events are not linked.
Also did you speak out against the mayhem created due the Danish cartoons?
You wouldn't dare as a fatwa would be passed against you in no time at all.
You don't care about Muslims, Hindus, Christians or anyone.
Just your self glorification.
Come out on the streets and do something instead of mentally masturbating here.
And no I am no Sainik or Hindutva. Just a pissed off resident of Mumbai.


14/7/06 03:55  
Blogger doubtinggaurav said...


What has bomb blasts to do with Shiv Sena or do you know something others don't

14/7/06 17:48  
Blogger monicajazz said...

Good post... but you're dreaming. Yes, I,m cynical, but isn't everyone else. How do you achieve this? Every political party is joined at the hip with everyone else. Sab ek thali ke baingan hai. So who is going to lead the battle? Wars are won by Generals, but we have none.

14/7/06 20:11  

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