The human nature is a very deep mystery which is simple to understand. When we, as a collective society, denounce something or someone; we denounce everything associated with it or them, even though some things or some points may be worth thinking about. Consider Hitler. He, undoubtedly, was a brutal mass murderer who killed millions of innocent Jews. Anyone who has seen the movie ‘Schindler’s List’ will agree that innocent Jews were treated and murdered brutally during his regime. But we often overlook his oratory skills and the fact that he instilled self-confidence in a broken and defeated nation. No-one except Hitler could have burnt the infamous treaty of Versailles right in the middle of Berlin and re-militarized Germany despite threats from USA and USSR during the 1930s. But he was a brain gone horribly wrong and ended up as a brutal mass murderer. Same is the case with Ravana. We often forget the fact that he was a ‘mahapandit’ and a highly learned scholar.
That brings me to the focal point of this article: the happenings in Maharashtra.
The ongoing debate about the attacks on north Indians in Maharashtra by Raj Thackeray’s MNS party cadres seems to be at the centre stage nowadays. India seems to be on the brink of a civil war with Maharashtrians being pitted against people from north India. MNS of course has a big role in this. Nothing can justify the violence against innocent north Indians in Mumbai and other cities of Maharashtra. Everyone in India has a right to make their living in any part of the country: that’s the very essence of our secular and democratic fabric. And no-one has the right to destroy it.
But is there some, although little, logic in Raj Thackeray’s argument? He basically argues that people from north India come to Mumbai in thousands and put pressure on local resources. This in turn eats into the resources available for locals. Now, this argument is deeply flawed as thousands of Maharashtrians also migrate to other states and cities like Bangalore and Delhi for work. Hence, this argument is flawed here. However, the little issue that arises is about the mindset of people who immigrate to these big cities.
What I mean by mindset is the gratefulness or the love for the city to which you are emigrating. I belong to Delhi and I can safely say that it is truly a melting pot. People from all around the country come to Delhi for work, to make a living and even make Delhi their home. People from Bihar, UP and Bengal form the highest number of migrants to the city. They live, work and eventually settle in the city. But do they love the city?
I have often seen people from other states that live in Delhi, criticizing it for various reasons. They say that it’s not a very safe city or that people don’t value relationships with their neighbors at all, that it is not a very clean city or that people are always in a hurry and cold towards others’ needs. Some of this is indeed true but then no city is perfect. A city is made up of its citizens. If its inhabitants litter around, it will not be a clean city. If its citizens are illogically selfish, the city is. A city can’t become something on its own. Kolkata is said to a laidback city. Why? Only because of the basic nature of its citizens, right? But people often forget that and instead of cleaning up their acts and becoming responsible citizens, they criticize the city i.e. take the weaker and easier route out. They often create the mess and then blame it on the city officials or the government, conveniently washing their dirty hands off it.
I have often seen many Delhiites complaining that they don’t like Delhi. Now I ask them a simple question: why? They don’t find enough opportunities back home in Kolkata or UP and Bihar and come to Delhi which gives them a good living and good opportunities to grow, something that’s the need of anyone and everyone on this planet. Why can’t they be grateful to Delhi at least for that? I fully support them if they say that they like their hometowns more than Delhi. That’s logical and fully understandable. But what I can’t comprehend is that why they hate Delhi? You can’t litter around or be a passive citizen and then say that Delhi isn’t a good city. Is it too much to ask that they be grateful for at least the good living that Delhi has been able to provide them? No-one is asking them to die for the city but to hate it- is out of context.
The main tragedy of Delhi is that it doesn’t have a culture of its own. It has various pockets of different cultures like CR Park, also known as mini-Bengal or West Delhi areas which has many Punjabi families. Now this gives Delhi a truly cosmopolitan feel. You can have a feel of traditional Durga Puja at CR Park or Eid festivities in Jama Masjid area or north Indian festivals in their true spirits. But this fact also sometimes works against the city.
I just want to say that I am fully for anyone’s right to come to Delhi and make it their home or workplace and I am also against violence which the immigrants have to face in any city or country. But am I wrong to ask the immigrants to love the city? Am I wrong to say that if you are working or making a good living in Delhi but if you still hate it, then you just go back to your place: be it UP or Bihar or Kolkata or any other place? Am I wrong to ask such people not to waste their lives in a city they don’t like or love and go back and enjoy the city they do, even though they left it for a better opportunity? I don’t think I am. I know many intellectuals or elitists will frown at this point but I don’t think I am wrong if I ask all those living in Delhi to work towards making it a world-class city and be responsible citizens by doing small things such as not littering around or loving the city for at least the living it has given them.
It’s understandable for people to come to Delhi or Mumbai in search of better opportunities but it’s certainly wrong for them not to do anything for the city and instead hate it. This should also be condemned along side the violence unleashed by the MNS men.