28 November, 2008

The Spirit of Mumbai…A Bloody Cliche

Am a Mumbaikar through and through and was a Bombay-ite or Bambaiyya before the change in the city nomenclature. Am proud of my city and its diversity but somewhere the above line now sounds so clichéd that it has started rankling. The spirit as it goes started getting invoked from the time Mumbai had been subject to disasters of all kinds manmade and natural. The term first started getting used in the Bomb Blasts of 1993 and then the communal riots that followed. Then there were the floods and more bomb blasts, in local trains this time.

Every time a disaster strikes, it is now expected of the Mumbaikar to get up, brush up the dust of previous disasters and keep walking. Does he really have a choice? He does that too, more out of a dire need to stay alive, than anything else. He lends a helping hand to his brethren in the same city because he knows that the administration is ill equipped to handle any disaster that hits them. He is unprotected and is expected to fend for himself. The representatives he elects, line up their own coffers or prostrate before New Delhi. Then New Delhi takes away the taxes that he generates, to support the Northern states that don’t generate as much. His sweat and toil is siphoned off hence leaving nothing for his security or the infrastructure he requires. Today because of this missing infrastructure he is paying off with his blood too.

Politicians play games or mouth platitudes and the apathy reached a peak when the Chief Minister during the 26th July 2005 floods declared three days state holiday for the government machinery; the same machinery, that could have been used to deploy aid and bring down its severity. Lives were lost and property destroyed. 26th Nov 2008 saw a similar situation where baton holding police personnel moved to handle terrorists with Kalashnikovs. The bullet proof jackets and helmets used by the personnel were so inadequate that they could at the most stop pelted stones. In this the head of ATS, Hemant Karkare, loses his life. The guns with the police are of vintage World War II variety. Lee Enfield .303 bolt cocking rifles, which are no match for AK-47’s and 56’s imagine by the time a policeman fires his first bullet and wants to discharge the second one, elapsed time would be 20-30 sec’s in which he would have died at least 12 times over. Because of this inadequacy more than 130 people are dead and more than 300 injured badly.

The man on the street has to deal with all this. Infrastructure for his transportation is not maintained, housing and his basic needs are pathetically inadequate. His protection is non-existent whether it’s against crime on the street, natural calamity or urban terrorism. He gets short charged badly for his effort and the taxes he generates and pays. This Taj, The Oberoi and CST station episodes have converted Mumbai into Beirut. Yet he is expected to be brave and plod on. It is now too irritating to hear the invocation of the Spirit of Mumbai. Give me a break. Enough is enough. I shall help my fellow man on the street that is humanitarian in its basic definition, but I do not need a politician giving me lessons on how I should be brave and resilient and carry on. The next time he does it, I might just retaliate. I am sick, suffused with an impotent rage of being raped everytime a disaster happens, time and again being taken for granted. As a Mumbaikar and an Indian, I am well within my rights to demand a life of dignity, safety and wellbeing. This is the true spirit of Mumbai; let this spirit not be taken for stoic acceptance.

6 comments:

dotcomgirl said...

This might just be the beginning of something like "A Wednesday". Civilians like u and me have to take matters into our hands soon... if it were for me I would bomb all those politicians sitting on their bloody arses into smithereens... what say chale? Maybe this is "the Spirit of Mumbaikars!!!"

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

Well as much as i would like to..have too much respect for the law and order to take it in my own hands.

But yes what u say makes sense. There is a "Tipping Point" for everything and this just might be it.The last straw that broke the camels back

Soul Images said...

Out of the hapless tears and impotent anger, I am expecting to get a bunch of people together an see what can be done. If I can't come up with something, I am going to join a movement that the media seems to be preparing for. But, its time for action, if only to satisfy my self that I made an effort.
boond boond se ghada bharega zaroor...
I am in no mood to make excuses for these irresponsible politicians and security forces that are supposed to protect us. my hear cries for the poor soldier at end of the line as he is ill-equipped. But no sir, not for the useless machinery that subjects them to this fate!
Soon and very soon, I will make a difference. I hope that more peole will join me, guide me...

B said...

So many ppl died in the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Very sad day.

We dont have any spirit left and its true. The feeling of numbness and resignation has always been misunderstood as mumbai's resilient spirit.

Mumbaikars are simply fed up of being treated this way :(

Anonymous said...

" Spirit of Mumbai" - oft repeated & spoken about. its actually reached the end of its tether. As mentioned by you "Every time a disaster strikes, it is now expected of the Mumbaikar to get up, brush up the dust of previous disasters and keep walking. Does he really have a choice? Actually he doesn't. its all compulsion, to keep his job,to think where the next days earnings are to come from. Its about time but mere asking will not have any results. like the plot of the movie 'A wednesday'ppl should start retaliating. probably then the situation might improve.

P.s - the make of the rifle that the indian police men use is actually the Lee - enfiled - .303. i think it is wrongly typed as .305.

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

You are right it was a typo. It is 0.303 and shall correct it . Thanks