I am born here and have survived here, in my journey in this city what I have seen so far is that everyone is growing in Mumbai with their attitude. The city is known as the commercial capital of India. Mumbai is a city where religious convictions and secularism go hand in hand. You can find the mix of religions in Mumbai.
The North Indians have their own attitude. They feel we have come here to work, we want to earn better and make most of the work opportunities, and they can do whatsoever they want. On the other hand, the Gujarati’s have their own attitude, as they are business people, adding to the Mumbai business sector. For them Mumbai is their territory as it is attached to Maharashtra, they believe it’s their place. They live in attitude it’s my way or highway. Somewhat with their presence, Mumbai has become a noisy place.
A very less but noticeable population is of the Bene Israelis. From Sasoon Dock, to the Indian film industry, from infrastructure to construction in Mumbai, their contribution is huge but largely ignored and unfairly un-acknowledged. Maybe they never had any role in Indian politics. This Bene Israeli community always lives with an attitude of neglected people and the same with Jews and the Parsi community.
From Ratan Tata to Birla, all Parsi’s have set trends. They contributed to the economics of this city with global monuments like Taj hotels to basic household groceries like Tata salt. They are everywhere in our daily lives. But, they live their lives so secluded and quiet. Their population has an attitude of existing peacefully as silent performers and fully focus on business fronts.
Now here comes the Mumbaikar. This population, wants every right, as they are the son of the soil, they want everything. They are lazy, not laborious. That’s why you will not find them in a higher position. They will be surviving on luck and rights. Most of the industries are run by outsiders. All major service providers, industry makers, market influencers are not Mumbaikars. Mumbai economics is run by outside state people, and they hold a major stake in state politics too.
Even the CM is not a Mumbaikar. He hails from Vidarbha. For that matter, none of the CM’s were from Mumbai. The prominent face of Mumbai politics is the Thackeray family. But they hardly have reached higher positions in politics. They might be kingmakers or stakeholders. Apart from political boundaries, they have no powerful position. They should only be credited for keeping the Marathi flag high and deterring outsiders, especially the minorities.
Uttar Pradesh population not only dominates the larger part of Maharashtra politics but also they are everywhere. 80 percent of media is dominated by North Indians. From taxi drivers to tax managers, from Pani Puri wala’s, to peak of the hotel management industry, they dominate every sector. They have taken an active part in every area as a strong workforce.
If North’s Indians are vacated from Mumbai, the city’s economy will be at stake. When it comes to labour, manpower, economy, construction, infrastructure, without Uttar Bhartiya’s and Bihari’s, there is nothing left to imagine. They are the root level workforce. Bihari’s might be outsiders or in political terms par-prantiya, but we must confess that they lead this city from pin to polls. From peon to the poet, from intellectual to labourer, they have permeated and adapted every layer of survival. So here the question arises, are they not living with their attitude? They live with the subtle supremacy and strength, but with a silent humble attitude.
Last but not least, I want to collectively talk about the South Indians. Their presence is from food to business. Be it the Shetty’s, Kannadigas, Keralites or Andhraites. They will work as basic level labour, from serving idli to vada sambhar at your door to the IT sector and various brain jobs, you will find them everywhere. Rather, Mumbai is incomplete without them. They have the attitude of the boss.
Muslims too are an integral part of this city. From the underworld to the film industry, they are participants everywhere. But unfortunately, political parties baked their bread using them as agenda and propagated it for their selfish gains.
I might be forgetting few, I may not have focused on few, but here in Mumbai, everyone has their own attitude. This city is not owned by a single community. Being a Mumbaikar, I just have one thing to tell that Mumbai belongs to all.
No one is the custodian of Mumbai. Each one has availed the belongs to all. No one is the custodian of Mumbai. Each one has availed the opportunity to make his own presence and has sustained on his own strength, his own aptitude, and his own attitude. So let us all live with that fact and respect the spirit…the Mumbai spirit.
By Rupal Mistry
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)