Counter Strike
My take on the things and events in the world.

Mumbai Ka King Kaun…

Monday, February 22, 2010

After getting picked for yet another “random” search at one of the busiest airports in America, it seems so ironic that I watched “My Name Is Khan” a few hours ago with an American friend. I would have become a billionaire till now, if they had the same criteria of random selection for lucky draws and lotteries here.

Anyhow, as the dust settled on the Shiv Sena – SRK battlefield, there no question about who bite the dust and who prevailed. But we are still left with some questions that are important and worth pondering over. First, why did we have this controversy at the first place, and second, who was justified and who was not?

First things first, many of us think that the cause of this yet another useless controversy was Shahrukh’s statement supporting Pakistani players for IPL. Some of us might consider Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India as the real cause. In my view, the real reason was this question of who actually controls Mumbai. As Bheekhu Mathre yells in Satya, “Mumbai ka king kaun…?” this was a self-gratifying war cry from toothless cub of an ailing tiger.

This wasn’t a war between Shahrukh Khan and Shiv Sena as it appear on the surface. Interestingly, this started as a war between Shiv Sena and MNS and ended as a battle between Shiv Sena and Congress. Since MNS surfaced on the political map of Maharashtra, both Uddhav and Raj Thakrey are competing in a dangerous rat race. Race to pick up issues “concerning” marathi manus. MNS scored some points by beating up north Indian taxi drivers, by forcing Karan Johar to apologize for using the name Bombay instead of Mumbai his last movie and many more. As a result, MNS was rewarded in the last Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. On the other hand, Shiv Sena was wiped off from Mumbai-Thane region, one of their traditional strongholds. This was Shiv Sena’s desperate attempt to reclaim their territory and influence over the marathi vote bank. Both these parties who claim to champion the cause of Maharashtra and marathis have no vision or constructive plan for the state’s development. All they have is Taliban-style destructive agenda and goonda forces on the ground to implement it. Burn the valentines day cards, beat couples at Chaupati, don’t let this movie release, boycott Australian players, dig the cricket pitch at Kotla, issue derogatory and inflammatory speeches is all they know.

Congress, later on had to jump in as Rahul baba was dragged into the whole issue and Shiv Sena threatened to not let the Congress yuvraj visit Mumbai. How can the Maharahtra congress government tolerate any attack on its first family. Their crack down on Shiv Sena would also mean stronger MNS and as marathi votes split further, benefit to the Congress in long run. So the underlying reasons were purely political.

Lets come to our second question of who was right. I don’t think we need a Karan Johar movie to remind us that there is no difference between a Hindu and a Muslim. The only difference that counts, is that is between a good person and a bad person. Even if some of us disagree with Karan on this or some of us agree with the government of India’s discrete suggestion to IPL franchises not to recruit Pakistani players to keep up the pressure on Pakistan Government; there should be no compromise on an individual’s freedom of expression in a democratic country. Who is Shiv Sena to decide who should say what, who is patriotic and who is not, who should watch a particular movie and who should not. Look at this statement from Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut calling all the people who went watch My name Is Khan despite Shiv Sena is diktats as Kasab-lovers:

“These are Kasab-lovers and Pakistan-lovers. They will definitely go, but the country is with us. The Congress has created a mini-Pakistan in India and will shower flowers on a ‘Khan.’ The andolan is 100 per cent successful. The film was only released under Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s pressure. At least 150 men were guarding the theatres with AK-47s. If so many stood guard at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus during 26/11, we could have prevented the attack. If a terror strike were to take place now, who would be responsible?”

And guess what, a terror strike did take place, in Pune just days later. According to recent media reports, police is suspecting the hand of a ultra Hindu nationalist group Abhinav Bharat. The organisation is led by Himani Savarkar daughter of Gopal Godse, brother of Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram.

In the end, people of Mumbai did decide who is indeed King of Mumbai. It is the aam janta of Mumbai. Aam janta or mango people as Saif puts it in Love Aajkal, that has very little to do with politic, that wants to ride the local train without fearing a bomb blast, that wants to enjoy a good game of cricket and yes, wants Pakistan to loose, that wants to watch a good movie on a weekend with the family, that do not want the inconvenience of additional search each time on the airport because their last name is Khan or they have a brown skin. This aam junta is same everywhere. Be it Mumbai, Delhi, Karachi or New York.

I thought, I would end this post with this sher from Nida Fazli:
Insaan mein haivaan yahaan bhi hai vahaan bhi
Allah nigah-baan yahaan bhi hai vahaan bhi

But sometimes, quoting a couple of lines from a poem is a crime. Sometimes you cant pick a part that represent the intent and beauty of the whole. Here is the rest of the Ghazal:

Khunkhaar darindon ke faqat naam alag hain
Shahron mein bayaabaa'n yahaan bhi hain vahaan bhi

Rahmaan ki qudarat ho ya bhagvaan ki moorat
Har khel ka maidaan yahaan bhi hai vahaan bhi

Hindu bhi maze mein hain muslmaan bhi maze mein
Insaan pareshaan yahaan bhi hai vahaan bhi

Uthataa hai dil-o-jaan se dhuaan dono taraf hi
Ye ''meer'' ka divaan yahaan bhi hai vahaan bhi

Bayaabaa'n = Wilderness

PS: Found Nida Fazli Sahab reciting the Ghazal himself on Youtube.

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