I am an Indian, living in Mumbai, who hails from Rajasthan. And honestly, I'm tired of certain Shiv Sainik Maharashtrians calling and treating me as an "outsider" in Mumbai.
Just because Bal Thackeray stamped his authority over this city during a period of turmoil in the 1960s and '70s does not mean his supporters can discriminate against non-Maharashtrians in today's day and age. Just because it is "Maharashtra" does not give a non-Maharashtrian any less entitlement over this land.
Maharashtrians and people from all over the country have made Mumbai the city it is. I do not like to discriminate, compare or judge on the basis of religion or caste, but since they attack me with that yardstick, allow me to reply with one of your own kind. If not for the entrepreneurial skill of the Sindhis, Punjabis, Gujaratis and the like, I'm sorry to say, but Mumbai may have been another Solapur.
I know loads of Maharashtrians who were born and brought up in Mumbai, have done their engineering, gone to the USA for their masters and have settled down there since, minting the greenback. Well, that is their choice and a perfectly fine one at that.
But when these same people point a finger at me and call me an "outsider", I have a problem. I am living here. In Mumbai. In "your" land. I am a professional, contributing to Mumbai's economy and growth. On what basis do you call me an "outsider"? If anyone, you are an outsider. Brain drain much?
I have been roughed up by Shiv Sainiks on more than one occasion. I was repeatedly denied the opportunity to play cricket for my local club and for Mumbai by officials and coaches who were Maharashtrian Shiv Sainiks. Why? "Because you are not a Marathi." I was told that to my face, thrice. When I was thirteen, fourteen and fifteen-years old. In spite of being better than most others at the selection trials. I am not exaggerating and pardon me for my immodesty, but I could've very well been playing for the Indian cricket team today.
So yes, I have a problem with the Shiv Sena, its ideologies and the extreme way it conducts its affairs. For wont of a willingness and ability to carry out an intelligent dialogue, they resort to violence and intimidation.
What has the Shiv Sena done to promote the wonderful Marathi art, culture and language? Nothing or thereabouts. And I shall voice my opinion because, freedom of speech.
So those who call me an "outsider" in the city of Mumbai, leave "your" land and go settle down in a foreign land, which some of you have already done. If you or your kids ever face discrimination by stooges of a local don because of your caste, race or nationality, do tell me how you feel.
I was born in Bombay. I grew up in Mumbai. I embraced everything this city has to offer; the people, climate, food, culture; and am giving back something to the city. So learn the meaning of secularism before you go and poop next time. It'll come out much smoother.