Talk about man-made calamities, then you will always recollect the various events that shook this world, e.g. the Second World War, the atom bomb, 1984 Sikh riots, 2002 Godhra Riots and so on. Well, these were the ones that came in the news due to their sheer devastative natures and mammoth life altering repercussions, on and on they were played in the media during the time they happened and the media also gives a retrospective on these events in the forms of anniversaries and comment platforms. There are some man-made calamities however that do not have the sheer charm to remain in the public memory for a long time. The Mumbai local train strike was one of them. Very pronounced, very impactful, but yet not making a mark that would remain in the public memory for a long time. This is because of the fact, Mumbaikars have a very short memory, or rather they don’t bother or don’t have ample amount of time to ponder over the past and remember what they have actually been through due to irresponsible acts of the government. This is the reason why the contribution of Mumbai as a city is unchallenged in the exchequer but its representation in the cabinet is like that of a pauper.
The city is often accredited by the people, often who don’t live in this city, about the famous Mumbai spirit. Well what is this spirit actually? Is it the ability to forget and forgive the acts of 1993 blasts? Is it the amnesic response of the people 4 years after the train blasts took place? Or is it the total oblivion of the normal people or condone they have bestowed on the political machinery after the gruesome 26/11 attacks? Well, I really fail to understand this word spirit, even after spending so many years in Mumbai. I also fail to understand why the people, who often approbate the city about its so called spirit, seldom reside in the city?
The local-train motorman strike on 3rd and 4th of May was actually an event that can be attributed to the sheer failure of the railway ministry and the government machinery. This was an administrative failure that cost “maximum city” almost 75% of the productivity on 4th of May. It probably made a dent into the government income directly or indirectly by around 600 crore rupees. It made the life of the office – going and enterprising Mumbaikar a living hell, due to the fact that the lifeline of the city was paralyzed because of lethargic government response. Yet, I hear some news channels, today also harping about the famous spirit of Mumbai to get back on track after anything and everything. I often tend to believe that these approbations are cooked up by political parties that want to blanket their inefficiencies under the cover of the famous Mumbai spirit. They did it in the 2005 floods, the train blasts and the terrorist attacks and they are also doing the same now.
A parochial, good for nothing railway-minister from Kolkata, shirked all her responsibilities towards the Cosmopolitan, vibrant city, which actually is giving the lions’ share to her ministry to stay afloat, so that she can open boxes of favors to the Bengal public by announcing special trains. She suspends all her duties and concentrates on the trivial municipal election of Kolkata. Her party members are in total support of her and defend this act of idiocracy that lacks any kind of moral responsibility from her side. She is also given a sheepish response by the ruling Congress party in the parliament because of their political obligations towards her. She doesn’t even bother to address this crisis situation responsibly and at least be on the ground in the first place. The state government acts like a cornered mouse to a fierce cat in this situation and ducks at the very first instant, just like it always does when any kind of crisis hits the city.
My concern is that will this step-brotherly treatment by the minister also not open the eyes of the common Mumbaikar? Is it not the right time to once and for all stand up and say that we want our share of good life, for the amount of money we pay? Is it not the right time for the city who gives 45% to the government exchequer to claim a fair representation in the cabinet? I know that I may be sounding cliché, but I am sure that I am reverberating the voices that are most of the time attenuated due to the severe burden of life we carry. I am not revolting, I am just reminding, that such incidents happening in Mumbai have become more than common, and it is about time the Mumbaikar rose to the occasion and dealt with the things in more sensible way. Time has come not to fantasize with the spirit of the city but actually to do something good for the city, not by advertising campaigns of news post, but by sheer man-power involvement.