Veteran Ad man and actor, Bharat Dabholkar on Sunday engaged in a general debate with one of friend on Mumbai and Maharashtra. The topic of discussion was whether Maharashtrians fear there is a sinister plan to take away Mumbai from them by outsiders.
Taking to social media, Bharat Dabholkar wrote: "I had a very interesting discussion yesterday about the fear of us Maharashtrians that there may be a sinister plan to take away Mumbai from us by outsiders. This was on the basis of some news item we had read."
During the course of the debate, Dabholkar mentioned some statistics revealed by his friend. "My learned friend laughed and said, are you aware that in Mumbai only 25-26% residents are Marathis and the balance 75-76 % are non Marathis (I was aware of this; I once helped a political party, not BJP, to create an election campaign). Christian, Muslim and Parsi trusts own the largest tracts of land in Mumbai, Dabholkar further enlightened.
The debate didn't end here. Quoting his friend again, he said most of the businesses in Mumbai are either owned or controlled by non-Marathis. "Most, if not all, businesses in Mumbai are owned and/or controlled by non Marathis. Most infrastructure, transport, service and entertainment-related top level or low level jobs are with non Marathis," Dabholkar said.
During the discussion he also Dabholkar wondered if there's anything left to be taken away from Marathis. "So while Mumbai will always remain the crown jewel of Maharashtra, what is left to be taken away from Marathis. I write this to find out if anyone knows anything contrary to this, so I can call him up and argue with him again with new facts," Dabholkar wrote on Facebook.
The debate of Maharashtrians being pushed out of Mumbai has been going on since ages. For quite sometime now, the Marathi-speaking Maharashtrians have been feeling uprooted, marginalised, and upstaged from jobs in Mumbai.
Though the city was created by the British, who reclaimed much of it from the sea and was further developed by Parsis, Gujaratis, Muslims, and other communities, the Maharashtrians always had a large role to play — the textile mills which first contributed to the city’s prosperity, ran on their hard work.
But, the percentage of Marathi population in Mumbai has considerably declined over the years. Marathi families have shifted outside city limits, beyond Dahisar in western suburbs and Mulund in the central suburbs. In recent years, migration from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and adjoining states has outstripped migration of Marathis from within Maharashtra. This has drastically changed the social composition of Mumbai.