On Mumbai City’s decline

Mumbai is no more the city i grew up in, as humorously described in Marathi by P L Deshpande.


The city, like New York, Paris or Rio is a cosmopolitan melting pot of people and cultures from all over. Mainly Maharashtra, Goa, Gujrat, Karnataka and Mp.

In fact it is the most unique of cities. Waves of people of different communities came to settle here starting from the Sindhis ( post independence) settling in south mumbai and mainly Ulhasnagar (deep suburb) to South Indians in Matunga to the potters and tanners in Dharavi(Kherwadi a legacy of B G kher) to Punjabis’ in Andheri to Behrampada or mini Bangladesh, the city has seen a never ending stream of migrants.

The Chieftains(Politicians) in Delhi have never bothered about Mumbai so long as it has given them a continuous revenue stream in Taxes, Political Donations and Slush funds and taken in migrant population without complaining.

The local politicians have been no less and ethics and principles have been long forgotten in favor of hard cash from slum redevelopers (builders), vote banks for votes and appeasement politics. Secondly Mumbai has no voice as most politicians really only bother about their constituencies like Latur, Baramati etc. Plus their lives in Mumbai are spent in restricted areas – places like Mantralaya to Sahyadri guest house, and their plush bungalows at Malabar hill and walkeshwar… where the roads are spotless, water is abundant and power cuts are unheard of and lastly Slums? how dare anyone allow them in such areas? still a few tiny slums do exist rather defiantly, hugging the shoreline. Ditto for the honorable Judges of high court who, in their landmark judgment – hold the State responsible for housing the never ending minions of disenchanted and dispossessed that land up in Mumbai in search of a life, never mind if there is any space left or if it can bear the humongous expenditure involved in solving what is essentially a central problem.

The last 10 years have been the most traumatic because of unplanned massive redevelopment and proliferation of suburbs and mass influx of unskilled or semi skilled migrants from UP and Bihar who now constitute 40% of local population, landing up in the already congested zopadpattis (slums) like dharavi or the city’s periphery like its forest areas and coastal regulation zones, something that has changed the fabric of this city. The Central govt has done precious little in the mean time in terms of infrastructure, basic amenities, sanitation and low cost housing except building castles in the air.

Pollution and El nino, illegal settlement in the Borivli National Park areas and massive cutting of mangroves have made the relatively mild climate of Mumbai quite extreme. We have flash floods, extreme record breaking hot summers and winters ? 22*c is winters for us if we are lucky we get 15/ 20*c.

Space is a big issue here and there are no public spaces as land demarked as gardens , libraries etc are all being given by the municipality to private parties (politicians croonies) for management.

Delhi culture is slowly seeping in and lawlessness has increased, as exemplified by the new yr molestation phenomenon, and the way the motorists in general and taxi drivers  in particular behave on the roads.

Though i am an eternal Optimist, i have a deep fear that this great Maximum city is on the decline and if steps are not taken in time things are going to get worse.

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22 thoughts on “On Mumbai City’s decline

  1. wtf… the north indians do not vote the fanatics like Shiv sena who have spoiled the culture….

    on a lighter note… with the global warming and melting of icecaps… the city is definitely sinking

  2. expected it from u 🙂 so i withheld this for comments, read on
    essentially this is not a north south western issue
    neither is it about the sena who give lip service to the
    locals not getting jobs issue but were instrumental in pushing the free slum rehabilitation date to 1995 for vote gain
    at that time north indians voted for the sena in big numbers people like sanjay nirupam started in the sena …
    and not to forget their being neck deep in redevelopment and land grabs too
    and u must also remember that others like ncp also do the same – sometimes even more crudely
    on employment in railways – there were killings in assam on that issue – someone should do a survey about how many biharis are actually employed in comparison to others and give reservation to people of other states if found lacking …

    it is about unplanned migration illegal squatting and total lack of space or infrastructure for their settlement and them overwhelming the legitimate say of the taxpaying citizens
    my grouse is essentially that the politicans builders and their cronies including slum lords benifit most out of this system

    the tax paying including lower middle class is made to pay for the infrastructure provided free to squatters Most such people play the dangerous game of goin to office in south mumbai or bkc from far flung areas like virar vasai nalasopara thane vashi and karjat spending minimum of 4hrs a day on travel due to lack of affordable housing

    and im unapologetic about Delhis crude money and power culture

  3. //expected it from u 🙂 //
    am I so predictable 😦

    //on employment in railways – there were killings in assam on that issue – someone should do a survey about how many biharis are actually employed in comparison to others and give reservation to people of other states if found lacking …//

    you indian bastards complain when malaysians, americans, mauratians, British etc ill treat indians, do not give VISA or ill treat indians… while on the other hand you treat biharis like they r sum of the world.
    are the biharis getting jobs illegally or proving unfair competition? they work hard, study hard and are not scared to travel for livelihood … while these maharastrians and karnatikans want jobs on a silver platter, as if the world owes them a living.

    //it is about unplanned migration illegal squatting and total lack of space or infrastructure for their settlement and them overwhelming the legitimate say of the taxpaying citizens//
    throw the politicians who do perform

    //and im unapologetic about Delhis crude money and power culture//
    well these guys r the future.. if you do not make peace with them soon, your entire clan will become extinct…

  4. on bihari s and reservations it was an intended pun but u took it rather seriously … hope u know im against reservations
    but the way things r goin the politicians find reservation as the best solution for everything
    i do think they get an unfair advantage in rail jobs bcause for the last decade all the rail ministers are from bihar and they push the rail board for employing biharis last time i chkd intelligent people dont only come from up bihar and north.
    the education standard in up and bihar is lacking – there is large scale cheating and i remember that kalayan govt even tried to unsuccessfully ban cheating. here correction is strict and people generally get what they deserve in% terms

    //you indian bastards// – so r u included? (i cut out the mofo word)
    looks like u have a grouse with the local karnataka popluation of kannadigas and it is showing
    mumbaikars are the most accommodating and welcoming – in comparison to people of other
    states and cities , be it kerala karnataka or kolkotta or up and bihar
    //you treat biharis like they r sum of the world//

    well ur generalising here i have great bihari friends n a teacher and lastly they dont prefer living in shantys
    some of them live in mira rd, nalasopara nd vasai and vashi and likes and travel 4+ hrs a day in murderous unmaintained trains (not cared for by the rail minister from bihar)
    who is to blame for this situation but the bihari populus who voted likes of laloo in power???

    throw the politicians who do perform// easier said
    tell me how ???i go and vote, that too reluctantly but sadly my vote don’t count the rate for a vote these days is 200 rs and a biryani and a half litre country….in the zopadpattis that including 1 toilet for 100 people free water and electricity.

    frankly u didnt read right or get the msg …this is about lawlessness becoming a way of life and being actively encouraged by politicians for their own petty gains.

    //well these guys r the future.. if you do not make peace with them soon, your entire clan will become extinct…//
    yes ur right here .. as an uncle in the neighborhood says to the educated youth
    its time to Quit INDIA !!

  5. the title of your post is apt. no doubt mumbai has declined and worst of all it’s declined in civic sense and decency towards women. I have been coming to this city for years and it’s never been so bad as it has been now. the city unfortunately belongs to no one now. and the law doesn’t really enforce anything.
    and this is not a north south thing. i find that people from other parts of maharashtra who come here to work have little attachment to the city. they take, but they don’t give.

  6. //:-) looks like it aint ur day//
    tell this to the man who is still stuck in office 😦

    //hope u know im against reservations//
    i know how much u hate NI, who knows you could be even a communist.

    //but the way things r goin the politicians find reservation as the best solution for everything//
    politicians will do anything as long as it gives them votes.. if people want reservations.. they will get reservations.

    //i do think they get an unfair advantage in rail jobs bcause for the last decade all the rail ministers are from bihar and they push the rail board for employing biharis //
    ohh come on.. my father has personally conducted examinations for lakhs of candidates and recruited 10s of thousands of them….
    all u need is to pass a written exam.. whose centers and notifications are send all over the country. plus hardly 10% of the workforce is in bihar region… most of it is outside.
    so all a bihari minister can do is introduce the kind of development and modernization that the railways needed….
    with that the no of job opportunities did increase… and its open to all

    //the education standard in up and bihar is lacking – there is large scale cheating and i remember that kalayan govt even tried to unsuccessfully ban cheating. //
    kalyan singh is in UP and not in Bihar.

    //looks like u have a grouse with the local karnataka popluation of kannadigas and it is showing//
    karnataka, maharastra, tamil naidu.. you guys r the same… they do not want to give credit to the hard working labor class who are working thousand miles away from their homes.

    //mumbaikars are the most accommodating and welcoming – in comparison to people of other
    states and cities , be it kerala karnataka or kolkotta or up and bihar//
    I was commenting on Pr3na’s blog… a bunch of maharastrians molested 2 girls in bombay.. and NI are blamed for the incidents….
    should i say more?

    //the rate for a vote these days is 200 rs and a biryani and a half litre country….//
    http://enagar.com/2006/11/13/election-funds-corruption-in-indian-politics/
    tell me one thing… there r a billion citizens and 550 mps.
    so roughly there are 2M voters… even if a MP buys 1/4 of them, he need to pay 200/- to 500k voters, or about 100million ….
    isn’t that too big a sum.. and won’t constructing a few hospitals etc be cheaper?

    //frankly u didnt read right or get the msg …//
    then plz explain.

    //this is about lawlessness becoming a way of life and being actively encouraged by politicians for their own petty gains.//
    thank god there is no Tiberius Gracchus amongst them…
    well the entire world is there is mislead… we sometimes have to trust our own judgment.

    //yes ur right here .. as an uncle in the neighborhood says to the educated youth
    its time to Quit INDIA !!//
    i would agree….i have met so many people who have never moved out of bangalore or travelled even around Karnataka.. yet they will describe allthe vacations and the exotic beauty of USA and europe.

  7. ok ankur i give up
    i have no time to argue with u plus u have blinkers on and no matter what – u r highly selective in ur assessment

    i dont hate NI – heck my roots are there if history be witness and maybe im wrong about railways employment policys
    but most damn irritating tcs in local trains and stations are north indians and they heckle us while the damn salesmen noise making beggers etc g about their work undisturbed.
    u r more communist in equating a few hundred persons who lands up in mumbai everyday,
    a man without anything without money accommodation, skills or a job – increasing the burden on limited resources of an island city
    with a person like u – a highly skilled tech worker like u landing up getting a job and a company paid accommodation looks like office politics and local politics of karnataka has infurated u – have u ever lived in mumbai????

    if hospitals/ philanthropy would build vote banks parsis / marwadis would rule mumbai. lastly education stds in bihar are much worse than over here and maybe even up – thats why good bihari students land up in other places to study

    i think id go with nita on this one as she has summed up perfectly
    mumbai belongs to those who love the city and give back something to it instead of using it as a cash cow

    and btw i am a third generation immigrant too i am not maharashtrian but have learnt marathi and local culture nonetheless
    and that uncle i was referring to lived all his life in the gulf earning petro dollars and his only daughter has settled in the US.

    Nita ur right on womens safety

  8. lastly ankur i dont selectively blame the NIs fr this state
    they with sheer numbers have just added to the woes of this island city

    it is u who have steered this into a ni si thing

    I blame Central leaders voted into power
    who solely focus on delhi and packages for their states

    i bame NI politicians for mismanagement corruption and public apathy
    which is chiefly responsible for such mass migration

    i blame bihari rail ministers for simply forgetting mumbai in their rail budgets
    situation is so bad here that during rush hr 5000 + passengers are packed into a 9-car rake during peak hours, as against the rated carrying capacity of 1,700 and sometimes im one of them i shudder to think about the regulars – including decent NIs

    lastly i blame Local and Maharashtra politicians for not raising mumbais problems
    ie all parties Including Sena

  9. //ok ankur i give up//
    come on man… its just plain debates… no hard feelings. 🙂 of course

    // u r highly selective in ur assessment//
    i know.. and i am learning… it will take some more years before my horizon is broadened.

    //i dont hate NI – heck my roots are there if history be witness //
    😀 wow.. thats news.

    //have u ever lived in mumbai????//
    btw i was born in mumbai. and i am not a bihari that urnt bihari but a smart banya(ur confession to vbr or sri wherever she is ) i know i have chkd ur orkut profile and all

    //a man without anything without money accommodation, skills or a job – increasing the burden on limited resources of an island city//
    hey come on… he is there in search of prosperity just like you and I.. and without skills, he is ready to work harder and longer than u and i can. but where is the space the water the electricity rural areas dont get ec 16 hrs a day and we are to blame

    //with a person like u – a highly skilled tech worker like u landing up getting a job//
    I won’t get a job in Mumbai 😦 for that i would have to retrain myself.

    //if hospitals/ philanthropy would build vote banks parsis / marwadis would rule mumbai. //
    they do rule the businesses .. maybe they find it cheaper to buy a politician than to contest themselves. true

    //lastly education stds in bihar are much worse than over here //
    i totally agree… but the problem with poor people is that they see education as their only hope to escape poverty. that is why they would do study harder (rote or otherwise) and be more successful in entrance exams, IAS etc… but not so successful in other walks of life. that is for all the intelligent of poor this is natural progression

    //i think id go with nita on this one as she has summed up perfectly//
    i would agree.

    //mumbai belongs to those who love the city and give back something to it instead of using it as a cash cow//
    😦 so i do not belong anywhere? that u should assess

    //lastly ankur i dont selectively blame the NIs fr this state//
    thank god 🙂

    //they with sheer numbers have just added to the woes of this island city//
    india is urbanizing at 1% p.a. and people will continue to migrate from villages and poorer regions to prosperous regions.. there is nothing you and I can do about it. ur parents were smart.. they migrated 3 generations ago, others are realizing it now.
    look at delhi… the native population is next to zero and their entire demography changed during the partition and then again during the anti sikh riots… but u will never find the locals complaining.
    where does mumbai have space it is ladlocked -plus then why does the god damn central govt plough back some money in mumbai get serious on popln control and find solutions instead of dividing people as obc sc st minority muslims etc and lastly tax super rich farmers ???

    //it is u who have steered this into a ni si thing/
    i read something about immigrant.. and assumed u were blaming them. i take my words back.
    read the whole post first next time before u comment

  10. // where does mumbai have space it is ladlocked -//
    who knows there is already some land reclaim program going on.. in future somebody would start constructing on the sea.

    //plus then why does the god damn central govt plough back some money in mumbai//
    i might be wrong but the center is supposed to give bulk of the income tax (direct taxes) back to the state from which it collected… maybe you know about those percentages.

    // get serious on popln control and find solutions instead of dividing people as obc sc st minority muslims etc //
    whats worse is that there is caste system even in primary schools.

    //and lastly tax super rich farmers ???//
    taxes r only for the middle class… the rich never pay taxes… (rich dad poor dad)… remember till about early 90s Reliance group hardly paid any taxes.

  11. there is already some land reclaim program going on
    bah – i think we have already done all the reclaiming we could
    legally do as per international treaties
    now it looks like the sea will do the reclamation

    on tax distro
    it is the states with largest popln that take the largest pie of the taxes not the earners mainly UP and then folowed by rogue states controlled by commis and maybe tnadu whose political parties keep threatening withdrawal or ask for special pkgs even jnk gets a disproportionately large share
    simply put those who rule take the largest part of the pie this includes delhi
    they waste more money on the delhi metro and the kolkatta metro that the per capita income of this country while mumbai gets nada

    caste sys – vote bank politics caste politics
    something only modi managed to break this election

    well reliance paid in slush money and donations didnt it
    sadly it was a steal and a pitiance
    no wonder no politician can say no to reliance cause of their influence

  12. Hi
    there is something about mumbai that will take all these different streams and, hopefully, make it her own….
    but, you are right… mumbai has been slowly changing – and not always for the better.
    It has gotten more intolerant. Less caring. More Consumption Driven. Less Community driven….And, i am not sure whether it is just the ‘outsiders’….

  13. what is the percentage?
    i dont
    all i remember is that this question of more equitable sharing of tax revenues was what chandrababu naidu had requested the centre as populous states like up bihar were gettin disproportionately larger share of tax revenue

    plus mumbai is a city state in itself and bmcs budget is larger than keralas budget i think

    harini
    i agree with ur arguement
    it has commonly been observed that if one person throws sizable amt thrash at his street corner and it stays unattended, come back in a few days and u will notice a big pile of rubbish
    this is public psyc

  14. //Delhi culture ??//

    Guys, you can’t actually generealize on that.

    Delhi has a far better & rich culture than you Marathi bastards.

  15. hey u ahole watch it !
    i know how rich delhi culture is
    women cant go out after 9pm without company and that is no guarantee for safety …
    Delhi steals most of its power and thinks power comes for free
    Delhi hosts the most corrupt people in this country ie its babus and its politicians
    Agreed one cant generalise
    but statistics support what i have said and so does this statement of urs

    by the way im not marathi .. but still love this culture

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