Raj Thackeray has managed to win 13 assembly seats in this month's elections. In doing so, he has proved that there still is much juice left in the "son of the soil" campaign launched by his uncle 40 years ago. In those 40 years, the influx of outsiders has continued unabated. The city which always had a marathi minority has seen a decline in their percentage. Renaming the city and all its landmarks has not changed the essence of the city. After being expelled from the Shiv Sena, the son of the soil has risen from night soil to rid the maximum city of the "bhaiyas".
Raj being a smart man will know that he can not do better than the 13 seats while he has no development policy to speak of. He can never muster a majority in Bombay where only 30% of the residents are Marathi and the hinterland where immigration is a moot issue. One hopes that if and when MNS gains power, it would have temperered its position like Bal Thackarey did in 1988; joining the hinduvta bandwagon.
Raj Thackery will know that the outsiders flourish and will continue to do so because they are willing to work harder. Calcutta being a prime example of a city where no one wants to work and no immigrants to pick up the slack. The city has gone from India's first city to one on its death-bed, plagued by an arrogance that should have long disappeared. He will also know that it is easier to talk about a Maratha homeland than to improve it. The improvement of the Marathi lot will require a change in the mindset which is easier said than done.
India prides itself in its ability to assimilate foreign people and cultures, be it the Aryans, the Kushans or the Mughals. But that seems to be a trait lost on the marathi manoos. Today, we retreat to our lives knowing that the Congress is in power, living as persecuted citizens of Bombay under the shadow of Mumbai.