Mumbai’s secular fabric is most severely tested when days of special significance for different communities coincide. Mumbai is already in the throes of hectic preparation for the Ganpati festival beginning today. The Mount Mary Fair in the queen of suburbs, Bandra, is also drawing people by the thousands. Today, the Jains mark the last day of the fasting period of Paryushan. And, in just a few days, the Muslim community will observe Bakri Eid.

Of late there have been serious, concerted attempts to politicise several issues. Most recently, the veg-non-vegetarian controversy was blown way out of proportion. While the ban on meat was certainly unjustified, we saw politicians trying to stoke the fire further, even as things threatened to spiral out of control in certain pockets of the city.

With security concerns at a high and the police stretched to its maximum, thanks to Ganeshotsav, it is up to the citizens to bear some responsibility to keep things on an even keel. Politicians will — as is their wont — push our buttons, but people must keep a firm head on our shoulders and not get swayed. Show respect for all during these special days.

Patience and tolerance is key. This can be displayed in everyday situations, like on our traffic-choked roads. Drive with caution. Steer clear of road rage and one-upmanship while driving. These days see a heavy concentration of vehicular traffic, so we must be careful to not let small altercations erupt into major conflagrations. Let us not communalise the slightest issues.

Instead, let us take pride in the great melting pot that is Mumbai. Welcome diversity in the true Mumbai spirit — tolerance for others; revel in all the different threads that make this city such a colourful tapestry. This is the glue that makes this city not just the commercial capital of India but the capital of its diversity too. Vive la difference, like they say.