Tag Archives: Mumbai

The Bigger Threat, Fanatics Or Vote Bank Politics?

I loved getting up late as a young girl and like  parents of  all good girls my parents never approved of it and conveyed it to me nearly every day. The best excuse I could come up was, the moment I open my eyes in the morning I want my newspaper, without that,  it is difficult for me to open my eyes. The only newspaper we bought was Hindustan Times and before eight o clock it belonged to my dad. He may not like the idea of my waking up late but handing me the newspaper before he read it was too much of a sacrifice and fortunately he never made it. My parents efforts to wake me continued as did my resistance. After I got married the problem of the newspaper continued. My father-in-law tried to adjust by sharing the newspaper but we had to order another newspaper because I like to read the whole thing at the same time.

Now after 24/7 news channels and internet we switch on the TV or the internet  the moment we open our eyes in the morning. We have no appetite for breakfast till we come to know what happened in the world while we were sleeping. Why is it so important to know what others are thinking, saying or doing, no matter how trivial, nonsensical or destructive. Not only that, we are also ever ready to lend our eyes and ears to the ‘experts’ offering their expert comments on the  happenings, the analysis of which takes us nowhere. We want to know what has happened, is about to happen, what can happen or what should have happened. Spending time on daily news, especially current political affairs was a complete waste of time, some of my learned friends would always tell me and I would agree with them most of the time and continue with the addiction. We may curse the media for going berserk about trivial details of our political and other celebrities but the truth is that our newspapers and news channels have opened our eyes many times to the lurking dangers in our cities.

My friends from Mumbai always used to point out that I am living in a dangerous city where people are rowdy, push each other, break the ques  and are not bothered about rules. In defense of  Delhi,  in a typical meri Dilli meri shaan style I would tell them that Delhi is a lively city, people may be loud but that is because they are large hearted (Dilli dil walon ki). Thanks to our news channels I found a lot of fodder to counter my Mumbai friends and relatives. The Thackeray clan came to my rescue. I gloated about how we in Delhi are Indians first and treat people from all over the country in the same way (North Eastern Indians please forgive, you might not agree with me). My expectation was that Mumbaikars will be apologetic about it and explain the merits and demerits of the case, I myself understand a few of these things. They could not be cowed down, Rahul Gandhi’s Mumbai visit  proved that aam Mumbaikar is as civil as they claim to be. Once armed with the greatest media story of the year, Rahul ji’s travel in the Mumbai locals and the famous ATM story,  it was the Mumbaikar’s turn to be on the offensive now.

You Delhiwallahs can never feel safe! as long as you have the likes of Digvijay Singh reside and flourish in your city, I was told. They will defend terrorists and accuse the police for killing them. Somebody tweeted yesterday “I suspect after every terrorist attack, humanrights wallahs check dead list for their own name and if its not there they get after policemen”, read Digvijay Singh instead of human rights wallahs and you will understand what we Dilliwallahs are suffering. I feel like requesting Rahul ji’s political advisor Digvijay Singh ji that vote bank politics is an acceptable fact and we have to live with it  but sometimes listen to this poet- Lazim hai dil ke pas rahe pasban-i-aql; lekin kabhi kabhi issey tanha bhi chhod dain (it is important that brain should guard the heart but sometime the heart should be left alone)  in your case forget sometimes and let the brain, rest in peace! As the elected Chief Minster of Madhya Pradesh for more than a  decade you sure understand that your voters need to survive in order to vote . Rahul Gandhi derailed the divisive and aggressive Sena without resorting to bad language and cheap tactics and you need some good advise from him. By trying to create a doubt about Batla house encounter Digvijay Singh has not only hurt Inspector MC Sharma’s family but also the Hindus, Muslims and other religions of India. When a terrorist strikes he doesn’t differentiate between a Muslim or a non- Muslim.You have embarrassed your party and hurt the law abiding citizens of India.
Mumbai, Delhi or any other city of India, we all desperately need  peace and security and mere lip service from any body across the political spectrum will not work. People need jobs, clean water, houses and other basic amenities and that is what matters most to them. A Shahid Afridi or Shoaib Tanveer is  not a threat to India but the pseudo secularists and fanatics definitely are.

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Equal Discrimination

Emraan Hashmi says that he was denied an NOC to purchase a flat in the posh Bandra locality of Mumbai because he is a Muslim. It is absolutely possible. The society which denied the NOC blames  his image of a serial kisser for the denial. The fact is  that this does not happen to the Muslim minority alone,  people from the majority community also face problems like this and there are so many reasons people have to justify this discrimination.

People don’t give flats to self employed people (I have faced this) and  advocates because it will  be difficult to get their house back when required by the landlord. Single boys and girls face problems in getting houses because they could threaten the peace of the neigbourhood. Bengalis may have problems in a non-Bengali neighbourhood because fish is their staple diet and the smell of the fish bothers people who don’t eat fish. Non-vegetarians face this problem in Jain or Marwari majority areas. People with large families or joint families find it difficult to get a house because they create a lot of noise. My friend had to spend a lot of money to soundproof  her house because she had one such family living in the apartment above. I know somebody who lied about the size of his family when he had a meeting with the landlord, claiming to have only two children when he actually had six. A senior politician hired a house in the name of his brother because nobody was willing to rent a house to him. He was asked to vacate the house after people in the area complained about the security threat because of the number of strangers coming to the locality to meet him, he vacated the house, either because he was a gentleman or he doesn’t need it now as his party in in power at the centre. There are people who won’t give their houses to Punjabis because they are considered aggressive. There are thousand and one reasons for not giving your flats to certain people or groups of people and religion is definitely not the only reason for discrimination at least in India.

Being selective when renting houses was always  prevalent in India and it is good that we are openly discussing it now, but using the minority card or the Dalit card when convenient is not going to benefit the cause of the people who are being discriminated. Azharuddin played the minority card when he was charged with match-fixing, although there were many people who faced the same charges from the majority community (Ajay Jadeja, Prabhakar and Kapil Dev). Mayawati whenever cornered for her misdeeds plays the Dalit card. A few months ago there was a news report which mentioned that a few students in IIT Delhi  who got admission through reservation were sacked because they didn’t meet the minimum qualifying criteria. The students  complained  that they were being victimized as they belong to reserved category. This sort of  opportunistic approach will not help anybody.

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A Black Day For Cricket

The carnage that has taken place in Lahore today has shocked and shaken the world. My heart goes out to young and promising cricketers like Ajantha Mendis, who has the potential to  be the next Muralidharan. He was wounded in the shoulder and his future in cricket after this injury will certainly be adversely affected. Cricketers and sportsmen cannot be expected to have very long on-field careers, all injuries have a negative impact but  injuries of this magnitude can cause grave physical and mental damage. For a senior player and a wonderful batsman like Mahela Jayawardene, time taken to recuperate might mean a final goodbye to the game itself. Thilan Samaraweera, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Mahela Jayawardene, Tharanga Paranavithana and Chaminda Vaas were all wounded in this act of madness. I wonder how Imran Khan has reacted to this. When India cancelled their tour to Pakistan, he was shouting from roof tops that cricketers were not at risk in Pakistan.

For Pakistani cricket, I feel especially bad because an incident like this means that their cricketers will not get opportunity to play too much international cricket. Who knows how many budding Wasim Akrams and Waqar Younis’ will be nipped in the bud. Pakistanis are passionate cricketers and a loss of this nature is a loss to cricket itself. They are talented cricketers and are suffering due to the incompetence of their politicians. In a country where the Prime Minister, President, Navy Chief and the Ambassador sitting in London, everybody issues contradictory statements, ordinary citizens have to suffer. They took 3 weeks to accept that Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani, that too after their own ex-Prime Minister had accepted that Kasab was a Pakistani. I was surprised to hear the IG of Lahore saying “what more could they have done to provide security?”. He was complimenting his men. I sympathize with the men who lost their lives, but the security left a lot to be desired. It is not like a suicide bombing where the venue and time is decided by the terrorists. In this case the target was known and the area which was to be secured was the area between the Stadium and the hotel where the cricketers were staying, a stretch of roughly 6 kms.

I hope this is a wake up call for Pakistan and for the world. Terrorism should be tackled not in pieces and disjointed efforts but in one unified stride against one common enemy. An attack in Mumbai, New York or on Sri Lankan cricketers should be treated the same and Pakistan should treat all the dirty fish in the pond transparently and with a strong hand. Even if it means trouble in the short term. Lakhvis, Masood Azhars and Dawood Ibrahims are a threat to everyone. Mumbai may not be everybody’s concern but terror can strike anywhere and terrorists are nobody’s friends.

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Confused & Angry

There was an SMS circulated after tragedy hit Mumbai- ‘We are worried about people who came on boats, we are more worried about people who come on our votes’. Couldn’t express my thoughts better than this.

Never in my adult life have I been confused when I went to the polling booth, I always knew which candidate and party to vote for, even when I was not yet of voting age. It was totally different yesterday. The events in Mumbai have shaken me completely. Images of Vilasrao Deshmukh, RR Patil and Shivraj Patil irritate me and thus it was difficult to  vote for Congress; Narendra Modi’s face outside Trident and LK Advani outside the Taj making political statements while our brave soldiers were fighting the terrorists inside left me wondering do they deserve my vote? Our home minister announced the time of arrival of NSG commandoes in Bombay on national TV, can you believe it. Surprise element gone, the terrorists knew when to welcome the soldiers. After an intense 3 days of worldwide anguish and drama, RR Patil says “bade shahron mein aise ek adh hadse hote rahte hain. Woh 5,000 logon ko marne aye the lekin humne kitna kum nuksan hone diya.” (Some small incidents do happen in big cities. They (terrorists) came to kill 5,000 people but we ensured minimal damage). I don’t even want to comment on this, it is sick.

The candidate was always an important factor for me when I decided my preference, today I surprised myself by voting for a  candidate I hardly know anything about and who hardly has a chance against a very strong BJP candidate. For a moment I wanted to vote for a weird independent candidate but then there was no point in wasting my vote. The result of this dilemma was that all 4 votes in my family canceled each other. But voting is my duty and I have to perform it.

The other strange and new development was that I smiled at a policewallah. Under normal circumstances I have always believed that if for some reason I need help desperately on the road and there is a choice between a policeman and ordinary citizen I will turn to the aam admi and not the policeman for help. At the polling booth when the policeman asked if I was carrying a mobile, I smiled at him when I said no. He looked so human and in fact a guardian of the people instead of a corrupt and heartless govt employee who pesters poor vegetable vendors and extracts hafta from them. The brave policemen of Bombay have made a difference to the image of the police force.

ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s wife refused to take 1 crore from Narendra Modi. She rightly declined the offer of money from a person who just a few days ago was maligning her husband because he was investigating Sadhvi Pragya’s involvement in Malegaon blast. Inspector MC Sharma’s wife earlier in Delhi had refused to take money from Amar Singh who tried to cast aspersions on the martyrdom of her husband. These women have done well. We all need to do our bit. The  NSG commandoes played their part, our soldiers and police sacrificed their lives. We need to do we are supposed to do. Vote with prudence. Communal politics of the BJP and Shiv Sena should not be the only reason for Congress to get votes. Political parties who give tickets to criminals should not be voted for. A young boy was carrying a placard at the Taj yesterday which said-

Mr Terrorist: I am still alive, what more can you do?
Mr Politician: I am alive despite you.

I AM A MUMBAIKAR.

Truly well said.

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History Repeats Itself

After feeling depressed initially following  the attack on Mumbai, I feel passionately patriotic again. It may sound childish but when  people around the beseiged buildings clapped and yelled Bharat Mata ki jai as the commandos of NSG and the army personnel prepared to eliminate the scoundrels I wanted to be there to express my gratitude to our brave soldiers. The last time I was choked with emotions like these was during the Kargil war. Where are the saviours of Mumbai and Marathi asmita? The Trident and Nariman House have been secured and soon the Taj will be free. Maybe once the city is declared safe they will be visible again.

The politicians haven’t disappointed me. Mr LK Advani stood outside the Taj Hotel scoring brownie points while our brave men were fighting the enemy. Narendra Modi lost no time in showing his patriotism and his concern for the martyrs. The overworked and stressed police force had the additional duty of providing security to these VVIPs. The Prime Minister was visibly shaken and emotional as he addressed the nation. He said-

1.  I salute the courage and patriotism of the police officers, including the Chief of the Anti-Terror Squad, Shri Hemant Karkare and men who have laid down their lives in fighting these terrorists. I assure the country that we will attend in an urgent and serious manner to police reform so that the law and order authorities can work unitedly, effectively and in a determined manner to tackle such threats to national integrity. can he promise that people from his own party or his allies will not start questioning the integrity of the martyrs as soon as the dust settles. Inspector MC Sharma episode is still fresh in our minds. About  Police reforms, does he have the political will or the power to do so. No politician will like to dilute his powers.

2. Existing laws will be tightened to ensure that there are no loopholes available to terrorists to escape the clutches of the law very important once again but difficult to follow. Your own colleagues and allies would not be with you.

3. We will restrict the entry of suspects into the country. We will go after these individuals and organizations and make sure that every perpetrator, organizer and supporter of terror, whatever his affiliation or religion may be, pays a heavy price for these cowardly and horrific acts against our people can you stop the Bangladeshis. Your own party leaders would not let you do that. Vote bank politics sir.

This is the right time to bring about reforms and take actions wherever required because it would  be difficult even for the opportunists and vote bank crazy politicians to create hurdles in the present emotionally surcharged atmosphere. The prime minister indicated a  foreign hand and was wise to not mention Pakistan directly. We all know which ‘external linkages’ he was talking about. Although the gloves are off today with the foreign minister mentioning elements in Pakistan. Our Pakistani friends need not be touchy about it. There are rogue elements in every society and Pakistanis are themselves suffering terrorism so they can understand our pain. Terrorism in Pakistan is the side effect of cold war and general Zia’s  Afghanistan policy and there is no point denying it. Not only Indians, the whole world knows about it. We are living in a  in a dangerous neighbourhood  and this is the borderless face  of terror. The general population is not responsible for it. It is like blaming me for the wrong doings of Sadhvi Pragya just because I am a Hindu. Prime minister has acted in a mature way by reacting to Pakistan’s offer of assistance by asking the presence of ISI chief in India to help investigate the Pakistan links. Fortunately the reaction from the other side has been positive too. The ISI chief is expected soon in India. This could be a new dawn in Indo-Pak relations. I don’t mean to say that Pakistani fundamentalists will have a change of heart or India bashers in Pakistan will disappear but the sane elements in both the countries will have a say in the relations between the two countries. President Zardari seems to be more serious in his peace initiative than all-talk-no-substance Mussharaf.

Political bickering on this issue has already started. Narendra Modi and Advani Ji have lost no time in criticising the govt, although both L K Advani and Rajnath Singh have said it’s time to rise above politics. Vilasrao Deshmukh and RR Patil sound and look useless as always. We cannot trust our political class to be of any use until forced to act. What India needs now is unity. It’s high time we stop basing one’s stand on terrorism on the  basis of religious affiliation of terrorists, and criticizing or exonerating them on the basis of religion. Terrorists have no religion.

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Let The Politicians Fight The Terror

At least 60 people are reported to have been killed and more than 200 are reported injured, unidentified groups of gunmen opened fire in at least four places across south Mumbai. Hotel Oberoi and Hotel Taj – are under siege, gunmen are reported to have held the occupants hostage. A petrol pump has been blown up in Colaba by armed men. Ministers have been advised to stay indoors, why ? They should be left on the road facing the terrorists along with their colleagues in the opposition. After that they are free to  blame Hindu terrorists and Muslim terrorists.

When a certain Inspector M C Sharma of Delhi Police gives  his life fighting terrorists there are Amar Singhs, Laloo yadavs and Mulayam Yadavs casting aspersions on his integrity and making bail arrangements  of the accused. Wating for their statements. That is all they can do.

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There is a Maya and Mamta Behind Every Successful Thackeray

When Raj Thackeray and his MNS aims at North Indians for the benefit of vote bank politics it is very easy to condemn him. Udhav Thackeray and Bal Thackeray seem to be the villains when they feed their vote banks and pronounce ‘Mumbai mere baap ki hai’. It cannot be that simple. The Thackerays enjoy a lot of support and there has to be a reason for it. Divisive politics suits them but  blaming the Thackerays alone is not fair. They are using the situation to their advantage, which most  political parties do  in the name of religion and caste, the Thackerays are using the Marathi card.

Anybody living in metro can feel and see for himself what  large scale migration is doing to the cities. There is a growing aversion to migrants and one has to find the root cause behind it.  The leaders and the voters of the  states from where the maximum number of migrations takes place are  responsible for the plight of  lakhs of daily wagers and labourers who come to Delhi, Mumbai and other metros in search of a good life and live in pathetic conditions. Large scale migration and over populated cities result in law and order issues, unemployment, housing problems and many more problems. Why would anybody like to leave his house in the village and live in slums where even the basic facilities are not provided. Deprived of employment opportunities  poor people from the villages of Bihar and Eastern UP board a train to Mumbai or Delhi and with the help of local goons or politicians start living in a hutment made on government land. They find some sort of employment in the cities where lots of development is taking place and gradually get used to living there. It the responsibility of the local government to provide them with employment opportunities in the villages itself where they have their houses, families and friends. Instead  when some corporate like Ratan Tata tries to create employment, the Mamta Banerjees make sure that they are shooed away. The result is that Gujarat benefits and West Bengal loses. If people from these deprived areas migrate to Gujarat in search of employment , the Gujratis have a right to protest. Mayawati  cancelled the allotment of land for a railway coach factory in  Rae Bareli. Finally good sense prevailed and behenji winked and hopefully won’t create anymore obstacles.The factory will provide employment to 11000 workers of UP. Not only that when the factory will come into existence lots of other people will gain economically, the vegetable vendors, dhaba wallahs, tailors and others. If the project is shelved all those people will be forced to migrate to other states in search of employment where they will live in slums in conditions unsuitable for humans. They will be separated from their families for years and looked down upon in the cities where they are forced to migrate, because firstly they create pressure on the infrastructure of the host city and secondly they prey on the employment opportunities of the locals. I don’t mean to say that as Indians they have no right to live in any part of the country but mass migrations because their leaders are petty is unfortunate. People are forced to live in subhuman conditions because their leaders are busy playing dirty politics.

Hopefully in the coming elections Mayawatis and Mamta Banerjees will be taught a lesson. The problem for the voters is that most policians are like that. If not Mamta you have to vote for the Communists who have played the same game for the last so many years. The substitute for Mayawati would be Samajwadi party who are no angels. Raj Thackeray didn’t do very well in the last elections and would be rejected once again, hopefully. On an optimistic note I am sure divisive politics cannot last  long. When the voters will realise that their day to day problems can be solved but their leaders are hampering their growth and creating obstacles they would clamour for change sooner or later. Violence cannot be condoned but one has to find out why the Thackeray brand of politics is working.

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