The Raj Conundrum

23 10 2008

The Raj Thackeray’s episode has been rankling for the last few months now. The governments, both central and state, are doing precious little to address the fissures Raj is so hell bent upon on creating. The decisiveness of those who matter is again conspicuous only by its absence.

Mumbai, a truly cosmopolitan city and the melting pot of India, is under threat of becoming a regional bastion because of one man’s tryst with power. The common Marathi Manoos is safe and forward looking. Of all the people I have met of all the regions, Marathis are probably the most progressive of the Indian lot. They are intelligent, they toil hard, and they receive just rewards. Then how so suddenly are they in such a grave danger, that a taxi driver from a remote Bihar village can tear their collective lives apart.

This unsavoury and unethical game of whipping up the regional sentiment for one’s personal gain, without regard of the effect it may have on the integrity of the whole nation. Maharashtra has always been a very important part of the India. This polarizing of communities is not going to help anyone but provide Raj Thackeray his temporary political gains.

Besides, the violent nature of the party workers is a clear indication of what is going to be the mode of implementation of the party manifesto. You tow OUR party line or you suffer. Its not suprising in itself then that the first casualty of the violent elements of MNS was not an out of state Bihari or a UPite or Orriya or Jharkhandi but a hardworking Marathi citizen – Ambadas Haribhau Dharrao.

On the flip side, the polarizing effect in other parts can also be witnessed. The indications coming out of Jharkhand and how they are now ready to target Marathis, is clear indications that things have come to a head. Even though Marathis had nothing to do with it.

Even as day before Raj Thackeray was put behind the bars, his goons wreaked havoc on Mumbai and non-Marathis. And the subsequent bail today just points to the laxity of our system in curtailing influence of people who openly promote sectarian violence.

Are we seeing a Bhindranwala all over again and aren’t we again turning a blind eye, hoping that the situation would somehow resolve itself. It will not and if government does not start taking absolute decisive action against people or organization who think they can hold the society at ransom by violence, we are going to see a whole new Punjab and repercussions of this would be felt across the country.

Lets not confuse the issues. Raj Thackeray is not a visionary; if anything he just has the next elections in his sights and a vision to overturn Shiv Sena and his cousin Uddhav Thackeray.  He does not even fall in the category of “one man’s terrorist, another man’s revolutionary”. He should be held accountable for any deaths resulting from his “rule of the sword” politics and inducing violence.

In the age, where India is already dealing with region and religion based terrorism across the country, we do not need the most important state in India to become embroiled in regional violence.





Hyderabad flyover collapses.

9 09 2007

September 9th – 9:03 PM.

Image Courtesy Rediff.com.Its finally stopped raining after almost 2 hours. The lights have just come back, the cable is still down, only just connected to internet. Went out to grab some groceries, when my HR guy calls me and tells me that a part of the Panjagutta flyover (an in progress project, to link Begumpet and Jubilee Hills) had collapsed, killing at least 15 people. Unacceptable but again the life will move on without anybody being held responsible for such a tragedy.

The ambitious flyover is an 11 km project and had now been under construction for almost an year. The project had not even been completed yet. Seemingly weak stilts & heavy rainfall were the reasons for the collapse.

When recently a bridge collapsed in US on August 2nd, killing 7 people it became a national tragedy. I hope again we do not continue our knee jerk reaction and forget about this incident before finding out the exactly what & who were responsible for this glaring failure.

Image Courtesy Rediff.com.Most of our guys have checked in to say they are all fine, which is a relief.

Tragedy comes in twos – first the twin blasts in Hyderabad, where one of the blast sites was about 4-5 KMs from our apartments and now flyover collapse a section of which is barely about 700 meters from our apartments.

Godspeed Hyderabadis!

And we want ANSWERS.

***Update September 10th – 01:10 AM***

The cable is still down most probably because my cable provider’s office is in Panjagutta and some lines may have been effected due to the collapse, thats the only explainable reason. However, was able to see the story on IBN Live. The death toll mounts to 30. This is really turning out to be worse than I had expected. Trying to catch news on NDTV 24×7 but there is a big discussion going on over being overweight.

***Updates 11:25 AM***

The death toll has been lowered to two now, three by some accounts.

***Updates 03:40 PM***

Andhra Pradesh Government has filed a case against the Gammon Constructions India and suspended 3 government officials. It has setup an inquiry which has been asked to submit a report in 3 days. They have been quick to act against the private company and the administrative, what they have not addressed up to now is what of the gross administrative neglect and failure of its ranks and files. Would we see a politician taking blame? I think not! In India, the polity is virtually never wrong, its only failure all around them.

The casualty reports are now at 4 dead and 10 injured. Government has announced a 5 Lac compensation for those dead and 20 K for the injured.





Insensitive journalism

5 09 2007

Are we celebrating this week as the week of insensitive journalism or what?

Geetanjali Nagpal - targetted by crass journalism [Image from TOI]Just witnessed the main story running on Star News channel. A former model Geetanjali Nagpal reduced to begging on the streets of Delhi allegedly owing to her drug habits. The news does warrant a look and does indeed need to be brought to notice of masses for social awareness and drug abuse stories but splashing as the main story is taking it too far. Further still, if you were to see the way the lady was made to look like an item on show by the channel, you couldn’t help wondering how insensitive the reporting has become. And when you hear how Star News was first on scene to contact the model, how Star News tried helping the model and how the model was *taken* in a STAR NEWS car to different places – it enrages your senses thinking “all this for creating a news story”. For media the charity obviously begins on the public address system. I don’t think they ever heard the saying that goes “Do good and forget it”.

And this comes on the heels of a recent Times of India photo clip. This was a photo of two planes from the Polish Zelazny Aerobatics team colliding mid-air, killing both the pilots in the crash. The least TOI team of smug b******s could have done is to not have any title to such a pic. Instead they chose to have a completely insensitive smart ass title – “Crash Course.”

Zelazny Plane Crash - AP.

Why can’t our journalist and editors just be a bit more sensitive of what they are reporting? Why do they leave their brains at home when they talk on their news subjects?