Archive for the ‘Controversies’ Category

The Gateway of India Controversey

The Gateway of India, is Bombay, and arguably India’s photographic icon. It is on postcards what the Statue of Liberty is to the USA and the Sydney Opera House to Australia. However this magnificient structure has been in the news from time to time because of all the wrong reasons. The latest controversey is about the proposed plans to redesign the public space outside the Gateway.

Meanwhile, the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has insisted that it was not a mere “tree-cutting” organisation and would go all out to protect as much green cover as possible in the Grade I heritage precinct.[link]

The INTACH team is headed by Ar. P. K. Das and they propose to re-landscape the area and create a more cohesive ambience befitting the structure. However this means the removal of 115 trees. And the Green brigade is up in arms.

Meanwhile, the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has insisted that it was not a mere “tree-cutting” organisation and would go all out to protect as much green cover as possible in the Grade I heritage precinct.


Shiv Sena bullies Big Bazaar

big_bazaar.jpgThe Shiv Sena, it seems has resorted to petty bullying, now that it is all but obliterated in the political world. Its leader Bal Thakeray, “toothless tiger” as he is these days, needs to find real issues for his followers.

On Sunday

Shiv Sainiks affiliated to the Bharatiya Kamagar Sena (BKS) turned up in strength at Big Bazaar’s Mulund, Lower Parel and Kandivli stores to protest the sacking of 120 Marathi employees. [ Link ]

However the same article continues

Kishore Biyani, MD of Pantaloons, said, “Shiv Sena unnecessarily caused inconvenience to the customers and did not let them shop. Our customers are very important to us. The incident has maligned the reputation of Big Bazaar.”

“The 120 employees who are protesting were to be absorbed at the new Big Bazaar store at Raghuleela, Vashi. The store opening was delayed as the builder has not received the mandatory NOC from the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation.

We could not afford to keep so many employees at one store. We had to serve them termination notices,” said Atul Takle, head spokesperson, Pantaloon.

It is at times like this, that I wish we could have a delete button in politics and society, and automatically empty the “recycle bin”. How easy it would be to purge the Shiv Sainiks, and their ilk.

Photo credit The Hindu

Viewers choice or Thackeray’s Choice ??

Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray has said that if he feels that the film Black Friday glorifies Dawood, then he’ll shut it down.

The controversial film on the 1993 Mumbai blasts had finally made it to the theatres two weeks ago.

“I haven’t seen the film. I plan to watch it, and if it glorifies Dawood, I will make sure the film is never shown again,” said Bal Thackeray, Leader, Shiv Sena.

But the threat has shocked the makers of the film. They say that they had already screened the film for the Thackeray family and even accepted the cuts that they had asked for.

Moreover, they say that there’s no attempt to glorify Dawood or the underworld, but instead it is a graphic depiction of the city’s darkest hours – the 1992 riots, communal polarization and the coming together of the underworld to trigger a series of blasts on March 12, 1993.

However, Bal Thackeray’s threat is just the latest in a line of setbacks for the film, which has already faced legal censorship.

The film’s release was earlier stopped for two years by the court hearing the 1993 blasts case. The reason for that was that the film could bias public opinion.

Now that the trial is over and the film is out, it appears that it has run into Mumbai’s moral censors. I feel its better to leave the choice to the viewers. After all they are the once who pay for the tickets. For once why cant these politicians look into something which really requires their attention ? Poverty, Disease, Unemployment, Pollution, Gov officials who accept bribe and so on… The list is endless.. Mr Thackeray are u listening ??

Punishment for the Molesters

Just a couple of days ago, Saakshi wrote about a disturbing trend in Mumbai. Women are groped and molested in public and this all in Mumbai, one of the safest cities in India.

Since that day there have been more incidents and more people have come forward. The police have gone on the defensive and are scrambling to get their act together and arrest the people that committed the crime.

However my question to you all readers is…

If you are in the crowd and see this happening….what would you do ?

Would you stick your neck out and try to protect the woman ? This at the risk of losing limb and life at the hands of an irate mob ?

Or would you try to record the incident on your cell and hope that it can be used to nab the culprits ?

And finally, if the culprits are nabbed, what is the proper punishment for them.

I personally think that the few in the crowd who resort to such antics should be beaten up by the majority of the bystanders. Public beating and breaking a few bones will do them good for a lifetime.

And if the public does not do its duty, then medically castrate them. That would solve a problem for a lifetime.

OK, the last suggestion is off the top, but that’s just because I am so f#$%ing angry at the series of incidents happening in my own city.

Jessica Lall’s Murder Trail : A Sister’s Fight Against The System

“We have no hesitation in holding that Manu Sharma is guilty of an offence under Section 302 (murder) of IPC for having committed the murder of Jessica Lall … as also under Section 27 of the Arms Act,” said a division bench comprising Justice RS Sodhi and Justice PK Bhashin.

Today I feel proud. I am proud of being an Indian woman.

It’s been nearly 8 years of constant struggle against the judicial system, emotional tussle with one’s self and a strong determination for a loved one by Sabrina Lall to accomplish her objective. She has finally brought justice to her dead sister and poignant peace to her departed parents.

In today’s society where blood relations are treated as nothing more than some genetic bonding, it is heartwarming to see someone like Sabrina Lall; who practically gave up so many years of her youth, all in an effort to bring her sister’s murderer punished and put behind bars.

Though the media and the court hailed the star witness Bina Ramani for her testimony against the accused, not taking any credit from here – for me the only one who deserves praises and accolades is Sabrina Lall.



It was shocking to read in today’s Mumbai Mirror, how Balaji Films ‘admits’ talents to the world of Miniscreen. Confusion fogged my mind and I just doubted, whether I’m still in 2006 or gone back to the Neanderthal age suddenly in a fine morning!

When I came to know that Mumbai is the setting of this fake-favoritism, I felt a real senselessness all through my wits.

First of all I prefer serials at the death of my likings and now another reason that provoked me to put forward my emotions here.

If you have those two words called Common Sense, you must have already realized the wacky, fanatic experiences of the serials, baked out of these kinds of soap production houses. What else are there, other than the extremities of religious duplicities, superstitions and the clear sale of Sexual Overdoses, all neatly packed behind fanciful family scenarios? Yes, now there is one more thing, religious impeachment in terms of career and business!

“Where In Bombay Do You Stay?”

errr, i live (not stay) in south bombay, thanks for asking.

it might be patently obvious even to those who ask the right questions for the first 5 minutes of a conversation. fine. i’ll admit it myself: i talk the talk, i live in a skyscraper, i went to “those schools”, i went abroad to get an undergraduate degree, i strive to speak impeccable english (and most often succeed in doing so), and i truly consider going anywhere beyond parel an anxiety-fraught schlep that in many cases is not worth the travel time.

but being “from somewhere” is really not a crime, people. especially not south bombay. and don’t make me feel guilty or naive for it. it’s the life i know, the life i am comfortable with, and you cannot tell me that the “true bombay” is in the burbs, and that i should make the trek out more often, because

1) who the heck are you to define the “real” city? every window in a metropolis has a story, so don’t presume to tell me that another story is more valid than mine, or another area more “real”
2) have you SEEN the roads in andheri? and the traffic? why would i subject myself to this kind of torture on a more regular basis?!
3) infiniti mall is really. not. that. impressive. landmark books in infiniti mall, yes, resoundingly so, but infiniti mall itself? errr…. no.
4) even though bombay may be a safer city than most others for women, i still don’t feel comfortable travelling on trains after dark.
5) the buses have cockroaches (i speak specifically of the A-2 A/C bus, which although it is a great service, is not one i could use every day), and dude, seijo and the soul dish has cockroaches, too.
6) the dust i’m exposed to when i travel to the burbs ruins my skin. no, i’m not saying all of south bombay breathes clean air and drinks ambrosia out of pearl cups, but you have to admit — it’s simple science — that being out on the road for longer exposes you to traffic fumes for a longer period. (and no, the A/C bus is not my sole method of transportation, so it is a matter of concern to me.)
7) who’s to say that with quality spots like the bombay gymkhana, salt water grill, indigo, moshe’s, barista, bade miyan, ming palace, regal, basilico, colaba causeway, the tasting room, trattoria, nature’s basket, gaylord, theobroma, cafe churchill, inox, pizzeria uno (or whatever they’re calling it these days), mondy’s, the ghetto, new yorker and cream center, bachelor’s, prive, polly esther’s, noodle bar, atria mall, and the new china garden (dim sum, yum yum!) to choose from, i really *need* to go exploring?

i’m quite happy where i am, thank you — and be it said, in public now, that i don’t feel the need to apologize either for my origins or for my choices.

was northwest airlines wrong?

No, they were not.

I’m referring to the group of Mumbai-local Muslim men that were detained on a Northwest flight bound for Mumbai from Amsterdam after certain passengers (yes, even Indian ones) and crew noticed “suspicious behavior.” The press has been up in arms about the alleged maltreatment and clear religious insensitivity towards the group – but I believe what Northwest did was justified. Here is why.

First, we must try our best to separate two completely distinct issues here, two issues which beg to be combined, but for all logical purposes, cannot be. The first: is religious profiling an effective means of preventing certain acts of “terrorism” today; and the second: if there is a religious pattern amongst certain groups that are lashing out, why is that so?

The second question here is a complex undertaking, but it basically boils down to politics, imperialism (or, the money culture, as I like to call it), clashing idealogies, and a struggle over natural resources. These elements shape foreign policies around the world, and whether its the West’s pursuit of fossil fuels to feed their economic engines, America’s support of Israel, anyone’s support of America, or India and Pakistan fighting over a piece of land, certain injustices are undoubtedly done. In today’s world, it just so happens that those injustices are being disporportionately suffered by Islamic countries.

Now back to our first question. Did Northwest religiously profile those men? Of course they did. Is that wrong? Not today. Maybe tomorrow, next month, or next year, but today, it is a ground reality that there is a pattern amongst those who commit localized terrorist attacks (I say localized because I’m almost sure I will get a comment pointing out that countries like America and Israel are large “terrorist” organizations themselves – again, I believe that argument is more appropriate to bring up with respects to the first question above). If the last dozen major localized terror attacks were committed by one-eyed teenage albinos, my guess is any slightly suspicious behavior on any flight would garner the same reaction. This wasn’t a personal attack against the Muslim faith – it was simply an acknowledgement and recognition of an established pattern (of course, there are those that take advantage of this to demonize the entire faith, which is nothing short of sickening).

The Mumbai press should have focused their energy on helping us understand the issues behind the first question I have posted here, and not waste time triviliazing and sensationalizing issues which do not help us with a long-term solution.

A place for the dead

There may be just a few thousands in number and is feared that they are heading towards extinction in India. But they have managed to keep a close knit community where the outsiders have not been welcomed so happily. I am talking about the small parsis community in mumbai. Usually known to keep themselves out of controvorsies, the photographs of naked, rotting bodies piling up and a recently-shot 15-minute video of the same at the Towers of Silence and has a created a huge furore in the Parsi community.

These pictures were taken by a 65-year-old parsis women who was apphaled to hear frm the khandiyas (traditional bier bearers who carry bodies to the towers and the only men who are allowed entry into the wells) that her mother who recently passed away will be rottening away for more than a year or so with no vultures to be found in the heart of the city. And inorder to provide justice to those have crossed over to the other world Ms Dhun risked the comunities wrath to spread awareness that the old practice of disposing of the dead wherein the deceased are left in the wells for the vultures to pick on has failed and that the community needs to also adopt other ways to give their dead a dignified burial.
Read more here

Flyover or Tunnel – That’s The Question

With Peddar Road Residents’ Association (PRRA) strongly opposing a flyover there. This flyover was proposed to relieve the traffic conditions and improve vehicular flow. Several powerful celebrities including Lata Mangeshkar lent their voice (pun intended) to the campaign against the flyover.

Now, PRRA has proposed an alternative plan comprising of tunnels. Mumbai Mirror has published a story on this proposal.

Tunnel Vision

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