The disagreements between the Shiv Sena and the BJP in Mumbai continues to illuminate and educate Mumbai’s long suffering citizens. The latest example was a poster displaying Prime Minister Modi bowing before the late Bal Thackeray. The poster, which came up near Sena headquarters, has photographs of several senior political leaders including President Pranab Mukherjee with the late Sena chief and it sternly reminded the present BJP government to not to forget that “their proud necks bowed before Balasaheb’s feet”. Later Shiv Sena leaders took all too familiar stand that it was a spontaneous act and the party had no role to play in it. The poster has since been removed and the matter stands seemingly resolved even as the bitter after taste remains. In fact, the Sena’s Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park saw a full house and some more digs by Uddhav Thackeray on the BJP and Modi himself, related to Dadri and the price of essential commodities. BJP leaders are yet to react to the comments.
In the meanwhile, the latest victims to come under the Sena scanner are gorgeous looking Pakistani actors Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, whose films the Sena say they will not allow to be released. And sadly, before we know our own Shahrukh Khan, who is often the target for Sena ire, will be dragged into it as Mahira will debut in his film. Real life or reel life, it’s all the same to the Sena’s social police.
For long, real estate builders in Mumbai have been the target of consumers, for delayed building projects and rules that favour the builders. However, the suicide of a prominent builder in Thane has brought them some sympathy and shown up systemic corruption and harassment by officials and politicians. Suraj Parmar, 46, director of the Cosmos Group, shot himself with his revolver after writing a suicide note running into more than 10 pages. According to reports, he had mentioned names in the note but struck them off later. He has spoken of bribes, rate card for bribes, stop work notices and repeated stalling of projects by authorities. Reports also indicate that he had an Income Tax Department notice to pay Rs 50 crore. However, his family maintains that an income tax notice would not drive him to a suicide considering the man was worth a few hundred crores. The builder community has of course come out in full support. What remains to be seen is if the cops investigating this case will actually book high ranking officials for abetment to suicide.
Eight persons, seven of whom were engineering students, were killed in a fire at the restaurant where they were eating their lunch in Kurla area of the city. Their deaths, mourned by parents, fellow students, and scores of citizens has prompted the civic body to start inspection drives and resulted in temporary closure of several restaurants which flout fire and safety norms, including popular ones such as Mainland China. The owner of the said hotel Kinara was arrested after protests by civic activists along with families and students. The locals have complained of foul stench coming from the now-sealed premises of the hotel. The back stories of each of the student, who died in the fire, are heart-wrenching and there really isn’t any way to explain the death of these young boys and a girl and their dreams because their regular hangout did not have fire safety equipment. It took their tragic deaths to get the inspection drive in motion, but how long will it continue is the big question.
The Drought Defined
Finally the official declaration has started. The state government has declared drought in 14, 708 out of 44,053 villages of the state, more than 8522 in Marathwada alone. And while all the political parties fight over religious non-issues and Indo-Pak singers and actors and players, men and women in rural Maharashtra — mostly of all religions and communities — are trying to figure out a way to survive till next monsoon and further. And to add insult to the injury, the rates of pulses, toor dal or arhar have shot through the roof along with vegetables (fruits had disappeared from common diet a long time ago, except bananas and papaya) through the festive season. The government has now prohibited hoarding of any pulses and has also started imports. However, we are yet to see any effect of that. And yes the question being asked is: Kya is Diwali logonka diwala niklega bhai?
While no one may care about this election outside of the much loved Parsi community, the election of the trustees of the Bombay Parsi Panchayat is an important development for Mumbai nonetheless. The body not only controls vast property but also has a role to play in several issues that bother the community, from decline in population, inclusion of Parsi women wedded outside of the community, housing for all, etc. Currently the Parsi population is estimated to 40,000 in the city, the largest in the country and the Panchayat controls about 4500 flats spread over Parsi colonies. With an integral role to play in the city’s development since British Rule, they also control and monitor large tracts of lands as well as institutions and might still have an important role to play in how the city’s development unfolds.
And after several rounds of arguments in courts and protests at Azad Maidan, it is still not clear if dance bars, which came to become the symbol of Mumbai’s slightly sleazy, gangstery life in the past two decades, will open or not. The Supreme Court allowed dance bars to function with rules and regulation in place, saying that it was upholding of basic right to livelihood for the bar dancers. However, the state government refused to follow the order and grant licenses. The present government, which may disagree with the previous government on all other issues, has appealed to the Supreme Court urging for the ban to continue. As if they have not managed to upset people by all the bans, the present appeal in the Supreme Court will only add fuel to fire. And push the already cornered, mostly uneducated but hard-working dancers over to the far worse profession of commercial sex-workers.
In the meanwhile, iconic Falguni Pathak has concluded her super famous Navratri nights at Ghatkopar. The crowds, dressed in the fanciest of ghagra-cholis, in a strange kind of way, reminded one of a rock show gone Gujju. Also did you see the picture of our CM at the RSS rally in khaki shorts? Just asking.
(source : Outlook)