Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oye Meera...

Guys. This appeared in Bombay Times yesterday. As you can tell, I have been writing and writing and writing over the past few days. But I did manage a short break in Alibag, where I watched 'Paris' starring Juliette Binoche. What a terrific film. A tad too long, with several parallel tracks. But who cares?? Baudelaire and Voltaire made the City of Lights look even more luminous. The dialogues were so quintessentially french ( complex and over-intellectualised), you want to hang on to every word and sentiment. Pink champagne heightened the experience, i can assure you! I also went back for more lamb confit at what is rapidly becoming my favourite deli for a late saturday afternoon lunch (Indigo). 'Tis the season for crabs, and my husband ordered a beauty ( female, of course - smaller but tastier). The previous night at the beauteous Mandira's artistic home, we'd enjoyed a Bong speciality called 'Bhappa dohi," with mango. 'Bhappa' means steamed, and 'Dohi' is dahi. I haven't done too badly in the food department. Well ... writing needs the right nourishment. That is my excuse - what's yours?
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Read my lips : No more compromises. No more bhashans! Only action. It is fascinating to monitor just how pro-active the next election is getting, especially in a political slumbertown called South Mumbai, where the only party worth supporting has traditionally been the cocktail party. Suddenly, South Mumbaiwallahs have woken up to their ‘duties’ and ‘responsibilities’, which is a good thing. And the one binding factor in this newly acquired social conscience is 26\11. That horrific experience has woken us up from our customary stupor and caused alarm bells to ring – no, clang! Qasab is not a phantom. He exists. He is right here. And the unspoken fear is that there may be another attack, another Qasab. How ready are we to deal with it?? South Mumbai is looking for a candidate who can lead from the front, and be a visible, credible individual the people can trust. To find such a candidate is not going to be easy, given that most of the usual suspects are compromised and\or corrupt. Everybody knows as much. In the past this may not have been an issue. Today, it is. After all, it’s a matter of the city’s survival. And so many months after the attack, we still don’t know who is in charge. Nor are we aware of a cogent disaster management plan - does it actually exist? The scenario remains grim. We may have outstanding individual officers performing a herculean job, but when the police force itself is divided and demoralized ( hello … haven’t you been following the DGP shenanigans?? Now, we have two guys for the same job, but with conveniently divided responsibilities – one manages the elections, the other manages security!). Our chief minister is largely invisible – very few people have access to him. The people of Maharashtra knew his father, but nobody knows this Chavan! All this is a sorry indicator of a headless state, with non-stop buck passing and no decisions. In such a chaotic scenario, we get a few brave souls who decide, ‘Enough is enough’, and take the plunge regardless, knowing full well the odds are stacked against them.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Meera Sanyal – as South Mumbai as you can get. A Sydenham college girl, a Malabar Hill Memsaab , who made a name for herself in banking circles. Now that her hat is in the ring, let’s see how her campaign shapes up in the coming weeks. Of course, ‘people like us’ will lend the lady all the support she needs. But this is not about tea and crumpets, as I’m certain Meera herself knows. She will be thrown into a vicious jungle, slugging it out with slumdogs and slumlords, competing against money and muscle power. She says she will put herself on the line, spend no more than the stipulated 25 lakhs on her campaign, and go flat out to convince the voter she’s the one. Good luck to Meera. It is one thing to convince corporate India, but how does someone with her credentials win over the ‘other’ voters?? The ones who play hardball with candidates and extract whatever they can during elections – mainly money. But also, more permanent perks that legitimize their lives. How will Meera battle the dalals and criminals who ruthlessly cut deals with political parties, intimidate and threaten those who refuse to toe the line? I’m sure Meera has done her homework and is fully aware of the murky side of netagiri. Mumbai is not New York. And South Mumbai, for all its aspirations and pretensions has been converted into a huge slum, ready to compete with Dharavi in terms of numbers. It is a dangerous and complex constituency, with thousands and thousands of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants running several rackets that are hard to crack. Geeta Nagar and Moorti Nagar are virtually inaccessible to ‘outsiders’. Even the cops think twice before venturing into those narrow gullies. And this is but one such area Meera will have to visit. Convincing Cuffe Parade residents won’t be difficult. But how many of them will bother to turn up on D-Day? My guess is this year will see a respectable turnout. But that won’t swing the vote in Meera’s favour either. Even so, the lady must be congratulated for following her conscience and doing the right thing. She has taken the lead in a meaningful and constructive way. The rest is up to us. Are we ready to do our bit??
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Shouldn’t the evil Tantrik and rapist father of the two tormented girls hang for their crimes? And what about the devilish, unrepentant mother? Guess what?? Your views or my views have zero value in a case like this, since incest is barely recognized as a major offence in India. The cops have an uphill task ahead of them. Chances are the three perpetrators will receive a light sentence as and when the trial begins. The media will lose interest. And those two young girls will be doomed to lead a life of shame and sorrow.Sad.

29 comments:

hanmi reddy said...

Will SRK Zinta add Bollywood+ Cricket (both are IPL franchisees) add to the Congress Party's hai Ho!

neeraj_only said...

it's election time and so many stories to read about election.I am closely following your blog for getting political "gyan".

Good to know Meera Sanyal trying her luck in this general election.If only all of us try to contribute towards strengthening of democracy, we can take india forward.And fighting in election is like getting into system from where "chage-comes-easily".Let democracy become stronger....

narendra shenoy said...

You know, you are a brilliant political commentator. And that is a stark, depressing and painfully truthful piece you have written. I don't know Meera personally, but she does appear to be a babe in the wood. Sure hope she don't get hurt.

You are right of course. (You are ALWAYS right! Are you related to my wife?) Meera needs to be congratulated on her pluck and her sense of duty. We need more of them

Sameer said...

Good to read about Mira Sanyal, although don't know much about her. But it's good that someone with some intelligence, right conscious and clean history (presumably as you wrote about her) is up for the elections. Gone are the days when netas were there for the well being of a common person. Hopefully new, young and fresh cadre of politicians will shape the future of India. Afterall, being the youngest nation in the world, who will know the nerve of the majority of the youngsters than these young politicians. Let education, strong moral values and progressive mindsets prevail in politics. Then only these 'tantriks' and so called 'sanskriti rakshaks' will shut up. It was so sad to read about the rapist father and the tantrik. Unfortunately such tantriks are plentiful in India and at times they come in the form of educated human beings as well. My gay friend in his recent trip to Pune, India was advised by a psychiatrist to go through shock treatment to 'get cured' for his homosexuality. This lad was savvy enough to know what is right and what is wrong and educated the doctor about WHO and American Psychiatrist Association's viewpoints on homosexuality. But what about similar incidences in rural parts of India where there is so much ignorance and prejudice.

narendra shenoy said...

And that rapist dad-rapist tantrik thing was SICK. They deserve to be shot! And we'll probably see them getting light sentences and being forgotten once media attention is off them. A cop I know told me that such people are usually dealt with very roughly by other prisoners. I can only hope that that rough treatment involves surgical operations of an intimate nature.

Sidhusaaheb said...

Well, it sounds like a good beginning to me...Mallika Sarabhai and now Mira Sanyal...

Winning may not be easy though...as you've mentioned. I recall how Dr. Manmohan Singh was defeated in Delhi by the BJP's V. K. Malhotra, despite being campaigned for by prominent people like Khushwant Singh.

As for the rapists, they are going to be tried for rape and criminal intimidation, I suppose.

Sidhusaaheb said...

BTW, I don't think that capital punishment is the worst possible form of punishment that any one can get. In my opinion, it is solitary confinement for life.

Amol said...

I am surprised at your comments.. If you lost hope for justice for those girls then I dont think anyone can help them.. you have some authority / ability that you should use for them and gather some support... is this being ignored because its difficult? .. but isn't every social cause difficult to execute? .. People like you can take the first step and make common guys/girls follow you to push for justice.. if you give up its like entire society is giving up on this.. dont do it. FIGHT if you think its their RIGHT.

Amol

introspection said...

1. Great news. Go Meera Sanyal...yay! If one shows the way others will follow.
2. Amol is right. YOU can do it!! if not no one else can.
What's more you can shake them up for incest. Use the media for good purpose.

muthu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
muthu said...

When people are exposed to something dirty, at first they are appalled and disgusted. They swear to themselves that they will make a change at least a dent but when they are exposed to the same over a period of time, they accept it as a fact of life and go on with their own lives. The same has happened in the case of politics and in the scene of crime like incest where the criminals often get to go scot free ....

Salil said...

Thank you, Shobhaa, for pointing out the challenges ahead for Meera. And folks, for those interested in Meera Sanyal's candidacy and ideas, please join her group on Facebook - Meera Sanyal for South Mumbai. Her website is www.meerahsanyal.in. Thank you.

Salil

agnikula said...

Shobha, I read somewhere that your husband is an expert in Indic and Vedic texts.
Do you share his interests?
If so, could you discuss them?

Serendipity said...

I dont know who Im more disgusted with - the Tantrik, Father or the Mother.

The mother i think. Men can be overcome with sexual perversions and not care ...but how could a mother stand by and watch?

Even death is too easy a sentence for these guys.

What takes the cake is the Tantriks offer of making his son marry the younger daughter since the older one is 'used'

I would really really want to explode into a volley of expletives right now, but cant find any befitting these odious men.

athi said...

Its rly sad dat even educated and well off people have to got thru dis crap. Wen i hear stuf lik dis I start wondering wedr ppl r sick or insensitive? Wonder if v r providing d right kind of social awareness thru education, wich is obviously y v all go thru d education system. So is d system at fault or r sum ppl r simply born psychos?

Uma said...

your posts are kicking! I am one of your worst critics and I have always looked forward to being silenced. Look forward to more

*Aham* said...

i loved the fact that meera is standing up for the elections. but i saw her on TV and i find her intellegent but not street smart.. something thats needed in todays politicos.

also, she is pitted against milind Deora, and milind has the support of the youth. post 26/11 even more... because of his candid statements against the political system.

I only wish, meera and milind were not fighting against each other... and both won.

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regarding teh mira road case. people need to understand that incest is a reality. no family is 100% safe. and also that boys are suceptable to abuse as much or more than women. I was 7 when i was sexually abused by my maternal uncle and was continuesly abused till i was 18. he had threatened me, beaten me... and i didnt know how to say "no". and when i did, i hated myself for allowing him to do that.

When i told this to my mom, she thought it happened only to girls, when i told it to dad, he again didnt know what to do.. and he hushed the issue in a fit of anger. I spoke to just one friend who was my confidant, he took financial and emotional advantage.

i wished i died, and i tried. but im living.. because of the help that i got from my dog. a dog that listened to me. and licked my tears, literarly, i started speaking for animals. I found a reason to live... and then in no time I then started speaking for myself. I came to terms with my sex abuse. And when i thought it was the end, i had a tougher issue to deal with, from Asexuality (i hated the four letter word for obvious reasons) to sexuality... and that too sexuality thats considered a taboo.

I now spoke openly on NDTV. Some friends called up to tell me that i was brave, some thought that i shouldnt be speaking up... some kith and kin thought that i brought shame...

but when cases like these come up.. it becomes extremely important for people to speak up about it so that it doesnt end uyp becoming one stray incidence in one corner of the world.

I cried quite a lot after i did that. i didnt come onlibe for a while... remembering those days, isnt a pleasent feeling... but im back.. back again, speaking about issues that matter to me... openly, loudly, clearly.

http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/video/video.aspx?id=63212

http://www.tubaah.com/details.php?video_id=63212

Sameer said...

Aham,

Thanks for sharing with us your story. I think it takes lot of courage and bravery to face the world with the realities of your life and share who you are. Kudos to you and your spirits. Keep it up.

athi said...

Wow Aham! Dat ws rly brave of u. I guess I was living in a world where I thought only gals were abused.

nihilistwaffles said...

Meera Sanyal is the kind of message corporate India needs to send out. As a 25 year old indian woman desperately trying to retain some faith in our current political (and electoral) process. I am equally surprised about how little women's issues account for in the current brouhaha.
Whether she wins or not, she will manage to eat into votes for both her "powerful" competitors. That in itself will be a good start.
Capital punishment in itself is a relatively easy let off though I am almost tempted to severe from liberal stand and personally dismember these violent and vile people. I would second the idea of solitary confinement.
This is why


Also in all my years of sleeping through philo classes, I always find the idea of French thought as over-intellectualized slightly funny. I thought Germans were the rightfully deserving of that title. :)

Anon said...

Aham remember one thing really clear it had nothing to do with you! You were a victim of circumstances vicious as they were. Hats off to you for your courage in speaking out its truly admirable! Having never experienced anything remotely so awful I can only imagine how terrible it must have been. And yes dogs are fab counsellors I use mine to dry my tears it works like a charm. I wish there was something we could do for these 2 innocent girls. The Judicial system should be made aware that these 2 innocent girls are horribly scarred forever! It just makes me appreciate how fortunate I am but leaves a burning desire to do something to help. Any ideas?

Hemal Shah said...

It is a change which is coming in Mumbai. And Meera contesting comes as a surprise since she is doing very good in her corporate life.

It needs to be seen that how she will fare. She should be the popular choice.

sathish vasudevan said...

india will be in good health when mumbai is in good health,yes and those two girls life will be og shame , sorrow and sad,,,

cmpershad said...

"I haven't done too badly in the food department."
So, the next writing on recepies-:)

Anil Kumar said...

The worst kind of crimes are erupting against women and they have increased many folds in last 10 years.

THE SIMPLE REASON BEHIND THIS IS OUR NEWS MEDIA...be it NDTV, Star News, Aajtak or any other news channel.

A man is a stray animal by nature unless he is taught the family values. But just look at our news media on TV. It's never short of repeatedly showing the bollywood actresses in provocative dresses...discussions on which bollywood actor has kissed how many bollywood babes...And even who lost their virginity at what age. This is all being shown on TV every single day and 24X7.

This creates havoc in the mind of even those MEN who were brought up with family values and are taught to respect women. After watching this day in and day out even a descent man would think about experimenting and his fantasies will be sky high. And, at the back of his mind is, that he can get away from law, which is true 99% of times.

The atmosphere created by news media gives a platform for such heinous crimes.
OUR NEWS CHANNELS ARE DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN AND INDIRECTLY HELPING THOSE IN FLESH TRADE BY CREATING A SOCIETY WHICH IS MORALLY BANKRUPT.

Everyone can see the fruits of media's labour in the form of tonnes of crimes and specially RAPE. Now there are lots of rapists who are school teachers, priests in temple , group of young men forcibly taking women into their cars in broad daylight, their own fathers and so on....

90% of news in Indian electronic media and print media is related to Bollywood, fashion designers, Cricketers and BJP/Congress fight over who is more communal since it's election time. JOURNALISTS DO NAKED DANCE EVERY SINGLE DAY IN FRONT OF TV WHICH AFFECTS MASSES.

This educated class of India who are in News business are making it very difficult for an average person to raise his/her kids in a healthy environment. People who have money can afford to protect their kids most of the times. But those who have to do the so called menial jobs have to leave their KIDS at home and at the mercy of fate. The result of this NAKED FILTH BEAMED BY TV CHANNELS HAVE CREATED A MONSTER SOCIETY IN INDIA AND NOT EVEN FAMOUS JOURNALISTS ARE OPPOSING IT BECAUSE IT IS VERY CONVENIENT TO THEM.

If the role model of today's girl is Aishwarya Rai Bachhan who didn't hesitate to give kissing scenes just before her marriage and if a society thinks that it's OK and "sub chalta hai" then don't shed crocodile tears when crimes occur against women.

Those in the MEDIA ARE HAVING A GREAT TIME AS THEY ARE NEVER SHORT OF THESE STORIES AND REPORT ON THE CRIMES AND GIVE SHOULDERS TO THESE UNFORTUNATE VICTIMS. THE TRUTH IS THAT THE SAME MEDIA IS CONSTANTLY CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT AND A SOCIETY TO CREATE NEW VICTIMS EVERY SINGLE DAY.

fingerchips said...

Good Luck, Ms. Sanyal!
Congratulations on this brave effort.

Manish Batavia

varun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maha said...

great!! ...

Work from home India

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