Sunday, April 5, 2009

Who's afraid of Meera Sanyal... ?

Guys.... here it is - I have received a bunch of interesting reactions to the column. Most of them positive. Most, from 'People Like Us'. Mallika Sarabhai sent a text msg inviting me to go on the campaign trail with her. I plan to do just that when I visit Ahemedabad to deliver the 'Shaping Young Minds' lecture on the 18th of April. Meera's own blog, which is like a daily campaign diary has a sweet and touching reference to my late father ... God rest his soul in peace.

More in a fresh post.... perhaps an hour or two from now. Inshallah...

*
Who’s afraid of Meera Sanyal….?

To that tantalizing question – ‘Who’s afraid of Meera Sanyal?” – there is only one answer : nobody. As of now, Meera Sanyal is an unknown entity . She does not belong to any political party or camp. She has not roped in a Bollywood star to campaign for her. She is not the daughter or daughter-in-law of a powerful family. She does not possess crores and crores of ill -gotten wealth. There is no godfather or godmother lurking in the shadows to back her. And the biggest strike against her candidancy ? She cannot boast of a criminal record. She has never been booked for murder or the possession of guns. So, who the hell is she? And why has she decided to contest the elections, that too from a high profile constituency ( South Mumbai)? Meera Sanyal is like you and me. An educated , professional with a conscience. Someone who wants to put her hard- earned money where her mouth is. Someone who is willing to go beyond drawing room, arm chair politics and say, “ This is who I am. This is what I stand for. As a citizen of India, I am entitled to exercise my fundamental right to contest the elections – and hello!! I am doing just that… regardless of the outcome.” Brave woman. Why brave? Meera is aware it’s a vicious jungle out there…. and here she is, a prim and propah Malabar Hill Memsaab, willing to get her hands dirty in a no- holds- barred contest where her rivals have more money, more clout, more everything. Except the one thing that counts or ought to – the right motive.
Why would someone as successful as Meera ( she’s a well regarded banker) want to chuck up a super career and jump into the political cess pool? And what chance does she have of winning? The answer to the first question comes from Meera herself, who says it was the 26\11 terror attacks on Mumbai that triggered something in her. Something compelling enough to arrive at this important decision. It has become a cliché to say , ‘Become the change you want to see..’ but in Meera’s case, it seems to be the only reason she has taken the plunge. Has she thought it through? Does she know what she has put her foot into? Let us give some credit to this intelligent person. And let us acknowledge the obvious fact that Meera is now in the system for better or worse. As an independent candidate, she may not have the same advantages as her mighty rivals. But as a banker, I’m sure she knows how to hedge her bets. It is not about winning. It is about making a point. “ People Like Us’’ are very comfortable with a Meera. She speaks English with the right accent, quotes Toffler, wears pearls and likes her tofu. ‘We’ are comfortable with Meera. Our drawing rooms are always open to people like her. But the harsh reality suggests ‘we’ no longer count. Nobody really gives a damn for ‘us’. Which makes Meera’s decision all the more praise worthy. Her supporters ( steadily growing), point out that unless ‘People Like Us’ get into politics, India is doomed. It is one way of consoling ourselves, knowing full well the mood of the nation has changed. Meera is earnestly talking about public transport and security issues, in a city that is taken over by vested interests and distant ‘Bhais’ who call the shots. Meera will have to wade into South Mumbai’s filthy shanty towns and convince those vote-for-note fellows that she’s their woman. Of course, she’ll have to lose those pearls first. And switch to earthy, home spun salwar kameezes before that. But how on earth will she communicate her objectives to a constituency that has been spoilt and nurtured over decades by politicos with pockets as deep as the ocean?
Meera wants to be taken seriously. She deserves to be taken seriously. Meera is an important symbol. And an agent of change. The change we keep talking about . We should not hold her independent status against her. Remember V.K. Krishna Menon had stood as an independent, too. If more Meeras decide to get involved in the political process, their voices will be heard. Eventually. Her entry heralds a small but significant beginning. Will Meera be casting pearls before swine? Maybe. But the effort is worth it.

29 comments:

Grisham Benz said...

Truly...'the effort is worth it'....Meera's plunge into the elections is inspirational...u atleast get a few fair players into this dirty game... 'become the change you want to be' may sound clichéd, so let it, as long as there's somebody who's dared to make us see the change...
By the way...i just got a li'l curious, is she the same Meera who played Sanjeev's freaky grandmom in The Kumars at No. 42?? If yes...wow..i love her!!!

cmpershad said...

Hope you would shape the young minds of our old voters and be successful in your endeavour. And in mumbai who cares for the likes of meera sanyal who are neither connected to dons nor to the underworld. may god [if you believe in one] give her godspeed and every success which every sincere person would wish.

Falc said...

hey Shobha,

Good luck to Meera !!! Her efforts are noble and do make a point, but i wonder what good it would do to the majority electorate easily swayed by cash and empty promises. People who worry more about their next full meal rather then who is representing them in parliament.

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Those who dream most, do the most.
Goodluck !

Theyoginme said...

Shobhaa, I understand that she will make a point, why not take a step further in our thoughts and get behind her to make her win. Change is an amazing force - its time for that happening in the political scene. And why should she give up her attire for some khadi kurta - THAT should be part of the change. Aspiration and Inspiration can both work hand in hand. That is what got Obama to beat Hillary. She was a sure shot... and then Iowa one of the most white and conservative state went for Obama and she never recovered.

oo7 said...

i read that...
have to say,i was always blaming the system coz i thought one cannot do nothing...but seeing her i am so amazed...she's an intelligent person and i hope she does well.

Theyoginme said...

Is Meera seeking an campaign donations or financial support from the NRI community?

small_town girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
small_town girl said...

Its great to see people who will 'do' than just talk. And yes, i talk. But i am decent enough to admit that wat meera Sanyal is doing is gr8 and daring and deserves an applause! Kudos!

vasanth said...

I personally think Meera should join an established politialparty whose history and record are nearest to her principles and beliefs. She should then try to reform the party from within with the help of young likeminded members. Getting thru the parliamentary electons in South Mumbai is like the proverbial camel passing thru the needle's eye. Anyway goodluck to her. I support her in principle though not a resident of south mumbai.

kala said...

As usual I am sceptical.Meera is not exactly middleclass. She is quite rich and she has also not yet made a powerful political statement which is essential to make people vote for her. Whereas the super rich Mallika Sarabhai has taken on the powerful Modi and thus has earned the requiredpolitical mileage.

Sameer said...

I admire Meera's courage and wish her best luck. As far as the Khadi attire goes, not sure if she has to make that change to appeal to the constituency. Getting rid of the pearls -yes, but dress code wise not sure about that. I think Meera will have tough luck at winning but I think she has started a tradition that will eventually grow and become successful - educated, intelligent people with a clear and pure motive entering the public service for the benefit of common man and with the pure intention of serving people. I do believe her example will act as a catalyst for those of us who want to make changes happen but always are scared for going about it. I sincerely wish her success in what she is doing. Thanks for giving her your support.

introspection said...

Now that is a Post Par excellence, Shobhhaa. I salute you..! For writing a really thought provoking post from 'US'. I hope you continue writing /supporting the Meera's of today. Who cares that she does'nt endorse a party manifesto. ( I can totally see why she does'nt) I have been waiting for you to post about Meera for 4 days now. And you have not disappointed me (I was afraid you would).

Your post is beautiful, spontaneous, written from the heart. Pls stick to your support of the Meeras. We need them in our country. Meeras can win elections if they have the support of thinking & educated people like you. Your post took a few days in coming, but it is mind blowing, Thank you. I would like to Congratulate you, even if Meeras dont win elections. I dont know who Meera is, so am off to her blog. (I wish you had provided a link to her blog on your post).
Neways. Here's to the 'change that we need'. Cheers.....!!!

URVI said...

way to go Meera.. Bravo, Lady.And great job shobha for lending Meera the much required media coverage and support.

aarthi said...

Its not just meera and mallika who are powering the change in the political system, there are others like Dr. Jayaprakash and Cpat.Gopinath, What if they are rich they have the mind to serve the people thats more important

Came across this read about them, who are inspiration for all of us
http://indianbee.com/blogs/73-Be-the-Change-You-want-to-see..Elections-2009.html

krish said...

Dear De/MEERA

Its Bad its ungle and its dangerous thats power for You ......so get hands down under dirty about the full thng with no strings attached...............no questions to be answered...Meera pz play the game as per your own set rules ....and yes ...smash upp all these goons in the fray....b bad with the bad......we are with you.Putt on your gloves girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Hum sab satth mein hai.


Luv

kRISH

athi said...

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Bravo Meera!!

The change has to be initiated somewhere and won’t I be glad to see a politician who is proactive, speaks English with appropriate accent, dresses decently, thinks intelligently ,talks passionately and acts accordingly!! I sure will be :)

Rujuta said...

Mam

Great to read ur blog...

Meera Sanyal deserves as much support as possible from all of us for actually stepping in to politics to make a difference....

U mentioned her blog..if possible would like to know details of that

Sidhusaaheb said...

I really am not sure about how the candidature of Meera Sanyal, Mallika Sarabhai and Capt. Gopinath is going to affect the shape of things to come. At the moment, I have more questions than answers.

The odds definitely do appear stacked against these candidates. Whether their losses will discourage more such people to contest in future or whether they will poll a sufficient number of votes to encourage more such people to take the chance in subsequent elections remains to be seen.

I am, of course, hoping against hope that one or the other of them will manage to surprise me and win.

Free Expression from Angomcha Chingkhei Meitei said...

The world is not enough...

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Ting Ping Ting Bonk Ping Ping!
Silence.
Snuffle snuffle snuffle burp!

That was the sound of Meera's and Mona Shah's Basra pearls breaking off and falling before the swine. That was also the sound of the swine rooting for something... and finding it and injesting it. Hajam ho gaya. What is that something? Ah promises, promises from Ladla Deora and Rawle.

To be honest, I am not really sure what Meera actually plans to do. Sab kuch is wishy washy. This is a woman who usually deals in the finite. What exactly is her agenda and should we vote for her as an alternative or for what she plans to do. But what does she plan to do? Her campaign manager needs to step up the agenda declaration in all media. If I google for her, that is the first thing that should show up.

kala said...

Meera looks kind and tender like one of my college professors.

Bertie said...

A nice post.. But, I want to expose your double standards here.
You have very openly welcomed the idea of people like 'you' taking the plunge.

I remember reading your post some time back criticizing the founders of 'Friends of BJP'. Your post suggesting that to be a farce. Let me tell you, those individuals are the same people like 'you' and are pretty well-off in their careers as well.

Why such rousing welcome for an independent then?

Because they support the BJP and not the Congress??

Or you are an 'extremist feminist'?

Answer is one of these. Choose for yourself.

Mayank said...

After a very long time we are having some good writeups from your side Shobha jee, I hope by this willl be carry on further and we look forward for some more of these type of writeups,As far as Meera is concerned she has set an Example for so many other people and specially to those who just praise her for such a step,No body want to plungeinto this and just want to have a change.But change wont come untill and unless we will do something on our OWN.HATS OSS to MRS Sanyal And To you too.

Donna said...

gud work mam... meera needs loads of support from us. i m sure political scene would be changed now.

Mahadev Kapuskari said...

Yesterday Meera became the contestant of loksabha elections.She is the richest person in her constituancy as per the information.GOOD WISHES for her WIN.

Jayadev said...

Meera Sanyal is just one-of-many (No, not "citizen") conscientious candidates that seem to be a feature of the poll this time around. I wish her and the others luck - Yes, it takes a lot to buck the trend but you can't do it till you try! The Sanyals, Sarabhais and Gopalans of the world are making an attempt and let us cheer, support and vote them into office. Election after election we have given a bunch of corrupt, self-serving people to cheat and disappoint us.. let a new set of people be given the opportunity to take the reins and prove that Nation Building and Diplomacy is not the preserve of a select few but of all people - after all we still are a democracy, aren't we?

I have written a similar article - do take a look-Clear Confusion! @ http://www.jayadevmenon.blogspot.com/

Renjith Nair said...

http://renjithmn.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/general-election-2009-bjp-vs-congress

Siva Cool said...

A truly motivational and life changing book
This book is really a good book which shows us right path. but i read
one more book named "ONE BOOK FOR LIFE SUCCESS" which is truly
motivational and life changing . .The writer has described in Plain English with lot of examples which is easy to understand...For More
Please watch the videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biORjS8ngv0