Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How many colours in the rainbow nation?






How many colours in the rainbow…. ask the people of South Africa!

At the time of writing, our ‘Boys’ are in South Africa doing what they do best – avoid losing matches. The ICC Champions Trophy is on in the Rainbow nation, and chances are, Dhoni and co. may end up like the zebras fed to lions in the famous park just outside the city limits. I bite my tongue while making this prediction ( for one, I know very little about cricket, for another, I’m certain if nothing else motivates Dhoni, the world’s highest earning cricketer, at least the desire to hang on to his juicy endorsement deals will get him to perform. Oh, even Kirsten’s sex dossier may not get it up for the guys). I was in South Africa last fortnight, and it was my second trip. The first one doesn’t really count, since my husband and I were Vijay Mallya’s guests. Which means, one travels in a bubble minus any meaningful contact outside that pampered space. It is a great way to travel ( it doesn’t get any better!), but for all the luxuries and privileges that Vijay lays on, it is impossible to wander off and connect with the real world. As it turns out, Vijay was absolutely right. You really don’t want to wander off or have any contact with the outside world while in the Rainbow nation. Unless you like the idea of getting your head blown off. He’d insisted on a gun toting body guard accompanying us at all times. Now I understand why. South Africa, where the Father of Ahimsa was born, is now one of the most dangerous destinations on earth. And Gandhi himself, is seen in a totally different light ‘back home’, even by the Indian community. As one scholar explained, “ We gave you M.K. Gandhi….. and you gave the world a Mahatma.” I am not sure whether that was a loaded remark, so I asked around and most people nodded their heads and stated, “For us, Gandhi is a second tier leader… nothing more, nothing less.’’ That was revelation number one . I had imagined Gandhiji was revered and worshipped across South Africa, and was right up there with Nelson Mandela. (Mayawati has obviously not seen Mandela’s monstrously large statue at Mandela Square… or else!) But that is not so. Mandela himself, is a shadow of his former self. He remains incommunicado most of the time, protected by his over zealous minders, who insist he is too frail at 92 to meet visitors. And I promptly think of our M.F. Husain, who jets around the world attending art events and dancing at his birthday party over jalebis and a lot more. Perhaps, South Africa does not want the international community to know just how frail their ‘most recognized brand’ really is ( dedicated boutiques sell the famous Presidential Shirts, marketed by Mandela’s personal designer). For , without Mandela, who or what does that nation have to boast about?? President Zuma may have survived rape charges ( imagine the ignominy of the head of state being accused of rape!!) . But that’s South Africa – a brutally violent society at war against itself.
Yes, it is indeed dangerous to venture out on ones own, at any time of the day or night. Our very polished diplomat, Navdeep Singh, based in Jo’Burg, kept reminding me that this was not Mumbai ! He was spot on. I was staying at a charming guest house no more than half-a-block from his sprawling mansion ( one-and- a half- acres of luxury, with tennis courts and a swimming pool), and yet, strolling over was out of the question. Shri Bhatia, our seasoned high commissioner drove down from Pretoria for a sit down dinner, and was instantly gheraoed by a prominent diamond merchant and other businessmen. Mr.B walks a tight rope. While the TATA name is highly respected ( I spotted their large, gleaming corporate office ), I’m sure it isn’t easy doing business with locals. I’d wondered why most shops and establishments pulled down their shutters by 4.30pm, and remained open for just a few short hours over weekends. “ Because of armed robberies,’’ South Africa’s most famous and controversial cartoonist, Nanda Soobben told me bluntly, as he drove me around in Durban in a gleaming black Mercedes. He had hardly got those words out of his mouth when, at a traffic signal, a drug addict lurched up to the car and thumped on the window aggressively. Nanda remained unfazed as he told the man to go look for some work. He turned to me and grinned, “ People are very jealous of my car here. I tell them I’ve worked very hard to buy it. They can own a Merc too, if they work for it.’’ Two days earlier, at ‘Soi’ a chic Thai restaurant in Jo’Berg, a group of men had walked in through the glass doors, demanding alms from well -heeled diners. An armed bouncer had promptly chased them out, but I can tell you, that was the end of my gourmet meal.
I asked a prominent crime writer I was sharing a panel with in Capetown, what the explanation could be to this ugly phenomenon. She lowered her voice ( there was a predominantly Black and Coloured audience, while she herself was White ). Her response was scarey and troubling. She told me, “ My father is a pediatric surgeon. Most of the surgeries he performs are on little girls – their private parts…. to reconstruct torn vaginas. Open the papers and you will find at least seven or eight reported rapes a day. Most victims are underage kids. Ours is a very, very unstable society. I put the blame squarely on apartheid and what it did to destroy the human spirit. Our people don’t know the meaning of love.’’ Mridul Kumar, India’s Consul in Capetown, mentioned how unthinkable it was for his wife and young daughters to go jogging, even with an armed guard.To make matters worse, aggressive baboons often arrived at their doorstep in search of food. I recalled another conversation with the deputy mayor of Durban ( a person of Indian origin), who made an eloquent speech at a dinner hosted by the dapper Harsh Shringla, India’s Consul General in Durban. The speaker candidly admitted that his grandfather and father were slaves till South Africa became a democracy just fifteen or so years ago. Slaves!!! Ghulams!! That word made my hair stand on end. I couldn’t believe that in this, the 21st century, I was listening to someone calmly referring to his immediate family members as slaves. It was the matter of factness with which he dealt with his past, that was most admirable. But, it was equally disturbing.
After that dinner, I spoke to several other people, including ‘Coloureds’, who seem to be the most bewildered of the lot. They look White, think White, act White. But fall into the Coloured category. Even they can’t explain how they got there. All they know is that they were relocated ( “regrouped’’) to designated areas meant exclusively for them, their lands seized, their homes destroyed…. and that was that. Do they feel bitterness and hate? ‘It’s inevitable’, replied a college professor, who pointed out the ghetto in which he grew up after his family was identified as Coloured by the regime. “Neighbours deposed against neighbours. People like us were ‘outed’ by those who envied our success.” Perhaps the positive fall out of that ‘regrouping’ is the existence of mosques and temples standing cheek by jowl in crowded areas sans any signs of ‘disturbance’.
For all that, South Africa remains a dynamic and ambitious nation. FIFA is round the corner, and the entire country is gearing up for the world event, which is expected to boost tourism in a big way. People are also very proud of the IPL coup, which was handled with great success at short notice. “ If we could pull that off in such a short time, we can definitely score big with FIFA.” The countdown has begun, and there are gigantic electronic boards at strategic places that display the exact number of days still to go before the World Cup. The super fabulous stadium at Durban stands testimony to this grand plan. It resembles a graceful basket that can be wafted off by strong winds. Understandably, South Africa’s latest show piece is a matter of great pride to the locals.
I sorely missed running into any Black Diamonds during my week long stay there. This is a mocking reference to the posh, westernized ladies-who-lunch , flashing the latest fashion labels and wearing pea- sized solitaires. There is a lot of money hidden in South Africa – a lot. But it remains out of sight. Tanya, a beautiful woman ( but not a Black Diamond) repeatedly warned me not to speak on the cell phone while in a car, or open my handbag and flash cash – not even small notes. “ People here kill for less than that.” Sure enough, while driving back from the Cape of Good Hope ( or, more appropriately, the Cape of Storms ), Calvin, my tour operator, did a sharp about turn as we approached what may possibly be an even bigger urban slum than Dharavi on the outskirts of the city. ‘What’s wrong?” I asked. He pointed to a few cars in the distance , “ Look… it’s shoot- out… a hold up. Most vehicles are bullet proof, but these days, burglars pump bullets into the tyres, and then into the occupants.” Phew!! Thanks for the explanation, buddy. And for the presence of mind, I croaked, as we sped off in the opposite direction. Just as we were laughing about our narrow escape, his cell phone rang. It was one of his employees reporting that his brand new mini van had been broken into the previous night and stripped off all removables! His face blanched. As did mine. I was suddenly glad I was taking the flight back to India at dawn.
****************************
That said, let me explain the pictures. The group shot should have appeared first, since that was when I was hard at work. The three lovely ladies in the pic include the editor of a woman's magazine, and two feminist writers who have shaken up South Africa with their cheeky novels ( Zuki, the lady with the shaved head has recently published 'Madams'). I thoroughly enjoyed the panel discusion and am hoping we can get the writers across to India for the Jaipur Lit Fest next year.
The more relaxed pic was taken at 'Soi' , a chic Thai restaurant where the food is almost as good as the massage. The lady had just finished working on my tense neck muscles when I looked up and smiled for the flashbulb.
I've had a pretty long day, and want to crash early ( by my mad standards ). But not before watching a movie. Last night, I drooled over John Travolta and 'Saturday Night Fever.' I was watching it after ages.... when boom!! mid-way through it, suddenly the thought hit me that this was no ordinary dance flick. If anything, SNF is a deep, dark and disturbing film, filled with morbid moments and enormous cruelty. It is just that Travolta's moves on the disco floor are so mesmerising, one forgets everything else. Oh,,,, just the innocence in his eyes as he blow dries his hair, is enough to break a million hearts. And that's exactly what happened.... still happens.
























50 comments:

obssesor said...

Well, that seems a fun trip!

Latha said...

Mahatma Gandhi born in SA ? I thought it was Porbandar in Gujarat.
Anyways it was a looooong post & you've brought back SA live to show us. Thanks.
Feel great to live in India !
Your masseuse looks cute.
Hey, what is that space the end ? Are we missing a photo or article ?
'Totsiens' for now.

cmpershad said...

"our ‘Boys’ are in South Africa doing what they do best – avoid losing matches. "
Oh no, they are losing the tournament and heading back:(

What a sordid story of SA-- revealed UNDHER KI BAAT:)

maglomaniac said...

Cricket is a big bore for me so no comments on that.Ya wid FIFA I do hope would do wonders .
I have heard earlier from native South African bloggers about the grim situation there.But the rape thing was too bad and sad to hear even after knowing what happens beforehand.Sadly,slavery,rape,pedophiles all exist there even in the 21st century.
Tell me Shobha,do these articles by the powerful writers as you explained,are these able to stir the narrow mindedness present there even to a small extent.

~Harsha

Diwakar vyas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madhu said...

Dear Ms. De, I hope you get time to read my reply...I know, I know, its long but I hope you read it.

While I agree and empathize your reactions to various incidents you came across, I would like to share with you and everyone here how great a country Africa is, given that it has seen the worst in every possible way. I will also try to attempt to explain why Africa is the way it is right now.

The British ruled Africa from 1806 and have granted LIMITED independence in 1910 while it received its political independence in 1961. It is only in the year 1994 the democratic elections were held dismantling all the discriminative laws (racist and otherwise) and the country joined Commonwealth of Nations. Like any other nation it will take time for any country to re-build from 2 centuries of being ruled. We Indian’s got our independence more than 60 years ago and still have the hang-up’s like corruption, poverty, discrimination etc. How can we expect a country which is into democracy a little less than 15 years to behave like nothing has gone wrong with it for over 2 centuries straight?

The un-employment of course shot up after Democracy in 1994, increasing the inflation, poverty and blood shed. This has got more to do with the sanctions which the other countries have placed on Africa. But thank God the economic policies were set straight and it’s on its way to improvement since 2005.

Highlights:
1. Rand (ZAR) is one of the 15 elite currencies who deal with CLS (Continuous link settlements; foreign exchange transaction settled instantly, processed straight through). FYI, Germany, Italy (and India) and other most developed countries are NOT yet a part of this. In fact ZAR was the best performing currency against USD between 2002-2005 according to Bloomberg, citi and Reuters.
2. Africa is so bio-diverse that it has 20,000 different plant’s (whopping 10% of known species on planet Earth)
3. According to 2007 UN reports Africa is ranked 25th in GDP (a very prestigious rank for a 15 year old country)

The above are just a few good things about Africa. We can go on and on if we like.

Coming to rape, HIV and corruption: Like any other developing country, if will take time for a proper health care to come to existence. Why, even today in America people have a lot of serious health care debates. Even in developed countries like UK, USA women cannot roam about in the middle of the night.

The problem is that Africa has a huge un-employment rate (improving dramatically in the last 5 years though). In a hungry man’s dictionary, there is no entry for ‘integrity’. Obviously, cell phones, $10 bills appeal to them. Half of them might be orphans and half of them HIV positive with no heath care. So they resort to threatening, killing etc for that seems to be their last resort. In its due course Africa will be a World Power. Mark my words. In a few years the right infrastructure falls into place.

Such a dynamic country needs publicity Ms. De. You can do it…help them get their due. Centuries of turmoil cannot be wiped out I a single day. Bravo to them for FIFA…way to go darlings.

Sorry about the rant. I just feel very strongly about Africa (though I have never been privileged enough to visit; yet).

Sidhusaaheb said...

Who are these 'coloureds' that you've mentioned? Are they mixed-race (like the Anglo-Indians) or are they White and the subject of reverse-apartheid?

Jogeshwar said...

It is indeed a sordid story of SA, but what is your opinion? why such a situation exists??. I guess it is mainly the result of unemployment.

Jyostna said...

I would certainly imagine SA to be like that..I now stay in Houston(Texas-USA)..where there are lot of black people around here especially crazy folks..we don't dare to go around after certain hours. When I went to Graduate school in another city which is about an hr from Houston, I was almost strangled to death by an 18yr old Black guy in the store where I used to work.That was an unexpected incident which changed my perspective towards fear..I won't say I was fearless before that happened..but I was far better than what I am now. People just kill for less than a dollar here sometimes...I still get those nightmares which spoil my sleep. If it can happen in a vastly developed country like USA, its no wonder SA witnesses many more dangerous incidents.
Apart from that, what a wonderful narration Ms. De...its just seemed like live show...Awesome!!!

kala said...
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kala said...
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kala said...

They have been brutalised in the past by their own and by the others. If one is treated like a brute, one will become a brute in course of time. And they have that type of physique and strength. So they can instil the right kind of fear in the right kind of people. If the puny Indian terrorists can score some victories, if the late Prabhakaran could make disgruntled tamils a fighting army and so on and so forth, why not the the huge black man resort to every trick to survive?

Geeta Santhosh said...

Dear Shobaa

I very new perspective on SA. The IPL etc paint a different pic. One new that things were not so easy in SA. But to this extent
Scary!

Vikram said...

Oh my God!!! I never knew the crime rate is so high in South Africa.

tash said...

I found this write up about South Africa very negative. Please read the following article ‘The most violent country in Europe: Britain is also worse than South Africa and U.S. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html#ixzz0SfdPqs1l’

And also: http://www.sagoodnews.co.za


any MADHU IS RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

tash said...

i'm just disturbed by the picture painted of South Africa... i just dont think its as bad as its been described...

yes, there is crime... yes, we or our familly members have all experienced it on some level... but i still dont think its that bad...

Many people have said that the increase in crime is due to the refugee problem we're facing... Africans from poorer countries have all fled to South Africa... Johannesburg...

all i can say is ITS NOT THAT BAD!!! visit and see for yourself!!

(By the way, havent there been numerous attacks on tourists in Mumbai?)

kala said...

Crime is everywhere. When one is attacked by monkeys, it does not make much news. When one is attacked by lions, it makes big news.

Bhaskar Raghavendran said...

It is sad to hear about what happens in South Africa at this time. I totally agree with Madhu's comment above that it will take time for a country to be in the right path of development, which it is struggling to do it now. In India even after 60 years of independance, we are struggling as a nation to void ourselves of some of the issues that are occurring in SA, like Rape, armed robbery etc.

They will have to undergo a massive restructuring of their policies(internal and foreign) to fight their economic and political issues!

Time is the best healer they say...They will have their time too!

pooja raathore said...

You have lifted the veil from South Africa , from your info it is a dangerous destination .....sad!
I read your interview in Rajasthan Patrika(hindi news daily) you celebrated 25th anniversary of your marriage recently... best wishes God bless your Marriage. You are right age is a number game you are a living example ,from u i have learnt Nothing is Impossible if you are positive.

ஷ‌ஃபிக்ஸ்/Suffix said...

Ohh really???!! SA is such a horrandous place? one of my friend lives in Johhanesburg praises the place alot, am planning for a visit, eventhough warned about crime but not to such extent.

Ha ha, as if you are laughing by the lady's tickle in that pic.

Nice narration Shoba, enjoyed reading.

The Cloudcutter said...

Who took that first pic? Makes you look like a ghost! I hate using the flash while taking pictures.
Love the pic of you next to Mandela's giant statue. You're looking great in that dress.
Cheers!

Another Kiran In NYC said...

SA has it's immediate problems... and how!

In it's defense SA has a couple of very lost generations who have known no education, no security and no hope. How can anyone expect that society to be stable in a mere 15 years? No wonder there is so much much economic disparity in society leading to crime.

I would not take a too bleak view of the future of SA based just on the crime rate now. Those lost generations have to find thier level or die out over the next few decades. It will happen. After all India found its level of stability in time. And besides India had never had the destructive "social engineering" that SA suffered through aparatheid.

SA is dealing with odds of the worst kind, but I have hope that it and Africa as a whole will find its due as a economically, politically and socially stable continent.

I refuse to be pessimistic about whole swathes of people.

I loved that comment... we have you MK Gandhi and you made him a Mahatma. Wise, funny and ironic at the same time!

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Oppps obviously I misquoted..

We have you MK Gandhi...

should have read

we gave you MK Gandhi

Vikram said...

Ma'am,

After reading few of the other comments I feel that before painting such a negative image of the country you should have researched a bit more.

True, you have written only about things which you experienced first hand there, but that still might not be the complete picture. After all, how much can a person know about a country in 5-10 days ? There might be a lot of good things which make the trip to the country worthwhile in spite of all these dangers.


If somebody from West visits India for about 4-5 days, goes back to his country and writes only about poverty and hunger, I would be really disappointed. Agreed, there is poverty in India and I don't have any problem if people write about it, but along with it they should also write about the better things we have.

Vee said...

A post of yours in long time which I truly respect and look upon. I say this as I have criticized quite a few of your previous posts. But that was just truth, without being judgmental.

Madhu said...

Actually when we are all taking about how young Africa is, its different when we sit at one corner it is easy to preach...but when we have to actually face what Shobhaa has faced..maybe we also would freak out. What say?

Hurricane C said...

Nice point of view and insightful. I love how you can judge yourself and those around you equally!

charan said...

mam click on the below link 4Ur biography

http://charan-biographies.blogspot.com/2009/09/shobhaa-de.html

Chaitali Shah said...

If you agree please sign.

I have received this email from a friend and I have signed.

'Hi Everyone!

As you all know, our 'intelligent' level-headed educated politicians want to build a giant Shivaji Statue in the middle of
the bay off Marine Drive. This is a completely outrageous thought and what is even more outrageous is that this monument
has got permission to be built. It is baffling to think of the lengths to which politicians will go for votes.

Please find below a link to a petition started off by Mr. Vishal Dadlani (well known musician and music director).

Please sign this petition and also forward the link to as many people as you know.

http://smallchange.in/

This atrocity needs to be stopped. Our city can not be used as a pawn in their political games.

Not only will this statue be a waste of money (from our pockets) and time, but also a very serious environmental issue.

Thank You for supporting this cause.'

Latha said...

Hey all,
I have signed & given my comment for the above requested petition. Please logon to http://smallchange.in/ & sign & give your comments. If we just blame the politicians without doing anything I think miracles are not going to happen. So please wake up & do the needful. Thanks.
I hope Shobhaa De would do more than sign 'cause she has made the appropriate noises after 26/11 to wake up the slumbering politicians.

BTW everybody Mahatma Gandhi was born in Porbander, Gujarat, went to study law to SA & came back to practise as a barrister.
For God's sake, today is Gandhi Jayanti. At least today please don't say they gave us Gandhi. Nobody did that. Hmm....

Pratima Chaudhuri said...

I had a thought on Maya's obsession with statues... wonder if you have watched Ray's Hirok Raja'r deshei...you'd find a parallel with Hirok Rajaa...Ray surely ahd vision.
http://pratimachaudhuri.blogspot.com/2009/09/reincarnation-of-hirok-raja-in-2009.html

Madhu said...

Chaitali Shah,

Why is building a Shivaji statue an outrageous thought? On what basis are you saying that it is outrageous? It’s Shivaji Maharaj’s statue we are talking about.

Think about it, have we become too cynical that every move the government makes we just assume that it is a political ploy?
I am trying to look at the positive side of it. So, let’s see… If it is a political ploy for the upcoming elections, the project would be forgotten soon after the assembly election. Then there will be no question of whom it will be named after (nations blue eyed baby, Gandhi’s etc).

Secondly, if the project is completed, I would be glad that the tax payer’s money is going at least to the statue and not into the pockets of the political leaders.

Thirdly, boat trips can be arranged at, say, Rs.100 per person if Indian and Rs.700 for an NRI (this is what they do in Agra) and get revenue. I am sure that with in a few years this revenue will pay off the cost of the statue. It should be done just like the do for Taj. If so much money is being spent on getting the statue in place, a part of money also needs to go to ongoing maintenance. It will be a tourist attraction and also help flourish other small businesses. Chai wala, ice cream wala, channa wala…you know what I mean.

If you are talking about spending money in a better way: In today's world, tourist attraction is the best and results steady employment for many.
So even though this might be a political move and might never come to completion, if completed would not be a bad idea. It’s not like every Politician is doing a great job as it is.

I think it’s a great move. I am not going to sign the petition.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Madhu, its called putting the money (if you have some to spare) into permanent infrastructure! Infrastructure that makes a difference in long term gains for the good of all. Heck, building toilets is a great idea!!! India needs sanitation and how!

If you are seeking a symbol of regional/national pride... then there are plenty of structures already in place that can be made more tourist friendly. The money can be used to make the functioning of present day existing businesses more efficient by inproving transporation, distribution systems, housing and sanitation. Do that and see how much difference it makes to Mumbai as a commercial and tourist center.

It is not about only providing a place for a golawala/chanawala to set up shop around a statue. If you dont provide the chanawala and his customers a toilet, safe transportation and buildup the infrastructure for that lowly chanawala to think about becoming a chana baron, you have wasted your money on bandaids like a statue.

As a Maharastrian I can tell you, I have plenty of regional pride without yet another Shivaji statue. Perhaps if someone wanted to fix up the forts that Shivaji actually had connections with, it will atleast make people aware of his legacy. A statue of a man on a horse, is just that... a statue of a man on horse that pigeons poop on, around which chana is bought! His legacy remains unexamined by tourists and regional purists alike.

Put the money where it belongs, back to the good of the people. Make it grow.

Madhu said...

Kiran,
I couldn't agree with you more! Our politicians need to prioritize the state's needs.

But all the things you mentioned (sanitation, housing, transportation, infrastructure etc) are not being neglected because of lack of money. Maharashtra always was rich. Its just that money was not put to its right use (I am not referring to Swiss bank accounts of the politicians)
There is plenty of money. What is lacking is the political will, lack of vision compounded with extremely bad planning, so on and so forth.

Do you think that if this project is stopped, the funds will be directed towards the betterment of Mumbai? No. We have witnessed it time and again where the funds would be directed.

If not Shivaji's statue tomorrow Princess Gandhi will say she wants her son's statue there. Whose statue would you rather have?

Like i said before, money was never a problem with Maharashtra government. Even if this project is stopped, nothing is going to get done with "that" money. I would rather have the statue than giving more funds to their already overflowing bank accounts.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Madhu, but ... not to even make an effort towards making sure that money is used properly is unconsionable.

Are we not acquiescing to the neglect of principle by saying.. hey atleast we get a statue that we want instead of Hamari Italian Bahus Progency showing up in marble? Is it being responsible, if we dont protest as tax paying citizens and suggest/coerce/whatever the public opinion. We cant just lie back, with legs apart and "enjoy it". Its too sad to contemplate such enuii!

Is that why Gandhi with his dhoti, staff, spinning wheel, and obstinacy and political cunning, and the help of plenty of like minded people handed us India on a platter? Only for us to let it be plundered without protest?

Madhu said...

Kiran, I respect your thoughts and am in awe of your will to change the mindset of politicians.

Just that, I still don't quite agree with you. Just because one doesn’t support your argument doesn’t mean that they lay back legs apart and enjoy the show. I strongly believe that if you want to bring change in the policies and procedures of the government, you will need to be a part of it. If you are not, then find means to do it your way.

I have my own ways of giving back to India, my home, and I do, every single month with out fail.

According to me protesting against a bill which has already been passed isn't going to make them stop. If the bill stops mid-way, you win and then leave your fight for justice until the government comes up with another issue? Is this what Gandhi wanted? No. It’s not the question of a statue. It is the question of the entire government’s principles and priorities. Who do you think elected the government anyway even after knowing their philosophy? Tackle the problem at the root level. Cutting off the branches (like this statue) is only going to provoke more trouble.

Tell me, after you have signed this petition, what is the next step? Who is going to ensure that these funds are re-directed towards the betterment?

I am not stopping you from your ‘efforts’. Go on and do what you believe in. It’s my personal opinion that problems like these have to be tackled at the root level. Crying when these things happen and then forget all about it later isn’t going to help.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Madhu, I suppose we must respect each other view point and respectfully agree to disagree :)

I wont ever give up believing in the power of the public and public protest and opinion. Huge movements have run on this engine... for the good and bad.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Madhu, I suppose we must respect each other view point and respectfully agree to disagree :)

I wont ever give up believing in the power of the public and public protest and opinion. Huge movements have run on this engine... for the good and bad.

Madhu said...

Sure! To each, their own :)

kala said...

Madhu is assuming so many things and let me assume some. So we will put up lots of statues so that that money wont go to the Italian bahu's coffers. What logic?
One more assumption from silly me. Tomorrow our dear mayawati may become prime minister. She is a great lady with love for statues of her favourites.. She may want Ambedkar's statue of the same size, if not bigger along with hers and Kanshiram's in mumbai. Atleast mumbaikars cant protest about Ambedkar's statue.
Where and when will this mania end?
The party which will benefit because of this statue will be congress.

Madhu said...

Kala, who elects Mayawavti as PM? Does she become a PM magically? Its the people who elect the ministers. Now tell me, which of my statements sounded as an assumption to you?

Ever heard of Buddha's statue in Hyderabad?

This mania will end when people hold these passions of signing these online petitions and all that stuff for good. Do you know how many online petitions have been signed so far and have been promptly forgotten? Never mind...

How come all this crying only when the statue is being erected? No matter what time of the year, according to your logic, you should still be fighting for these cause right?

Suddenly signing on "online" petition becomes an "effort" from your end to attempt curb these "atrocities"!

kala said...

Madhu, I did not call for any online petition. That is your assumption.
Next you say that 350 crore will go into the pockets of some politicians. That is also a baseless assumption or allegation. And then you say that some princess will erect her son's statue. That is the wildest assumption. I am not crying. I am wondering. Thats it.

kala said...

The day is not far off when people may elect mayawati or some third or fourth front may make it possible. Then begins all the tamasha. Lets wait for that to happen and enjoy endless tamashas.

Madhu said...

Kala, with due respect, Peace. I am not in for an argument and I am sure you are not either.

I am sure both of us has a right to hold our opinions.

Ms. De...sorry! Oh dear! The wishful thinking world we live in!

ms said...

ahoy there, mz de! i see you have had an eventful trip. bigger things have happened in amchi mumbai. rak thackeray flexed his muscles and got an apology from KJ for using the word "bombay" (tsk tsk, KJ could have claimed the movie was set in pre-mumbai days!!) in his glam-epic. when will the very british spelling of thackeray be abandoned for amchi marathi thakre?? as an indian, i object to this kissing-british-posterior attitude!! or, hold your breath, is this family related to the great william makepeace thackeray!!!

Theyoginme said...

This post of yours of has brought out the ugly truth that has existed in SA for years. I have many white friends who left SA more than 20 years ago and after abolition of apartheid because they felt unsafe especially in areas like Johannesburg and Durban. A lot of killings, murders, rapes and complete lawlessness. It reminded me of stories of my family and my dad in Uganda from the early 70s. Its like one evil took over another. Nothing of this nature has ever been reported in the west... Tells you how important Africa is not just to the west but globally.

I was 13 when Sat. Night Live was released and the music has remained with me and my generation and now my kids listen to it (the rap version) plus MJ....SNLive music will live forever.. except for the handful of years of the 80s and early 90s of anti disco fever..

rehaan said...

i never knew it was dis bad...i thoought they were things of the past...but its really sad to read this..

maha said...

nice trip...

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