Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kaun Banega Maha C.M. ?

All hail Maharashtra’s latest C.M.

Strange, isn’t it?? Chief Ministers of other states come and go, like fluffy cotton balls blowing in the wind. Nobody remembers and nobody cares. But when it comes to the chief ministers of Maharashtra, India monitors the appointment keenly. As keenly as it follows the prime ministerial race. In fact, so closely are Maharashtra’s assembly election results watched, that if one of the short- listed candidates sneezes, the entire party catches a cold. This particular post has always enjoyed a special sheen. It has traditionally been the single most coveted political job for Maharashtrian politicos in search of overnight power and glory (or gaudy Dilli dreams). More is the pity then, that we have been stuck with one mediocre chap after another for the past decade. The people of the state have watched its decline in horror. But done so mutely. They have seen its premier position slip from the top to the present ignominious one at the bottom of the heap. They have observed Maharshtra going from the most prosperous state of the country to a broke one. And they have said nothing.
The recent Assembly elections with a less than a 50% turnout are indicators of the apathy and indifference of voters – nobody it would seem, gives a damn. People are sick of the farce we call elections. They know they have zero say in the way the State is run. They also know nothing is likely to change, regardless of which person’s backside warms that gaadi in Mantralaya. This is the way it has been for far too long, and the pity is, the average Maharashtrian believes this is the way it is likely to remain. As we all know, there were no issues in this election, no real agenda, no blueprint for growth and progress. Not a single candidate spoke in a new, inspiring language. Nor did a wild card neta appear on the scene to galvanise the masses. The only debate revolved around the Marathi Manoos and whether or not citizens should be punished for referring to Mumbai as Bombay ( Karan Johar paid a hefty price for that ‘error’ and had to go crawling to Raj Thackeray’s residence with an apology). Even with all these fiery exchanges, nobody is quite sure as to who this mythical creature – the ‘marathi manoos’ really is?? In fact, I often ask myself the obvious question : do I qualify?? I may be Maharashtrian by birth, and I live in Mumbai by choice. I love the city passionately and would never want to live anywhere else. Is that good enough? Even though Marathi is my mother tongue, I don’t speak it as well as I speak English ( a shameful admission, but then , I didn’t choose my school ). I am married to a Bengali gentleman from Kolkata , who also loves the city equally, has lived here for over thirty years, employs several Maharashtrians and thinks of Mumbai as his home. His fluency in the local lingo is pretty dodgy if not downright embarrassing. He definitely thinks of himself as a bonafide Maharashtrian. But will he be accepted as one? I am still unclear about how one makes the cut, even though Raj and Uddhav Thackeray have both tried hard to spell it out for the aam aadmi. And considering this was the main, perhaps only, plank on which this election was fiercely fought, more straight talk and clarity would have certainly helped.
Most television debates also preferred to focus on just this one aspect ( outsider-insider) of life in Mumbai – not the rest of Maharashtra. It was bizarre. Mumbai alone is not Maharashtra, even though it is Mumbai that keeps Maharashtra from going under. It is Mumbai that has saved the State from ruin time and time again. Despite that hefty contribution to the State’s and the country’s coffers, Mumbai remains a sadly neglected metropolis, running on auto pilot and coping the only way it has taught itself to…. with the indomitable efforts of Mumbaikars who refuse to give in or give up. The last politico who was seen as a ‘doer’ was Nitin Gadkari, credited with having built a record number of flyovers in record time . Well…. Nitin is around, in a manner of speaking. We hear him thundering on various channels, but once his short reign as ‘Flyover King’ was over, he melted into the crowd and was out of the C.M. loop. The others who tried to steal his thunder, fell by the wayside…. and no new flyovers or expressways were commissioned by anyone. Yes, Mumbai finally got its much delayed Sea Link at a crazy price after an insane wait, but the jubilation came with some sobering after- thoughts. Citizens remain grateful for this new, glittering showpiece that has made their commute in and out of South Mumbai that much faster. But do our monster city’s infrastructural problems begin and end with a pricey bridge?
Forget the pathetic plight of suicidal farmers from Vidharba for a minute ( same folk, still ploughing parched fields with yoked bullocks, like their forefathers from medieval times), ask any Maharashtrian from any which part of the state whether he\she is happy? You must have guessed the answer. It is not about appointing a CEO for Mumbai or treating Mumbai as a separate entity. That won’t save either the city or the State. The time has come for divine intervention. The first anniversary of the dastardly terror attacks of 26\11 is upon us. Strange , that not a single political party made security a primary election issue. Do they really feel all that safe? Or are they just smug in the knowledge that once they win, Mumbai will become their personal property, to be haggled over and sold to the highest bidder – caste, creed, no bar??
The verdict is out. The Congress is in.
Hey Jagdambba Devi – may the worst man not win – that is the only prayer left!
Have to rush to keep my date with Rakhi Sawant!


Pratap said...

As always you can say it as nobody else can!
We do get the govt we deserve - so even if you voted for the right person the rest of those who should've but didn't vote have caused to be saddled with this crazy bunch again.
I am only glad it is not the thuggish Rane who is going to be CM. And WHY is he not being brought to book over his insane statement that politicans were involved in 26/11 and he KNEW their names?!!
I don't think your school had anything to do with lack of fluency with the mother tongue. Methinks it has to do with constant usage of the language.

Look forward to hearing about the close encounter with Ms. Sawant.

uthamanarayanan said...

When man runs like a mouse from early morning to night to survive in a big city like Mumbai,he does not need or nothing disturbs him much except make both ends meet; this is the inescapable fate of the majority in your city.Those who say outsider and insider need to churn and get the cream if possible.Travel 500 k.m in any direction , people speak another language and another accent, this is India.My grand parents migrated from Andhra to Kerala,I was born and brought up in Tamil Nadu, and a considerable section of Tamil Nadu speak my mother tongue and I speak a better Tamil than my mother tongue and better than majority Tamilians.Where comes the factor of outsider and insider; fools harp on that and fools listen to that.If either Cauvery dispute with Karnataka or Mullaiperiyar issue with Kerala I am concerned about my state Tamil Nadu. My relatives in thousands live in Kerala, Andhra and Karnataka and all speak their native state language; in a marriage and any function if possible we talk in Telugu and those who come from andhra dont understand our telugu or our relatives' telugu from Kerala, so we speak in English which is not comprehensible either to an Englishman or American.

kala said...

I am glad that a national party has come to power. The need of the our is nationalism. Why so much pessimism? Every state is struggling with its own set of problems and Maharashtra is no different. Inspite of so much spotlight on Vidarbha's farmers, why no concrete action is not initiated? Everyone thinks of Mumbai only and do not want to leave it and live in Vidarbha to understand the problem and find a quick and tangible solution. Maharashtra can have 3 capitals so that every region is developed. The chief minister can stay at every capital for 4 months. If one can think out of the box instead of being simply frustrated, we will have a prosperous maharshtra along with a prosperous mumbai.

Sameer said...

It is really hard to define who should be considered 'Maharashtrian'. Although I was born and brought up in Pune, how much history do I know of Maharashtra? I have a Indian descent american born friend who knows more about forts in Maharashtra than me. I think with time we will need to get rid of 'state'ism or 'language'ism' and be more open minded. Having respect and appreciation for one's mother tongue is a must but that should not close the doors to others who are different than us.

Also I agree with Pratap's comment about speaking marathi. The more you speak the better you will get at it. Schooling has nothing to do with it. Couple of my friends who went to English Medium schools like St. Vincents and Vidya Bhavan speak equally good marathi as their counterparts who might have gone to Bhave School in Sadashiv Peth. I agree it will be a sepaarte effort but it's doable. Never too late Shobhaa for 'aai chi bhaasha' :)

NAT said...


The life of the so called new Bandra Worli Sea link bridge is 10yrs. old, as it has taken over 10yrs. to construct that bridge, forget about the costs. I am sure our Engineers and personnel concerned are aware of these anomalies, but they could'nt careless, as they have received their pound of flesh, and when the bridge collapse, they are no where in the picture, as they keep passing the buck, as in the case of the recent block that fell on a Central Railway train, killing and maiming innocents.

Who cares, as none of the poor people who loose their lives are related to the ministers, or the contractors, but the am admi.
We have so many instances where these bridges, construction works have been held up due to some politics etc. and when the damage is done, they wake up, but it is too late.
They talk of compensation. Can they replace a human being with money?
There are so many issues involved in aquiring these contracts......Most of the guys ruling us, are villagers, who do not know the difference between sand and cement. They only worry about what they will accrue at the end of their term. So how can one expect any change.............At the end of 5 yrs, they add another 100 crores.
We should tackle the enemy in our midst first, the killers of our own people, due to their corrupt ways and greed.... One can go on and on...



Bertie said...

Miss De,

Why are you crying now that you have the same old lady in your state.
Long live 'Maha'rashtra.

And you have the guts to criticize Modi's Gujarat. LOL.

cmpershad said...

"Chief Ministers of other states come and go, like fluffy cotton balls blowing in the wind."

Have you watched the manoeuvre to dislodge Narendra Modi, are u watching the goings on for hereditary gaddi of CM in Andhra Pradesh? Every State has his own local manoos:)

mahatru said...

God only knows when these politicians will excel beyond their cunning motives and think bout India as a country as a whole and not about State related issues only. I too wonder who are real Maharashtrians and who are outsiders.

Its better that these Thackkerreys bring out a set of guide lines about this.According to them even AB living there for the last 30+ yrs is not a Maharashtrian.

Eagerly waiting for your next post bout Rakhi Sawant. Ahh maybe she is a real Maharashtrians.

Movies in Pune
Movies in Kolkata
Movies in Chennai

Mona said...

Don't tell me ...that your next book is based on the life of Rakhi Sawant!


anupamaa said...

Hi Shobhaa,
I have been your fan right since Sultry Days and Sisters. Your blog which was accessible last year was blocked at work till a few weeks ago, but is now accessible again. so Im reading almost a year's blogs as backlog now.

There was a caustic remark about "Atleast someone who spoke Hindi" at the Hyderabad airport in one of the posts. As ashamed as I am for not knowing the national language, I feel that people on the other side of the Vindhyas should make an attempt to know atleast what languages are being spoken down south.
Not just assume that I speak Tulu just because "Aishwaria Rai is from south and her mothertongue is Tulu" like my Software Engineer colleague sweetly said to me.

Not that I am whoring my blog here, but if you can please check out "Geographically Challenged" on my blog at

Those were three situations where I realised that the world may be a global village today, but India still remains as vast as the universe.

Gautam Chhabria said...

Hi Ms De.
I read your article in today's Times of India Mumbai edition dt. 26.10.09 about Raj Thackeray. In it you highlight that now that Raj has succeeded in his objective by doing well in the elections he should change his stripes. But I think it would be fool hardy to believe that in a state which elects 288 members to its Legislative Assembly Raj will be satisfied with 13.

He has seen that his formula is successful, it works, it wins him votes. In Mumbai which was the heart of all his agitation, his party has emerged as the second largest with 20% of the vote share more than Shiv Sena and the BJP. The Tiger has tasted blood. Now we can expect these agitations to be carried out on a much larger scale say before elections for the BMC come up. Yesterday's chaat puja went without any untoward events but I can bet this will not be true for the forthcoming years. Probably after a grueling campaign, Raj did not want his workers to agigate yesterday and face the hardship of getting beaten by lathis and having to spend a few days in prison. They are human too, they need some rest.

Even i reckon that eventually the tiger will change his stripes, like the BJP, which came to power on the promise of making the Ram Mandir, but once elected quietly toed the line that 'matter is sub judice now'. But that day is far away. Before that Mumbaiites should have to brace themselves for some more aggressive show of power by the young tiger. Ironically Uddhav too will be prodded to adopt a more aggresive stand to salvage his party from being sidelined.

*Aham* said...

every CM is just a sheput of the main leader. I really yearn to see someone in the young breed with a spine of their own.

the government needs a crash course in mass psychology. How wouldnt someone miss the prospect of a lamba chutti by taking a chutti on monday when teh polling chutti is on tuesday. Ideally, wednesday is the day.

I agree with your comment that we have no say in how the state runs.

We are a land of extremists, we are eitehr too much in love, or we just give no bhaav to the 4 yearly election circus, with jokers and wild animals galore.

I love my city to death. But i will not close my eyes to the idioticity that she is subjected to. We cant just put our blinkers on and say "Jai Maharashtra"

I know this is no solution, but i really wished to see a woman CM in our city.

Ritwik said...

It is an apathy that I share. It saddens me to see our elections are fought on communal issues like 'Marathi manoos' and hindutve, when the state and more particularly the city of Mumbai is in dire need of infrastructure development and financial reformation. Personally, I would like if before we have a town hall sessions with the candidates to the CM's chair going head-to-head with their agendas (much like the US presidential elections).
And the so-called Elite Middle Class needs to be provided with incentive to get off their A***s (pardon my language) and vote. I feel if you don't vote, then as a citizen of the great state of Maharashtra, you have no right to bicker about the state of affairs in the region. A more drastic step would be that people who do not vote would be dropped of their monthly wages.
What's your take Shobhaa?

maha said...

nice discussion....

Work from home India

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 video

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 video