It had to happen. It was only a matter of time. The rising crescendo of Narendra Modi was perhaps pleasing the BJP supporters among the Gujarati community, but it had to crack the Sena followers among the Marathi manoos. Ironically, the rift between Gujaratis and Marathis, both largely peace loving communities, came out in the open in Saamana, mouthpiece of the Shiv Sena. To commemorate Maharashtra Day on May 1, the editorial took potshots at Gujaratis saying the community has only taken from Mumbai and never given back. This just days after Uddhav Thackeray and Narendra Modi made an appearance together and campaigned for elections. Uddhav and his son Aaditya Thackeray both went into damage control mode soon after. Aaditya took to Twitter:
Understandably there is confusion in the media. I request media to cover this as my only view, personally drafted pic.twitter.com/8xewWdgmw0— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) May 5, 2014
Was it about assembly elections, was it about MNS or was it just an oversight? As they say, a word is enough for the wise...
Even before we could celebrate the national award for Fandry, a stinging film on casteism in Maharashtra, a chilling real life incident has unfolded in Kharda village in Ahmednagar district. Nitin Aage, 17, was allegedly tortured and killed for talking to an upper caste Maratha girl from his school. Her brother and four others have been arrested. Nitin was found hanging outside the village near the brick kilns owned by the girl’s family. Reports indicate that the Dalit families rarely interacted or got into any fights with the richer, upper caste community. The only son of his parents, Nitin was studying in Class 12 and wanted to get a job for himself. His family makes a living out of crushing stones. Politicians have said that the guilty will not be spared. The government also declared a compensation of Rs 5 lakh. But for Nitin’s family, it is a life lost forever. While atrocities on Dalits are neither new nor unheard of in Maharashtra, these so-called "honour killings" were generally considered to be a north Indian phenomenon. Sadly, not anymore. But where is the honour in killing?
While much of May 1 was taken by the Sena controversy, to mark the Labour Day an NGO, Beghar Adhikar Abhiyan, launched a helpline on the 2nd of May, to cater to the concerns of the homeless and offer them information and support for their daily problems. The helpline, the NGO claims, will address wage related concerns, harassment at the workplace and access to basic entitlements. It will begin with a focus on South Mumbai, and spread its reach based on the response, the NGO says.
One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. The ban on Alphonso mango in Europe may have angered customers abroad, who must have been waiting for months to get their tuck from home, but it has become a cause for much delight among desi consumers, who were battling the prices at Rs 500-600 per dozen that have suddenly come down to Rs 250-350 per dozen. Newspapers reported that Vashi APMC, the main wholesale market for provision of fruits and vegetables for Mumbai, recorded three times the usual amount of mangoes on the occasion of Akshay Tritiya on May 2. Indo-British politicians are making efforts to lift the ban, which was imposed due to presence of pesticides on the fruit, but people in the city are not complaining and are busy digging into their share of Aamras Puri. Few seem to be worried about how this would impact the grower and other middlemen.
Securing the Metro
As we inch closer, albeit painfully slowly, to the start of Mumbai Metro, we now know that it has been given the security clearance. Although the authorities had said that the 11 km corridor that connects Versova to Gharkopar via Andheri Station will be ready to open within days after the security clearance is given, we now hear that the inauguration dates are not decided. Whether it is to complete other unfinished tasks related to maintenance and smooth running of the metro or it is to find an appropriate political time and person to do the ribbon-cutting, is not known. With two major flyovers under repairs in south Mumbai and western Mumbai, commuters are already going through hell with bumper to bumper traffic. And as temperatures soar, one is really palpitating about unfinished road repairs that may or may not wrap up before monsoon.
Back to Square One
Last week five Indian Navy officers were arrested in Mumbai for molesting a woman in western suburb. All five officers and the woman with her husband and friends were in a pub in Khar. They first harassed her and then got into fight with her husband. After they were thrown out, they waited till the pub closed and the couple got out. They chased the couple in an auto- rickshaw all the way till Borivli where they were caught by the police, who were called by the woman. Even as the political storms fill up our mindspace, the incidents of sexual assault have been occurring regularly . Now that Shakti Mills trial is over, will the authorities treat all these cases just as seriously or will it be back to square one?
While Poonam Pandey took on the cops after the arrested her and then let her off with a stern warning for— guess what— indecent behaviour, not everyone is blessed with such panache for taking on the 'System'. Now that the Indian Premier League is back in the country, all eyes are steadfastly fixed on the cheerleaders. Our own chief of moral police, R.R. Patil is certain to be keeping an eye on the obscenity meter. Although he lost the Dance Bar battle in Supreme Court, the government is reportedly delaying the process of issuing licenses. So no questions there about who is the boss. Anyway, it is that time of the year when one spends evenings in the company of Set Max and Siddhu’s commentary, after unsuccessfully trying to get cheap IPL tickets or passes. And in this sweltering heat, does one have any better options than sitting in your own house with cheap Haapus mangoes and a Cricket match that has plenty of sixes and gets over before midnight?