Tag Archives: Mumbai

An open letter to Uddhav Thackeray – By Rajdeep Sardesai

Dear Udhavjee,

At the very outset, my compliments for the manner in which you’ve literally ‘stolen’ the headlines from your cousin Raj in the last fortnight. After the Assembly election defeat last October, there were many who had written you off as a weak, namby-pamby politician, who would be better off doing photography. But now, it seems that the ‘fire’ which burns inside Bal Thackeray is alive in the son too. After years of struggling to establish yourself, you have finally discovered the mantra for success as a Shiv Sena leader: find an ‘enemy’, threaten and intimidate them, commit the odd violent act, and, eureka!, you are anointed the true heir to the original ‘T’ company supremo.

 Your cousin has chosen to bash faceless taxi drivers and students from North India, soft targets who are totally unprotected. You’ve been much braver. You’ve actually chosen to target national icons: Sachin Tendulkar, Mukesh Ambani, Shah Rukh Khan, powerful figures who most Indians venerate. Shah Rukh is no surprise since the Sena has always been uncomfortable with the Indian Muslim identity. Forty years ago, your father had questioned Dilip Kumar’s patriotism for accepting an award from the Pakistani government. You’ve called Shah Rukh a traitor for wishing to choose Pakistani cricketers in the IPL. That your father invited Javed Miandad, the former Pakistani captain and a close relation of Dawood Ibrahim, to your house is a matter of record that we shall not go into today.

 I am a little surprised that you chose to question Ambani and Tendulkar though. The Sena has always enjoyed an excellent relationship with corporate India. Why then criticise India’s biggest businessman for suggesting that Mumbai belongs to all? After all, no one can deny that Mumbai’s entrepreneurial energy has been driven by communities from across India. The diatribe against Sachin is even more strange. He is, alongwith Lata Mangeshkar, Maharashtra’s most admired and recognised face. Surely, you will agree that Sachin symbolizes Maharashtrian pride in a manner that renaming shops and streets in Marathi never can.

Of course, in-between some of your local thugs also attacked the IBN Lokmat office. I must confess that initially the attack did leave me outraged. Why would a political outfit that claims to protect Maharashtrian culture attack a leading Marathi news channel? But on reflection I realized that we hadn’t been singled out: over the last four decades, the Shiv Sena has targeted some of Maharashtra’s finest literary figures and journalistic institutions. That you continue to live in a colony of artists while attacking artistic freedom remains one of the many tragic ironies in the evolution of the Sena.

Just before the Assembly elections, you had told me in an interview that you were determined to shake off the Shiv Sena’s legacy of violence. You spoke of the need for welfarist politics, of how you were saddened that rural Maharashtra was being left behind. I was impressed by the farmer rallies you had organized, by the fact that you had documented farmer suicides in the state. I thought that Uddhav Thackeray was serious about effecting a change in Maharashtra’s political landscape.

I was obviously mistaken. Farmer suicides still continue, the after-effects of drought are still being faced in several districts, but the focus is now squarely on finding high profile hate figures. You claim to have a vision for Mumbai. Yet, on the day the Sena-controlled city’s municipal corporation’s annual budget revealed an alarming financial crisis, your party mouthpiece, Saamna, was running banner headlines seeking an apology from Shah Rukh Khan. You asked your Shiv Sainiks to agitate against Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Mumbai, but why have you not asked them to wage a war against the water cuts that have made life so difficult for millions in the city? At one level, I can understand the reasons for your frustration. The Congress-NCP government in the state has been thoroughly incompetent: the last decade has seen Maharashtra decline on most social and economic parameters. Yet, the Shiv Sena has been unable to capture power in the state. Your war with cousin Raj has proved to be self-destructive. The Assembly election results showed that a united Sena may have offered a real challenge to the ruling alliance. In fact, the Sena and the MNS together garnered around 43 per cent of the popular vote in Mumbai-Thane, almost seven per cent more than what was obtained by the Congress-NCP combine. Yet, because your vote was split, you won just nine of the 60 seats in the region, a result which proved decisive in the overall state tally.

Your defeat seems to have convinced you that the only way forward is to outdo your cousin in parochial politics. It’s a strategy which has undoubtedly made you a headline-grabber once again. Unfortunately, television rating points don’t get you votes or goodwill. There is space in Maharashtra’s politics for a regional force, but it needs to be based on a constructive, inclusive identity.

 Tragically, the Shiv Sena has never offered a serious social or economic agenda for the future. Setting up the odd wada pav stall in Mumbai is hardly a recipe for addressing the job crisis . Why hasn’t the Sena, for example, started training projects to make Maharashtrian youth face upto the challenges of a competitive job market? Why doesn’t the Sena give regional culture a boost by supporting Marathi theatre, literature or cinema? The wonderful Marathi film, “Harishchandrachee Factory”, nominated for the Oscars, has been co-produced by Ronnie Screwvala, a Parsi, who like millions of other ‘outsiders’ has made Mumbai his home. Maybe, I ask for too much. Tigers, used to bullying others for years, will never change their stripes.

Post-script: Your charming son, Aditya, who is studying English Literature in St Xaviers College, had sent me a collection of his poems. I was most impressed with his writing skills. Let’s hope the next generation of the T company will finally realize that there is more to life than rabble-rousing!

Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra!

About Rajdeep Sardesai

Rajdeep Sardesai comes with 20 years of journalistic experience during which he has covered the biggest political stories in India. Prior to setting up his own channels, he was the Managing Editor of both NDTV 24X7 and NDTV India and was responsible for overseeing the news policy for both the channels. He has also worked with The Times of India for over five years and was the city editor of its Mumbai edition at the age of 26. During the last 20 years, he has covered major national and international stories, specialising in national politics. He has won numerous other awards for journalistic excellence, including the prestigious Padma Shri for journalism in 2008, the International Broadcasters Award for coverage of the 2002 Gujarat riots and the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award for 2007. He has won the Asian Television Award for talk show presentation and has been News Anchor of the year at the Indian Television Academy for six of the last seven years. He is presently the President of the Editors Guild of India. He has done his Masters and LLB from Oxford University and has also played cricket for the Oxford University team.

The original letter can be found here

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Filed under MNS, Raj Thackeray, Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray

Request for Financial Support , Leukemia Patient

Help Gaurav – http://www.helpgaurav.com/index.asp

Gaurav Tandon is a 34 year old professional working with Datacraft Asia (a private IT firm) in Mumbai, India. His small family comprises wife, a 6 year old son. He has two elder sisters both are happily married and a brother who is serving as Captain in the Indian Army. 

aurav was detected with AML (a type of Blood Cancer) in November 2008. He has responded well to chemotherapy, but must get a Bone Marrow Transplant as the only possibility for a cure. Unfortunately the HLA typing test of his siblings is negative. Doctors have therefore strongly recommemded a Non-Related Allogenic transplant. Since such transplantations are rarely performed in India, there is a high chance that we have to take him to places like Singapore, UK or the USA. 

The estimated cost of the treatment in Singapore and UK is around 1.5 Crore Indian Rupees (around US$ 333,000), whereas in the US is around of 2 Crore Indian Rupees (around US$ 444,000). 

In order to meet the steep cost of the said operation, Gaurav and his family have decided to sell their solitary flat at Thakur Village Complex, Kandivili, Mumbai. However, this is not going to be enough, since the amount required for the treatment is huge and time is less. 

Let us all come togeather to help Gaurav. Togeather we can reach out to our communities and remind them that we – members of Gaurav’s family, community and country have a responsibility to help. Let us all remember that Gaurav is also a son, a brother, a father and a husband. We should all see ourselves in Gaurav and realize that he deserves the same support we would wish for member of our own family or even ourselves. 

A JOURNEY OF THOUSAND MILES MUST BEGIN WITH A SINGLE STEP. 

NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL – EVERY RUPEE COUNTS. 

Please mail us at reply_gt@yahoo.com after contributing towards Gaurav’s treatment. 

Let us all pray for his health and speedy recovery.

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All India Radio Address by Martin Luther King(1959)

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In February-March 1959, King and his wife Coretta Scott King travelled throughout India. King confessed to an intellectual debt to Gandhi. 

During that time, he delivered a message to India and Indians on All India Radio (AIR). That message was lost in AIR’s voluminous but chaotic archives. After much searching, AIR finally retrieved what is actually a treasure. And last weekend, on Martin Luther King Day in the US, when the nation was preparing to install Barack Obama as the 44th US president, National Public Radio played that long lost message by King to Indians and the world.

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Confused Leadership Of Pakistan

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday said, in his remarks in National Assembly’s ongoing session summoned after Mumbai evidences were declared not proofs but mere information by the government of Pakistan, political wisdom and maturity is the need of the time to tackle all the present issues instead of power. Situation after Mumbai attacks, has changed a great deal and world is now backing Pakistan

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 Meanwhile on Tuesday Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Tariq Majid has said that the world must stop criticizing Pakistan.

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 This surely is one confused leadership

 

 

 

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Irresponsible Journalism

CNN IBN (a leading Indian news channel) recently posted on its website whereabouts of Ajmal Kasab (Mumbai 26/11 Terrorist)

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The news channel has even posted a Google Earth view of Arthur Road jail and the cell where Kasab will be kept.

Why would any one want to know the exact location of a  terrorist? Perhaps Toral Varia (The Reporter) could answer this.

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Pakistani confesses to involvement in Mumbai attacks

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani investigators have unearthed substantive links between the gunmen who attacked Mumbai in November and a banned militant group, a foreign journal reported on Wednesday. It said in an online report that at least one top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader, Zarar Shah, captured in a raid early this month had confessed to the group’s involvement in the attack.“He is singing,” an unidentified Pakistani security official told the newspaper, referring to Shah. Shah’s admission was backed up by the US intercepts of a telephone call between Shah and one of the attackers during the assault, the Pakistani security official told the newspaper.

“These guys showed no remorse,” said the Pakistani official. “They were bragging. They didn’t need to be pushed, tortured or waterboarded” into making their statements.

One Lashkar fighter who left the group several years ago said in an interview that the agency (ISI) was directly involved in planning operations in the disputed Kashmir region. The agency’s officers were “at the table” as missions were being sketched out, the former Lashkar fighter said. However, an active member of Lashkar said in an interview that relations with Pakistani security forces had grown cold. “We always had to hide from the Indian military, but now we have to hide from the Pakistani military as well,” he said.

The ISI has always been a powerful and semiautonomous agency, and its top officers have maintained strong links to Islamist militants. There is some hope that the appointment three months ago of a new spy chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who previously oversaw military operations against militants in Pakistan’s lawless western districts, signaled a move away from sympathies with the Islamist fighters who control much of the region bordering Afghanistan.

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Hilarious Reporter from Pakistan

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