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Once you get your degrees, a post in the MNS will be waiting for you. No probation period, thanks to your excellent academic record.
This is the perfect metaphor for the state of Indian politics :
What began as a meeting to hear public opinion on the project ended as a shouting match between the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
A janata darbar held at Shivaji Park to hear citizens’ grievances on the park beautification project on Friday ended abruptly without the public getting a chance to make itself heard.
Quickly make a list of the most addressed issues by political parties, how many of them concern the welfare of *all* citizens. Congress is an exception — they stood for nothing for a long time until the BJP came along. Then they discovered their USP : They weren’t the BJP.
Continuing their tirade against migrant workers of any kind, MNS workers disrupted a film shoot that had hired foreign dancers:
Fifteen of them were arrested by the Malwani police on Tuesday for creating trouble during a shoot at Aksa Beach in Malad (West). The workers said they were checking whether the 27 foreigners working in the film had the requisite work permits.
I don’t get it. Putting two plus two together, I can only assume that they would prefer it if someone from their vote bank danced in skimpy outfits. Just saying.
It’s time for me to apologize. I admit I have been rather harsh on Baba Ramdev for some of his controversial views. On more than one occasion, he has been declared the Dude of the Week at this blog. Not anymore.
He recently ‘blasted’ the Shiv Sena and MNS for their anti-migrant policies :
He said, ” It’s the responsibility of Maharashtra government to stop them from infusing anti north sentiments our constitution gives the liberty to all Indians to live anywhere and work for livelihood in any part of country.”
Kudos, as they say. He also has some wise views on a wide range of topics in the article. Do read. I really feel bad about all the parodying and fun-poking at Baba Ramdev. I think it is time to take the Dude of the Week award away from Baba Ramdev. A well-deserved stripping of the award.
Oh, wait. He has challenged that he shall cure prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of his homosexuality within a week.
Oops. So close. Sorry dude, you need to hold on to it for some more time.
Watch this video of Sarah Palin supporters who turned up in large numbers at her book launch. The money quote is at 5:09, when a supporter justifies her experience with international issues :
I’m sure she’s had boundary issues to deal with [Russia].
It is easy to sit back and mock Palin’s supporters, but they are just as delusional as those who passionately and unconditionally support a political party. These people, I find, often justify the wrongdoings and come up with explanations, at best laughable. Not just the U.S., the same applies to supporters of parties such as Congress, B.J.P., M.N.S., Shiv Sena, etc. I don’t anymore see the sense in supporting a party in every election — each election needs to be studied on a per case basis before deciding who your vote goes to.
For example, in the Indian general elections of 2009 (if I could vote), the B.J.P. would’ve lost my vote the minute Varun Gandhi’s speech became public and reactions from senior leaders followed. Perhaps at the core, I prefer a socially stable society more than anything else.
As for Republicans and Palin supporters, the hypocrisy in their ideology is so obviously visible when they bat for liberty and oppose same-sex marriage in the same sentence. Enough said.
After the Shiv Sena and MNS, I read about an upcoming Food Taliban in Maharashtra — a non-political group of people batting for Maharashtrian cuisine :
They have also written to the higher education minister to include authentic Maharashtrian cuisine in the hotel management curriculum offered by various institutes. If the state fails to act on the appeal, they are all set to approach the court.
They’ve also appealed to state-run hotels and resorts to promote Maharashtrian cuisine. I’m fine with that, the state rarely does things that are sensible anyway. But approaching the court to include the cuisine in institutes ? Yeah right.
The report also adds :
Every year, 22,000 students pass out from catering colleges.
I am personally a huge fan of Maharashtrian food. Legend has it that as a toddler, I used to escape to neighbours’ homes to have Maharashtrian food. (Btw, I just had above-average PuraN PoLi at Chaat Paradise in Mountain View — do check it out). But I digress.
What I’m getting at is that Maharashtrian cuisine is hardly ubiquitous for such appeals to make good business sense. And really, what is the difference between enforcing a cuisine in curriculum and the saffronization of textbooks ? Both claim to help preserve an entity. I’m all for such noble causes — just please do it in your time with your money.
While at that, do read this piece “An Attitude to Serve” by the best food writer out there, Vikram Doctor. Pasting an excerpt that gets the crux :
And it is here, I have to say, that Maharashtrian food has often lost out thanks to the disinterest of its restaurateurs in really promoting it.
Many of Mumbai’s first eateries were Maharashtrian, in the khanevals or community canteens opened by workers from the region who came from the end of the 19th century onwards to find employment in the city’s booming mills. Most of the small restaurants I mentioned earlier had their roots in such khanewals, but the point is that they stayed rooted, and never tried to expand or appeal to a larger clientele.
The best example of this is Anantashram which is famous for its simple, but entirely delicious food that’s cooked over charcoal fires and served in an atmospheric house in the old area of Khotachiwadi. But Anantashram is also known for the rudeness of its waiters, who refuse requests to photograph the place and deter any attempts to ask questions.
A few years back Khotachiwadi organised a weekend festival to show off its quaint small backlanes and old wooden bungalows to the rest of the city, but Anantashram refused to participate. And that Sunday it closed, since it was always closed on Sundays, despite the fact that there were hordes of hungry visitors who it could have profited from.
I don’t need to add anything about Maharashtrian entrepreneurship — all I want to say has been said by Pu. La. Deshpande in his essay Mumbaikar, Punekar ki Nagpurkar.
More than just a couple of friends asked me why no one commented on the post “A missing piece in the MNS puzzle“.
I say to them the whole purpose of the post would’ve been defeated had a debate ensued.
P.S. : Either that or no one reads this blog. I like the former one though.
This post on the MNS is much lighter.
Do have a quick glance at the 4 MLAs’ profiles who were suspended.
One dug up the cricket pitch when Pakistan was visiting, one wears 2 kgs of gold on himself and one is a “childhood friend of Rahul Mahajan”.
Heh. It’s almost like MNS handpicked its MLAs like the Ocean’s thirteen.
I came across this video of Ramesh Wanjale, the one who wears 2 kgs of gold jewellery, thanks to Pushkar S.
Translating for non-Marathi audience : The guy wants to pursue a Ph.D. When asked in what, he replies, Saint Tukaram. The reporter rightly points out that he is a dropout from school, to which the reply is that he plans to start studying seriously from now on — 12th, B.A., M.A. and then Ph.D.
Now that he’s suspended, he’ll get ample of time for studying.
Watch from 4:45.
To be fair, the guy amply knows what he is talking about — I just loved his nonchalant answer that he wants to pursue a Ph.D.
May I recommend PhD Comics to him ?
I don’t have anything new to say about the MNS MLAs attacking a colleague in the Maharashtra assembly and their subsequent suspension, but I think it is unfair on the people of the 4 constituencies who now will have no representation in the State assembly. If people are still bothered about such trivialities, the least they should do is hold their legislators responsible for their unruly conduct.
On the language issue that is the root cause here, I don’t think I should be speaking. Although I consider myself a Maharashtrian (definition here), my views of the MNS have often been misconstrued as the views of an ‘outsider’. As for myself, I can pass off as a Maharashtrian easier than some Marathi friends of mine, but that isn’t pertinent here.
I have come to believe that the only ones speaking or discussing the issue of MNS should be the Marathi people. Far too much noise is made by others for someone to pause and ask a Marathi person about his say in the matter.
Trust me, you’ll see some alarming results. I have come across individuals (in the U.S., ironically) who explicitly or implicitly support the MNS. You’d think that someone who studied at Stanford (purely used as a metric of education, extent of global awareness, ubiquitous ideologies and lack of friends from other universities) would know enough to disagree with the MNS, but I’ve seen exceptions.
When the mainstream media makes this much noise, they are only helping a Marathi person feel more marginalized, thereby aligning him further with the MNS ideology. We don’t really want to know that the MNS MLAs’ kids study in English medium schools. We don’t want the opinions of Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad Yadav whenever the MNS raises its head. The average Marathi person needs to hear moderate and liberal views coming from Marathi people, and therein lies the biggest problem — lack of Marathi voices against the MNS ideology. This could imply 2 things :
– the average Marathi person supports the MNS, which is quite rational if you ask me. Why would you not support — or why would you speak out against — someone who claims to be fighting for you ? Heck, tomorrow if there is a TamBram superhero who goes around beating up non-Tamils, I might not speak out against him (Of course, I will. That’s just an example).
– the average Marathi person doesn’t care.
In both these cases, the clout of the MNS will only grow, because you need individuals who disagree with the MNS to halt their march. This needs more Marathi voices to be heard on public forums, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and GTalk status messages. The Marathi voice is silent there.
In a sense, the Marathi person faces the same situation an average Muslim faces in India. You cannot just sit at home and criticize your ilk — we, and it pains me to say so, need to hear your opinion aloud.
One thing slipped out of my mind in the Wake Up Sid review.
We all know that Mumbai was referred to as Bambai .. sorry Mumbai .. in Wake Up Sid.
Did you also notice that Kolkata was called Calcutta and Pune was called Poona ?
So when I read about violent protests against a cinema hall in Pune screening Wake Up Sid because Mumbai was called Bambai, I can just say it’s a tough WTF to beat.
Or maybe “The ability to think #fail” ?
I am really curious if MNS trains its cadre for this or they’re naturally talented.