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Articles by: Vidyadhar Date

Modi pushes for Bullet Train while Infrastructure rots in Mumbai

Modi pushes for Bullet Train while Infrastructure rots in Mumbai

The famed Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz once wrote about the plight of ordinary people who must walk, eyes lowered, the body crouched in fear due to the onslaught of dictatorship(.nisaar mai.n terii galiyo.n ke ae watan is the opening line of the original poem). Faiz wrote in a different context but people in Mumbai now walk with more dread[Read More…]

Ionesco’s play shows we can stand Up to fascism

Ionesco’s play shows we can stand Up to fascism

The Hindutva forces now expect every one to fall in line with their thinking. But they will not succeed. This reminds me of a play Rhinoceros written by Eugene Ionesco, a French-Romanian, a major playwright in the tradition of the theatre of the Absurd In this play over a period , every one turns from a human being into a[Read More…]

Getting violent in support of cars Against common people

Getting violent in support of cars Against common people

The well planned digging of the footpath by supporters of Raj Thackeray outside Mantralaya shows the deeply anti-people nature of a section of the political class. Simply because the attack was not directed against human beings does not make it less sinister than recent lynchings and the assault on Swami Agnivesh. Thackeray loves expensive and fast cars and a good[Read More…]

The Good and Bad About Mumbai and Bangalore

The Good and Bad About Mumbai and Bangalore

  After walking on Bangalore’s or Benguluru’s fashionable M.G. road earlier this week I casually hopped into a bus at Anil Kumble circle named after the former Indian cricket captain. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fare was only Rs. 5 for Shivaji Nagar bus station. A distance of a little less than a km. but still the[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
P.N. Haksar opposed Maruti car, Indira Gandhi should have listened to him

P.N. Haksar opposed Maruti car, Indira Gandhi should have listened to him

If Mrs Indira Gandhi had listened to Mr P.N. Haksar, her reputed principal secretary, India probably would not have landed in the mess in the automobile and public transport sector. Mr Haksar, a staunch socialist, strongly opposed her son Sanjay Gandhi’s arrogant and ill-conceived Maruti car project and this paved the way for his exit as principal secretary in 1973[Read More…]

The different worlds of Mohan Bhagwat And Rationalist Actor Hemu Adhikari

The different worlds of Mohan Bhagwat And Rationalist Actor Hemu Adhikari

  Mr Mohan Bhagwat,RSS chief in his speech preceding Pranab Mukherjee’s in the RSS headquarters made a reference which seems very questionable but has attracted little notice.In quoting a Sanskrit subhashit, a saying, he virtually ridiculed intellectual debate. Those who use learning for debate are wicked., he said. This was in keeping with the current dumbing down of knowledge and[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Weapons of the Weak: Bringing Democracy to Streets

Weapons of the Weak: Bringing Democracy to Streets

Kiran Nagarkar, well-known novelist, floated the idea during his recent interaction with activists that some kind of a rasta roko agitation could be held to check the growing congestion caused by cars, to assert people’s right to the road and to help increase the speed of BEST buses. The car lobby , the traffic police and the whole establishment will[Read More…]

They Lost Their Tender Daughters In Violence But Still They Fight for Peace

They Lost Their Tender Daughters In Violence But Still They Fight for Peace

Imagine losing dear, tender teenage daughters in violence and still seeking not revenge but fighting for a new society built on justice and seeking peace. It was inspiring to listen to two peace activists, an Israeli and a Palestinian , in Mumbai last Sunday talk about how they have come to terms with their personal grief. Rami Elhanan’s daughter Smaddar,[Read More…]

Undermining Nehru’s Ideals Around Nehru Centre

Undermining Nehru’s Ideals Around Nehru Centre

When it comes to plundering of public spaces for the benefit the builder lobby, there is not much to choose in Mahrashtra between the Shiv Sena-BJP combine or the Congress parties. In the year 2005 during the Congress rule, Ganesh Naik, environment and forest minister, openly talked of the need to sell public spaces. That these were very scarce in[Read More…]

Farmers’ March, Organized By The Left, Wins Popular Support

Farmers’ March, Organized By The Left, Wins Popular Support

The spectacular red flag , disciplined march of farmers spearheaded by the kisan wing of the Communist party of India (M), and other Left organizations in Maharashtra has galvanized public opinion. The week-long march which reached Mumbai on March 12 is a great morale booster for the Left. The images of sore feet of women and men trudging nearly 180[Read More…]

Shiv Sena Minister Vies With Hema Malini To Blame The Poor For The City’s Problems

Shiv Sena Minister Vies With Hema Malini To Blame The Poor For The City’s Problems

This beats even Hema Malini’s absurd observation in the wake of the fire in the Kamala mill compound in Mumbai last December in which 14 people mainly from affluent families were killed. She blamed it on the influx of people from outside for the city’s problems. That was bad enough for a BJP MP and popular film actor. But at[Read More…]

Media Went Crazy Over Sridevi But Was Unmoved By The Mowing Down Of School Children

Media Went Crazy Over Sridevi But Was Unmoved By The Mowing Down Of School Children

One can understand the BJP suppressing the involvement of its drunken leader in the killing of nine school children and injuring 20 other children in broad daylight in Bihar last week. But why did a large section of the media join in suppressing the news while it gave saturation coverage to the death of film star Sridevi ?. We are[Read More…]

Pity The Rich Men In Posh Areas, They Can’t Afford To Pay For Car Parking On The Road

Pity The Rich Men In Posh Areas, They Can’t Afford To Pay For Car Parking On The Road

Pity the rich, wrote American popular comedian Will Durst recently in a satirical vein. They face too many problems. No body robs the poor but the rich are always afraid of robbers. But actually the rich rob the poor. He then went on to refer to the rich as open cancer sores on the face of society. One was reminded[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled India
Prominent Experts, Activists Call For Improving Public Transport

Prominent Experts, Activists Call For Improving Public Transport

  This luxury 24 storey high rise building represents an assault on the heart of Mumbai. This is in Mahim geographically the heart of the metropolis as Mahim connects the island city with the suburbs. The skyscraper is an eyesore amidst low-rise housing but more than that it has come up on the bus depot of the BEST Undertaking .[Read More…]

Public Transport: Some Models

Public Transport: Some Models

  I was impressed by the pleasant ambience of the Trivandrum railway station and the bus depot for long distance travel which is just across the road. This is how public transport should be but this has become so rare due to the callousness of our politicians and bureaucrats. The whole area is clean. And travel is really seamless. I[Read More…]

Pseudo Science And The Need For Scientific Temper In India

Pseudo Science And The Need For Scientific Temper In India

  Vineeta Bal, a former member of the Prime Minister’s task force for science, narrated a humorous poem by the Marathi poet Sopandev Chaudhari last week to underscore the importance of scientific temper. The poem points out that Newton could think of the law of gravity when he saw the apple fall to the ground while some of us can[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Why The Wait For The City Bus Gets Longer

Why The Wait For The City Bus Gets Longer

  Some times creative writers give insighs into problems better than experts. During the wave of the Theatre of the Absurd Achyut Vaze wrote a play in the 1970s in which the characters wait for a bus which never arrives like Godot in Beckett’s famous play Waiting for Godot. One is reminded of Vaze’s play Chal Re Bhopalya by the[Read More…]

New Delhi: Traffic policemen wear masks to protect themselves from heavy smog and air pollution while manning the traffic, in New Delhi on Wednesday. The smog and air pollution continue to be above the severe levels in Delhi NCR on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Kamal Kishore(PTI11_8_2017_000037B)

When People At The Top Get Into A Traffic Jam

One can understand the annoyance Maharashtra’s director general of police Satish Mathur faced last Monday when he was stuck in traffic for half an hour in the central business district CBD Belapur. Four policemen were transferred for failing not to clear the way for him. Mr Mathur would feel much less annoyed if he realized that his discomfort is nothing[Read More…]

Urban Arts Commission In The Time Of Damning Of The Taj Mahal

Urban Arts Commission In The Time Of Damning Of The Taj Mahal

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’s announcement last week to set up an urban arts commission for Mumbai is well intentioned. But it comes at an odd time. Several leaders of his party, the BJP, at the national level have shown little respect for some of the finest monuments of the country and now party MLA Sangeet Som calls the Taj[Read More…]

Commuters Harried by Bad Planning, Railways And Mumbai Municipal Body

Commuters Harried by Bad Planning, Railways And Mumbai Municipal Body

  The implications of the stampede which killed 23 people and injured 39 at Elphinstone road railway station in Mumbai on September 29, are larger than we have seen so far. I visited the station and surrounding area three days in the last one week and noticed that the treatment of commuters is far more inhuman than we thought. Two[Read More…]

How The BEST Bus Undertaking In India Been Driven Into A Crisis

How The BEST Bus Undertaking In India Been Driven Into A Crisis

I saw an interesting French comedy film Boss’s Daughter recently. It was also remarkable because of the intelligent use of the concept of ergonomics which involves right use of technology for the human body at the workplace, home or travel. In his film the boss’s daughter uses the science of ergonomics to see how work in her father’s factory is[Read More…]

The Film Bahubali Amidst An Ethos of Hinduism

The Film Bahubali Amidst An Ethos of Hinduism

  Considering its huge budget, it is perhaps not surprising that there has been so much orchestrated praise in the media for the film Bahubali 2 with its record box office collections. It is disturbing enough but more questionable is the RSS mouthpiece Panchjanya championing the film as an ideal expression of Hindu values . One can give any spin[Read More…]

China Should Be Our Model For Swachh Bharat, Public Transport

China Should Be Our Model For Swachh Bharat, Public Transport

  Beijing, the Chinese capital could well be a model for India’s Swachh Bharat mission of cleanliness. Toilets are everywhere in the city, I noticed during my two-week visit to Beijing last month. It could also be a model for us in public transport. I experienced this through my constant walks in different parts of the city and travel by[Read More…]

Upper Class, Politicians and the Loss Of Public Space

Upper Class, Politicians and the Loss Of Public Space

  All media focus currently is on whether the BJP or the Shiv Sena will have its Mayor in Mumbai following a hung house after the recent civic election. Real issues usually remain buried, unexplored. Look at the neglect of public spaces despite the increasingly poisonous air . Mumbai city’s deterioration can be understood in the context of the concern[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Gated Communities, Cars And Black Money

Gated Communities, Cars And Black Money

One has to be really affluent or be in rich surroundings to walk with ease in India, it seems. I was in a very upmarket gated colony of bungalows in Bangalore last week. There were footpaths on both sides, lined with palm trees, there was little traffic and one could enjoy the walking. This is a highly protected environment. The[Read More…]

It Is Not Just Cash, Government Policies Hurt Us In Many Other Ways

It Is Not Just Cash, Government Policies Hurt Us In Many Other Ways

The money crisis is more painful because of is suddenness. But the government has been causing hardships to citizens for years through various ways. One is the anti-people policy on transport. The pain is spread over a long time and we do not feel it so intensely. The government has inflicted motorization on the country without any safeguards to vulnerable[Read More…]

Modi Is Cheered, As The Mahatma Is Reduced To A Pathetic Figure In Gandhinagar

Modi Is Cheered, As The Mahatma Is Reduced To A Pathetic Figure In Gandhinagar

  Gandhinagar, 13 November, 2016: This turned out to be quite a travesty of Mahatma Gandhi and his teachings in the land of his birth. This was in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat . The occasion was the inauguration of an official government of India conference on urban transport on November 8 but the inauguration proved to be a well-planned[Read More…]

New Technology Is Torturing The Commuter

New Technology Is Torturing The Commuter

  Mumbai: Despite advances in technology, life is getting worse for users of public transport . This is at least partly because of the callous way the technology is being handled. The seats in the big brand new coaches in the local Western railway trains in Mumbai are clearly uncomfortable. I tried out both in first and second class. I[Read More…]

The Rich Are The Encroachers On Public Space In the Era Of So Called Reforms

The Rich Are The Encroachers On Public Space In the Era Of So Called Reforms

The Maharashtra government is back to its policy of privatizing open public spaces in Mumbai. Ordinary people are the losers because of this policy declared on July 27. . The upper class is not bothered because it has created its own spaces for recreation when it is not grabbing public space. I got a glimpse recently when I attended a[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
The Rich In Their Posh Clubs Are Having Fun At Our Expense

The Rich In Their Posh Clubs Are Having Fun At Our Expense

Bombay Gymkhana Mumbai: The 140-year-old Bombay Gymkhana asserted its elite and exclusive character earlier this month. It voted after much debate not to admit senior government officers as members. But then how come this class, so keen to preserve its privilege , has for years so openly intruded upon public space just outside its premises for almost 20 years ?.[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
It Is Expensive To Be Poor

It Is Expensive To Be Poor

Mumbai: A man murdered a woman in Mumbai recently because he was afraid she was going to deprive him of his job as a temporary watchman. This shows the crisis of employment in Mumbai. And this is a city which among all places in India is supposed to provide the maximum employment opportunity. And the watchman security industry is one[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy