Category Archives: Maharashtra

My Vitthal

There was never a single time when I missed fasting on either of Ashadhi or Kartiki Ekadashi when I was home. The reason was that I did not have an option to.

Still remember how I used to cherish eating different type of food on those days.

I never believed in just one religion, always tried not to contain my beliefs – of course backed by my cosmopolitan upbringing.
For me, it’s always been difficult to believe in something I have never seen, I have always been one of those people who needed physical/material proof to trust something.

For the same reason, when I see People believing in God, the only feeling that engulfs me that of Respect! Sheer Respect!
I read, see, hear about Warkaris traveling don’t-know-how-many miles to see Vitthal-Rakhumai on the holy day; they walk, they dance, they sing, they chant without caring for heat/rains/meals. What in the world gives them the strength & will to do all that?
Looking at them makes me proud & humble at the same time. 
As said by the great Saint Tukaram: “The god resides in Bhakti (beliefs), not Murti (stone/statues)”. 
For me too, I see my Vitthal in all these people!
Observing fast on this day has just got a whole new meaning for me 🙂

देव दिसे ठायी ठायी
भक्त लीन भक्तापायी …
सुखालागि आला या हो
आनंदाचा पूर …
अवघे गरजे पंढरपूर
चालला नामाचा गजर …

P.S. Dedicated to my Mom & every Believer I know

Khan, Sena & yet another Indian city

Just like every other Saturday morning, I woke up on 2/13 to connect with my dear ones – and how, this time?

Hearing about the blasts at German Bakery, Pune! Not that blasts in other Indian cities angered me any less (in fact, I should be used to bomb blasts being a proud Indian) but this was a personal attack that left me shattered. A place close to my heart, I can’t myself recollect how many times I have visited this place. A host of many of my mundane moments and not just mine, the GB was witness to my parents’ romance too. Oh the place – how could someone be ever so cruel with you?

Well, does that matter? Every place is connected to someone or the other, every person (especially if you’re an Indian) experiences such traumas. In fact our home minister, PC Chidambaram pointed out (in fact he declared gleefully) that this was the first terror attack on India in past 15 months. Point everything to the government, don’t we?

Some bollywood superstar SRK uses his stardom to promote & create ruckus in entire Maharashtra and we stupidly think his on-screen image is what he’s for real!

Where is Khan now, the one who always sticks up for a particular religion or good/great neighbors? He’s the Khan who gets into such cheap controversies

Heathrow or spreads ire in a movie-crazy nation with

Newark incident

This person (who never shows any gratitude for his homeland, be it Maharashtra or India) is known to utilize Indian media & chalk out plans to publicize his movies – and we blindly, repeatedly follow this person! Some of this does make a lot of sense:

Open letter to SRK

Then we have Shiv-Sena (Sene, VHP, RSS are their siblings) – you people rock! You protect our ‘CULTURE’ by violence, vandalizing properties, attacking innocents, ensuring V-day bans & helping reel heroes look like real heroes!

We have just had enough of these goons now – let’s not just mute protest. Let’s come out, visit Pubs/discs! Let’s come out & celebrate ANY damn day we wish! Let’s watch ANY movie we want! Let’s not give in to these people to decide what we should drink, what we should wear or what day we should celebrate!

Mr Chavan (our CM) has failed to stand up every time – be it against Shiv Sena or Marathi-must-for-cabbies (which actually was a state cabinet decision). Of course with such a feeble leader, we’re bound to be attacked.

All these see their best friend in another phenomenon called ‘Indian media’ – these are the people who make SRK & SS what they are! Repeatedly using coverage as a weapon for controversies & TRPs, Indian media has stooped to extraordinary low levels (e.g. a leading Marathi newspaper exposed by P Sainath:



Yes & if you remember this is the same media that has spoiled India’s relationship with China & Australia.

It’s shameful to see people like Barkha Dutt (less said the better for this lady) who went all out to support a movie & Rajdeep Sardesai who doesn’t care dragging Thackeray children into whatever controversy.

One stupid issue after another, Indian media needs an overhaul soon (wish independent journalism takes over soon)!

And then there are we, taking every defeat, every death in our strides & proudly calling ourselves ‘India’. We are made to live with terror, slums, garbage because we SEEM okay with it!

Are we insensitive or blind followers or cowards or selfish losers?
Huh, another outlet of anguish, anger & loss … I am sick of seeing deaths every day, in every city, on every street!

So, Young & innocent Pune bleeds on the eve of Valentine’s Day! What do you think? Which city next?

There’s nothing like ‘War on terror’, ‘City’s never-say-die spirit’: all we have is the remains of what used to be German Bakery & a distraught place – all I can do is help rebuild GB.

Let’s get together pool in all our efforts & emotions in getting this beautiful place back on its feet; we might see some dead souls smiling at us!

The media religion

Had a chance to go through some of the news coverage websites & TV channels lately, most of them focusing on Maharashtra assembly elections.
It’s not surprising that Raj Thackeray was the biggest villain for almost all of the Indian ‘national’ media, most of them stayed focused on the Thackerays & hardly anything was noticed against a poor performing Congress government.
The Congress party has once again utilized the media very smartly to their advantage, which in fact, is quite a good political quality.

However, what I saw in the media under ‘Reactions against Raj’ was appalling & disappointing to say the least.
Some people called him Jinnah, some called Maharashtra a new Pakistan (WTF, WT big F)! Many of the online readers comfortably used the F*** word against him, there was no dearth of online abuse for MNS & no level of decency while using this ‘freedom of expression’.
Even more shocking is that none of the ‘national’ media houses bothered to stop this cheap level of anger-venting.

And not for just supporting what I like, but honestly, all the MNS fans (at least in my view) have maintained that decency and honored the ‘right’ expressions, which is heartening to see.

Has Indian media divided us? Aren’t they biased?

I say again & again that Raj Thackeray has been misinterpreted. He’s the only politician I have ever listened to or read who has the balls to talk against SLUMS.
I dare any of India’s national parties talk against hazards and threats from Slums, can you guys come forward and speak?
Anyway, let me not further get into MNS, their agenda & Mumbai-Maharashtra’s problem.

Indian media comfortably influences the literate of India, it has made pseudo-intellectuals borne everywhere.
Most of Indian internet users are literate, since India’s not so much used to the internet yet.
Look what ‘most educated’ people talk? Doesn’t that sound as a ‘verbal abuse’?

Consistently failing to play any constructive role over the time, Indian media has developed itself into a hypocrite phenomenon.

Is Indian media a new religion in India?
Why blame extremists, look at Indian Media … they have made the most educated group go crazy!

Literate (let me just use the term ‘India literates’ henceforth) people follow blindly what’s presented to them through this media (you can’t blame them … sorry, you can’t blame us … for that).

We’re driven by media conclusions so much that we don’t wanna verify anything for ourselves.

We very well know the rule: once a Madness/Religion is followed by many, it multiplies rapidly.

Isn’t this the same media that projected Narendra Modi as modern day Jinnah few years ago? (who, IMO, is now the best Chief minister in India)

Isn’t this the same media that caused a major embarrassment to India, reporting false against China? (and later, not disclose it). It went on to be labeled India’s fear.

I came across some videos claiming tampering with Varun Gandhi’s remarks too (not very sure on that, though)

These guys are the first to report ‘famous’ side of the story and suppress the other.
Same happened to MNS protests, same happened to doctors & pilots on strike, students from AIIMS-Delhi protesting against reservations.

I wonder why don’t we ever listen to what our Congress government is up to? (not that am against or for them)
Or a recent one, projecting the India-born Nobel prize laureate so much that he was irritated by Indians.

On the issue of staying fair and notwithstanding other aspects of media, let’s just hope we become a better media, rather than an emotional & igniting one.

The Pune Panic

· Hitting the panic button

With second probable swine flu death occurring in Mumbai, Maharashtra, even I did feel a sense of scare about swine flu. Staying in Pune (the swine flu capital) these days is much about receiving phone calls from home, friends, relatives inquiring about health, asking to take ‘due’ precautions.

There’s definite sense of panic in the pleasant Pune air; people rush to testing centers at the drop of hat, some suffering from headaches directly ask the docs if they are suffering from swine flu. Number of masked people has gone up around the city (P.S. I read this somewhere; I haven’t really stepped out much unless really required). You can’t criticize them though. No harm in taking precautions.

But really, who is/are responsible for this panic? Government, hospitals, media, entirely?

· Private & Public hospitals handling (in Pune and quite the same, around India)

Government has put a stubborn face not providing private hospitals with Tami flu medicines which could cure the Swine Flu. That has, in the most negative way, caused the private hospitals to turn down almost every sort of patient showing even the mildest forms of Flu symptoms (sometimes, not even, those).

Is it totally government’s fault? Aren’t private hospitals irresponsible themselves? Haven’t they done enough to lose the credibility not to be trusted to serve the real needy in such times?

Government hospitals have their own woes. In India, they are supposed to be only for the poor. With severe shortage of staff and space, some of the Hospitals in Pune have failed miserably to counter the spreading epidemic.

· Lack of Dissemination of information

Some doc just said in a TV show on CNN IBN (the Pune debate) that he still gets calls from people asking what are the symptoms of swine flu? I got an information pamphlet from a nearby hospital just today (till now, there have been 160 cases on Swine flu in Pune with a death).

There has been decent amount of awareness in upscale and middle class suburbs. However, a lot has been desired in slums and industrial workers’ colonies yet.

Someone said that Pune Municipal Corporation needs to follow Pune police pattern of regularly sending SMSes/emails to alert or spread awareness among citizens: this, IMO, is a compliment to Maharashtra’s home department that gets bashed every now and then, after every terror attack.

· Healthcare facilities and infrastructure

Despite several planning from India and Maharashtra governments, healthcare remains a highly vulnerable sector. There has never been a focus on ‘total and all round’ development. India, due to its lack of intent and efforts alongwith political apathy has emerged as a high danger destination for almost all kinds of diseases.

There has never been an active promotion of cleanliness and greenery in India (although on a respectable note, I find a few tiny groups supporting the cause).

Probably no one’s aware that there’s a more serious epidemic of cerebral malaria running through Bihar right now, which has already claimed 10 lives amongst 1500 cases found so far.

Thankfully, swine flu hasn’t yet spread much in villages and rural parts of the nation. It is imperative the epidemic be controlled.

· Solution: The Mexico pattern?

Mexico kept itself totally shut for a few days and overcame the flu. Can Maharashtra (and or even, Delhi) ever take such step? Can an Indian state ever be so bold, protective and strong?

If not, what are other ways of restricting swine flu now and such diseases in future?

As in my earlier writes, I again question India’s political willpower (earlier it was about tackling the terror). We, Maharashtra, need to show the way. We have highest number of foreign visitors alongwith highest number of foreign visits. If we cannot protect ourselves against terror and epidemics, how can we attract foreign visits and businesses in future?

There needs to be another ’93 where Maharashtra displayed exemplary handling of riot control and post-earthquake rehabilitation.

Delhi needs to come up with something similar in order to keep the interest alive in 2010 C’wealth games. It has constantly suffered from epidemics.

· Link for helpline/information

Swine Flu Helpline

Election Enigma

Stage set for 15th general elections in India : Pune along with almost half of Maharashtra will be voting on 23rd April. As in any election, there’s no dearth of issues. Lets have a look at my compilation (Priorities are subject to vary) :-

1. Infrastructure

– This includes physical structures like Roads, Water, Electricity, Transport (Road and Air) [Favorite pie for all politicians]

– Developing a hassle-free setup for industries : Maharashtra is no. 1 in terms of red tape in business i.e. you need average 28 licenses to start a normal business in Maharashtra which is the biggest number in the nation.

Has it ensured safety ?

Have we successfully managed to stop job cuts ?

There’s still no provision for betterment of unorganized sectors like SSI,

House keepers, Security professionals, Prostitutes

– Tourism facilities development : Maharashtra lacks good tourism facilities. Though some of the pilgrimage, tourist destinations are well developed, there’s lot be desired in supplying better Tourism experiences (something like Mauritius or Thailand).

– Migration needs to be controlled big time; we’re running out of resources and space. No further slums can be accommodated in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and industrial cities of Nashik, Aurangabad and Kolhapur.

– Electricity shortage has become a huge problem. Despite highest power capacity in India (17000 MW which 40% more than second ranked Tamilnadu), Maharashtra still faces acute shortage. We have also been affected by issues like heavy dependency on conventional energy resources, projects of power generation from non-conventional energy resources have taken very long to setup.

– Further development should be greener !

2. Measures to nurture and promote Marathi culture on International stage

– No active steps taken for getting Marathi in the league of Classical languages

– Setting up schools for Marathi in universities around the world is an activity still carried out by State universities and cultural organizations. We need to scale up this issue to national responsibility with a separate entity operating for it.

– Tourism development can be closely related to cultural engagement

– This is an intellectual state, we love literature : Why no big funds for the great Marathi Saahitya ? (Most of the urban areas are witnessing these issues raised)

– Its time we view and project our culture as something to be savored for our future generations

3. Easy duties for residents

– Online availability of land records is a plus, now we need a better and a faster system even for old records (I learn from the sources that this is in progress)

– Maharashtra, the fruit hub of the nation needs to be equipped with better facilities at district level to preserve and export. Same shall apply to grocery, cotton and sugarcane. (this long running demand has not been entirely fulfilled yet but election promises are being made)

– Better transport facilities including Metro and Sky bus projects. There still seems dearth of action on fly-cheap promise. No plan yet to utilize and interconnect more than 15 airports (8 of them domestic operational).

– Fuel and Power seems to be the biggest glitch of Marathi middle class, need to be resolved at the earliest. [Thankfully these are on the list of most of the political parties]

– Stay in Maharashtra must be made pleasing for everyone !

Watch out this space : more to come soon on Macro level !