Saturday, March 28, 2015

A statue at Sea? For whom?

Maharashtra "has proposed an elaborate security arrangement for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai, including a system that will keep it invisible on radars, bunkers and an independent security unit, including the National Security Guard ( NSG)".

And this 190 feet statue is going to cost 1,900 crore!!!

Do the state really need such a statue; that also at sea? When people don't have enough toilets for sanitation and pure water to drink, how the state government could even think of taking such a decision?


1. Z++ security for Rs 1,900 crore Shivaji statue - TOI

Monday, March 16, 2015

Konkon Reise - Netravati to Sabarmati: Part V - Mumbai, The Maximum City (Day 3 & 4)

As I wrote earlier, I wanted to visit BSE on a working day. So I walked from CST and reached BSE building. To my disappointment, there was hardly any chaos or scenes like traders running around in hurry. Calm and quiet building; surroundings were equally calm. Only difference on that working day was, BSE was open, and employees - wearing their tags - were frequently coming in and out.
After spending some time there, I walked towards ‘Gateway of India’ to catch a boat to Elephanta. Ticket cost was 160 INR. By the way, Elephanta Island is located some 10km away from Gateway. I boarded a boat and slowly started our journey towards the caves.
It was an interesting journey through Arabian Sea. Apart from being the biggest city of India, Mumbai also have one of the biggest harbors in India. On both sides, there were ships waiting to enter the harbor; oil tankers emptying out their stomach to big oil storage tanks located at Butcher Island.
After a while the journey becomes monotonous. This lasted till we reach somewhat close to the island. From there onward birds joined us till Island’s jetty. There is a toy train running from the jetty till the steps (ticket - 10 INR). From here one has to climb a lot of steps to reach the entrance to the caves. Vendors selling souvenirs are located on both sides of the steps.
Finally I climbed last of those steps and reached in front of the white board indicating ‘Elephanta Caves’, a designated UNESCO world heritage site.
History of Elephanta (aka Gharapuri in Marathi)
The debate is still on the question of who built the caves at Elephanta. It can be Konkan Mauryas, Kalacuris, Chalukyas or Rashtrkutas.
The Portuguese named the island "Elephanta Island" in honour of a huge rock-cut black stone statue of an elephant that was then installed on a mound, a short distance east of Gharapuri village. The elephant now sits in the Jijamata Udyaan zoo in Mumbai” - Wikipedia
Many accuse Portuguese as the main culprits for the destruction of these caves - “Portuguese soldiers used the reliefs of Shiva in the main cave for target practice, sparing only the Trimurti sculpture. They also removed an inscription related to the creation of the caves.” - Wikipedia.
Apart from first cave, there were hardly any statues/carvings or rock works on other caves. After spending some time on first cave; I just checked other nearby caves, but skipped caves on other side of the hill (there were some renovation work going on there.
I was so hungry that, I had a veg biriyani from a hotel located in the island. That was one of the worst Veg biriyani I ever had; and I believe that, it was the reason behind by stomach sickness started from next day.
Naval Area
While coming back to Gateway, one can get a good view of naval area. A number of naval ships were docked there. One is not allowed to point their camera in that direction and take photographs!!!
Vile Parle
On the way back, I met a couple of localites who was standing on a queue to board a boat to Alibagh. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time left; hence I politely declined the offer and went back to CST. Probably on another day…
There wasn’t any plan for the afternoon. So I thought of having some good street food. After going through some food related articles, finally decided to try street foods along western line, starting from Vile Parle. Needless to say, Vada Pav from there was really tasty.
Mumbai Monorail
After trying metro, I decided to try monorail as well. At the time of writing this article Mumbai monorail is operating from Ghatkopper to Wadala. A skywalk from Ghatkopper station took me to Monorail station. This is a combination of Metro and Mumbai local. A journey through excellent air conditioned coaches at local’s ticket rate. I believe that, constructed and operated by government agency, this is going to become another white elephant. At this ticket rate, Monorail may never breakeven or generate profits.
Last stop for Mono rail was at ‘Wadala Road’ and I got down there. Security guards at station told me that, GTB station is closer than Wadala. I walked and walked, but GTB was nowhere in sight.
This is a big problem in Mumbai (and later in Gujarat as well). People often say a place is very close and I start walking, only to discover later that the destination is quite far away. So whenever someone tells you that a place is close, never rely on that info!!! Check in maps and board some bus or hire a taxi!!!
Finally I reached GTB station and boarded next train to Seawoods.
Next day, veg biriyani - from Elephanta - showed her real face I wasn’t able to wake up properly form bed.
That was my last day in Mumbai. For all those days I was staying at Ammu Chechi’s home with Ammu chechi, Setuettan and Saju. As a matter of fact, I was seeing them after a very long time. All those moments were really great and enjoyable. Without their help the journey would never have been so easy and comfortable.
To Vadodara
Setuettan came all the way to Seawood Station to drop me. From there I went to Kurla Station, and then in an auto to Bandra Terminus through ‘Bandra Kurla Complex’. It was a place I wanted to visit for a long time. In that night, I was able to see the board of NSE building along with so many other famous names in the industry.
I reached Bandra Terminus just on time; therefore I had to run through platforms and tracks to reach Avadh express. Fortunately, I was able to make it.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Supreme Court should discontinue one and half month Summer Vacation

Can anyone tell me why Supreme Court of India (SC) requires a one and half month summer vacation – half of May and full of June?


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Women's Day 2015 - Make It Happen

To All Readers,

October 1824 was a bad month for British East India Company. It was on this month, they attacked a small princely state in Karnataka (called Kittur) with a force of 20,000 men and 400 guns, mainly from the third troop of Madras Native Horse Artillery. To their shock, they lost heavily and St John Thackeray, collector and political agent, was killed by Kittur forces. Can you imagine who was in charge of Kittur Kingdom? - Rani Chennamma. Chennamma fought valiantly on later wars against British India and died on 21 February 1829.

It was this story which suddenly came to my mind when I thought of this year’s Women's day – the courage of lady to stand up against the most powerful empire of the time.

Brigham Young once said, "You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

Let's celebrate this women's day and do whatever we can do to help and empower all those who can't stand up for themselves.

Anne Frank, wrote in the "The Diary of a Young Girl",

“In the book Soldiers on the Home Front, I was greatly struck by the fact that in childbirth alone, women commonly suffer more pain, illness and misery than any war hero ever does. An what's her reward for enduring all that pain? She gets pushed aside when she's disfigured by birth, her children soon leave, hear beauty is gone. Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together.”

That's the spirit.

Wishing Happy Women's day (belated)

Twitter Hashtags
- #MakeItHappen
- #womensday
- #IWD2015
- #internationalwomensday
- #PaintItPurple

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Including History of North East in NCERT Curriculum

As per latest government press release, UGC has advised the Universities to include more elements of North-Eastern area and culture in university syllabus.

This includes,

“(I) Novels/short stories…
(ii) History of North East including personalities who participated in anti-colonial uprisings as well as freedom movement”

Apart from this UGC also recommends,

“(I) Students from the other part of the country to spend some time in the North East so as to understand and appreciate culture of the area… regular cultural exchange between institutions…
(II) The North East Zone Cultural Centre, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture also organizes various programmes under its scheme namely, National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP) for awareness about the culture of the North Eastern Region.”

This was supposed to be done long time back. At a time when people have very little information about India beyond West Bengal in the eastern side, these measures will really help. Making infrastructure for more people from other parts of the country to visit north east will also do some help.