Thursday, February 14, 2008

Recent tension in Mumbai

These are my observations on the tension in Mumbai in the past few days.

1. Lack of faith in the ability of the state to maintain peace and calm. Why is it that people fear violence at the slightest hint of it?

2. Media irresponsibility - Most the headlines I read mentioned 'Violence erupts in Mumbai'. Reading further, I found out that there were stray stone throwing incidents in a bout 4 localities of this vast metropolis. Surely, 'Sporadic incidents of stone throwing' would have been a more realistic headline? But no, in this age of sensationalism, reason flies out of the window.

3. Eagerness of Mumbai residents to believe the rumours. It almost felt that Mumbaites were hoping for some more such sensational news, so that they could reach home early, and maybe enjoy a day off work as well!

Fortunately, I had work at office, so could not leave office early (not that I was particularly keen to). When I finally left at 9 PM, it felt as if it were midnight! The shops were all closed, there was very little traffic, and the trains were not crowded. For a change, commuting in Mumbai was not a pain!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mahua Memoirs

Written and shot by Mr. Vinod Raja, an FTII alumnus, this documentary captures the impact of industrialisation on the lives of the 'adivasis' - tribals who have been staying on the land for generations. The documentary takes a dispassionate look at the issues faced by the local populace, when land, the only asset they know of, is taken away from them forcibly. The film is beautifully shot and narrated well.

The film raises one fundamental question - why should the cost of 'development' be borne by the people who are the least likely to benefit from it? This question is being asked even louder now, with the SEZ scheme that the government is pushing through. And it is a question that we, the educated middle class, will do well to ponder on as we continue our comfortable lives, before it gets too late...