Friday, January 15, 2016

Opposing a woman President of India: gender bias?

Its the first time in Indian history that we have a possibility of a female President for the nation, Pratibha Patil. A gift by our own grand old party to the nation!!!

So should we lose the opportunity or should we not? If we lose it, we will be termed by the world as the same old third world country not acknowledging women and less empowered of our country, their contribution to the nation building, etc. At least that's what is the picture being drawn.

Have we really acknowledged the other better halves and their contribution? Didn't we have that mighty woman Prime Minister for our country for several LS terms ruling with an iron fist? Wasn't she the one who forced us into the state of Emergency (for her petty political gains), the biggest blot to Indian democracy? Even now, who is running the show of our country? We have already had enough for us to acknowledge the women just for the sake of doing it.

It's the most sorry state of Indian democracy that the Prime Minster (why just him, actually the whole cabinet) looks like a puppet playing at some extra constitutional power's hands. Should the President too dance to the same tunes and entertain the world? The state is clear looking at the facts that it's someone outside the official power cicrles taking all the decisions and it's that person, even the district and state level problems are taken to.

Agreed that 'President' is a rubber stamp post, but at the same time he or she is the first citizen of our country representing us in the outer world.

So whom do we want to represent us?

Some typical petty politician, as per the news reports today, allegedly working on saving her brother from murder charges for a murder in her home state that took place just couple of years ago? Someone who passed some unacceptable remarks on our religious minority the next day her canddature was declared? It's the same grand old party playing again it's tricks on us with some symbolism attached - this time giving us the 'first woman Preseident' for our country.

And who is on the other side? Abdum Kalam. Someone who has played a major role in taking us on the path of becoming one of the chosen few - a nuclear power that none can ignore? Someone highly qualified and experienced and one of the most dedicated and patriotic Indians. If some symbolism to be attached - also from our most beloved minority community. He is one of the few who has positively inspired hundreds and thousands, year over year, to try the unbeaten paths.
Whatever we do and say and blog, we won't be having much impact on this issue as we are not the direct voters and there is hardly a chance of an indirect impact, looking at the trend in our politicians, of consistently and shamelessly ignoring the constituency that itself votes them to power.
But all of us - let us not give up and wait for the right opportunity which is not too far when we can make an impact, a solid one!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

मराठी साहित्याची दशा

साधारण ३० वर्षावरील कुणालाही विचारा, "तुम्ही मराठी पुस्तके वाचता का? आणी वाचत असाल तर तुमचे आवडते लेखक कोण?" एक तर फार कमी उत्तरे होकारर्थी येतील. आणी आलीच तर त्यातली जास्तीत जास्त आवडते लेखक हे १९९५ पर्यंतच्या काळातील असतील. तीच तीच नावे पु.ल., वपू, श्रीना, कुणी एखादा अरुण साधू यांचे नाव सांगेल. त्यातल्या त्यात तरुण लोक सुहास शिरवळकर यांचे नाव घेतील.माझ्या लहानपणी मुंबई मध्ये मुंबई मराठी ग्रंथसंग्रहलयाचे चांगले जाळे होते. हा १९८० च्या दशकातला काळ. आमच्या जवळच्या शाखेत ही दर महिन्याला नवी पुस्तके नियमीत पणे येत असत. तुमचा विश्वास बसणार नाही,पण ज्या रविवारी नवीन पुस्तके येत, त्या दिवशी आम्ही प्रामुख्याने १० ते २० वयोगटातली मुले मुली, लोकल मध्ये जागा पकडायला लोक धावतात तशी झुंबड उडवून आवडती पुस्तके पहिल्यांदा हस्तगत करायचो.आपल्या पैकी काही जण नियमीत पणे एखाद्या वाचनालयात जात असाल. गेल्या १० वर्षात काय नवीन लेखक आलेच नाहीत काय? आजकाल ची किती नवीन पुस्तके ही ताज्या कथा कादंबर्‍या असतात? मला तरी हल्ली जास्तीत जास्त अनुवादित वा इतरांच्या कामाचा अभ्यास करणारी अथवा फार तर आत्मचरित्र या पलीकडे जास्त काही दिसत नाही. नवीन कुणीही चांगले नाही असे मी म्हणणार नाही, पण चांगले हे अलपसंख्य आहेत.आता काळ बदललाय आणी चित्रही बदललय. याला कारण काय? कुणी म्हणेल याला दूरचित्रवाणी कारणीभूत आहे, पण मला तसे वाटत नाही. १९७० च्या दशकात ही दूरदर्शन सुरू झाले होते आणी जरी इतकी चॅनेल्स नसली तरी कार्यक्रमांचा दर्जा हा आतापेक्षा फारच चांगला होता. आणी त्या काळात ही लोकांना दूरदर्शन ची प्रचंड क्रेज़ होती. मला वाटते या बदलांना कारणीभूत आहे बदललेली सामाजीक परिस्थिती, आणी अशी परिस्थिती बदलत असताना आपल्या महाराष्ट्रातल्या सरकारांनी त्यांची पार न पाडलेली जबाबदारी.
बदललेली परिस्थिती म्हणजे आपल्या नोकरी धंद्यातल्या कामांचे बदललेले स्वरूप. समाजातला हुशार लोकांचा कल हा प्रामुख्याने अश्या नोकर्‍यात आहे, ज्यात एकतर माणसाचा माणसान्शी संबंध कमी आणि मशीन शी जास्ता येतो, आणी या नोकर्‍या मधला आपला जाणारा दिवसाचा वेळ. आता पूर्वीचे ८ ते ९ तास कामाचे दिवस जवळ जवळ संपले आहेत. आपल्याला हे नव्या स्वरूपाच्या नोकर्‍या दिल्या म्हणजे आपल्याला उपकार केल्या सारखे पिळून काढले जाते. त्या मूळे ८ तासाच्या बदली १० ते १२ तास काम हे कॉमन झाले आहे. मग या कामाचा वाढलेला ताण. त्यातून कुटुंबा साठी राहिलेला कमी वेळ. मग त्यातून उद्भावणारे ताण तणाव. या सार्‍यात चांगले वाचायला किती वेळ आहे आणि कुणाला आहे? वाचायला ही मग लोकांना इन्स्टेंट फुड सारखे काही लागते. म्हणजे चमचमीत मासिके, आणि वर्तमानपत्रे वगैरे. या सार्‍याच्या जोडी ला फास्ट फुड सारखे दूरदर्शन आहेच. या सार्‍या मूळे कुठल्याही उद्योगाला जे मागणी तसा पुरवठा हे ईक्वेशन असते ते इथे तोकडे पडते, कारण मागणी खालावलिये. शिवाय असल्या वातावरणात माणसाची क्रियेटिविटी ही कशी फुलणार?
ही सारी परिस्थिती अशी बदलत असताना, जसे इतर आघाड्यांवर आपली सरकारे मागे पडली तशी याही बाबतीत. सरकारला जसे प्रगती ला हातभार लावण्या साठी त्यानी काय केले पाहिजे हे कळले नाही, तसेच दुर्गति ला रोखण्या साठी काय करावे हेही सुचले नाही. भाषेला जगवायला आणि क्रियेटिविटी ला एक पुश द्यायला फार पैसा लागत नाही पण एक उत्तम "फेसिलिटेटर" ची गरज असते. आपल्या सरकारला मदत म्हणजे कुणाला तरी फुकट अनुदान या पलीकडे काही समजत नाही. असो, सरकारच्या नाकर्ते पाणाची कारण मिमासा हा फार मोठा विषय आहे.
गेल्या १ ते २ वर्षात इंटरनेट वर देवनागरी लिपी खूप मोठ्या प्रमाणात प्रचलित झालीए, मुख्यत्वे ब्लॉग्स च्या बाबतीत. ही फार महत्वाची प्रगती आहे मराठी भाषे ला जिवन्त ठेवून वाढवण्या साठी. आजकाल आपल्या कामाच्या ठिकाणी ही वर्कलाइफ बॅलेन्स ला महत्व येऊ लागले आहे, त्या मूळे पाहुया पुढे काय काय होते ते...

समाज आणि लहान मूल

कुणी म्हणते की भारतीय समाज म्हणजे मेंढरे. कुणीही कशीही हाका. याना हाकणारा कुणी हवा असतो आणि हाकणार्यांची मग काय कमी? म्हणूनच आपण राजकारणी पाहतो जे नित्य नवीन इश्यू शोधून समाजात फुट पाडत असतात, आणि आपला आपला गट बनवून त्याला झुलवत असतात. याला मग आपण 'वोट बॅंक पोलिटीक्स म्हणतो. मला वाटते की कुठल्याही समाजात लहान मुल असते, युवक असतो, वयस्क असतो. तसे पहिले तर समाज यांचाच तर बनलेला असतो, पण मला हे वयोगटांचे प्रतिनिधित्वा इथे अभिप्रेत नाही. मला समाजातले जे लहान मुल अभिप्रेत आहे ते वेगळ्या प्रकारे आहे.
आपण सगळे याला सहमत असाल की मुल लहान असतानाच त्याला आपण चांगले संस्कार द्यावेत म्हणजे मोठेपणी ते एक चांगला माणूस बनू शकते. तसेच समाजाचे ही असते असे मला वाटते. त्याला ही संस्कार देणे फार गरजेचे असते. चांगले संस्कार ना देता बापाने नुसते हातात पैसे दिले तर मुले काय करतात ते आपल्याला माहीतच आहे.
तर, लहान मुलाला जशी आपण शिस्त लावतो तशीच समाजाला ही शिस्त लावणे फार गरजेचे असते. आपण शिस्ता लावायला गेलो की कुठलेही लहान मुल ती टळायला बघते. वडील शिस्त लावत असतील तर आईचा आधार घ्यायला बघते. अश्यावेळा आई आणि वडील, दोघांनी ही समन्वय राखून काम करणे गरजेचे असते नाही तर मुल बिघडायचा धोका असतो. तसेच समाजाला शिस्त लावायला गेले की त्याचा ही कल तिला एन केन प्रकारेण टाळण्याकडे जास्त असतो.
आपण पुणेकर असाल तर आपल्याला आठवत असेल की काही वर्षांपूर्वी एका ट्रॅफिक डिपार्टमेंट च्या इनस्पेक्टर ने पुण्याला लेन्स ची शिस्त लावण्याचा आटोकाट प्रयत्न केला होता. पुणेकरांनी त्याला ना जुमानण्याचा खूप प्रयत्न केला, पण त्याच्या शिस्तीच्या बाडग्यापुढे काही चालत नव्हते, पण शेवटी या सार्‍या प्रकरणात असुरक्षित वाटू लागल्याने राजकारण्यांनी त्याची बदली करून टाकली. म्हणजे समाजाला हाकू शकणार्‍या दोन घटकांमध्ये समन्वयाचा संपूर्ण अभाव होता आणि त्याचे फळ म्हणजे, अजूनही पुण्याच्या वाहतुकीला अजिबात शिस्त नाही. आपण म्हणतो की पुणेकर मुंबई ला गेले की कसे वाहतूकीची शिस्त पाळतात? आणी अमेरिकेत गेले की बघायलाच नको, तेथे अशी शिस्त पाळतात की अमेरिकन ही मागे पडेल. याला कारण म्हणजे मुंबई चा समाज हे जास्त शिस्तीत वाढलेला आहे. आणि अमेरिकन तर त्याही पेक्षा जास्त. मग पुणेकर ही त्या शिस्तप्रिय समाजात गेला की तिथला होऊन जातो, कारण तिथे तो अल्पसंख्या असतो.
बहुसंख्य समाजाला चांगली शिस्त लागली, तो शिकला, शिक्षणाने प्रगल्भ बनला, तर तो विचार करेल आणि त्याने विचार केला तर तो लोकशाही मध्ये राजकारणीही चांगलेच मागेल, मग आजकालच्या राजकारण्यांचे कसे फावेल? पण या उलट, तो बहुसंख्येने बेशिस्त राहिला, अशिक्षित राहिला, उठता बसता बहुसंख्येने चुका करत राहिला, तर त्यालाही आपोआप बहुसंख्येने या भ्रष्टचारी व्यवस्थेचा भाग बनून जावे लागेल. जे काही विचार करणारे असतील ते अल्पसंख्य असतील, आणि ते अल्पसंख्य असल्या मूळे काहीही करू शकणार नाहीत, आणि थोडक्यात राजकारणाचे गुन्हेगारीकरण, भ्रष्टाचार, याला असला समाज कधीही आळा घालू शकणार नाही.
पुण्यचेच उदाहरण घेतले तर काही मोजकी मंडळी कितीही वाहतुकीचे नियम पाळण्या संदर्भात जागरूकता वाढवायचे केविलवणे प्रयत्न करत असतील, तरी त्याला यश येणे शक्या नाही. त्याला यश तेव्हाच येईल जेव्हा या समाजाचे पालक म्हणून जे घटक असतात त्यांना वाटेल की आता काही नियम राबवून घेतले नाही तर काही खरे नाही.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What are you up to, Raj Thakare?

I am a Maharashtrian. I was a Mumbaiite for whole of my life except for few years. I loved my city for the way it was when I was a child. Though it was crowded at times it was still feasible for a family of four like ours to take a peaceful bus-ride in the evenings from Dadar-TT to Babulnath to visit Choupati once in a week. How many of us can imagine the same now?
 
To start with, let me make it clear that there is a lot of meat in the issue of migrants raised by Raj Thakre and MNS. Earlier too, Mumbai was always being mercilessly milked to death by anyone and everyone in whichever power center that allows one do so, be it Centre, State, local Municipal Corporation and not to forget the builder lobby.  So far so good, because exploitation was limited by those in power or close to the power and it stopped outside our doorsteps, but worst came later when already failed BIMARU states crumbled further in last 2 decades under their own weight, which led to the current menace of migrants. This time the problem didn't stop outside our doorsteps but actually got in and has threatened our existence.
 
So, am I being too narrow minded while supporting the issue? Don't I understand the basics of our constitution, secularism, etc? Aren't all Indians my brothers and sisters?
 
Let me make few more points. Maharashtra is a developed state. Though not very good on this count, but a much safer place and perhaps paradise when compared to any of the BIMARU states. We Maharashtrians were always proud of the same and we still are, in spite of the recent attacks on Mumbai or the bomb blasts in the past. But are we being made to pay a very heavy price for being developed and progressive? Does anyone care about whether the infrastructure can support this ever-growing population? Compare this with a person who was earning enough for his family and the family living happily. Now his salary still being same, let us consider we are adding 2 dependents to his family every month. How long can the family live happily together or even survive? Thats the pathetic situation of cities like Mumbai currently and sooner same will be the state of next lot of cities in Maharashtra like Pune, Nashik or Nagpur where private sector is thriving we have started seeing early signs of a Metro in the making. 
 
The problem is that these real issues are not being discussed or thrashed out at all, because there lies the massive failure of our politicians, especially the ones from the states being targeted by Raj Thakare or his MNS. Why do we have so many migrants coming from north to Mumbai and not the other way round? Why is it that in spite of the states having the great and caring politicians like Lalu, Amar or Paswan, people there are migrating to Maharashtra? Don't these proud leaders care enough to lure their own people to stay in their own states and contribute to its development, create jobs, push for development, create infrastructure, invite industry and most importantly provide a decent law and order situation? And because nothing of this sort exists on ground how do they still manage a brave face and get away with all these failures? There starts the politics of Chhat Pooja, politics of glorifying Rahul Raj's death, etc. So its the same usual game of distracting a north Indian common man from his real issues to something else, something on which his emotions will run high, give him a great kick as he reacts to it and their job is done!
 
As far as the issues of migrants is concerned, Mr Raj Thakare, I am with you.
 
I was also with you for a short while when you were just out of Shiv Sena and made a statement that you can't see yourself standing in line with other Congress leaders to greet her when next time Sonia arrives at Mumbai. Your side, your stand was clear at least for a short while. You had all my sympathies. Even when you got sentimental when Balasaheb asked you not to use his image for your political growth. We too felt bad for you. It was like a lone crusader fighting it out to find his way thru' the chaos. You were still our man out there and that was the time when we would have perhaps chosen you given a choice between you and others. 
 
Slowly we saw the lone crusader, turning into a seasoned politician taking us for a ride like any other one. I am not sure whether you sense this but many like me have been very keenly watching your every step and every statement you are making.  
 
Please answer few questions if you will. If you could answer all of these positively I and many like me would be more than happy to switch our loyalties to MNS anytime.
 
Why do you think slums that house these north Indian peasants come up and stand there for years untouched? 

Who provides them all basic amenities, ration cards and then voter's cards? 

Aren't those who do all this are more guilty than the helpless ones who come here in search of job to feed their kids 2 square meals at the end of the day?

Have you ever gone to the root cause of these problems as far as Maharashtra is concerned and staged any agitation? Why shouldn't one call the acts of beating all north Indians a frivolous reaction to a real serious problem?

Are all those north Indians who provide them all this and also protect them from BMC and police? 

Have you staged any "dharna" against Maharashtra Ministers, PDS officers, BMC officers, slum lords and police for enabling all this?
  
Now let us look at what current Central and Maharashtra Govts have done in last few years. Mumbai earns the biggest share of Income Tax in India which goes to the Centre. It also earns a massive share of all sorts of taxes for the State. Its local trains network is the biggest grosser when it comes to Railways. How much does it get in return?

Why aren't you seen attacking those who are responsible for this state of Mumbai, and those who can still protect the city by using already existing laws? 

If you blame Shiv Sena for all this, then why were you a mute spectator to all this while you were in Shiv Sena for so many years?  

Why don't we see you taking a very clear stand while opposing Congress or its leaders? We find you playing safe games with them and hitting out at an imaginary non-existent enemy? Its a safe tactic to blame Lalu or Amar Singh. Who is Lalu to Mumbai voters anyway? Why not blame rulers Congress and NCP who are blind to everything thats happening around them and ruling the state for last 9 years? At your heart, don't you feel that SS-BJP rule was the best so far for Mumbai in last few decades, when they built 55 bridges, Expressway, etc? 

There is a serious migrants' issue for Mumbai. Opposing Raj Thakre's "Marathi maanus" cause is the easiest and most convinient way of looking at the issue and trying to be secular and true Indian. It makes one feel good and broad-minded to call others narrow minded. Instead of all Mumbai tax payers getting united to fight the cause, we all are divided as Marathi and outsides, or Hindus and Muslims for someone's convenience.

Though your cause has a lot of meat, unfortunately your style doesn't. Unless you change your ways, your political ambition purely based on violence against helpless is going to be short-lived.