January 31, 2005

Ambujwadi 1 to 8

Other preoccupations may have drowned these reports I filed from Municipality-demolished Ambujwadi last week. So in the hope that some out there would like to read them, here they are again, all together in one place.

Ambujwadi 1: I've seen this before
Ambujwadi 2: Cut You Off
Ambujwadi 3: Impressive letterhead
Ambujwadi 4: Will you have some water?
Ambujwadi 5: In search of Singapore
Ambujwadi 6: Solemnly Declared
Ambujwadi 7: That time again
Ambujwadi 8: Vignettes

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And here's my article on Ambujwadi that is on the edit page of Mid-Day today (Jan 31): Addresses without homes.

If you've read these, I should make a clarification. I met UPS Madan, Maharashtra's Chief Electoral Officer, on Saturday, to discuss my concerns about the connection between demolishing hutments and taking their residents off the electoral rolls. Madan pointed out that the election ID cards did not constitute a right to vote, but were just a convenient proof of identity that the Election Commission decided to issue since no other Government department was doing so. Your right to vote lies in the presence of your name on the electoral rolls, regardless of whether you have an election ID card.

He also said that so far, his office has only received an oral inquiry from the Municipality about removing these people from the rolls. He will take no action until the Municipality makes such a request in writing. And one final point: the Election Commission does not care about what your address is -- meaning whether you are in some way "illegal" or not. If you can prove you are "ordinarily" resident at an address, you will be put on the rolls in that constituency.

16 comments:

Iamsoso said...

Yeah Dilip,

You've a BIG point there. Bombay is by itself a big slum. So why not demolish almost the whole of it?

From here I am gonna digress a bit from the central theme of your story, Dilip, but we all know there are myriad number of stories similar to the ones you've put the spotlight on of citizens of India being denied voting rights just because a handful of bureaucrats weren't "convinced" about the right of these people to vote.

There is an interesting story I know--it might appear stupid to some people, but I am helpless. Here I go: I know of more than 10 people in Kannur district of Kerala (God's Land of Literacy) who were denied voting rights for almost 40 years because their fathers emigrated (do you have a better word for that meaningless movement of people?) to Pakistan during Partition.

A lot LOT more needs to be done about these things and lot LOT more effort has to be made in "locating" those cantankerous ones who walk away with impunity after denying someone his/her basic right, to start with.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dilip,

These people are there illegally on some one elses land. how would you like them to pitch their huts in your building compound or in your appartment. All of India suffers from a NIMBY sydnrome. where they would hold two set of views depending on how the situation affects them personally. Famous example Lata Mangashkar and her threats to leave Mumbai if a flyover were built near her house. but would mind using them any other place.

I think the BMC is doing a great job to make life better for people who are legally living in Mumbai and who pay their honest share (lol) of taxes to its exchequer. We should applaud this fact here, and not be carried away by rent- a - cause personalities like medha patkar and arrundati roy and their ilk.

Samir

Dilip D'Souza said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dilip D'Souza said...

Samir,

I'm always amused by guys who assume that people whose views differ from theirs must therefore be "rent-a-cause personalities." What's it, you find it hard to believe that reasonable people might actually think differently from you?

"Legally living" here and paying their "honest share" (I note you yourself put a "lol" there) of taxes: excellent point. Given that plenty of this city's blocks of flats were built by bribing people, flouting FSI and other regulations, and were bought with illegal money, "legally living" here takes on interesting shades of meaning. And given that something between 10 and 20 percent of eligible taxpayers in this country actually pay their taxes, it's a good bet that the majority of those who are so vocal about honest taxpayers are themselves not paying their taxes.

Besides, have you heard of something called "octroi"? It is the major source of municipal revenue (of the order of 60-70%), and every single resident of Bombay pays it every time he buys any thing at all in this city. Slum resident as well as the "legally living" dude. Thus it is a myth that people in slums don't pay taxes.

Venu Gopal Rao said...

What's it, you find it hard to believe that reasonable people might actually think differently from you?


Well Dilip, some of the so called not-reasonable people would like to know is how come the reasonable people who whine about unreasonales, hide the role of their own kit-n-kin in this mess - especially if one's own father held the topmost position in Maharastra government's babudom and had power to do something about this mess for past 3 decades.

I wish Mr. J D'Souza starts a blog too so we can question him.

Dilip D'Souza said...

...especially if one's own father held the topmost position in Maharastra government's babudom and had power to do something about this mess for past 3 decades.

Let's get this clear: You mean your father? Well, I can't speak for him.

But if you mean my father, he held that topmost position in 1975. Pretty much exactly 3 decades ago. So if we go by your superfine logic, he actually did NOT have the "power to do something about this mess for past 3 decades."

I wish Mr. J D'Souza starts a blog too so we can question him.

Why? Is it only after people started blogging that they could be asked questions? What happened in all of recorded human history before blogs, then?

Sure you can question him. Get his name right, then give it a shot.

Ven said...

Thank you Dilip, since you pretty much answered and corrected about your own fathers service record, I guess we have the right father squared away.

Get his name right, then give it a shot.
A thousand apologies sir. I might get his name right one of these days, let me see if I can get those commission reports online , you know the one he was testifying for while you wrote what, a couple dozen articles infulencing media on the exact same case?

he actually did NOT have the "power to do something about this mess for past 3 decades."
Of course, of course, my apologies. It must have been some other babu who was at fault. Always is the case.

Dilip D'Souza said...

you know the one he was testifying for while you wrote what, a couple dozen articles infulencing media on the exact same case?

What's it, one article by a woolly-headed columnist and you decide you can never make up your own mind again?

For one thing, only one thing, a commission is not a case. The so-called "conflict of interest" is in the minds of the guys who have no other argument to make. Give it a thought, old man.

As for the 3 decades, that's exactly right. On the other hand, he had a lot of power to do things when he was in service, over 3 decades ago. He used it.

It's what I said: ask him. Do attempt not to have wooly-headed columnists make up your mind for you.

Anonymous said...

What wooly-headed columnist is Dilip DS referrring to, please? I assume that its not himself, since his mugshot doesn't look wooly-headed, just plain stupid.

But this thing about rent-a-writer daddy's boy CREATING news to favor Daddy, seems to irritate DDS no end. Why? If there was nothing unethical about writing a dozen articles on a case where his daddy was pretending to be "impartial", then why get so hot under the collar about it?

I don't know what these things are about, but I seem to remember that this Dilip guy wrote in another BLOG about how he went to the Mardi Gras and tried to hit on women while they were defecating. Really! You do that sort of thing a lot, D'Souza? Big kick, eh? Learned that from Daddy too, I wonder?

Anonymous said...

Hi Dilip!

Enjoyed your articles from your trip down south after the tsunami. Who funds such trips, by the way? I am impressed by their vision and generosity. Seemed like you were part of a team, including Amit Varma, and your hosts were the great altruistic organizations, AID, and their subsidiaries DYFI, SFI and TNSF.

Such wonderful articles, too. I am keeping them in a special folder - sure they will come in handy later. Best regards

Anonymous said...

This appeared in Gujarati Mid-Day on April 29, 2002:
---
Mr. D'souza also admitted that he was the chief executive of a big housing project at Dindoshi in Mumbai and people such as Mrinal Gore, PB Samant and Suresh Narvekar were its trustees.
---
As someone noted on another blog,
---
As for Dilip D’Souza’s conflict of interest, don’t play dumb with me. If the son of an entrepreneur writes as a journalist for a technology magazine and he praises his father’s company and suppresses the information that he is writing about his father’s company, that would be a case of conflict of interest. He should give complete details in the interest of full disclosure.

Keeping with the standards of journalistic ethics, you should not have suppressed two pieces of information - (1) that you were an interested party as your father was the one who had filed the case and so it could mean that you aren’t interested in the merits of the case, but in your father being on the side of success (2) Your father had worked as CEO for a housing project of Janata Dal leaders and he may have had an axe to grind against Shiv Sena’s Sudhir Joshi who used to represent workers in disputes between labour and management (your father was on the management side.)

(2) is disgusting and reveals how the system in India works.
---

Anonymous said...

Hey, Dilip, this is Dhanoosh again. I can't believe it! You actually write AGAINST slum demolition as though you are a pure-hearted supporter of the People?

Dude, YOUR DADDY IS PART OF THOSE WHO APPROVED THE SLUM DEMOLITION!

Why don't you be honest and state that? Don't have journalistic ethics?

WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP YOUR DADDY RATHER THAN WAIT FOR HIM TO COLLECT his money, and THEN pretend to be all for the slum-dwellers?

I am still waiting for your answer. Censorship is not going to work, for your information. You will simply get laughed off the internet.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how the counter-bloggers are attempting to demolish Dilip's arguments. Genetics. Family history. Ulterior motives. Psychology. Stupidity. Associations. Name-calling. Resorting to innuendo and abuse is a confession to the absence of any logical or philosophical thoughts from which ANYONE could benefit. Let us hear something more intellectual and less bellicose. Please.

Melanie said...

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Anonymous said...

A case against slum clearance exists in both neoliberal and green economics, so it must be misguided.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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