March 08, 2008

Wear white campaign

If you're in Bombay, and if you care about Municipal plans for Crawford Market, the indefatigable Right to Information campaigner, Shailesh Gandhi (whom I have mentioned here and there), wants you to wear white on March 9th and 10th.

Here is the (slightly edited) text of a note from him:

The Crawford Market Notice of Motion is slated on the agenda of the Municipal Corporation’s house on Monday, 10th March, 2008. Citizens have decided to adopt an extremely simple method of using white to voice our hopes:

1. Wear white clothes on 9th and 10th March. This would represent our hope and faith in the honesty of our elected representatives.

2. Some Citizens who can come, should assemble at Azad Maidan opposite the BMC, from 1.30pm to 2.00pm. on 10th March. After that those who can, will enter the Corporation and stand in groups of three near the offices of the political parties. We will not say or do anything to hinder anybody. Just allow our white clothes to make our statement.

A few eminent Citizens will get passes for the Visitor’s gallery and watch the Corporators from the visitors gallery.

Our demands and expectations are simple:

1. The Corporation administration and the Corporators should discuss the pros and cons of the proposal in a free and fair manner giving the logic for whatever they are saying.

2. Our hope and request is that they will reject the earlier proposal; and decide to evolve a new proposal safeguarding Citizen’s interest.

Let us repose our faith in them to prevent giving away over Rs 1000 crores in the Crawford Market scam by taking back the proposal to give it away.

This will also preserve our Grade I Hertitage precinct, the nature of the market and the nightmarish traffic problems which can occur with the present proposal.

In the rare event they do not respect our faith, our white clothes will be a mourning for their dishonesty.

Appealing to all Citizens, PLEASE WEAR WHITE ON 9Th and 10Th March.

Wherever you are.

We must make our Democracy function and deliver.

(Shailesh's site: Satyamevajayate)


Here's the (slightly edited) text of an email exchange that explains some of the background:

1. The Crawford Market is not only dear to all Mumbaikars, it is officially classified as a Mumbai Heritage site. It is already surrounded by congestion, including traffic congestion.

2. Last September 11, the Municipal Corporation voted to hand the site to a builder who plans to build towers which will arguably destroy the aesthetics of the place. Unarguably, it will increase congestion as there is no plan for improved transport or other infrastructure. Since Crawford Market is in central, the traffic snarls will have wide impact.

3. Shailesh argues that this deal gifts the said builder over Rs 1000 crores at the expense of the Corporation, instrument of Mumbai's citizens. There are also the usual suspicions of money changing hands.

4. The Heritage Committee, it is believed, will not approve this desecration. However, the present Municipal Commissioner is on record saying that the Committee's role is merely advisory, he can over rule them.

5. Some Corporators have demanded review of the September 11 decision. This is scheduled for Monday 10 March.

6. The methodology of nontransparent giving away of other 100 Municipal markets will result in a loss to Citizens of over Rs 6000 crores.

7. No reasons have been advanced by any Corporator for passing this proposal. In fact, 85 Corporators including the Mayor were contacted by Citizens on this issue in July, August 2007, and they had all agreed that the Proposal was not in Public interest.

8. Our recent history shows that Mumbai Corporators do the decent thing when the public cries out.

9. Shailesh and others have organised this campaign to demonstrate the concern of Mumbaikars.

10. The least the rest of us can do is wear at least one white article of clothing this Sunday and Monday. If we catch the attention of decision makers, so much the better.


Mayuresh Gaikwad said...


Can you key-in a follow-up post on how successful/ unsuccessful this campaign was?

I would specifically like to know:
1. What was the response: i.e. how many people actually wore white (just the magnitude of the number i.e. 10,000 people as opposed to 100 people)
2. How effective was the targeting? : Did the target audience (the people in the corridors of power) notice this event?How many would have noticed it and known the reason for the protest? In short, how many of the targeted audience got the message? I am only looking at order of magnitude
3. Too early, but have the target audience been affected by this campaign? Have they shown some immediate signs of improement, are their any "low-hanging-fruit" which were immediately addressed?

It would also suffice if you point me to some links in this regard in case you have no first-hand info.


Sidhusaaheb said...


I hope the desired results are achieved.