Sucheta Dalal :My Problem is... Who Cares?
Sucheta Dalal

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My Problem is... Who Cares?  

February 11, 2010

The recent events related with Mumbai and Maharashtra have left me thinking over my real problems, completely ignored by everyone, including myself.


Does the release of Shah Rukh Khan's movie, the so-called 'rada' (ruckus) created by the Shiv Sena and more importantly, the Indian Premier League (IPL), which kick-started the recent events make any difference to my day-to-day life in Mumbai? Even the fight over Marathi and Hindi... does the common man really care for it? I don’t think so.


Take for example—I, along with a few lakh (65 lakh-70 lakh) people spend about three-four hours every day travelling in an overcrowded local train. Every day, some fellow commuter falls down while getting into a train, some even lose their life. Similarly, those who travel by car and bus have to tackle the daily traffic jams at some bottleneck or signal. This pathetic and tiring travel leaves everyone with little energy to bother about the non-related issues mentioned above. This is the condition of all people from Mumbai, including Marathis and others, whether they travel by local train or any other vehicle. Do you think anyone—the railways, SRK, Shiv Sena or even Rahul Gandhi, who travelled in a Mumbai local during non-peak hours—cares? I have my doubts.


Second, the daily life of common people, particularly those of us staying in Mumbai, has become vulnerable. Nobody can assure Mumbaikars (residents of Mumbai) that he or she will return home intact. Life is always under threat in Mumbai. Most of the times, the threat is from terrorists, but sometimes even political parties do this job (terrorising people) with ease.


However, there is hardly is any security for a common Mumbaikar. Security of cinema theatres is most important for the ruling Congress-NCP state government.


Third, inflation is eating away a major chunk from my earnings and has left me with little or no savings. Everyday, prices of some essential item are going up just like our age, which never declines. Political parties, film heroes or the TRP-crazy media—nobody has the time to look into these problems.


In its recent monetary policy review, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has indicated that sustained increase in food prices is beginning to spill over into other commodities and services as well. While the RBI has pegged GDP growth at 7.2%, agricultural input is likely to decline by 0.2% from last year’s growth of 1.6%. Compare this to the fact that almost 60% of the country's population is dependent on agriculture—which again depends mostly on seasonal rains and still faces challenges like drought and floods—and you have a pitiable scenario.


The agriculture ministry was supposed to boost production of food material through innovative research and development. However, recently, we found the Union minister for agriculture Sharad Pawar in a row over his accurate predictions about sugar and milk prices. We are not averse to price increase, but the real question is, does the farmer who produces sugarcane and supplies milk get his dues? How much share does he actually receive from the hike? No one, including all mentioned above is interested. Everyone—film heroes, political parties and the media—tries to lure the common man for buying, watching and supporting their causes, but nobody really cares for his daily worries and struggle to survive.


As far as the recent ruckus over non-issues is concerned, this is nothing but the race to survive. Shah Rukh Khan wants to prove that he is a bigger star and his movie can earn more than his (rival?) Aamir Khan’s '3Idiots'. Shiv Sena, caught up in a drowning syndrome—courtesy Raj Thackeray—is trying to stay afloat while keeping its herd intact. The Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra feels that 'All Iz Well' and there is no need to bother to look into the common man's woes, since there is no election in the near term. At the national level, the Congress thinks it can make inroads into Bihar and Uttar Pradesh by raising Mumbai and migration issues.


So keep smiling, do not worry, as nobody has time to care for you and me. If you think there is some energy, or a spark left in you, then shout loudly "All Iz Well".


By the way, do you remember a movie called 'Deshdrohi' that was banned by the Maharashtra government? I watched it on You Tube... and couldn’t stop laughing. It was hilarious. It is a readymade and perfect guidebook for any newbie on how not to make a movie!
Yogesh Sapkale


-- Sucheta Dalal