rubble rumbles


Last week bulldozers raised MG 1 or the mecca of the fashion industry in India's capital city and our page 3 went up in arms.. TV programmes, newspaper articles, impassioned debates abounded.. even divine intervention was sought as pujas and yagnas were held...

Let me take you back to a couple of months when tens of thousands of homes were reduced to nought on the banks of the Yamuna.. and families and belongings carted on trucks and sent to barren land almost 50 kilometers away..

In the first case it is true that there has been great visible loss of property and immense erosion of pride but in the later case the loss was far far greater, albeit invisible: it was the anhilation of dreams and hope: many children could not sit for their Boards, families lost their livelihood let alone their shelter...

Let us be realistic what applies to Peter must to Paul.. and the culprits are the same: vested interests, vote banks, corrupt individuals - the list is endless.. and as was evident in a high rated talk show, the solutions seem few and hazy..

But one has to realise that whatever solutions come they have to be applicable to both ends of the spectrum. One must not forget that the high profile designer and the slum dweller are protected by the same constitutional rights and both have roles to play in the life of the city. If one stopped to think for a second one would realise that many of those who made MG 1 exist and thrive are probably people who live in slums under the threat of bulldozers...

Every city has to have a housing policy for the poor within the city; we are talking of the press lady, or the ones that come and help you in your home.. it is simple people who are an integral part of our every day lives... So let us hope that out of the high profile destruction will emerge solutions that will benefit all.. and that for once vested interest will think beyond the next election and the quick buck..


Three years ago, on xmas eve, we faced bulldozers that brought down a simple tent we had erected in what was orginally a MCD slum wing children's park but had gradually eroded into a pig's park filled with garbage and excrement.. that was the space MCD officials had given us to teach in.. thinking we would run away.. but we had painstakingly cleaned the park, and planted trees and erected a happy yellow tent where over 300 kids studied.. I am not reviving this incident to settle scores, but simply to tell one how shattered one feels when bulldozers destroy something you have built with hope..