Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year revelry gone bad

Another molestation in public.

That is what exactly that happens when you allow slums to spread all over our cities. Going by the pics in the websites, the people who committed the dastardly act looked like slumdwellers, by their looks and dressing. Now, would we even be sympathetic to their cause.

Slums of Mumbai are teeming with underworld elements. Most criminal activities take place around slums. It would be all right (well, not reallyl) if they confined their criminal activities amongst themselves, but now, they go out and harass in public places.

All right all right. Not all slum dwellers are criminals. But they are most likely to be criminals, and for no fault of ours. First of all, nobody is forcing anyone to live there. Slums are illegal in the first place. While we have to go through endless paperwork, approvals and government harassment to build our dwellings, these people just set up shanties and they are regularized!!

Well, garib log hai.. jaane do.


If the government is ready to demolish *urban* settlements like Ulhasnagar established over 50 years ago (the fact that the place has a municipal corporation means you recognize it as an entity), inhabiting people who pay taxes and follow the laws, then it should have no problem demolishing blatantly illegal slums that came up 5 years ago.

Now while, it is considered ok to demolish urban settlements since the inhabitants are supposedly rich, they can afford another home, its considered anti-poor to demolish slums. The whole point that all citizens are equal is conviniently forgotten. Being poor is not even a slightly good excuse for committing crime. (Neither are these excuses - being a minority, uneducated, instigated by somebody else etc)

I sure wonder whether we people even have a sense of relativity, when we try to equalize one crime by an upper class with 10 crimes by the slumdwellers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

er, the noida episode with missing children was committed by upperclass people.

slum dwellers are easy to target.

every section of society has its evil denizens.

swati from greatbong blog

January 04, 2007 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tell me how would u cleanse slums n legalise the ambience...
dnot allocate all the crimes/wrong-doings n unpleasant developments in the society to slum-dwellers..they are fragile looking, their malnourished bodies cant shelter that heavy load u r attempting to..let me flee..yoooooooooo

January 04, 2007 11:16 PM  
Blogger In The Shadows said...


LOLzz... hahaa.. no need to flee. I have updated my post in response. :)

Well, thats nice. They are poor and misguided youth when they commit crimes. When its payback time, they are fragile and malnourished too.

Its common data/knowledge that the most criminals belong to the slums or like the Mumbai underworld, have risen from the slums.

I am not allocating "all" wrongdoings to them. But say, if 7 out of 10 crimes are committed by slumdwellers(it might be more, many crimes in the slums are not even reported), then surely we do have a problem on hand. We do have a problem of social security. Never know when I would be a target of a crime.

As a matter of fact, a hint of worry would cross my mind if any woman friend of mine visits slum-ridden Kurla or Mahim in Mumbai. Not for nothing are those areas considered "unsafe".

January 05, 2007 4:51 AM  
Blogger In The Shadows said...

I recall a time when I visited a seedy bar near Rani Laxmibai Chowk in Sion, Mumbai, (Dharavi, the famous slum, is just a km away), at the insistence of a friend who said that the guy makes amazing food.

Well, the food was actually good, the beer was good but the kind of crowd.... well almost everyone was a third grade tapori (not even like the cute funny ones the movies portray), and those eyes constantly stabbing.

Come on, both of us guys felt a bit unsafe there... you can now imagine. Slums are a menace, whether we like to admit it or not.

January 05, 2007 4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

though it has been pointed out by swati already
but mohinder singh pandher did not belong to the slums, but his 20 plus victims did
and now you may argue that if the slums weren't there , the kids wouldn't get killed either...
oh i have no problem with your theory, you can throw a lot of facts on my face and back your theory, but do you really mean to be so patronising and classist? or am i just imagining it?

January 10, 2007 9:42 PM  
Blogger In The Shadows said...


Classist? Well, would you say the same thing to those slumdwellers who specifically target the upper class (note - I am talking about economic class, not caste). You may not like what I said, but what is sauce for the goose, etc etc.

Again, I repeat my point about numbers. If 5 out of 10 slumdwellers are criminals, and 1 out of 10 upper class are criminals, what would be your conclusion. We can always find examples to negate a point. Almost always. But where we fail is to give weightage.

All crimes are not equal. Dont equate an embezzlement with murder or rape or physical violence. You get the idea.. dont you?

Note that not every indecent or boorish act is a crime as per the laws. How often have you seen slumdwellers dirty the surroundings, spitting on the walls and railway stations. Damn, since the airline fares have gone down, I have even seen ugly paan stains in the Mumbai domestic.

Now you, being a girl, would you ever entered a slum or a chawl? The kind of uncivilized language you will find very common. Of course, you need to measure here too. Upper classes do speak such language, but there is a limit. There is a saying in Marathi I heard my local friend say, which means - Mountains are beautiful only when viewed afar.

Oh , by the way, you may call me a classist, if you like.

January 11, 2007 3:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, I do not have an agenda against you. I do not want to call you names.

And I am not saying what you said was entirely wrong.
What happened at Gateway of India on 31st did not seem like a low class crime to me at least. I have seen posh schools educated , rich men doing the same at discs. I have!!!
Besides I reacted to the 'tone' of your post, I was sure that you can give more facts that I will know...

and er, I think ascribing to much to the class angle takes away from the males molesting a female, which really, transcends, religion, class and castes.

Mohinder singh could continue for so long despite police complaints, despite police interrogation etc because HE COULD, because he had the resoucrces and the power, correct? I am not sure removal of slums will entirely solve the problem. The male psyche that we have built over the centuries that they can get away with anything seems unlikely to change in a hurry.

Okay so that is my point of view, however, confused it sounds.

Did not mean to insult you, but it did not seem right.


January 11, 2007 9:04 PM  
Blogger In The Shadows said...


Ok, you did not mean to insult me , all right. Neither did I find anything you said that insult me :) No probs here.

Ok, such things do take place at discs. But how often? Again where we fail is weightage, the numbers.. (without the statistics.. as they say, statistics are lies). Just plain simple numbers, without all the statistical methods applied to them. Raw data.

Its like - Boxer A punches Boxer B ten times, B punches A once. A third person says that both A and B are equally aggressive/strong/anything, because they both punched each other. The match is a draw. No, it isnt.

BTW, I have seen more molestation cases at street parties like Gateway of India case, rather than pubs or discs. The fact that you have never been near a slum does not mean that slums are not a major source of crime.

Think about it - where do you think a gal will meet more lewd stares. Where are chances of molestation higher - If a girl is in a disc, or in a roadside celebration, where there is a muslim dominated slum nearby.

For all our talk, we do know whether we are safer in our locality, or in a slum.

Note - I dont sympathise with Moninder Singh Pandher in any way. I was speechless after I saw the news of this incident.

I might be a classist - and I am so for a good reason.

January 12, 2007 5:34 AM  

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