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Showing posts from February, 2008

State of Insecurity

In the last two months, shops and establishments near my office in central Mumbai have been shut down some six times. This is how it happens. One moment the road is buzzing with activity. The next, it’s deserted, the scores of makeshift food stalls and hawkers have vanished. The shutters are down. Only a few onlookers remain, gazing intently at the cars passing by.

The first trigger was the apparent suicide or murder of a Buddhist monk in distant north Mumbai. The second one was to do with a bus going off a cliff between Mumbai and Nasik. The third, fourth, fifth and possibly sixth occasion could be credited to the politician Mr Raj Thackeray. The first day, the news that he was contemplating sending out the boys was enough to send everyone scurrying home. The second time, the boys did actually emerge from the shadows to wreak havoc.

The next occasion was the possibility, just the possibility, of Mr Thackeray being carted off to gaol. The last time was a day or two later amidst an a…