Sunday, May 9, 2010

Courts or Governments?

Haven't you wondered sometimes that what if our Courts- the High Courts and the Supreme Court- were to rule us, instead of the Governments? Sure, Government is government, after all, but perhaps when it comes to protecting our civic rights and ensuring that the basic quality of life is not compromised, the courts have time and again did what the government ought to have done long time back. The recent Bombay High Court order to the municipal corporation to notify Shivaji Park as a 'silent' zone must have come as a welcome step to hundreds of residents of this area. Sure, a government without corruption is not much possible anywhere across the world. Even the US governments have had a fair number of critics; what the Bush administration did with Iraq can be unpardonable. But one thing you've got to admire about developed nations is that when it comes to civic issues, like infrastructure, better roads, noise pollution, your right to live and such matters, the governments ensure your voice is heard and your needs are taken care of. Somehow the corruption doesn't much impact your daily life. My uncle in US tells me that when a housing society has to come up there, the civic authorities do not give the permission to the real-estate developer unless s/he can ensure basic facilities like a seamless power and water supply. Here, we buy homes and do not get water supply for 20 years; let's not even get into frequent power (electricity) cuts. Sadly, Indian governments seem to pay more attention to the aura of 8% growth rate and forget the basic quality of life.

Over the years, Shivaji Park has been violated by various political parties who hold several rallies throughout the year and ruin the place. Putting up pandals, stages and gathering thousands of people to watch them have created unnecessary nuisance to the residents of this beautiful area, lest of all damage the ground that should have been otherwise used to play by Mumbai's youth to play cricket matches.

Shivaji Park is one of Mumbai's most beautiful places to be. If you just take a walk along the periphery of his historical park, you'll find bliss. Old people- mostly Maharashtrians- and couple (again, young and old) sit on the parapets and chat and make merry.  Young children play with one another, people take their regular walks and even an occasional photography class goes on in the evening, as the sun can be seen in the distance setting, throwing its last rays of the days on the surrounding age-old buildings, some art-deco, others just old but yet nostalgic enough to remind of the old Bombay and also the beautiful Siddhivinayak Ganesh Temple, one of Mumbai's most revered and respected places of worship, which is some distance away from Shivaji Park but whose top can easily be seen from the park. You have to sit here in the evening or just take a walk and take in the magnificent energy that can be felt all over the place in the evenings, to know what I am saying.

Thank you, the Bombay High Court :)

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