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My Shopping Experience in Karnavati (Ahmedabad)’s Famous Manekchawk area

(This was written on 11/11/12)

I went shopping in Manek Chawk, Tran Darwaja (three gates) area of Karnavati (Ahmedabad) today. In American parlance this would be called downtown.

It was a veritable sea of humanity and vehicles of all shape and color. Traffic was so intense that pedestrians were vying for a foothold along with scooters, motor bikes, bicycles, rickshaws, cars, tempos and everything else on four wheels. There were shouting match a galore and nilly willy I got in an argument with a motor bike driver who found fault with us hapless pedestrians; when he kept telling me to move to the side, when there was really no side to move to, I had to ask him, if he wanted me to walk over his and other drivers’ heads or would he be rather satisfied by driving over all of us. At times I thought, no matter how much I tried to be careful, a wheel was going to run over my foot. Fact that this is Deepawali time, did not help the matters.

I was told to watch my wallet and there were signs all over the place not to put one’s purse or wallet in the shopping bag. I had divided my few thousand rupees in two pant pockets and was constantly on guard; however, if one would have been able to take it from my pocket in that dense crowd where it was hard to even know where your limbs were, he/she would have well deserved it!
Traafic-ManekchawkIn a sense it was a microcosm of what Bharat is all about. Intense struggle and competition to stay afloat and survival of the fittest. No niceties here, no “thank you” or “excuse me” here. It was sheer sense of self preservation.Another aspect was the varieties of products available. For those who do not know Karnavati or Manek Chawk area, this is mostly, on the road vendors markets competing with super crowded, small stores.
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You can buy clothes, shoes, artificial and real jewelry, Gold, fire crackers, sweets, decoration items, books, stationery, utensils, fast food, construction items, vegetables, fruits, medicines, flowers, perfumes, furniture- you name it and it is there. These markets spread over less than 0.5 square miles caters to all economic strata, except the super rich or snobs. Amongst all these, there are Mandirs as well as Masjids too and cows find their own way!
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It was interesting to see a hawker shouting sale of a Rs. 80 items for Rs. 60 and exhorting this as the last day of the sale. I have no doubts that were I to go there tomorrow, he would be still repeating that same, last day of sale pitch!Similarly a footpath vendor from whom I bought artificial flowers claimed that it was his “Boni”, meaning it was the first sale of the day while he had already sold to two customers in front and ahead of me! This is Karnavati and this is Bharat- as the song goes, I love my India.IMG_3298Another interesting facet of this “free” enterprise is that a majority of vendors and shopkeepers are Muslims but the buyers are mostly Hindus. As a matter of fact this area is known to be a Muslim fortress for ages. Same people who kill each other during riots, do the business amicably in peaceful times. It is a human paradox.
IMG_3299Observing all these in a span of two hours, I felt that someone should do a Ph.D. on the dynamics of Manek Chawk and Tran Darwaja market. It would surely bring out interesting and hidden facts of this at least, 500 years old market.
At he end of the day, looking to the total traffic indiscipline and chaos, I felt that Bharat could not be a super power in true sense of the word, no matter how affluent it becomes. But then again perhaps, its vitality remains rooted in chaos and not the orderliness of the West to which I am accustomed after spending better part of my life outside Bharat.

Muslim Lady’s Courage: informs police: husband arrested with Bombs

My note:

I am truly disappointed in the financial reward. It is a cruel joke. It would have been better not to offer a reward. I can see that amount for an informant but here is a lady who got hold of live bombs and took timely action to save many lives at the risk of  her marriage and facing possible ostracizing from her community.  I urge Narendrabhai Modi to rectify this mistake and announce suitable reward.

This is Narendra Modi’s Gujarat where a Muslim woman comes forward to expose her own husband’s nefarious, anti-national activity and they (anti-Modi brigade) say that Muslims live in fear in Gujarat!

Gaurang

MoS Home,CP,DGP visit brave Muslim lady Reshma, present her award announced by Modi(photos)

Ahmedabad, 18 July, 2011

Shehzad nabbed by police on Sunday

The government of Gujarat has taken a decision to honor a brave Muslim lady Reshma of Ahmedabad who yesterday informed the police about her husband’s activity of making crude bombs and his plan to do bomb blasts in the city.  Reshma’s husband Shehzad was later arrested by police with 8 crude bombs and two desi tamanchas.

Reshma living near Chandola lake of Ahmedabad’s Muslim dominated Danilimda area had helped the police earlier also. Few years back, with Reshma’s help, police had nabbed Bangladeshi intruders living illegally in this area.

After her husband’s arrest, Reshma had said that she wanted to save lives of many people by informing the police about her husband’s activities.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today announced on Tweeter :”Gujarat Home minister will felicitate brave Reshma with prize of Rs 25,000 for exposing her husband in national interest.”

Reshma was today visited at her residence by Gujarat Minister of state for Home Shri Praful Patel, Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Shri Sudhir Sinha, Gujarat Police Chief DGP Chitranjan Singh. Shri Patel, Sinha and Singh appreciated and congratulated her for her brave act of public good.Minister Praful Patel presented Reshma a cheque of Rs. 25,000 as a bravery award.

Mr. Patel profusely praised Ms. Reshmaben’s courage despite being a woman, rising above her concern for a close relationship, its repercussion and likely reaction in her close society. He described the act as a great personal sacrifice in the larger interest of the national security.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi described the Ms. Reshmaben’s sacrifice as an exemplary act for the security of six crore Gujaratis, displaying a rare example of communal amity.

Mr. Singh in a word of praise for Ms Reshmaben for setting a rare example of paying more importance to the motherland and nation’s interest rather that her own family. He said that such information or tips lead to solving several criminal cases.

Mr. Sinha offered Ms. Reshmaben a job in the Traffic Brigade and assured to provide her all possible security if required.

Talking to newspersons present on the occasion, Ms. Reshmaben, who studied up to Standard XII in Mumbai, said that she would always side with the law of the land and fearlessly expose criminal activities, even if they were her close relatives, and asked all womenfolk to do the same.

Meanwhile Shehzad was sent to ten days remand by the court today in Ahmedabad.

In another development, the Gujarat Police has taken a decision to hand over the Shehzad case to Anti Terrorist Squad. This decision was taken in view of Shehzad’s confession that he wanted to throw bombs indiscriminately during Ahmedabad’s annual Rath Yatra. Seven ATM cards and sim cards are recovered from Shehzad’s possession.

http://deshgujarat.com/2011/07/18/brave-muslim-lady-reshma-to-be-honored-by-gujarat-govt/comment-page-1/#comment-62249

Chronology of recent terror attacks in India

New Delhi, July 13 : A chronology of recent terror attacks in India:

 IANSJuly 13, 2011: At least 21 people are killed and more than 140 injured in three bomb blasts in Mumbai.

Dec 7, 2010: A bomb explodes on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh during evening prayers, killing a a girl and injuring 20 people, including some foreigners.

Oct 14, 2010: At least five people injured in a minor bomb explosion in Kanpur city of Uttar Pradesh.

Feb 13, 2010: A blast in German Bakery in Pune city of Maharashtra kills nine people and injures 45.

April 6, 2009: A car bomb blast in Guwahati kills six people and injures 32.

Nov 26-29, 2008: Terror attack in Mumbai kills 166 Indians and foreigners.

October 30, 2008: Terror attack in Guwahati kills 61 and injures 300.

Sep 29, 2008: Blast in Malegaon in Maharashtra kills eight people and injures 80.

Sep 13, 2008: Serial blasts in Delhi kill 30 people and injure more than 100.

July 26, 2008: Serial blasts in Ahmedabad kill 40 people and injure more than 50.

July 25, 2008: Nine explosions in Bangalore kill one and injuring 12.

May 13, 2008: Eight serial blasts rock Jaipur in a span of 12 minutes leaving 65 dead and over 150 injured.

Oct 11, 2007: Bomb blast inside Ajmer Sharif shrine during Ramadan kills three and injures 28.

Aug 25, 2007: 32 dead, 60 hurt in Hyderabad terror blast.

May 18, 2007: A bomb at Mecca mosque in Hyderabad kills 14 people.

Feb 19, 2007: Two bombs explode aboard a train from India to Pakistan, charring at least 66 passengers, most of them Pakistanis, to death.

Sep 8, 2006: 30 dead and 100 hurt in twin blasts at a mosque in Malegaon in Maharashtra.

July 11, 2006: Seven bombs explode on Mumbai’s trains killing over 200 and injuring more than 200.

http://www.samachar.com/Chronology-of-recent-terror-attacks-in-India-lhoeTFhjdaa.html?source=recommended_news

(Note: I have updated the figures of the dead and injured in yesterday’s Mumbai blasts from waht appeared in this article.- Gaurang G. Vaishnav)

 

 

Muslims who repaired Rath during Rathyatra honored

Ahmedabad, 11 July, 2011

The Muslims who had voluntarily welded broken hook of wooden Rath during Ahmedabad’s annual Rath Yatra in Muslim dominated Dariapur area were honored by Ahmedabad Police on Monday.

Police Commissioner Shri Sudhir Sinha honored Mohammad Arif, Mohammad Asif, Ahmed Hussain and Shahid on Sunday at Dariapur police station in a function. They were given certificates of appreciation.

It should be mentioned that Ahmedabad’s Rath Yatra passes through about half a dozen Muslim dominated areas on the route.

This year like past many years, the Muslims overwhelmingly welcomed Rath Yatra, they volunteered by setting up stalls to offer free water and sweet drink. They welcomed Jagannath Mandir’s Mahant in groups, took prashad and also repaired a hook of the Rath when Rath yatra had to be halted due to broken hook of wooden Rath.

Must visit story: Ahmedabad Rath Yatra 2011, amazing show of Hindu Muslim unity(Photo story)

 

 A picture of Muslim repairing the rath

http://deshgujarat.com/2011/07/11/muslims-who-repaired-rath-during-rathyatra-honored/

Gujarat, Bharat’s Guangdong

 

 

 

Here is a good article about Gujarat’s progress. Of course, just as it is customary to touch steps of a temple before entering it, for all the media it has become customary to harp on 2002 riots (result of burning of 59 Hindus by Muslim mobs in  a train at Godhra) whenever writing about Gujarat or Narendra Modi.- Moderator

A north-western state offers a glimpse of a possible industrial future for India

SO MANY things work properly in Gujarat that it hardly feels like India. In a factory packed with kit from Germany and China, slabs of rubber and bags of carbon black are turned into tyres. After being X-rayed for imperfections, they will be distributed across India or sent for export within three days. Sandeep Bhatia, a manager for CEAT, the firm that owns the project, says it took only 24 months to complete, including the normally fraught process of buying land. There is constant electricity, gas and abundant water. The state government, he says, kept red tape to a minimum, did not ask for bribes, and does not interfere much now.

The tyre plant is not the only sign of prosperity in Gujarat. A nearby village may have fodder strewn all over its alleys and mice scuttling across shampoo sachets in the local store, but it also has satellite dishes poking up from the roofs and power metres on the wall of every house. Most of the men, the villagers say, work for small industrial firms for a wage about 50% higher than they would get in the fields. The road to Ahmedabad, Gujarat’s main city, is privately operated and boasts four lanes. It passes through a countryside that is visibly industrialising.

With a long coastline and too little rain for decent farming, Gujarat has always been famous for its traders. When it was hived off from Bombay to form a separate state in 1960, “the question was how Gujarat would survive,” says Narendra Modi, who has been chief minister since 2001. These days Gujarat accounts for 5% of India’s population but 16% of its industrial output and 22% of its exports. Its growth has outpaced India’s (see chart) and it wins accolades from business people. A recent comparison of Indian states by McKinsey, a consultancy, waxed lyrical about Gujarat. It might yet play the role of industrial locomotive for the country, as Guangdong province did for China in the 1990s. There is lots of excited talk about exporters switching from China to India. Sanjay Lalbhai, the chairman of Arvind, a textiles maker and clothing retailer based in Ahmedabad, says such a move is “imminent” in his industry.

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Chinese-style, big-ticket projects are part of Gujarat’s formula, including refineries and ports, but so are networks of smaller firms and foreign companies which have now achieved critical mass in industries such as cars and pharmaceuticals. The state government uses the usual tricks to try to jump-start growth, including special economic zones. But more important, it has provided the bog-standard things that businesses pray for across India but often do not get—less onerous labour laws, passable roads, reliable electricity and effective bureaucracy.

Against the charge that some people have been left behind, Gujarat can point to reasonable growth in agriculture, helped by irrigation schemes. But the state has a black spot, which dates back to 2002 and an outbreak of sectarian violence. As many as 2,000 people (the official toll is lower) were killed in a month of riots, most of them Muslims. Some say Mr Modi and the state government were complicit in the violence or could at least have done more to stop it.

 Compare the population and GDP of Indian states to those of entire countries using our interactive map

Might prosperity help heal the wounds? In Juhapura, a district on the outskirts of Ahmedabad dominated by the Muslim minority, a young mason grows angry when asked if he feels lucky to make 250-300 rupees a day ($6-7), saying he only gets work for 15 days a month. Others are more content. A bearded man down the road says his party-decoration business is booming. Behind the till of a shop selling top-ups for mobile phones and stationery for the nearby school, a man in a skull cap says life has undoubtedly improved, although his 82-year-old father, sitting in a deckchair, complains that everything went to the dogs when the British left.

Gujarat could be a vision of India’s future, in which manufacturing flourishes, soaking up rural labour. Its economy is expected to grow by double digits, even as India’s rate slows to 7-8% this year. The state may also be a springboard for Mr Modi, who may contest the national leadership of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, perhaps after state elections due in 2012. Mr Modi is enigmatic on this subject. He has yet to shed his polarising image, but he has at least built up an enviable record on the economy.

http://www.economist.com/node/18929279?story_id=18929279&fsrc=rss

On Secular Fatwas

A very balanced article on double standards of “secular” activists! – Moderator

MADHU PURNIMA KISHWAR, TNN Apr 22, 2011, 12.00am IST

The disdain with which leading lights of the anti-corruption movement – Mallika Sarabhai, Medha Patkar, Kavita Srivastava et al – are publicly threatening to dislodge Anna Hazare from the leadership role because he praised Narendra Modi’s rural development work in Gujarat indicates that the poor man was only being used as a convenient symbol that can be discarded as arbitrarily as he was chosen to lead the ‘movement’.

Human rights activists can retain their credibility only as long as they remain steadfastly non-partisan. To the person killed, it matters little whether the murderous mob was shouting ‘Lal Salaam’, ‘Har Har Mahadev’ or ‘National Unity’ as did the mobs that massacred over 10,000 Sikhs in north India following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. However, the secular brigade shows a consistent soft corner for those who kill under the Maoist or communist banner as well as those who verbally profess secularism.

Narendra Modi’s acts of commission and omission during the 2002 riots deserve the strongest of condemnations. Those crimes need to be impartially investigated and the guilty punished. Just as we are proud that our democratic system ensured a fair trial even for a publicly identified ISI-associated terrorist like Kasab, so also we should let the courts take the Gujarat trials to their logical conclusions.

Those who ask for Modi’s head would do well to remember that hordes of Congressmen in Gujarat gleefully joined the BJP and RSS goons who went around massacring innocent people.

The overall track record of the Congress in this matter is no better, if not much worse, than that of the BJP. In addition to the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in north India, it masterminded numerous other riots through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. None of the killers of politically engineered riots in Meerut, Malliana, Bhiwandi, Bhagalpur, HyderabadMumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat and scores of others were ever punished. The Congress also injected terrorism into Punjab by its covert support of Bhindranwale’s Khalistani brigades in order to wrest control of the SGPC that presides over well-endowed gurdwaras. It did incalculable harm to the Sri Lankan Tamils by creating a Frankenstein’s monster like the LTTE. The secessionist movement in Kashmir owes its origins and draws sustenance from the Congress party’s penchant for rigging elections to install puppet chief ministers.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-04-22/edit-page/29459685_1_narendra-modi-riots-congress-leaders

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Madhu Kishwar is a well known activist who has worked on behalf of street people, minority rights and authored number of books.  See her profile at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhu_Purnima_Kishwar

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