The New Entrant

The wait is over - we have a new entrant in the family. Sister-in-law Archana delivered a baby girl. It’s a double joy – first, the baby is sweeter than the whole family and another: she is ‘she’.

I wish her a good life

OBC To OBC Calls Free

I don’t know if I should treat the content of this story appeared in marathi daily sakal more funnier than the BSNL’s sheer stupidity (assuming for a moment the story is indisputable). But for sure, the story has potential to either leave you in rage or roll you in laughter.

For English readers, the story is under the headline: “OBC to OBC calls free on BSNL”

It talks about BSNL (with no version from BSNL official) planning to launch a group of clients from other backward class. “OBCs can talk to each other free of cost,” the story reads.

(Serious) doubts can be raised about the genuineness of the story considering that why will BSNL alienate other castes by offering discount only to OBCs. Sakal, it seems, did not reach BSNL for any explanation.

Either way, it isn’t just the story; more hilarious part comes through a comment appeared below the article on esakal.

The commentator writes: BSNL to launch another free calls scheme – inane to inane – with first SIM will be given to BSNL official.

Ajit Pawar Vs Bal Thackeray

Why is Ajit Pawar suddenly talking against Bal Thackeray. That too, too harsh ?

Is it just that Ajit wants to distract attention from rivals’ campaign against his alleged corruption cases ?

Or Ajit perceives offensive is the only option to weaken saffron-RPI alliance ?

Many are misreading the situation.

Ajit Pawar’s aggressiveness against Thackeray has more to do with internal party conflict than external challenge.

Targeting Thackeray, a real power center of Sena, can be construed as Pawar’s attempt to assert his position in the party.

This will consolidate his base. That mean, weakening of Supriya Sule, whose father and a party president Sharad Pawar always had a soft corner for Sena.

Sena’s relevance in the politics, Pawar thinks, can help Sule reaching to Power should the leadership issue arises in the NCP after him.

As we know, power struggle isn’t far away in the NCP. And Sharad Pawar is no exception in Indian politics, which stands witness to the fact that fathers have always preferred son or daughter over cousins.

And Ajit, being Sharad Pawar’s nephew, knows that to avoid ending up like Raj – a Thackeray cousin who ended up with nothing left in his hand while in Sena – he has no option but to assert.

Season Of Fast

An ICU unit with 60 doctors, 1300 toilets, an exclusive media center, large screens, a water filtration plant - all this for Ramdev’s fast to bring back the money stashed abroad. (From the report appeared in Mint)

There is a competitive politics ongoing among Anna Hazare, Medha Patkar and Baba Ramdev. The crusade against the system, the adamancy and the pretentious morality are the elements across the three.

But do they know: The cure they prescribe will kill the patient before it ends the disease.

Do We Really Bribe God ?

So Aakar Patel sees alms to god a form of bribe. He writes in mint:

“We give God cash and anticipate an out-of-turn reward. Our plea acknowledges we aren’t really deserving. The cash compensates for our lack of merit.
In the world outside the temple walls, such a transaction has a name: “bribe”.
In India God accepts cash from us, not good work, for which there is no reward. We don’t expect something from God in return for sweeping our neighbourhood streets. We go with money.
Observe this in another way.
Why does the wealthy Indian give not cash to temples, but gold crowns and such baubles?
To ensure his gift isn’t squandered on feeding the poor. Our pay-off is for God. It’s wasted if it goes to man. See what this has produced.”

I think the ‘sleeping partnership’ conjecture plays a grater role when rich make offerings to god. It is an assured way to success, rich perceive.

It works this way: Suppose I am a businessman. I make Sai baba a stake-holder in my venture. The entire investment is mine; but I maintain 10 per cent on Sai’s name anticipating that god's share would bring luck. When Sai baba is my business partner, what’s the worry ? As venture flourishes and profit levels increase, I give proportionate earnings back to Sai.


Finished BEHIND the TIMES. Bits from the book through which Bachi Karkaria tells Times’ inside stories:

Despite the pruning of designation, this was the man (Dileep Padgaonkar) who famously told interviewer that he held ‘the second most challenging job in the country’. The interviewer being Shobhaa De, and the magazine being society, the preen was emblazoned across the cover. Embarrassed, ‘Paddy’ said he had actually quoted his imperious boss, Girilal Jain, but it was wrongly (mischievously?) attributed to him.

Gautam Adhikari confirmed that Giri did often boast that he was the ‘secondmost important person in the country’. “We would joke behind his back, "So Sheshan (his secretary) is the 10th most important person, and Bhagwati (his peon) is the 17th most important”


T N Ninan was extremely possessive about his editorial domain. Samir Jain was raring to bring many innovations into ET, but Ninan, more as a matter of principle, was less than enthusiastic. One of these was ear panels, but Ninan resisted on the belief that the masthead should not be devalued by small ads on either side. Irritated, the VC called the Banglore Branch head, Sunil Rajshekhar, and said, “This is what I want, and it has to be in ET there tomorrow.”

Sunil passed on VC’s instructions to RE, Nageswaran, who mentioned this in a routine mail to his boss. Ninan blasted him, “Do you report to me or Sunil Rajashekhar?” The hapless guy spluttered, “But, Mr Ninan, the VC asked for it to be done.” Ninan thundered. “I don’t care who asked. I am the Editor.”

Yes he was. But not for long.

“Faith is reason grown courageous”

In religious context, faith drives myth market to thrive. If myth kaput, faith moves in to undo the effect.
This week, I visited Shani Shingnapur, an otherwise nondescript town of 4,000 from western Maharashtra. The obsession to belief among locals provided me a good story.

Last week, as reported
here, Shingnapur registered a robbery of Rs 73,000. Previous years too, Shingnapur saw theft cases. These developments were otherwise enough to shatter Shingnapur’s faith in Shani, a hindu god that derives its name from planet Saturn.

But locals prefer to live with the myth.

The allegory is Shingnapur stands as world-wonder. It has no crime record even as homes have no doors, doors sans lock. Locals recite fairy-tales underlining that Shani keeps the evils away from Shingnapur.

In denial, locals strive hard to preserve Shingnapur’s brand image of zero crime town. Such branding fetch them livelihood.

Villagers don’t make it explicit but their minds loudly read: if Shingnapur’s image dents, number of devotees thronging to Shingnapur with an overwhelming feeling of reverence, may take a hit.
Fewer devotees mean fewer business to locals.
So for locals, to live with the myth, unconsciously so, is to continue add value into village brand. It brings more money to them, keeps the Shani happy and makes the thief think twice.
Related Report (Photo: A.B.)

Pt Bhimsen Joshi And His Voice

A lot has already appeared on Pt Bhimsen Joshi and most sound cliché.
Yet, like listening him again and again…and again, is a rich experience, writing on him the isn’t anything different.

So what really was special about Joshi’s voice ?

Joshi had acquired versatility after modulating his voice for years of efforts. The audience listening to Joshi often used to be mesmerized by the timbre and resonance in his voice.

If Gangubai Hangal - Joshi’s gurubhagini and doyenne of kirana gharana - had unique androgynous voice, Joshi was no different – - a sonorous masculine voice with which Joshi could traverse the three octaves easily amidst unique style taking taan. This often had a special visual effect, taking the audience at an abyssmal escatsy.

Ramya hee swargahuni lanka, a song Joshi sung for movie Swayamvar Zale Siteche, was a classic when his voice depicted the stoutness. The boom was attained after years of excessive labour. Having brought two large vessels of water from far off distance, Joshi, still gasping, used to sit for riyaz. It had desired impact on voice. Like his alcohol consuming habit, riyaz after exertion, enhanced Joshi’s singing capacity, bringing robustness in his voice.

Joshi on his part consciously, laced that robustness with asceticism.

As we know, Joshi enthralled Maharashtrian audience for more than five decades through his Abhangwani. The same voice reciting Jo Bhaje Hari ko Sada or Bhavani Dayani, sounded as if the singing legend was stirring God/dess to descend on earth.

Here’s a classic video: Joshi reciting puriya Dhanashree

The Sudden Demise Of Batmidar

Midway departure of Batmidar, a favourite among newsmen, seems to have hit marathi journalism world hard. More so, when Journalism itself was hit hard.

There’s an outbreak on google to trace Batmidar and its younger sibbling Kalte-Samajate whereabouts.

A friend in the know passes this information on: Both Batmidar and Kalte-Samajate have been shut down as the blogger has planned sabbatical to finish task of “writing book on serious issue”

I wonder if there’s anything more serious than exposing journalists. Well, for the time being, I buy his explanation and wish this anonymous blogger best luck for his future project.

The Brahmin-Maratha-Muslim Tangle

In a lighter vein, to a blogpost on Samarth Ramdas, I commented through Google-reader: “…Deccan inhabitants are off ending each other, Courtesy Shivaji. Shivaji united them to take on mughal takht. His disciples now are desperate to nullify that effect”

But did Shivaji’s indeed take on Mughals ?

Author of Hindu Bhalchandra Nemade looks at it with different perspective: Most people that Shivaji killed were Marathi. But later eon picture painted by bramins pointed that Shivaji pitted himself against mughals (read Islam)- From Maharashtra Times interview

Today if maratha offshoots are hell against Dadoji Konddeo, the root of the controversy lies in Brahmin-Maratha-Muslim tangle.

Late Varunraj Bhide wrote: Only 162 maratha families have been ruling Maharashtra for years.

Bhide’s version, if to be extended, mean a large section of Maratha class have been left out of the power for all through 50 years of Maharashtra. Now the section within the left-out section feels that ‘power-ful’ Marathas have always had support from Brahmins to maintain status quo.

Brahmins in turn used the banner of Hindutva. Gathered Marathas under the same banner and pitted them against Islamism – a phenomenon drawing analogy to Shivaji versus mughals. This way, Brahmins let few Marathas rule the state and in return retained their own importance.

Now, the left-out class wants political pie. To grab political space, incidents like BORI attack, Lal-mahal controversy, help as they create political space, easy to be grabbed on emotional grounds. For them Shivaji is a symbol to be used against Brahmins. And through Brahmins, they challenge "power-ful" marathas.

Curiously, the same Maratha offshoots are conspicuous with their silence on topics related to Islamic aggression. In the debates, they digress when issues like Afzal Khan tomb atop Pratapgadh - an alleged illegal construction on the site where Shivaji slained mughal warlord – comes for discussion. The offshoots refrain from entering into such debates. Reason: Assumption hovers that the issue is raked up by Sangh parivar (read Brahmins) only to digress left out section.

Such digression help brahmins maintain status quo in the power-structure that has been formed with another section of ‘power-ful’ Marathas.

From Pravin Mahajan's 'Majha Album'

Pravin Mahajan’s book – Majha Album – make us believe why Nitin Gadakari’s ‘in-law’ remarks shouldn’t be seen in isolation to BJP culture.

The book gives inside accounts of elder brother Pramod’s private life. It run through Pramod’s style of functioning that for a long has been party norm even as Pramod no longer survives.

On one occasion the book outlines Mahajan’s brother-in-law Gopinath Munde becoming target of ‘in-law’ remarks.

The book reads, Munde’s avarice to power makes Pramod quip: “Gopya la kalayla hava ki to apla jawai aahe, pakshacha navhe (Gopya should know he is our in-law, not party’s)”

Pramod’s alleged promiscuity is at the center of the book. Pravin loosely spells out brother’s private affairs but spares naming most women, except Alaknanda, who came into Pramod’s life. Alaknanda, many know, was party functionary from north Maharashtra.

Shrewdly, Pravin is silent on Sarangi’s life. Sarangi, Pravin’s wife, has previously claimed that Pramod was like ‘father figure’.

Without digging much, Majha Album outlines much chewed Munde’s Barkha affair.

The book arms Pravin with enough opportunity to target brother and change perception about late BJP leader. Equally, it brings out Pravin’s pent up prejudice against Pramod.

Overall, the book is so-so read.

Reading That No Longer Challenges Me

Among the things technology has rendered man with is amended way of satisfying voyeuristic instincts. The low-priced porn magazine – where climax is major disappointment when stimulating pictures often applied scissor, the cassettes – not moving ahead when important scene is imminent, the CDs – straight coming to bold scenes, puncturing the heightened excitement even before it builds up and the internet – free for all to fall – readers of Savitabhabhi will vouch. Those born during ’70s & ’80s will vividly remember their transformation from childhood to adulthood amidst being witness to all these changes. All through, quality over availability becomes norm.

The same age-group may recall similar changes in reading habits. For half a century, Chandoba has enthralled urban Marathi middle class kids. Parents cut down expenses on toys to prefer Chandoba, a comics. It’s also a time to connect with Hindi through Chacha Choudhari.

When mythological tales from Chandoba stop enthusing kids, Faster Fene, a marathi version of detective Tom Sawer by B R Bhagwat tucks in by parents. When Faster Fene fables, often seen a driving force for kids’ sustenance in reading, takes fantasies of adventure on newer scales, consider that time has arrived to move on.

It’s an age when kids become teens to usher into higher schools – a place to get acquainted with non-veg jokes. Thus have novels laden with romance, thrill and emotions. This is the era to read Baburao Arnalkar and get fascinated by his thrillers. Mesmerized readers typify with hero from Arnalkar's best sellers.

When desi thriller quota stop stimulating, Sidney Sheldon, Agatha Chirsti takes the charge. They are also reminiscent to Suhas Shirvalkar and Srikant Sinkar. Remember, its also the time to read Mills and Boon romance stories. The reading walks parallel with college life. Slowly reader moves on to all time bestsellers – Godfather (Mario Puzo), Papillion (Henri Charriere). For 90’s born, Chetan Bhagat becomes favorite. For others, Paulo Coelho, Ayn Rand, Dan Brown prevails upon.

In Marathi, taste shift to another level of writers – P L Deshpande, V P Kale, D M Mirasdar, Jayawant Dalvi, V S, Khandekar, Shivaji Sawant. As taste matures, reading reaches another level.

When we are ready enter into professional world and leave behind the memories of college eon, time for readers to come out of comfort zone and try reading that challenges.

Vijay Tendulkar, G A Kulkarni, Irawati Karve, Bhalchandra Nemade, Durga Bhagawat Ranganath Pathare, Vishwas Patil, Sadanand Deshmukh and similar, broadens our horizons. Indian English readers (non-aficionado) looking for anglo Indian authors rest on Amitava Ghosh, Anita Desai, Khushwant Singh, Arundhati Roy.

Here, we cross a thin line and bid adieu to popular fiction to try more and more challenging one.

I am waiting for that moment.

Chidambaram And His Crafty Capitalism Phrase

I have a friend working with tabloid. He claims to be leftist but surrenders to all methods akin to capitalists. In political discussion, he talks of welfare and holistic approach but never hesitates praising Thackeray’s pro-Marathi parochialism. Worst, when we tease him, he turns the gear and resort to Marxism. Still we love him much.

Indian political system is more like my friend. The lefts here sometimes are more than actual capitalists. To that extent, P C Chidambaram is spot on: “maoists are the most crafty capitalist.”

Maoists employ unlawful methods to control production, distribution, price regulation of firms from their stronghold. They extort money from firms and in return challenge the state. They rue state control, similar to that of urban corporate-capitalist brothers.

More organized than past, Maoists with the backing of NGOs and Roy-likes, built up philosophy in their fight against state.

Chidambaram, whom Arundhati Roy refer ‘corporate lawyer’ (more capitalist than capitalists) puts up comparative case study of two Tatas:

“I don’t think the objectives of JN Tata and the objectives of Ratan Tata are very different. They might express it in different language but their objective is the same— to build industries, create jobs, produce goods and services, create wealth and enhance the prosperity of the area. In the bargain, of course, the company makes profits. But at that time, perhaps, the villagers and tribals were certainly not so organised and perhaps in no position to offer any organised protest and I am pretty sure there were hardly any NGOs and civil rights groups to espouse their cause. So JN Tata’s people were able to build trust with people.”

Congress And Politics Of Dualism

If, to use cliché, good economics is bad politics, smart politics subvert good policies.

On Gandhi family’s opacity and politics, Sadanand Dhume writes in wsj: “In this hothouse of intrigue and sycophancy, careers can hinge on the ability to change track according to which way the Gandhis' views are seen to be blowing.”

Dhume writes:

“For the family, this opacity clearly has benefits. It keeps them above the fray of petty politics. It allows them to exercise power without responsibility. It gives them the flexibility to change political course on a dime.

“But smart politics doesn't always generate good policy. Fostering a culture of opacity and public second-guessing about sensitive policy matters is no way to lead a major economy and an aspirant for great power status.”

Smart politics doesn’t generate good policies, but allows congress to be in power, years after years. The BJP falters precisely here. The six-year-long NDA stint, despite being satisfactory, ended on their folly – India shining. Had the government and party been more diverse in reaching out to rural and urban masses with separate tunes, the picture probably would have been different.

Sonia’s silence or Rahul's populist stance on some issues allows party leaders to take dual line. Here Gandhi’s opaqueness, to me, more sounds a move that allows party to sway through politics of dualism. When Manmohan Singh government goes tough, party opt middle-approach to please masses - Digvijay Singh advocating welfare approach over Chidambaram's arms use to tackle naxal approach is one example among others.

This sort of dualism allows congress to grab opposition space.

It empowers them with pro-poor policies, never mind how economically incorrect and deviating from Manmohan Singh’s good economics such policies are.

Consequence is the original opposition sounds weak and become irrelevant. Think: who comes in our mind first on views about priority to welfare scheme over arm solution to deal with naxal menace. Its Digvijay Singh, not left.

Human, God And Fast

Fast will be the buzzword throughout the day on Ekadashi – the eleventh lunar day. Eateries from old city area will generate higher than average income. But if we go by logic behind fast, god then will have his eyes turned off the Pune skies.

Indians, or more specifically, the Hindus prostrate while communicating with the god. It’s their way to “demonstrate sincerity and humility,” says Akar Patel in his recent piece in lounge.

To attract god’s attention, we clang the bell. Invite pain through circumambulation (pradakshina). Take sufferings abstaining the food.

Patel writes: “this idea that God likes us to suffer is common to all cultures. It actually comes from our belief that God is merciful and benevolent. If He sees us suffering in one way, therefore, He will stop other bad things from happening to us. In that sense, the voluntary hardship of the pilgrim is a preventive action, a sort of insurance, and ultimately selfish”

God is benevolent but not gullible enough to be hoodwinked easily. Therefore, if Puneites have gone on fast to attract god’s attention, better they rethink. Rethink on ever exceeding food quota made especially for fast. Others who put up scientific reasoning behind fast – fast allows the body to improve digestive system – better stop thinking.

Letter To Octopus Paul

Because of ample time and nothing worth to do (all lies), I am here to seek answers of some difficult questions from Octopus Paul.

Paul, the almighty, please do tell us why are Indians so good in foodball ?

Why isn’t Sharad Pawar not attracted to soccer, Is the game cleaner than Cricket ?

Why is Mamata Bannerjee spends her entire time in Delhi, shunning Kolkata always ?

How come Nitin Gadakari speaks in such a decent language when other politicians are all foul mouthed ?

How does HT manages to score against ToI every morning ?

Why isn’t Indian journalism still not been affected by paid news ?

Why isn’t the UPA government work through Group of Ministers (GoM) to increase efficiency ?

Paul, only gospel. Didn’t Spain had 12 players when they played against Germany ?

Wasn’t Lord Ram the Bhaiyya, whom Marathis have stopped worshipping ?

Didn’t you tip off Suhel Seth, who wrote to you even before I could ?

Paul, no predictions, only correct answers

Parulekar’s Alchemistry

If alchemy, as cultural dictionary suggests, is considered to be the ancestor of modern chemistry, then Raju Parulekar, a writer penning his marathi column “alchemistry” can be referred a hubristic ‘chemist’.

Seriously, this man never ceases to amaze me.

एका सरड्याने इतके रंग बदलले...

मित्राने सरड्या वरील एक कविता मेल केली अन वाचून जी ए ची मानससरोवरावरील कावळ्यांची गोष्ट आठवली ज्यात जी ए जीवनाचं एक सूत्र सांगतात. स्वसंरक्षणाच्या संदर्भात तात्विक स्वर या पेक्षा हि व्यावहारिकता ही जास्त कामी येते हाच तो काय दोन्ही ठिकाणी संदेश.

एका सरड्याने इतके रंग बदलले...

एका सरड्याने इतके रंग बदलले
की त्याला स्वत:चा खरा रंग कळेना
त्याने खूप विचार केला तरी
तो कसा होता ते
त्याला काही केल्या आठवेना

तो म्हणाला,"मी आकाशाला निळा वाटतो
मी गवताला हिरवा वाटतो
मी सर्वांना त्यांच्यासारखाच वाटतो
मी खरा कसा ते, कोणाला कळतं
वेगळा आहे ते कोणाला कळतं"

मग त्याने एकच रंग ठेवायचं ठरवलं
एकाच रंगाला त्याचा खरा रंग मानलं

गवतावरच नाही तरमातीवर पण तो रहायला लागला हिरवा
त्याला काही खोडकर मुलांनी
मातीवर ओळखलं परवा

त्यांना या खऱ्या रंगाने
त्याचा वेगळेपणा दाखवला
आणि या खऱ्या रंगामुळे
त्या मुलांनी त्याला दगड मारून संपवला

सरडा मेला तरी
लोकांना जिवनाचा नियम कळावा
चार-चौघात गेल्यावर आपणत्यांच्याप्रमाणे रंग बदलावा
कितीही वाईट वाटलं तरीआपला खरा रंग लपवावा
कारण हे जग वेगळेपणाला घातक मानतं
आणि मग स्वत:च घातक बनून
आपल्याला आपला रंग बदलायला लावतं

पुणे आणि पुणेकर

पुण्यातल्या तऱ्हेवाईकपणा बद्दल पुणेकरांना नेमीच भरभरून बोलाव अस वाटत. नेहमीचच रुटीन जगतांना त्यांना त्यांच्या तऱ्हेवाईकपणा बद्दल बोलायचा डोस सतत हवा असतो. बऱ्याच वेळेस हा तऱ्हेवाईकपणा ते उसना आणतात. कधी कधी तर तो फारच कृत्रिम वाटतो.

जेव्हा ओरिजिनल विक्षिप्त लिखाण असलेल्या पाट्या दिसेनास्या होतात तेव्हा पुणेकर उगाच तसल्या पाट्या मेल करून उसना पुणेकरी पणा आणतात.

जगात जसे लंडनवासीय स्वतःला फारच श्रेष्ट समजतात किवा न्यूयॉर्क वासियांना सतत वाटत कि त्याचं च शहर सर्व श्रेष्ठ तसाच काहीसा प्रकार भारतात पुणेकरांबद्दल आहे.

अरुण टिकेकरांनी सांगितल्या प्रमाणे लोकांमध्ये असलेला तऱ्हेवाईकपणा हा कुठल्याही समाजाला पोषकच असतो. तऱ्हेवाईक लोक च प्रवाहाच्या विरुद्ध विचार करतात आणि ते विचार आचरणात आणतात. या तऱ्हेवाईकपण मुळे जीवनात सुद्धा एक थ्रील येत.

पुण्यात एकेकाळी असे तऱ्हेवाईक लोक खूप होऊन गेलेत आणि म्हणून च पुण्याने बऱ्याच चळवळींचे नेतृत्व केले.

पण आज हा उसना तऱ्हेवाईकपणा समाजाला, किंबहुना पुण्याला कुठे घेऊन जाईल ?

Patel's Theory Of Abuse And Mahabharata

Indian abuses are often laden with creative copulative nuances. Those against whom such abuses are hurled don’t take them as insulting as the one that has religious subtext.

Akar Patel in the latest Lounge issue put to rest some doubts on this subject. However it raises fresh few ones.

Akar Patel:

Perhaps men did not abuse one another during the Heroic age. There is not a word of sexual abuse in Iliad (though Achilles does call Agamemnon kunopa: dog-face). Presumably this is because they could settle it with swords.

All abuse attempts to dishonour. Abuse is a male weapon, because honour is a male virtue. Most words of abuse are coined to hurt men. A woman is attacked through allegations of promiscuity, not incest. A woman using sexual abuse is not convincing and her words do not sting, because she cannot penetrate.

Here, am I the only one to stuck at some contradictions. Wars from puranas are mostly fought to regain honour – the most conspicuous among them Mahabharata where Draupadi convinces Yudhistir to take on to Kauravas. Though immediate provocation to 18-days war is to reclaim lost kingdom, the real roots of Mahabharata war, we discover, are in Draupadi vastraharan act. It leaves Pandavas sulking.

Here I let myself enter into realm of fantasy to draw some interesting conjectures, though the extended ones for personal consumption.

If Duryodhana indeed wanted to dishonour Pandavas, how heroic character would have reacted during Mahabharata eon. Elsewhere, what could have been Shukracharyas reaction when he learns Yayati has entered into adultery by mating Sharmishtha. Imagine if Amit Varma belonged to same epoch, how his peppered WTF remarks would evoke reactions from Bhishma, who sermons the rajsabha on dharma post the dice game.

Ghashiram Kotwal & Jar-karma

Corroboration falls short to prove historical reference piece that Gharisham Sawaldas bartered his 16-year-old daughter with Nana Phadanavis to become Kotwal (police commissioner) of Pune city.

There are however references available on how Ghashiram was killed by Brahmins of Pune on 21 August 1791. Those Brahmins, irked by the previous night incident when 21 citizens were lost their lives due to suffocation while guarding bombshells, lynched Ghashiram. The act was committed in Hadapsar where Arm Forces Medical College is now situated.

Stories surrounding Ghashiram have often been inquisitive. Those stories tell us prostitution involving men and women was on high even during Peshwa rule.

Letter written by Peshwas to Ghashiram once he became permanent during 1782 suggest the rulers were concerned about growing “male-prostitution” in Pune. Out of that concern, Peshwa reminded Ghashiram of his task: “Striyanna Jar-karma karanyapasun paravrutt karane” (Discouraging women to involve into male-prostitution). There is another reference that suggests Peshwas had also asked Ghashiram to “not to allow married women from involving into prostitution.”

I am bit disappointed though not completely dejected to read Mandar Lawate’s latest article: Punyachi Kotawali on city’s history. It falls short on some crucial details. The article is otherwise good.

For the benefit of English readers, Here is selective reference from Lawate’s piece published in Sakal:

(After death of Ghashiram), Bajirao Peshwa II understood that Kotwal is a plum post. He therefore started auctioning the post. It was in 1800 the post of Kotwal was first auctioned to Vithoji Gaikwad at Rs. 1. 12 lakh.

Given that post was auctioned at such exorbitant rate, we can imagine how corrupt the system would have been and to what extent hafta-wasuli had gone up. By those old rate, today if we learn that Pune or Mumbai commissioner’s post was sold at 112 crores, one shouldn’t be surprised.

Facebook And Voyeurism

Reports coming from neighboring country suggests Facebook has been blocked in Pakistan.

Telegraph reports: A Pakistani court has blocked Facebook amid a growing row over a competition on the social networking website to design cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

I have always looked at social networking sites – orkut or facebook – a tool to satisfy voyeuristic instincts. Result: I stayed away from both though not from the voyeurism itself

The City Of Pune And Punyeshwar Temple

Late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan often used to remark sarcastically during rallies or when surrounded by journalists.

Mahajan would quip: "Why would anyone want proof of original Ram temple at Ayodhya. The reason that site now has mosque itself suggest there was temple earlier."

Through this, Mahajan implied that Muslim rulers invaded Hindu temples all across India and built mosque to propagate their faith.

Today Mahajan’s remarks struck while I was passing through Chhota Shaikh Sallah dargah on Mutha river. There is a thought that believes durgah site previously had Shiva and Vishnu idols in the temple known as Punyeshwar.

Later idols vanished from the site while temple continued to find mention in the history. In the course of time the city of Pune derived its name from the same temple.


In its recent judgment Bombay High Court set a side lower court’s punishment of 7 years to a man charged with 10 counts of rape.

HT reports:
The victim had alleged that between April 2004 and October 2006, Anwar Khan Iqbal Khan (26) had called her to various places and raped her 10 times, each time allegedly promising to marry her after forcible intercourse, but ultimately refusing to keep his word, according to the victim
The high court, however, refused to believe the victims' version that she had not objected to the repeated sexual assaults due to the promise of marriage made by the accused. Justice A.H. Joshi held that: “On the face of the record, nothing except unqualified and unconditional consent for sexual intercourse would emerge.

The judge also refused to believe that “the victim had no craving for what was expected during every meeting and was repeatedly happening” considering the fact that she had not offered any resistance during any of the acts.

Satyajit Joshi, my colleague alerted me to this story. I read it twice. Later I read it once again. Then both of us smiled; smiled to learn judge’s surname.
On the sidenote I would like to ask, why didn't Court charge lady of perjury since it has already upheld man's views.

(Emphasis imported)


On Maharashtra Foundation day (May 1), TOI Ahmedabad carried a report: At 50, ready to rival Mumbai
Report quoted leader of Mahagujarat movement and a former state minister Sanat Mehta as saying: “But, we were confident that Gujaratis would create more Bombays if they got a separate state”

Gujrat lost Mumbai to Maharashtra, which lost Belgaum to Karnataka. Very soon Gujaratis came to terms with reality.

But given the strong secessionist feelings among Belgaum’s marathi population, great irony is underway.

A prominent marathi builder from Pune B G Shirke has bagged the contract to construct Suvarna Vidhana Soudha (Karnataka assembly) at Belgaum, a second capital of Karnataka.