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Mumbai Weekly




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Culture Pg 7

Mumbai civic body pulls down shanties to widen roads

Residents of Siddharth Nagar, a slum in suburban Mumbai, spent a good part of their afternoon of 7 February gathering their mattresses, kitchenware and other belongings and stacking them outside their homes for fear that these might all get damaged. Authorities from the local municipal corporation had sent a notice around to the slum informing residents that their houses would be demolished that day. In the presence of police officials, representatives of the local civic body tore down eight houses, before negotiations finally stalled the demolition.

According to a municipal official that Mumbai Weekly spoke to, civic authorities had to resort to demolition as resi-

Sports Pg 8

dents had encroached upon one of main roads. In order to widen the road and ease vehicular traffic, authorities thought it necessary to clear the road of shanties. Moreover, he added, slum-dwellers had been told to build houses further away from the main road.

Iqbal Shaikh (22) a resident of Siddharth Nagar, however, said that having grown up in the slum, he had known no other home. 'Every year BMC officials come without prior notice and damage our houses. We have to spend Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 to rebuild the same, ' Iqbal said. Due to the repeated demolitions in the area, Iqbal has quit his job and become a full-time social worker. (Contd. on Pg3)

Right : Residents of Siddharth Nagar, a slum in suburban Mumbai, react against the local municipal corporation officials during a demolition drive on 7 February 2013. Biplov Bhuyan / Mumbai Weekly

Mumbai pollution levels worryingly high

Protestors demand justice for Dalit victims

A view of the suburban Mumbai skyline on 30 January 2013. According to news reports, levels of suspended particulate matter (SPM) have shot up to 286 micrograms per cubic metre (permissible levels are 100 micrograms per cubic metre) since mid-January. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly

Mounting levels of nitrogen oxide and a dip in the mercury are a toxic combination that appear to be in evidence not in just Delhi this winter but in Mumbai too. According to news reports, pollution levels in the city have exceeded the standard limits by two-fold this winter.

News reports indicate that pollution levels have been especially noxious of late. Suspended particulate matter (SPM) has shot up to 286 micrograms per cubic metre while nitrogen oxide levels are as high as 211 micrograms per cubic metre. In an interview to a local daily a Mumbai

Pollution Control Board (MPCB) official is reported to have stated that anything above 100 micrograms of SPM and 80 micrograms of NOx in a cubic metre of air is adverse for the human health.

have written to government agencies requesting the adoption of measures to curb the rising SPM levels.

Experts claim that toxic fumes released by vehicles and burning garbage in the city seem to be the The local municipal cor- major causes of this poration is reported to problem.

A protestor shouts slogans during a rally held on 4 February 2013 in south Mumbai. The rally was organized to demand justice for Dalit victims of recent caste atrocities in the state.Dalits are members of the lowest social status group in the traditional Indian caste system. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly (Contd. on Pg 3)


Out of the closet, onto the streets

A participant shows off a placard at the Queer Azaadi march in south Mumbai on 2 February 2013. Jayshree Kewalramani / Mumbai Weekly


embers of the queer community in Mumbai welcomed the spring month of February this year with a riot of colour and festiveness during the Queer Azaadi Pride March that began from August Kranti Maidan in South Mumbai on 2 February. The march was organized by Queer Azadi Mumbai, a support group for the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trangender) community in the city.

queer community. Participants carried banners with witty oneliners and quips proudly declaring their sexuality to onlookers. “Not gay as in happy but queer as in f*ck you”, one of them read, while another banner carried by a young man attracted a few smiles with “My mom is seeking a husband for me, anyone?”

Some of the more spirited participants danced their way through most of the parade to the beats of The procession was led by a large the Nashik dhol players hired for rainbow coloured flag, the colours the occasion The parade took on having now come to represent the the mood of a carnival with par-

ticipants dressing up in sequinned masks and feathered costumes in bright colours. NGOs working for LGBT related causes also attended.


A participant of the Queer Azaadi march poses in front of spectators in south Mumbai on 2 February 2013. Biplov Bhuyan / Mumbai Weekly

A stage was constructed outside the August Kranti grounds where organizers invited gay and lesbian individuals to come forth with their families and share their experiences. Media reports state that the idea of the parade was to further the acceptance of the queer community and to secure more rights for them like the right to adopt and domestic partnership.

Participants greet each at the Queer Azaadi march in south Mumbai on 2 February 2013. Biplov Bhuyan / Mumbai Weekly

A passerby looks at the participants of the Queer Azaadi march in south Mumbai on 2 February 2013. Biplov Bhuyan / Mumbai Weekly

A participant smiles during the Queer Azaadi march in south Mumbai on 2 February 2013. Kunal Khullar / Mumbai Weekly



Slum dwellers displaced by civic authorities


(Contd. from Pg 1) Occupants of the shanties were busy collating their official documents to validate their right to reside there peacefully. However, it is not known if authorities will suspend further demolition in the area or resume in a short

while. Meanwhile, no one is reported to have sustained any injuries.

However, residents of Siddharth Nagar are worried that municipal corporation officials might return to the slum again for further demolitions.

Top: A slum dweller protests against officials of the local muncipal corporation after they began demolishing houses in a slum in suburban Mumbai on 7 February 2013. Biplov Bhuyan / Mumbai Weekly

Fishermen see red over steep hike in diesel price

pendent on eachtrawler. There are 10,000 such trawlers in Maharashtra and each trawler is out at sea for a stretch of 10-15 days during which time 1,500 litres of diesel are utilized by a single trawler. Given the amount of diesel required, the cost of fishing has shot up and this has affected their livelihood. Women, he added, had been unable to sell fish in the local market due to the increased selling price.

A fisherman takes an afternoon nap on bundles of fishing nets in fishing village in suburban Mumbai on 5 February 2013. The recent diesel hike has hit fishing activity in the city badly and sent the price of fish soaring. Ashish Vaishnav / Mumbai Weekly For several weeks now Mumbaikars have been unable to get their hands on what is otherwise staple food in this part of the world. The diesel price hike announced by the

government on 18 January has led to a fishermen strike and consequently sent price of sea-food soaring. While individual con-

sumers are only paying Rs 0.54 more per litre of diesel, fishermen have been classified as bulk buyers and therefore being made to pay Rs 11.62 more than before.

According to Pradip Tapke, chairman of a fishermen’s cooperative society in Versova, every trawler employs about 10 workers and 25 families are economically de-

Left: Residents of Sidhharth Nagar slum in suburban Mumbai sit amongst the ruins of a demolished house on 7 February 2013. Debadatta Mallick / Mumbai Weekly

Students protest against caste atrocities

A student sits with a placard during a protest rally in south Mumbai Media reports indicate on 4 February 2013. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai weekly

that despite meeting Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Veerappa Moily, representatives of the fishing community do not appear to be assured of a rollback on the price. Meanwhile the strike has left fish lovers feeling high and dry due to the high prices of fish.

After much controversy, Vishwaroopam finally releases on 7 February

(Contd. from Pg 1) Hundreds of angry students had gathered at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai on 7 February to protest against recent instances of caste-based violence in the state.

community were killed by caste Hindus as one of them was in love with the daughter of the accused. And, in Dhule, news sources indicate, a Dalit professor was assaulted by activists belonging to right-wing According to news re- organizations for alports there have been at legedly making remarks least three separate inci- against Lord Ram. dents in Satara (256 kms from Mumbai), Ahmed- According to news renagar (253 kms from ports, protestors were Mumbai) and Dhule demanding justice as the (322 kms from Mum- conviction rate in such bai). Students from Tata instances of violence Institute of Social Sci- against dalits remains ences (TISS) were seen abysmally low. demanding justice for Vaibhav Ghadge, a TISS Recently, eminent psyalumnus who was killed choanalyst Ashis Nandy along with his wife in a was embroiled in a conbrutal attack in Satara. troversy for a remark he According to news re- made at the Jaipur Literports, in Ahmednagar ary Festival on 26 Januthree young men belong- ary. Nandy was quoted ing to the Mehtar

in news reports as having said, 'The fact is that most of the corrupt come from the OBC, the Scheduled Castes and now increasingly the Scheduled Tribes, and as long as it was the case, the Indian Republic would survive.'

Political parties such as Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) are reported to have demanded that Nandy issue an apology. He was arrested by the Rajasthan Police under Prevention of Atrocities Act. Noted Dalit activist and writer Kancha Iliah is reported to have expressed sympathy for Nandy saying, '[He] made a bad statement with good intentions.

Police criticized for fining couples

A passerby walks past a poster of the film Vishwaroopam in central Mumbai on 3 February 2013. The film was banned after protests by various Muslim organizations in South India and then cleared for release on 7 February 2013. Ashish Vaishnav / Mumbai Weekly

A couple spends a morning in a park in suburban Mumbai on 29 January 2013. According to news reports, police in Mumbai have been fining couples found meeting in isolated places. The police has been criticized by the media for it. Biplov Bhuyan / Mumbai Weekly



OPINION: Spare the whip, spoil the show?


An artist sits on top of an elephant during a performance at a circus in suburban Mumbai on 6 February 2013. Debadatta Mallick / Mumbai Weekly


Mithila Joshi

f one were to make allowances for gross generalizations, it is a safe observation that the world thrives on mindless entertainment. Be it through watching comedies completely devoid of a plot, or

Youtube cat videos that make you ‘lol’; entertainment and deep thought have seldom gone hand in hand. Unfortunately, not all thoughtless entertainment is as harmless as one may think. Sometimes there are grave injustices and inhumane acts that go into evoking amused chuckles from an audience. This is a reference, of course, to the circus, a performance form that has been entertaining crowds for centuries. Animal acts in circuses are almost as old as the circus itself, but it is disappointing to


t was Thursday, 31st January. I had begun what I thought was just a regular day. I had reached Udaan, where I study photography, when I heard from a friend that Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a local political outfit known to adopt some rather controversial and aggressive methods, was holding a rally against alleged corruption in the Regional Transport Office. I reached for my

their meals, working like their human counterparts for food and shelter, which saves them the effort to hunt. Reports from animal welfare NGOs reflect a very different reality. Animals are regularly starved and beaten into submission. Even a quick Google search reveals horrifying stories. The PETA India website has listed scores of documented instances of cruelty against animals. For instance, two of the four chimpanzees performing in the Great Royal Circus in India were found to be suffer-

ing from wounds and illness. One chimpanzee, 22-year-old Lakshmi, was unable to sit or stand and was found in a blood-stained bed. After she was rescued by Blue Cross Chennai and People for Animals Chennai, veterinarians found that Lakshmi was paralysed. She died not long after. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There have been several

reported cases of animals displaying neurotic behavior, owing to the abuse and the long hours they spend in

confinement, and at times even attacking members of the audience or their own trainers.

Upon reaching BandraKurla Complex (BKC), a business district in suburban Mumbai, I found cars and buses stranded in a traffic jam. It took me a while to realize that the cause of the jam was the very rally I had set out to cover. So I left the bus, and jumped into action, taking pictures of MNS activists blocking the Western Express highway with rickshaws and trailers.

A little while later, I decided to move further ahead, where I could see a huge crowd had gathered. Police officials were trying to disperse the crowd. After an altercation with some of the activists, a few officers got their hands on them and

curb this menace. The use of animals in circuses should be banned altogether, making no allowances for ‘registered animal performers’ and other evasive techniques. It is bad enough that animals are being poached in the wild; there is no need to capture them and brandish a whip to make them do your bidding. It is high time man found less destructive ways to feel powerful and entertain himself.

The Indian law has banned the use of bears, panthers, tigers, lions and monkeys as performing animals. What about the rest of them? How can one condemn caging and abusing a tiger but condone doing the same for an elephant? Or any other animal, for that matter? Having a list of rules for the ethical treatment of The above views are animals is a toothless, personal views exambiguous strategy to pressed by the author.

POINT OF VIEW: Detained without a reason camera and made a dash for the venue.

Sumedh Sawant

see that the practice achieving their goal. A continues to this day. circus life for an animal is a life of bondage. AnIt took many years to imals that belong in the sensitize the general wild like bears, big cats public to the fate of and elephants are pulled caged creatures and out of their natural habithen several more for tat, thrown into a circus any sort of legislation to ring and forced to percome into place to pro- form feats that they tect them. Now, while would never have done the laws may be in otherwise. It is not place, the sensibilities normal animal behavior of the people still are for a tiger to sit on a not. Animal welfare or- tiny footstool or jump ganizations like PETA through a ring of fire have time and again and to force the animal brought to the world’s to do that is nothing notice acts of cruelty short of cruel. perpetrated against animals in circuses, but You may argue these hey are still far from animals are earning

shouting slogans nor was I disturbing the peace in any way. Before reaching the police station, I managed to send an SMS to all my peers informing them of where I was being taken and urged them to call me. Fortunately they were in class and a friend immediately handed over the phone to one of my professors, Mr Arko Datta. I briefed him about what had happened and he assured me that he would be on his way.

At the police station even my shoes were confiscated, following which I Police officials take hold of an MNS activist at a protest rally against alleged corruption in the Re- was taken to a small room gional Transport Office in suburban Mumbai on 31 January 2013. Sumedh Sawant / Mumbai Weekly and made to sit on the dragged them to the police then one policeman my peers and I run an on- and promptly confiscated floor with four MNS acvan. I followed them, tak- snatched my camera line weekly newspaper. it. He led me to the van tivists. I was asked repeating some more shots. away and demanded to Upon being asked, I and took me to the police edly to give my details. Soon the police began know why I was taking showed him my student station. I could not under- My cell-phone and my lathi-charging, hitting photographs. I told him ID card. He pointed out stand why I was being de- camera were put into a those within easy reach. I that I was a student of that it did not confirm my tained since neither was I plastic bag and locked was hit in the process and photojournalism and that association with the press holding any banners and away.

About four hours later I found Arko sir talking to an officer of higher authority, after which I was given back my belongings and permitted to leave. I walked out of the police station still wondering why a photojournalist in training had been detained for doing his job, and worse, why an individual in a free country had been stopped from simply taking photographs in a public place during a public event. It made me realize a hard truth that day. I realized my already difficult and dangerous profession is becoming even more so thanks to not only the law breakers, but the law keepers too.The above views are personal views expressed by the author



A day at the Derby



Jockeys race each other at the Signature Premier Indian Derby on 3 February 2013 at the Royal Western India Turf Club in South Mumbai. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly he Indian Derby was back again this year, with high stakes and glamour, living up to its claim as India’s premier lifestyle event. The prize money was a whopping Rs. 30 million (550,000 USD), and spectators stood the chance of winning an array of prizes from a Ford Figo and an Audi A4, to McDowell’s Signature Premium Whiskey equivalent to the winner’s weight.

Above: A spectator adorned in jewellery at the Derby in south Mumbai on 3 February 2013. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly Below: A spectator uses binoculars at the Derby in South Mumbai on 3 February 2013. Debadatta Mallick / Mumbai Weekly

the event, while Indian industrialist and UB Group chairman Vijay Mallya also made an appearance later in the evening in a glitzy opentop vintage car. Fashion designers Rocky S and Pria Kataaria added to the glamour quotient with their chic designs.

Blade Babes, a trio of female martial arts experts, and Jinjo Crew, a Korean dancing sensation, had the audience enthralled with their performances. According to news reports a record 27,143 people attended the Derby this year.

The signature Derby, held at the Royal Western Indian Turf Club in Mahalaxmi Racecourse on 2nd and 3rd February 2013, was won by 'Superstorm', owned by Rajesh Narredu and jockeyed by Jimmy For- The Indian Derby was tune. first held in the year 1943 and is organized Celebrities such as ac- every year on the first tress Aditi Rao Hydari Sunday of February at and model Sherlyn the Mahalaxmi RaceChopra were spotted at course in south Mumbai.

Top right: Spectators pose for a photographer at the Derby in south Mumbai on 3 February 2013. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly

Right: A spectator adorned in jewellery at the Derby in south Mumbai on 3 February 2013. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly

Below: Horses gallop towards the finish during a race at the Derby Royal Western India Turf Club in south Mumbai on 3 February 2013. Francis Mascarenhas / Mumbai Weekly




India's GDP may fall to 5%, lowest in decade

A worker lays down cement at a construction site in Navi Mumbai on 11 February 2013. Sumedh Sawant / Mumbai Weekly

A worker takes a lunch break at a construction site in Navi Mumbai on 11 February 2013. Sumedh Sawant / Mumbai Weekly

Civil aviation in India is expected to see a significant change this month. News reports indicate that Abu Dhabibased Etihad Airways is soon to buy a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways. The rumoured deal, if struck, could be worth approximately $ 300 million. The deal could give a major boost to Jet Airways as it is likely to benefit from Etihad's network and access new flight routes. The company's stocks have

According to news reports the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has pegged India's growth for the year 2012-13 at 5 per cent, the slowest in the decade. The estimates caused a dip in the stock exchange and the currency market as the news spread gloom across industries.

The Indian Finance ministry is reported to have estimated GDP at about 5.7 to 5.9 per cent, while the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had projected a growth of 5.5 per cent.

19,484.77, its lowest level since January this year. The Indian rupee also ended Friday, 8 February 2013, at Rs 53.50 against the US dollar, a loss of 28 paise.

News reports also indiCSO's sobering projec- cate that analysts have tions cast a shadow and scaled down growth figthe BSE fell to ures to below 6 per cent.

Etihad to acquire 24% stake in Jet Airways

risen since news first surfaced of a possible tie-up, gaining as much as 5 per cent at one point, according to media sources.

For Etihad, the deal is expected to help the company penetrate the Indian market and get business from Indians, especially those who regularly fly to the Middle-East.

Etihad and Jet are reported to be negotiating a final clause which is the right of refusal agreement (RoFR). The Indian

Aviation Ministry is also reported to have said that deal will be completed within the next 10-15 days.

According to news reports, late last year Etihad was also in talks with Kingfisher Airlines, an Indian private airline that has recently been in the news for running into losses and large debt. The discussion entailed Etihad buying about 49 per cent stake of Kingfisher. While the deal would have benefited the ailing airline, it reportedly fizzled out.

Right: A Jet Airways aircraft parked at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport in Mumbai on 3 February 2013. Jet Airways is one of India’s leading private airlines Biplov Bhuyan / Mumbai Weekly

Civic authorities to increase water prices in the city

Slum-dwellers fill water from a tank in suburban Mumbai on 9 February 2013. The recently announced municipal budget has hiked water charges by 8%. News reports indicate that revised rates will come into effect in July. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly

Right: A shopkeeper empties onions into sack at a whole-sale vegetables market in Navi Mumbai on 8 February 2013. According to news reports, prices of onions have gone up by 33 per cent in Maharashtra. Debadatta Mallick / Mumbai Weekly

Onion prices shoot up



Kala Ghoda Arts Festival comes to town


Kathak dancer Aditi Mangaldas and group perform in south Mumbai on 2 February 2013 during the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. Every year the nine-day long festival brings a variety of literary, performance and public arts to the people of the city.Ashish Vaishnav / Mumbai Weekly

A tight rope walker performs in front of the audience at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in south Mumbai on 10 February 2013. Every year the nine-day long festival brings a variety of literary, performance and public arts to the people of the city. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly

Policewomen look at an installation of Ravana, a ten-headed Hindu mythological demon, in south Mumbai on 6 February 2013 during the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.Every year the nine-day long festival brings a variety of literary, performance and public arts to the people of the city. Ashish Vaishnav / Mumbai Weekly

Shahrukh launches TOIFA

Amitabh performs at Global Sounds of Peace Concert

Indian film actor Shahrukh Khan speaks at the launch of Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) at a hotel in suburban Mumbai on 29 January 2013. The awards (to be held in April) will recognize excellence in Hindi cinema. Prashant Nair / Mumbai Weekly

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan performs at Global Sounds Of Peace Concert held in central Mumbai on 30 January 2013. The event was organized to promote singer Aadesh Shrivastava’s latest album. Prashant Nair / Mumbai Weekly



Young swimmers showcase their talent


Wrestlers sweat it out in the city

A participant competing in the under-17 category performs the butterfly stroke during a swimming tournament held in the city on 2 February 2013. Prashant Nair / Mumbai Weekly


his Republic Day saw some of India's finest ‘kushti’ (Indian style wrestling) players compete with international talent from Russia and Georgia at the Andheri Sports Complex in suburban Mumbai.

national-level matches sweated it out in the mud arena. International matches saw players dripping with sweat lose footing on the mats while trying to grapple their opponents.

Wrestlers from across the country, including Egged on by an enthusi- states such as Mahaastic crowd, 2010 Com- rashtra, Karnataka, monwealth gold Madhya Pradesh, medallist and local boy Haryana, Delhi and Narsingh Yadav beat Punjab participated in Pata Bakyuredze of the event organised by Azerbaijan in an exhibi- Congress MP Sanjay tion match, while 2010 Nirupam. Commonwealth silver medallist Joginder The freestyle wrestling Singh beat Beriandeez event which saw over Leva of Georgia. A pul- 50 national and three inBeriandeez Leva tackles his opponent during sating crowd hooted ternational matches was Participants of the kushti tournament during a match in suburban Mumbai on 26 January 2013. through matches as held on the same day at a wrestling match in Mumbai on 26 Jaunary 2013. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly players competing in the sports complex.

A participant of the freestyle wrestling tournament grapples his opponent during a match in suburban Mumbai on 26 January 2013. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly

India’s Narsingh Yadav, hurls Azerbaijan’s Pata Bakyuredze in a freestyle wrestling match held at Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai on 26 January 2013. Narsingh Yadav was declared the winner. Anushree Fadnavis / Mumbai Weekly

Published by: Udaan School of Photography | Editor-in-Chief: Jayshree Kewalramani Photo Editor: Mithila Joshi | Chief Photographer: Sumedh Sawant | | Email:

Mumbai Weekly  

An online newspaper run by the photojournalism students of Udaan School of Photography

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