Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Posts I do not quite get

In today's edition of "Posts I do not quite get", a new feature which I started today inspired by the subject of today's edition of "Posts I do not quite get", Gaurav Sabnis appears to be requesting the government to destroy a piece of greenery in Mumbai and convert it into, I don't know, maybe a parking lot, because the government will not allow him access to it.

I really didn't get this post. Mainly because the piece of greenery he points to is the Raj Bhawan, seat of the Governor of Maharashtra, which he wouldn't have had access to anyways because of security concerns. So if that piece of land isn't going to be made accessible to him anyways, wouldn't it be better for it to be green rather than a dirty shade of gray?

Furthermore, Sabnis asks, "What if I told you that it is our taxes that pay for the maintenance of this place whose contribution to actual governance is at best negligible?" This statement kind of muddies the issue as to who his beef is with. Is it the position of the governor as a figurehead?If so, why is he taking his anger out on the piece of green land whose existence and maintenance has nothing to do with governance? There are lots of other places my taxes pay for (if I paid taxes, that is), such as Parliament, the Rashtrapati Bhawan, NCL, NDA and thousands of other government buildings I wouldn't be allowed access to. Does that mean they shouldn't be maintained? That they shouldn't have gardens and trees?

If he were merely asking for the position of governor to be abolished because of its irrelevance, I wouldn't mind as much. But the reasoning he provides for its abolition, that because of the existence of the position of governor, he, Gaurav Sabnis, cannot enjoy the piece of greenery the governor's mansion sits on, is a pretty far-fetched one. And what Mr Sabnis is asking for is for this piece of land to "be liberated from the clutches of the Sahib." I'm not sure what that means. Does it mean all the trees on that land need to be chopped off and a big shopping mall be built in its place? Or does it mean he should be given admittance to that land irrespective of security concerns?

To me this post just seems to be a pretty arbitrary bashing of environmentalists. And that is why it is a post I do not quite get.

Update : Gaurav Sabnis responds. Although I see what he was trying to say, namely that the governor's post is of too less consequence for it to reside in a huge swath of land in a prime location, I still think asking activists to make a big hue and cry about it is asking for too much because 1.> They probably have more pressing issues to fight, and 2.> they would probably be wary of what might happen to that land if the governor moves out of it. Because we all know what happens to all our historical landmarks and the state of disrepair they are mantained in. And even if the Raj Bhawan might be a reminder of our colonial oppression, it's still a part of our history.

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