Friday, May 11, 2007

Viewpoint - Just What Can Mrs. Sheila Dikshit Do!

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila DikshitDelhi Chief Minister laments the influx of poor Bihari migrants.

[By Mayank Austen Soofi, Picture Source - NA]

In May, 2007, while laying the foundation stone for three more flyovers in the city, Mrs. Sheila Dikshit, Delhi's Chief Minister, said, "Delhi is seen as a prosperous city. People from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and other places come here. What can we do? We can't stop them. There is no law to stop them.”

Bihar and UP are some of India's poorest states from where villagers migrate to cities like Delhi and Mumbai in search of better opportunities.

Oh, but just what can Mrs. Dixit do!

Her city has beauty and grace - the classic Connaught Place, the historic Jama Masjid, the mystic Nizamuddin, and the splendorous Rashtrapati Bhawan.

So what if most of the malls and call centers are in neighbouring Gurgaon (in the Haryana state), NOIDA, and Ghaziabad (both in UP)? So what if middle class havens are shifting from Delhi's Mayur Vihar and Janak Puri to Gurgaon's DLF and Ghaziabad's Indirapuram? How does it matter if there is a reverse migration taking place from Delhi to these deluxe-duplex townships of UP and Haryana?

Just what can Mrs. Dixit do!

Not much has changed in spite of the swanky metro rail and mushrooming flyovers. Traffic jams have worsened, power crisis is grim, Yamuna is almost dead, and rape is merely a street away.

Reigning over Delhi since nine years, one could not doubt Mrs. Dixit's sincerity in trying to improve the living standards. But how to discourage the uncouth wretched of UP-Bihar from coming? One can't even devise regulations to control their influx. If only Delhi was an undemocratic China.

Just what can Mrs. Dixit do!

Herself a Punjab-born immigrant who once represented UP's Kannauj constituency in the Lok Sabha, Mrs. Dixit has all that which makes for an oh-so-cool Delhi Walla. Soft-spoken and unfailingly courteous, she studied in the Convent of Jesus and Mary and graduated from Miranda House; her grey hair complements her elegant fabindia sarees; she reads books like Reading Lolita in Tehran, and regularly watches (mostly) English films at PVR.

But woe to the party spoilers - those Biharis and UP-wallas who breed like mice. They rot in slums which you raze one day only for them to spring up at some other place the next day. (Frustrating, frustrating). They clog highways with tuk-tuks and rickshaws, and urinate on the boundary walls of pretty Civil Lines bungalows (Beware of Dog; No Trespassing Allowed). Worse, they defecate beside the railway tracks!

Just what can Mrs. Dixit do!

If Delhi was like Mrs. Dixit, only about high-brow India International Centres, bibliophilic Khan Markets, fashionable Vasant Vihars, uppity LSRs and serene Lodhi Gardens. If only all citizens patronised Kathak in Kamani Auditorium and Madhubani paintings in Dilli Haat. If only all Delhites thought and talked in English.

Just what can Mrs. Dixit do?

So what if Mrs. Dixit's maid could be from Jharkhand; driver from Bihar; gardener from UP; and security guard from Chhattisgarh? They are necessary people all right but do they need to be so visible? Ah, if wishes were horses.

Just what can Mrs. Dixit do?

End piece:
Mrs. Sheila Dikshit's statement following the controversy on her faux-pas: “I am fully aware of the contribution made by people coming from outside, especially from UP and Bihar, in the development of Delhi and my statement has been distorted by a section of the media.”


Anonymous said...

Leave the poor woman alone, eh? I'm sure there are many who'd be pleased to have all these 'migrant' people around if they'd only be nicer to the city. Which, of course, goes for the socio-economically better off too, but more for these Bihar & UP folks. And it'd really be something if what you paint her dream Delhi to be like were to be the real Delhi some day. I'm ready to fire my chauffeur, as a personal bit to that end.

Anonymous said...

Build a township within bussing distance outside the city boundary to house all these necessary workers!

S. Mitra Kalita said...

well done, as in, you've cooked her thoroughly!

Anonymous said...

the text is heartrendering but...u 4 sure is forgeting the infrastructure worry's we too r migrating to Haryana & UP so wot if land is taken our by slums & unauthorised colonies.We want to have our bai's & drivers so wot if they slit our throats & vanish in thin air.Maximum crimes our done by domestic help today .you grilled her right but you forget that everything should b inlimits the water levels are decreasing because the state is unable to take the population pressure so wot we'll breed like rats as we have not heard of family planning
We'll take over your pavements & sleep on it so that when your women walks we can tease them and make lucid comments on them ( on special occasions rape them).No matter how many public toilets are made we'll urinate on the walls ( even a rupee is precious 2 buy drugs)so that 1 day the stench will make u realise the blunder that u have made.