Wednesday, July 12, 2006

7/11 ...

Highly disturbed.
May the city keep it's peace.
Sorry I havent had the time to post a real post.
But people all over the city are doing a wonderful job and if you stumbled on this blog and want to know about what's going on, or how you can help, visit -- they're very good and have very good links..

Have to head back to Bandra...

(if anyone has any ideas on using this blog to network on city issues or come together to create art and stuff to try and bring some reconciliation back to this place gone mad, do drop a line... take care people... there's a strange wind blowing, and these are strange strange times.. )

Monday, September 12, 2005

Farhad Wadia's statement after the cancelling of I-Rock...:

Dear Friends,

What happened today at the Gateway of India is a travesty & mockery Of Fair play & justice in our City. Today The Commissioner of Police for Mumbai City did not just Stop Independence Rock He basically told all of us that the police will control what Kind of Music can OR Can't be heard at the Gateway of India; a monument that belongs to all Mumbaikar's . In one stroke his Diktat didn't just cancel a Festival that was about to celebrate its 20th Year at the Gateway … but it stabbed at the heart of Democracy in our Country. As certainly as that madman stabbed an innocent girl at the Gateway a few weeks ago this unfair Diktat has stabbed all Rock musicians, Fans & lovers who had come from Far & wide to perform & witness History in the making ---- The 20th Year Of Independence Rock!

From over the last 15 Days I have personally been making the rounds of every Government office in the City . We applied and got all the following Permisions & Noc's :
1.) Maharashtra Government for the use of the Gateway .
2.) Cultural Secretary for the use of the Gateway .
3.) Archaeological Survey of India – NOC for the use of the Gateway.
4.) BMC - NOC after paying their Venue Charges & Deposits.
5.) BMC SHOW departments NOC
6.) Fire Brigade NOC
7.) PWD electrical & Stage Compliance report .
8.) Collector Mumbai for Entertainment Tax Clearance after Pre – Payment of Entertainment Tax of Rs. 40,000
9.) Colaba Police Station NOC
10.) RTO – NOC
11.) RTO – Bandobast charges of 11,474 were paid for 30 - 40 Traffic Cops
12.) DCP ZONE 1 & Zone 2 Clearance
13.) Rangbhoomi Permission for Lyrics
14.) Censor Board Clearance.
15.) Loud-speaker License issued by the Colaba Police Station

Along the way I got the runaround of a lifetime wherein I had to beg, plead, cajole grovel, namedrop & Bribe at virtually every turn. However I kept telling myself it will be worthwhile come the 3rd & the 4th of Sept when the concert takes place. My friend & fellow musician Hon Milind Deora MP helped and made a hundred calls every time we got stuck … Vinod Shekhar Municipal Corporator for A WARD too helped us immensely… However the last 2 permissions the Ticket Selling License & The Performance License which are a mere formality once you have the above 15 in place; were denied to us at the 11th hour after being told all along the way that they were "just awaiting Saab's Signature " After spending 6 hours at the Comissioner's office at 4:30 p.m. I was informed that the Joint CP Mr. Subhash Awate had refused to give us the permission, When I met him he casually told me that he will meet me later… When I informed him that the show began in 1 Hours time he just got into his car & drove off.

I begged and pleaded with Mr. A.N. Roy's PA Mr. Kulkarni if I could meet with him & plead our case … I was informed that Sahib did not wish to see anybody. In desperation I dialed Milind's No and apprised him of the situation he immediately spoke to the Commissioner, who assured him that he will take a favorable view of the matter and that he would see me. Milind Called me back immediately and said that He was hopeful that the Commissioner would relent .

When I went into the Cabin there was Mr. AN ROY ( Commissioner Police ) , Mr. Patnaik ( Joint Commissioner ) & Mr. Naval Bajaj (DCP Zone 1). The commissioner started by telling me that - How Could I have wanted to stage a ROCK CONCERT at the Gateway? He kept stressing repeatedly that the Gateway was an inappropriate venue for this Kind of Music and told me that the Sound will Damage the monument. I assured him that this was the same Contractor – Roger Drego and the Same Sound system that had been used 4 times in the past 6 months for 4 different shows at the Gateway and authorized by his office. :
1. The Mumbai Festival featuring Al Jarreau & other Jazz – Rock artists .
2. Shakti featuring Zakir Hussain & John Mac Laughlin another Jazz Rock / Fusion Act
3. The Mumbai Mirror Launch function
4. Bal Thackeray's Book Launch .

To this he kept insisting that these were all Government Shows & not commercial events. When I told him that the Al Jarreau Gig was an MTV & VH1 Show which Charged an average of Rs 2000 & the Shakti show was organized by my friend Shashi Vyas who owns a private event company and had an average ticket price of Rs. 1500; & also the Launch of a private newspaper is a Commercial event …. & that Balasaheb Thackeray is a private Citizen with no official Government Post . He said that those shows were all right BUT ours was not Suitable for the Gateway .

In spite of me repeatedly reminding him that Our Show had all INDIAN BANDS, & no Foreign Acts… Our 20th year Anniversary… and a Ticket Price one 1/10 th of the other events he had allowed … he still told me that he would not permit it . In desperation I told him that not only did I stand to loose over Rs. 10 Lakhs that I had spent on the event but also 3000 kids who showed up from all across the Country would be disappointed , he told me that this was not his concern. He rejected our application on the grounds of Sound Pollution & Law & Order problem.

This too me reeks of a simple prejudice that Rock listened to by Middle Class Non-Affluent College Kids is Sound Pollution & Jazz Rock Or Fusion patronized by the Page 3 Crowd was Sweet & Appropriate Music …. Once again a Government Official who has been invested with these Absolute powers by the Government has let his personal taste in music / perception of Rock Music influence his decision.

Dejected & shattered by this unfair decision I made my way to the Gateway and informed the Huge Crowd that …Once Again Rock Music Had been made a Scapegoat Of and asked them to disperse quietly & peacefully .

What happened next Amazed me … Rock Fans who have been stereotyped as violent & abusive & other unflattering adjectives by the Police quietly left the venue . Had this been a Ganesh Utsav, Durga Pooja , Or Navratri Celebration there would have surely been a riot there !

The question's we need to ask ourselves now are:
1.) Are we going to let the Police decide what type of Music can be played at a National Monument?
2.) Are we going to have one set of Rules for Jazz, Indian Classical, & Fusion and a different set of rules for Rock?
3.) Are we still suffering from a Post Colonial Hangover that Foreign / White Bands can perform at National Monuments & Indian Bands don't have the same Rights ?
4.) Are we going to have Separate rules for Big Newspapers & TV Organizations , & Politicians and different ones for ordinary citizens like me ?
5.) Are we going to let Government officials whose Salaries get paid by taxes that we pay cause irreparable Loss of money Time & effort to citizens like me?
6.) Are we going to let shows get cancelled after 14 different Government Departments have okayed it, just because someone did not like the idea of the Gateway of India to be used for a Rock Concert ?

What has happened today thus is not just a Concert that has been cancelled. It is an infringement of our Constitutionally Guaranteed Fundamental Right to listen & enjoy different types of music without interference by Police Officials.

I would thus like to request the Court's of our Country to intervene and correct this Gross Miscarriage of Justice and ensure that Independence Rock 20 Happens at the Gateway Of India towards the end of September!

Please forward this to your Friends & ask them to forward it to their Friends … Somewhere along the Line some one in a powerful place might wakeup to the fact that an injustice was done here and it should be corrected!

On a dfifferent note all those who bought tickets .. they will be valid for the concert which will take place sometime this month.

If you want a refund you can get this too by emailing SAHIL - THE DEMON STEALER

Hey, Hey, My, My Rock & Roll Can Never Die !!! – Neil Young

Yours Sincerely,

Farhad K. Wadia

Friday, September 09, 2005

Was out walking in the rains today in the afternoon. Water was almost waist-high in some places (toward Lower Parel), and people were panicking a little, understandably , with memories of 26/7 still fresh in people's minds. But with all the desperation and poverty and dirt and everything, there was no signs of violence. Everywhere people were doing little things to help out – warning of gutters in the middle of the road, generally giving directions, encouragement, keeping the atmosphere light with smiles and camaraderie, though the tension was very clear beneath the surface.

The walk made me happy. It reminded me we have community in this city. Humanity still exists. It made me feel very proud to be Bambaiya, while on the other side of the planet, the so-called “civilized world” deals with it's own ghosts in the most pitiable of ways.

I think it should be clear to all that “globalization” needs to be a two-way process – sure, we have a lot to learn from the West, but the West has at least as much if not more to learn from “the East”. And this process of learning needs to happen people-to-people, and in a way that's not constructed blindly to fulfill greed and profit motives.

What we've also seen with both the floods, here and there, imho, is the complete lack of faith in authority (and complete lack of action on the part of the authorities). Here, it being a well known fact that the corruption of the political class and their narrow-minded greed is taking us all to the pits of hell – with economics replacing human beings as the basis for urban planning - more sky-scrapers, less green spaces and inadequate infrastructure plaguing an already struggling population; and the only solutions being offered by the media and most institutions point to the West as a model of perfection.

And then we have New Orleans, where the order of things has broken down more than most of us can even dare to imagine. Cops joining looters and absolute anarchy in the wake of disaster, with everyone on a desperate individualistic binge to grab all they can while they can; and the authorities behaving like what I'm afraid the United States is increasingly becoming – a dictatorial police state. The most pronounced response being the surrounding of the city by the National Guard (not even letting the Red Cross in with supplies), evicting people from their homes at gunpoint “for their own safety” and taking people to “Refugee Camps” more resembling Detention Centers.

What's sad is that, sure, these were natural disasters, but in both cases, they have been caused by what we as human beings are doing to ourselves and the planet. I can only hope that we as a people's can learn important lessons from these tragedies – start asking the right questions and hopefully, as a global community, find answers to secure a future for our generation and the ones to come, otherwise I'm afraid there might not be any.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

(mailer of the Concerned Citizens Commission for an enquiry into the Mumbai Floods 2005 - please spread the word and help out/speak out -- we need some truth and change if we're to prevent future calamities and make this city livable .. )

Dear Fellow Citizens of Mumbai:

We were deeply shocked by the events that led to the tragic floods in
Maharashtra which led to the deaths of several hundreds of citizens
in Mumbai and Maharashtra. The formation of the Concerned Citizens'
Commission (CCC): An Enquiry into the Mumbai Floods 2005, was
announced at a press conference on 16 August 16 2005 (please refer
press note below). The initiative is being actively supported by over
30 organisations.

In brief, the CCC is a fact finding mission that will look into the
disaster that befell large parts of Mumbai city on July 26 and in the
following days. The Commission consists of an eminent Panel of nine
members. They will be assisted by NGOs and those who have been
involved in the relief efforts at the grass roots level, as well as
others with knowledge of disaster management, urban planning,
administration, ecology and other relevant fields.

Through a series of public hearings and depositions from common
Mumbaikars, urban planning experts, government officials and others,
the Panel will piece together the events leading up to the tragedy,
identify and hold accountable those responsible for inaction and
mismanagement and make a set of recommendations.

The CCC will look into the causes of the flooding, the response from
government and other agencies and how our future urban planning can
ensure that the damage from future 'natural disasters', compounded by
human factors, can be mitigated. We aim to release the Commission's
finding in the form of a report by 31 October 2005. As one can
imagine, this is no easy task logistically. Fund raising for the CCC
is currently underway.

On behalf of the CCC, we urge your organisation to make a donation of
whatever amount possible. Cheques in favour of Conservation Action
Trust can be sent to CAT, B 502 Glengate, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai.
Mumbai 400076. (Please note we are still waiting for our S. 80G
approval – please make your cheques “A/C Payee Only” – Thanks)

Floods 2005

Few Mumbaikars were left untouched or unaffected by the devastating
floods that hit the city from July 26 onwards. After the grief and
shock has come an overwhelming sense of anger and the urgent need to
know what actually happened, why civic life remained disrupted for so
many days and what lessons can be learned, so that a repeat
catastrophe is avoided.

With this in mind, a coalition of citizen's groups from across the
length and breadth of the city announce the formation of the
Concerned Citizens' Commission: An Enquiry into the Mumbai Floods
2005. The Commission consists of an eminent Panel of nine members.
They will be assisted by NGOs and those who have been involved in the
relief efforts at the grass roots level, as well as others with
knowledge of disaster management, urban planning, administration,
ecology and other relevant fields.

Through a series of public hearings and depositions from common
Mumbaikars, urban planning experts, government officials and others,
the Panel will piece together the events leading up to the tragedy,
identify and hold accountable those responsible for inaction and
mismanagement and make a set of recommendations.

The CCC will also look into the causes of the flooding, the response
from government and other agencies and how our future urban planning
can ensure that the damage from future 'natural disasters',
compounded by human factors, can be mitigated.

The Panel will consist of:

1. Justice P.B. Sawant (Retired Supreme Court Judge)
2. Ms. Teesta Seetalvad (Citizens for Justice and Peace)
3. Mr. Shyam Chainani (Bombay Environmental Action Group)
4. Mr. Sharad Kale (Former Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai)
5. Mr. Nasser Munjee (Expert on Urban Infrastructure)
6. Mr. Darryl D'Monte (Environmental Journalist)
7. Mr. Chandrashekhar Prabhu (Architect and Town Planner)
8. Mr. Datta Ishwalkar (Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samiti)
9. Mr. Suresh Bhosale

The Terms of Reference of the CCC are:

1. To develop a reliable picture of the floods in Greater Mumbai
and document what actually took place, the extent of damage to lives
and dignity of persons, along with a detailed examination of property
loss and damage, linked critically to the issue of relief and

2. To determine the causes and factors that led to the flooding,
including the role of the state executive, government and
administration in implementing the Disaster Management Plan.

3. To understand the role of the MCGB and the State police – in pre-
empting, containing and controlling damage to life and property.

4. To recommend a set of measures to better anticipate natural
calamities and to minimize their impact; as also to ensure that
Disaster Management Plans are implemented more effectively.

5. To identify in particular those responsible for inaction and
hold them accountable.

6. To ensure effective citizen participation in the planning of the
city and in Disaster Management.

7. Any other relevant matters that the Panel may decide to include.

The CCC calls on all those with relevant information to share to send
their submissions to and and to CCC, c/o Citizens for Justice and
Peace, Nirant, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai 400 049.

The CCC intends to release its Report within three months. The Report
will then be available to the public to initiate follow up and
remedial action with the State Government, BMC and other relevant
authorities, as well as citizens' groups.

Debi Goenka Cyrus Guzder

The Concerned Citizens' Commission (CCC) is endorsed by the following

Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG)
Citizens For Justice and Peace (CJP)
Girangoan Rozgar Hakk Samiti
Shahid Bhagwat Jadhav Samiti Kendra
Conservation Action Trust
National Association of People's Movement (NAPM)
BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society)
Nivara Hakk Suraksha Samiti
Clean Air
Bombay Catholic Sabha
Voice Of The Exploited (VOTE)
All India Catholic Union (AICU)
Friends of Society
People's Union for Human Rights (PUHR)
National Welfare Society
ACHRA and Welfare Education Trust
All India Human Rights & Citizens Option
Communalism Combat
Mangrove Society of India
Marine Drive Residents Association
Oval Cooperage Residents Association
Nariman Point Residents Association
Nirmala Niketan
Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan
Sarvoday International Trust
Mohalla Committee
Ration Kruti Samiti, Mumbai
CRIT (Collective Research Initiatives Trust)
Documentation, Training and Research Centre
Institute for Community Organisation Research
Some folks have gotten together to form the Concerned Citizens Commission to hold citizen hearings in different areas, find out what went wrong, and hold govt. officials accountable for the state of Mumbai, as well as find solutions that can be implemented. This needs to do more than be a formal process of hearings with a report generated thats buried under the hundreds of other "Commission Reports" and the media moves on ton to the next big scoop .. lets hope the media can keep up sustained commentary on constructive movements like this that wish to carry on a sustained effort after the crisis to prevent future disasters like 8/26 ..

i've posted the details of the commission in the next post, and i do hope people contribute in this effort as much as they can - i hope to go to some of the hearings and will post reports about going on's, but really, what do we do and who do we blame -- when it seems like mother nature's out to get us -- and each one of us is too blame -- let's hope we find practical solutions to the problems we're facing, but i really wish to ask - when will we as a species finally gather the strength to ask the really difficult questions -- the questions that really need to be asked if we have any hope of saving the earth from the ravaging we've put her through.. if it's not already too late..

Friday, August 12, 2005

After the Deluge
by Jackson Browne

Some of them were dreamers, some of them were fools,
who were making plans and thinking of the future
With the energy of the innocent, they were gathering
the tools they would need to make their journey back
to nature
When the sand slipped through the opening, and their
hands reached for the golden ring, and their hearts
turned to each other's hearts for refuge
In the troubled years that came before the Deluge

Some of them they knew pleasure, some of them
knew pain, and for some of them it was only the
moment that mattered
On the wild and crazy wings of youth, they went flying
around in the rain, till their feathers once so fine were
torn and tattered
In the end they traded their tired wings, for the
resignation that living brings, they traded love's
bright and fragile glow, for the glitter and the rouge
In a moment, they were swept before the Deluge

So let the music keep your spirits high
Let the buildings keep your children dry
Let creation reveal its secrets by and by
When the light that's lost within us reaches the sky

Some of them were angry, at the way the Earth was
abused, by those men who learned to forge beauty
into power
And in trying to protect us from them, only became
confused, by the magnitude of the fury in the final hour
When the sand was gone and the time arrived,
in the naked dawn only a few survived, and in trying to
understand these things, so simple and so huge
Believed they were meant to live after the Deluge

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Went for a 2-day Seminar / Conference on Mumbai Futures and Mumbai Visions organized by PUKAR at the NCPA,,
Fascinating - discussing, among other things, climate change, it's effect on urban infrastructure, similar problems faced by cities elsewhere and what we can do as citizens to improve our lot and make government institutions more accountable..
Also discussed were issues of housing and identity in the city..
Fascinating 2 days - a little exhausted to write a detailed report right now - and really I wouldn't feel qualified to - I hate misquoting people, and that seems to be the job of journalists everywhere.. bluddy fuckall job.
Anyways - will see if I can get them to give me the recording of the event and I'll try to transcribe the whole thing - really, everyone who has any stake in the city should hear and contemplate these things...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Went out for a drive tonight to Marine Drive to pick up a friend staying at the Intercontinental and back to Worli Sea-Face. Saw at least 8 Police Naka Bandis and got stopped twice near Babulnath. LICEEEEENSE!? Kidhar Ja Rahe Ho? Kyon? Bla dee bla...
6 days they musta made no money...
Bombay's back in business, folks...

(while parts of the city are still without electricity and serious fears of epidemics (will post a bunch've info tomorrow about relief organizations and just individuals doing good work - if you know of any send 'em in..))

Anil Ambani apologized today for people not having electricity. AFTER Narayan Rane or someone threatened to ARREST him. With all due fuckin' respect, Mr. Rane, if people are going to be arrested for not doing their job.. I see lotsa whpoliticians in white caps..
What nonsense the whole media circus and the blame-game is ...

To all the folks who're getting on with their lives.. surviving and helping survive..