EDIT: Back to having problems with linking stuff in my posts. I’ve listed all links at then end of the post.
The Maharashtra (the state in which Mumbai is located) court recently announced that from now on, they would only hand out taxi permits to people who could speak, read and write Marathi fluently.
I’m yet to understand what the connection between being able to speak, read and write Marathi fluently and driving a taxi is. I have to admit, shamefacedly,that in spite of being in Mumbai for more than 15 years and having gone through 3 years of Marathi in school (that barely counts, the first words of my Marathi teacher Ms. Savadhi,as she entered the class were “Aditi ani company, varga-che baher ja” (Aditi and company, please leave the class) my Marathi is strictly operational. However, in my entire life, wherever I have gone in Maharastra, be it Mumbai, Pune, Panchgani and even Belgaum, I have never felt uncomfortable, or lost because I didn’t know the language. Especially in a city like Mumbai that has people from almost every state in the country and different countries of the world pouring in, this seems like an unnecessary rule, that solves no problems but in fact may end up causing more than a few.
Speculation is that the Congress (the reigning party in Maharastra) has taken this step in order to appeal to the voter base of the Shiv Sena and MNS(Two parties that have taken the ‘Maharastra for Maharastrians’ moniker way above and beyond it’s practical application). The above rule very clearly prevent immigrants from entering the city. Congress has also seemingly forgotton that Mumbai’s immigrants are a huge part of thier current voter base, pissing them off might not be such a good idea.
In other news our resident Aurthur Road celebrity and 26/11 accused of the brutal and vicious attacks on Mumbai, Ajmal Kasab gave Shiv Sena and MNS serious boners after speaking to the court in Marathi recently. While our justice system plods on, Ajmal Kasab is keeping the crowds entertained. Seems like our boy has been doing his homework in jail. I foresee a huge career for him in reality T.V. (“Ajmal ki Talab“–Ajmal’s quest for a lawyer/bride. Either way I hope NDTV is listening becasue there’s money in this idea. Lot’s of it.)
Now the only thing that should be stopping Ajmal Kasab from getting himself a taxi permit is….oh wait, there’s nothing.So why not? The bloke knows his Marathi. That’s about 50% of the battle won right there.
- Marathi compulsory for cabbies in Mumbai: http://www.hindustantimes.com/maharashtra/Marathi-must-for-Mumbai-cab-drivers/500019/H1-Article1-499775.aspx
- Kasab tells judge he understands Marathi: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Kasab-tells-judge-he-understands-Marathi/articleshow/4609487.cms