Wednesday, 4 December 2013


I have personally seen how shallow are Gujarat Governments claims of integrated and inclusive development in Gujarat while surveying 360 farmers across Gujarat for a project of Ministry of Agriculture on Marketed and Marketable Surplus and while Researching for an ICSSR Project on a Franchising model and Rural Entrepreneurship in North and Central Gujarat.
1). Krushi Mahotsavs are one-off efforts, the Government machinery in Gujarat including most Government offices are moribund  staffed by lazy indolent officers.
2.) Long Run multiplier Rural development efforts are missing-no effort is made of a kind of Rural Non Farm Sector Development, although a large potential exists in Gujarat with many members of families underemployed in villages, there are no long term rural nonfarm projects either in manufacturing or services of note which can develop rural labour.
3.) Traders continue to exploit, national schemes of marketing boards are not backed up by State Government officials since the purpose is only to bag credit if possible.
4.) As a recent CAG report has outlined gross wastage, bias and misappropriation of funds in terms of doles to Corporate houses exists in Gujarat in last five years.
5). Gross Wastage through tall claims of (unrealized) investment in Vibarant Gujarat has led to immense wastage of public exchequer in Gujarat, the money could be better spent on: say, the adivasi girl child..
6.) Human Development in terms of Health, Education and Human Capital in Gujarat is way behind states like Karnataka and Kerala. Let us take some examples:
a) Bangalore, Hyderabad , Pune et al have developed as Service and knowledge hubs and expanded greatly in last ten years, Ahmedabad, Baroda etc lag behind miserably.
b) Education is in great trouble in Gujarat, I have personal experience of this- apart from national institutes very few institutes of note with local faculty exist, there is rampant politicization with vice-chancellors selected who a decent college in Delhi will not select as a lecturer. Statistics Department, Economics subjects like Indian Economy and Humanities Subjects have been completely sidelined, since such subjects have a liberal impact.
c) Entertainment and Culture is severely restricted. Atif aslam concerts are banned, Hussain-Doshi Gufa vandalized.
d) Disturbed Areas Act is Randomly associated with various areas to prevent Religious intermingling. Ahmedabad is completely sergreagated in terms of Urban Spaces, Baroda also now increasingly.
e) Recently a Japanese Restaurant has opened near PVR Cinemas, Fortune Temura, it serves magnificent Japanese Cuisine, similar restaurants in Delhi are choc a bloc full with local clientele, in Ahmedabad you will not find a single person in that restaurant even at peak hours and this is not because of bias against nonvegetarian food, its just ignorance of cosmoplolitan tastes.

f.) As Amartya Sen has shown health figures in Gujarat are shocking.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Canada India and Pakistan: A Journey through the Events, Leaders and Ideas of the countries and what they Represent.

Canada India and Pakistan: A Journey through the Events, Leaders and Ideas of the countries and what they Represent.

                                                         Munish Alagh

“we do not have the right to make Canada an exclusively French country any more than the Anglo-Canadians have the right to make it an English country.”-Henri Bourassa

An India that denies itself to some Indians would no longer be the India Mahatma Gandhi fought to free.1

Canada and India have both albeit separately faced similar challenges and reacted in a common manner. In the political sphere Pluralism and democracy have been confronted with challenges in India and Canada not least sucessionism and terrorism, but remain important foundations on which the two countries depend.

We begin with a quote from Sunil Khilnanis “The Idea of India” where he sees in India’s democratic experience evidence of something that James Madison and his Federalist colleagues well understood more than two hundred years ago. “Large republics with diverse and conflicting interests can be a better home for liberty, a safer haven against tyranny, than homogenous and exclusive ones. Within them, factions and differences can check one another, moderating ideological fervour and softening power.” This statement could hold as true of Canada as of India although many could say that the changing cycles of Social equilibria in such culturally multi-hued countries leave nothing to certainty, least of all the certainty of social peace; as has been seen through time with periods of comparative stability and inter-communal amity being punctuated with periods where it seems that Religious Conflict has taken the Driving Seat.

Common features between India and Canada are many but what stands out are the adherence to Secularism in India’s case and Pluralism in Canadas case. In the case of India its emergence as a secular state despite the native religiosity of its people is significant. Indeed India stands apart from its immediate neighbours Bangladesh and Pakistan specially in having forsaken an ethnic religion as the basis of its national development. With its large size India presents a natural case as a country which should be given its due in world affairs but our case is that its very much for the features that accompany India’s large size that it should be given importance specifically its adherence by and large to secularism and its independent chartering out of its economic path. Despite ambivalence over its federal structure and a strong centre India continues to have ideologically contrasting parties at the helm in many cases at the centre and the states. Despite prophets of doom warning against disintegration regional parties continue to bloom. It is the democratic structure of India’s nationalist movement which has bequeathed to us an egalitarian structure of governance, in these days of abuse of the nationalist movement and its icons specially in Gujarat (except Sardar Patel) it would serve us well to remember a quote from a popular book on modern Indian history. “A nationalist movement has to be disciplined and organizationally strong and united; yet it cannot afford to be monolithic or authoritarian”2
As Trudeau himself writes in the introduction to the book “Towards a just society” edited jointly with Thomas Axworthy-
The ideas that animated our efforts from 1968 to 1984 are every bit as compelling today as they were during our years of power.
  • We fought for a Canada where individual rights including linguistic rights, would be accepted across the land.
  • We fought for a strong federal government capable of initiating programs that would equalize opportunities for Canadians wherever they happened to live.
  • We fought for an independent Canadian economy and foreign policy so that we would have the ability to create and maintain a distinctive way of life in our part of North America.
  • We fought for a fairer, more humane Canada, in which the power of government was a necessary instrument in the quest for a more just society.

The period when Trudeau was in the driving seat in Canada saw a lot of conflict, because conflict does arise when a leader who espouses strong humane ideas emerges and drives his point home quite forcefully to the discomfort of elements inimical to Individual freedom. As we see below these ideas which remain a force in Canada today emerged during a period when they were even more forcefully contested then they are today in Canada.

Section-I  Pierre Elliot Trudeau-The man and his ideas-

Rather than discuss personalities and events it is our aim in this project to discuss ideas, but behind these ideas lie certain events, and in the case of Trudeau these include events like the October Crisis and the Quebec Referendum. The ideas that lie behind these events include Multi-Culturalism, Federalism and Canadian Nationalism.

October Crisis:3 During the October Crisis of 1970, the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) kidnapped British Trade Consul James Cross at his residence on the sixth of October. Five days later, Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte was also kidnapped (and was later murdered, on October 17). Trudeau responded by invoking the War Measures Act, which gave the government sweeping powers of arrest and detention without trial. Although this response is still controversial and was opposed as excessive by parliamentarians like Tommy Douglas and David Lewis, it was met with only limited objections from the public. Trudeau presented a determined public stance during the crisis, answering the question of how far he would go to stop the terrorists with "Just watch me". Five of the FLQ terrorists were flown to Cuba in 1970 as part of a deal in exchange for James Cross' life, although they eventually returned to Canada years later, where they served time in prison.

Trudeau’s credo was to strengthen individual rights over groups. Notwithstanding his approach of individual freedom being paramount, or perhaps, because of it, during the crisis of October 1970 Trudeau while initially making some concessions dealt with terror with a heavy hand. In this he showed that whereas he was all for individual freedom the legitimacy and the authority of the State was to be upheld. As Trudeau explained ‘Freedom and personal security are safeguarded by laws; those laws must be respected in order to be effective.’

He emphasized ‘This government is not acting out of fear. It is acting to prevent fear from is acting to make clear to kidnappers and revolutionaries and assassins that in this country laws are made and changed by the elected representatives of all Canadians-not by a handful of self selected dictators.’

Trudeau it was claimed was acting during this crisis to discredit the PQ, but this is clearly contradicted by his statements and that of his Ministers at this time. Thus Trudeau’s record as a democrat is enhanced not weakened by the events of October 1970.

Defeat of the referendum on Quebec sovereignty4, called by the Parti Québécois government of René Lévesque, which was held on May 20, 1980 was another landmark event in Trudeaus career. In the debates between Trudeau and Lévesque, Canadians were treated to a contest between two highly intelligent, articulate and bilingual politicians who, despite being bitterly opposed, were each committed to the democratic process. Trudeau promised a new constitutional agreement with Quebec should it decide to stay in Canada, and the "No" side (that is, No to sovereignty) ended up receiving nearly 60% of the vote.

Federalism: With regard to federal –provincial relations and constitutional reform too Trudeau’s steps mirrored his credo of individual rights over groups. However his governments overall record was mixed with regard to this ‘bold in approach, but often enfeebled and infirm in withstanding the provinces political demands.’4This credo was however put to test in the crisis of Autumn 1970. Trudeau was definitely not one ‘to put Quebec in its place’ unlike what some commentators noted, instead his efforts was always for cultural and social accommodation following his credo.

Multi Culturalism: On October 8, 1971, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau announced in the House of Commons that, after much deliberation, the policies of bilingualism and multiculturalism would be implemented in Canada. When the Canadian constitution was patriated by Prime Minister Trudeau in 1982, one of its constituent documents was the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and section 27 of the Charter stipulates that the rights laid out in the document are to be interpreted in a manner consistent with the spirit of multiculturalism.

Trudeau ‘represented a legitimate strand of Quebec thought or opinion, often overlooked both inside the province and in the rest of Canada.’5 That opinion was of providing the rights of French-Canadian people within Canada. His approach ‘urged French speaking Quebeckers to seek their future in a larger Canada than a narrower Quebec; it stressed safeguards for individual rights rather than the collective responsibilities of a beleaguered French-Canadian people.’6

This was similar to Henri Bourassa who represented a strand of Quebec thought which was unique in Canada in the late nineteenth century another thought or opinion-Indian nationalism was inaugurated in the same time period. This phrase Indian nationalism is somewhat misleading; “Infact a sense of region and nation emerged together through parallel self definitions-and this point is essential to any understanding of the distinctive layered character of Indianness”7

The commonness in Bourassa’s thesis of a federal security to French Canadians and Jinnah’s initial project to protect the interests of  the Muslim minority in provinces is noticeable.

This need for a federal balance in population is reflected in Bourassa’s thinking as well when he claims “we do not have the right to make Canada an exclusively French country any more than the Anglo-Canadians have the right to make it an English country.”

But indeed Bourassa had strong roots, he had a conviction that  the church and the French culture were coexistential. In this respect he was close to Maulana Azad who had deep roots in Islamic tradition and simultaneously in Indian tradition. Bourassa had deep roots in the church and in French Language and culture but even so had an unshakeable belief in Canadian unity.

It is interesting to note that Trudeau moved from supporting Quebecois Nationalism in his early years to being a Canadian Nationalist through most of his political life speciually with regard to the constitutional and federal stand which he took.

Jinnah: A look at how much he loved India in his early years and how he fought for India’s Secular Principles Part-I:The Beginning 1876-19108

Whereas Trudeau remained steadfast in his political ideals through his political life it is interesting to note that while studying in a Jesuit School in his teens, he supported Quebecois Nationalism, it is this fact that can help us when we reflect on the Changing Political Beliefs of Muhammad Ali Jinnah; ie-time and circumstances do tend to change peoples political beliefs.

In Lincoln Inn :the hallowed hall of British Jurisprudence is an oil painting, hung since July 1965 on the entrance of the Great Hall and Library in London. The anonymous artist captured his upbright, unbending spirit, as well as his impeccable taste in clothes, yet Jinnah’s face is almost as enigmatic and spare as the shining brass plate beneath. His eyes, opened wide, are piercing; his lips, tightly closed, formidable. One would guess that he was a man of few words, never easily thwarted or defeated.  “M.A. Jinnah, Founder and First Governor-General of Pakistan” stares down at the students, barristers, and benchers rushing in and out of Lincoln’s Inn, nothing more is revealed of Jinnah’s history, but his birth and death date, but what should interest Indians is, that there was much more to Jinnah, including the fact that even uptill the last decade of British Raj, Jinnah remained, by and large committed to India’s unity.

Even so it must be said that Jinnah during the last decade of his life tenaciously and single mindedly fought for Pakistan.

A part of Jinnah’s personality was due to his background, Jinnah belonged to a minority community within Islam, itself a religious minority in India, the Khojas of  South Asia remained doubly conscious of their separateness and cultural difference, helping perhaps to account for the “aloofness” so often noted as a characteristic quality of Jinnah. Khojas, like other mercantile communities, however, traveled extensively, were quick to assimilate new ideas, and adjusted with relative ease to strange venvironments. They developed linguistic skills and sharp intelligence, often acquiring considerable wealth.

As an eleven year old Jinnah visited Bombay and would never forget it, although he went back to Karachi after little more than six months it was hardly out of boredom with his new environment.

As a seventeen year old Jinnah left for England, and although had some initial adjustment pangs, soon adjusted to life in London and began to like it before long.
His perfect manners and attire always assured him entry into any of England’s stately homes, clubs and palces. Jinnah became a model of fashion the world over, rivaled among his South Asian contemporaries only by Motilal Nehru.

Dadbhai Naoroji fought and narrowly won in 1892  a seat in Britian’s Parliament. During the campaign, he was characterized as a “black man” during the campaign. From that day, Jinnah was an uncompromising enemy of all bars of colour and racial prejudice. Jinnah was thrilled to hear Dadabhais maiden speech extolling the virtue of Free Speech in the House of Commons. As Jinnah noted “there he was, an Indian, who would exercise that right and demand justice for his countrymen.”

In 1893 when Jinnah enrolled in the Lincln’s Inn, John Morley was elected as a bencher and argued for placing “truth” first among any choice of “principles”. Jinnah quoted Morley to student audiences later in life, and he personally tried to adhere to the liberal ideas early imbibed from Lincoln’s great bencher.

M.P. Alfred Webb, whom Jinnah had heard from Westminister’s  Gallery, was elected to preside over the Madras Congress in 1894. “I hate tyranny and oppression wherever practiced, more especially if practiced by my own Government, for then I am in a measure responsible,” Webb said to his Indian audience that December. And until the “Irish question” was resolved, President Webb insisted, India like the rest of the British empire, would suffer, for parliament “is paralysed with…the affairs of under five millions of people, and ministries rise and fall on the question of Ireland rather than great Imperial interests.” It was an important lesson for Jinnah, one he subconsciously assimilated during those early lonely years in London, of how a small minority and its insistent demands could “paralyse” a huge empire. He learned to appreciate all the weaknesses as well of strengths of British character.

Jinnah, let go an opportunity to take u the Stage as a profession, after a letter from his father,urging him not to be a traitor to the family.He was however a born actor.Many a political opponent however made the mistake of believing, however, that Jinnah was “only acting” when he was most serious.

In 1896, Jinnah returned to the city he chose as his new permanent home, till partition i.e. Bombay.

Jinnah admired Badruddin Tyabji a secular liberal nationalist, who argued in his presidential address to the Madras Congress: “I, for one, am utterly at loss to understand why Mussulmans should not work shoulder to shoulder with their fellow-countrymen, of other races and creeds, for the common benefit of all..this is the principle on which we, in the Bombay presidency, have always acted.” Jinnah’s other closest friends and admiored elders in Bombay  were Parsis, Hindus and Christians, none of whom took their respective religions as seriously as their faith in British Law and Indian nationalism.

Jinnah’s universe at that time was law, though his singular success as an advocate was not unrelated to his acting talent.” He was what God made him,” a fellow barrister of Bombay’s high court put it, “ a great pleader. He had a sixth sense: he could see around corners. That is where his talents lay…he was a very clear thinker…but he drove his points home-points chosen with exquisite selection-slow delivery, word by word.” Another contemporary noted,”When he stood up in Court, slowly looking towards t6he judge, placing his monocle in his eye-with trhe sense of timing you would expect from an actor-he would become omnipotent. Yes, that is the word-omnipotent. Joachim Alva said he “cast a spell on the court room…head erect, unruffled by the worst circumstances. He has been our boldest advocate.” Jinnah’s most famous legal apptrentice, M.C. Chagla, the first Indian Muslim appointed chief justice of Bombay’s high court, reminisced that his leader’s “presentation of a case” was nothing less than “ a piece of art.”
In politics, Jinnah’s heroes remained Dadabhai Naoroji and another brilliant leader of Bombay’s Parsi community, Sir Pherozeshah Mehta. Sir Pherozeshah was more the Bombay model for Jinnah’s early career than Dadabhai. In 1890 he labeled the
”supposed rivalry” between Hindus and Muslijms nothing more than “a coinvenient decoy to distract attention and defer the day of reform.” Young Jinnah felt much the same way.

The 1904 Congress was Jinnah’s first meeting with Gopal Krishna Gokhale, whose wisdom, fairness and moderation he came to admire so that he soon stated his “fond ambition” in politics was to become “the Muslim Gokale.”

Jinnah left the 1906 Annual Session of the Congress in Calcutta inspired with the mission of advocating the cause of Hindu-Muslim unity, perceiving as few of his contemporaries did how indispensable such unity was to the new goal of Swaraj (“self-government) that Congress had adopted. He was politician enough to realize that his only hope of succeeding his liberal mentors and friends as leader of vthe Congress was by virtue of his secuar constitutional national appeal, not through his double-minority status. In one short decade after returning from London he had virtually emerged as heir apparent to the Bombay triumvirate.

Jinnah was to rise in the Allahabad Congress of 1910 to second a resolution that “strongly deprecates the expansion or application of the principle of Separate Communal Electorates to Municipalities, District Boards, or other Local Bodies.”
Paradoxically, Jinnah spoke at the end of his first year as the Calcutta council’s Muslim member from Bombay.

Section II-Mohammad Ali Jinnah-The Man and his ideas.9

  • Jinnah’s story is an apparent paradox, why did a person considered the greatest “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”, become the creator of Pakistan, indeed Jinnah, like his fellow Gujarati, Gandhi was an extremely enigmatic figure, but the fact is that we know very little about him, his inomitable will with which he created Pakistan, could have very easily have been directed towards the opposite direction, ie., towards strengthening Hindu-Muslim unity, this blog attempts to study why that did not happen? What are the lessons we should learn from this big failure of Indian nationhood?
  • From the time when Jinnah in his early days in Britian saw Dadabhai Naoraji struggling against racism Jinnah became an uncomprising enemy of all forms of colour bar and racial prejudice, listening from the Commons gallery in 1893 to Dadabhai’s maiden speech and being thrilled to hear the Grand Old man extol the virtues of “free speech”, Jinnah noted “there he was, an Indian, who would exercise that right and demand justice for his countrymen.” So, thus began  Jinnah’s advent into politics as a liberal nationalist.
  • It is interesting that when he returned to Bombay, Jinnah’s heroes remained Dadabhai Naoroji and other brilliant Bombay Parsi, Sir Pherozeshah Mehta who, in fact very much was the model for Jinnah’s early career specially with reference to his impassioned advocacy of the role of minorities in India’s nation-building process. Further, in the 1904 Congress, Jinnah first met Gokhale, whose wisdom, fairness, and moderation he came to admire so that he soon stated his “fond ambition” in politics was to become “the Muslim Gokhale.”
  • Another interesting aspect of these early years is that the doughtiest opponent of the Muslim league in 1906 (in the Aga Khan’s words) was Jinnah, who “came out in bitter hostility toward all that I and my friends had done and were trying to do. He was the only well-known Muslim to take this attitude…..He said that our principle of separate electorates was dividing the nation against itself.” Such an impassioned advocacy against separate electorates by the man who was later responsible for creating Pakistan!!
  • Jinnah helped write Dadabhai’s speech at the 1906 annual session of the Congress, and the theme of national unity present in this address was echoed by Jinnah at every political meeting he attended during the ensuing decade.
  • In the decade since he had returned from Britian Jinnah had emerged as the hier apparent to the triumvirate of Gokhale, Mehta and Naoroji, he was free from all parochial and provincial prejudice, also in practical terms Jinnah realised that his strength lay in his secular nationalist appeal.
  • Jinnah was to rise in the Allahabad Congress of 1910 to second a resolution that “strongly deprecates the expansion or application of the principle of Separate Communal Electorates to Municipalities, District Boards, or other Local Bodies.” Paradoxically, Jinnah spoke at the end of his first year as the Muslim member from Bombay.
  • Jinnah did join the Muslim League in 1913, but he insisted as a prior condition that his “loyalty to the Muslim League and the Muslim interest would in no way and at no time imply even the shadow of disloyalty to the larger national cause to which his life was dedicated.”
  • Before Gokhale died, he told Sarojini that Jinnah “has true stuff in him, and that freedom from all sectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity.” In his late thirties Jinnah seems to have personified that tragically elusive spirit of communal amity.
  • In 1913, at the Agra session of the Muslim League, Jinnah proposed postponing reaffirmation of faith in the principle of “communal representation” for another year. On this issue majority of  the Muslim League members would long remain at odds with Jinnah.
I will end this section with the first sign of trouble in this garden of Eden, and we will note that again and again, trouble for Jinnah, came in the form of the Father of the Nation, for when in January 1915 the Gujarat Society, which he led, gave a garden party to welcome Gandhi back to India, Gandhi’s response to Jinnah’s urbane welcome was that he was “glad to find a Mahomedan not only belonging to his region’s Sabha, but chairing it. This was very insulting to Jinnah who prided himself on his Cosmopolitan identity. It also set the tone for his relation with Gandhi…which was lead to much trouble later

How Gandhi did not make Hindu Muslim consolidation a political priority till too late....

Whereas Jinnah, for a long period remained steadfast in his ideals, the more worrying element at that time should have been Gandhiji turning a blind eye to compromises with political opposition, an obstinate almost stubborn refusal to bow, to step back, an impatience in working for outcomes with means which though he claimed to be motivated by peace were actually creating social turmoil; surprisingly the first person who tried to resist Gandhis instruments of Civil Disobedience was Jinnah, who correctly saw in these instruments a chaotic diequilibrium inducing disturbance to Social Stability and Peace. That later, Jinnah became the foremost opponent of the very social equilibrium he so correctly blaimed Gandhi of disturbing is the second big tragedy of India pre 1947.

The First big tragedy of secular India was in 1920: a moderate secular Jinnah losing out to Gandhijis direct action community based approach; that marked the end of moderate Gokhales dream for undivided India pre 1947, the second biggest tragedy was Gandhis dream of Hindu Muslim unity losing out to Jinnahs post 1937 British stooge avatar; that marked the end of jinnahs dream to stamp out separate electorates which treated one eye as different from the other....what a contradiction is India...pig eating Jinnah...a Muslim hero being supported by a mosque breaking advani who in turn is criticised by congress leaders for supporting Jinnah vs Nehru

After 1915 Gandhi's local style of leadership gained great popularity with the Indian people. Jinnah criticised Gandhi's Khilafat advocacy, which he saw as an endorsement of religious zealotry.10 Jinnah regarded Gandhi's proposed satyagraha campaign as political anarchy, and believed that self-government should be secured through constitutional means. He opposed Gandhi, but the tide of Indian opinion was against him. At the 1920 session of the Congress in Nagpur, Jinnah was shouted down by the delegates, who passed Gandhi's proposal, pledging satyagraha until India was free. 

Sometimes... remaining silent when someone is attacked is as dangerous as opposin; Gandhijis response to jinnahs disagreement of direct action was always: anyone is free to resign, if they disagree! I am afraid that a careful reading of Indian history, brings me to the conclusion that: the precipice of the Nagpur Congress in 1920 to which Jinnah was brought could have been avoided...

 The Father of the Nation did not nurture all his children equally...although none could have foreseen partition...its portents were visible...there was a dire need for consolidation of secular forces...not a business as usual " like it or lump it" approach with other leaders allowing them to fall away if they "did not agree" or "were losers to begin with after all"....

In the 1920's a section of the muslim elite was already following the footsteps of 19th century British stooges among the Muslim community, onwards from Syed Ahmed khan... a distancing of Muslims from Hindus had already begun that is why...Bapu should have sensed the portents...the undercurrents of Seperatism...which were very much there...Hindu nationalism among Hindus and Muslim consolidation among Muslim elite...alas Bapu did not keep Hindu-Muslim consolidation as a political priority till too late though it was a concern for him....      

Later Events11which separated the communities included the failed attempt to form a coalition government including the Congress and the League in the United Provinces following the 1937 election. The British Parliament's Government of India Act 1935 gave considerable power to India's provinces, with a weak central parliament in New Delhi, which had no authority over such matters as foreign policy, defence, and much of the budget. Full power remained in the hands of the Viceroy, however, who could dissolve legislatures and rule by decree. The League reluctantly accepted the scheme, though expressing reservations about the weak parliament. The Congress was much better prepared for the provincial elections in 1937, and the League failed to win a majority even of the Muslim seats in any of the provinces where members of that faith held a majority. It did win a majority of the Muslim seats in Delhi, but could not form a government anywhere, though it was part of the ruling coalition in Bengal. The Congress and its allies formed the government even in the North-West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P.), where the League won no seats despite the fact that almost all residents were Muslim.

According to Singh, "the events of 1937 had a tremendous, almost a traumatic effect upon Jinnah"12. Despite his beliefs of twenty years that Muslims could protect their rights in a united India through separate electorates, provincial boundaries drawn to preserve Muslim majorities, and by other protections of minority rights, Muslim voters had failed to unite, with the issues Jinnah hoped to bring forward lost amid factional fighting. Singh notes the effect of the 1937 elections on Muslim political opinion, "when the Congress formed a government with almost all of the Muslim MLAs sitting on the Opposition benches, non-Congress Muslims were suddenly faced with this stark reality of near total political powerlessness. It was brought home to them, like a bolt of lightning, that even if the Congress did not win a single Muslim seat ... as long as it won an absolute majority in the House, on the strength of the general seats, it could and would form a government entirely on its own ..”13

According to historian Ian Talbot,14 "The provincial Congress governments made no effort to understand and respect their Muslim populations' cultural and religious sensibilities. The Muslim League's claims that it alone could safeguard Muslim interests thus received a major boost. Significantly it was only after this period of Congress rule that it [the League] took up the demand for a Pakistan state .


Human Nature is fragile, leaders with strong will are known to bend, sometimes make U turns too, what remains are ideas and ideals, but sometimes mistakes of a few men leave generations to repent and endanger the very ideas they have fought for. India, and Pakistan are divided by religion which leaders dividing them claim are separate nationalities, Canada is divided by the origin of the settlers-French and Anglo-Canadians, many people, specially in Quebec feel are different nations, meanwhile Anglo Canadians feel Canada makes too many concessions to the Quebecois people. Many Hindus feel likewise about Muslims, the Leaders who we have studied above created this present situation of Conflict due to the disequilibria in society which strong and forceful portrayal of a vision brings. You could have disagreed with the vision of these people but you cannot ignore their determined portrayal of a forceful vision.


  1. Shashi Tharoor , India-from midnight to millennium, Penguin Books India 2000, Millenium Edition.
  2. Bipan Chandra, Mridula Mukherjee, Aditya Mukherjee, India after Independence 1947-2000, Penguin, Fourth Impression , 2002.
  3. Wikipedia on Trudeau
  4. ibid
  5. Robert Bothwell, Ian Drummond and John English, 2001, Canada after 1945., Toronto, University of Toronto Press, Revised Edition.
  6. Ibid
  7. Sunil Khilnani,The Idea of India, Penguin, 2003
  8. Jinnah of Pakistan: Stanley Wolpert, Oxford University Press, 1984.
  9. Ibid
  10. The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (paperback ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 
  11. Wikipedia on Jinnah
  12.  Singh-Jaswant.(2009). Jinnah: India—Partition—Independence. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  13. Ibid.
  14. Talbot, Ian (February 1984). "Jinnah and the Making of Pakistan"History Today.

Heuristics and Errors in Probability Estimation

Heuristics and Errors in Probability Estimation (Reference: Wilkinson and Klaes, An Introduction to Behavioral Economics, Page 117-124, Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd Edition, 2012.)
 Teaching note By Munish Alagh.
In the standard model of microeconomics we examine how people form attitudes, values, preferences and finally make choices. Various assumptions are made regarding the options and outcomes of these options in the decision making process. As far as beliefs are concerned, a main assumptions in the standard model is that they are Bayesian Probability Estimators.
Bayesian Probability Estimators: This means that people are able to estimate probabilities correctly, given the relevant information, and in particular are able to update them correctly given a sequence of prior outcomes
Specifically, Bayes Theorem updates or modifies probabilitys, given new pieces of evidence ( Refer to Wilkinson and Klaes for full mathematical statement of the theorem.)
Probability Estimation
The types of deviation described in this section refer to rational Bayesian updating.
The availability heuristic:salience, or people believe events are more probable if examples are more easy to remember.
Representativeness heuristic:
People evaluate likelihood of a subject belonging to a particular category, based on the degree to which the subject resembles a typical item in that category.For eg (Refer Wilkinson and Klaes for ‘Linda is a Bank Teller” example where strong representativeness overcomes the feature thatProbability of two events can never be higher than a single one.)
Base Rate Bias-People tend to ignore the base rate, for eg: however high the odds and despite error being 95%, a positive result of a test is taken as a confirmation of disease.
The law of small numbers: principles that apply to infinite populations are assumed to apply to small samples.
Gamblers fallacy: gamblers frequently expect a certain slot machine or a number that has not won in a while to be ‘due” to win: Caused due to Misapplication of the assumption of non-replacement.
Hot hand effect: The effect derives its name from the mistaken belief among basketball players that a players chance of hitting a shot is greater following a hit than following a miss on the previous shot. Although it appears that  this “overinference” is the opposite of the gamblers fallacy, it is actually a complementary effect, again involving a misapplication of the assumption of non-replacement.
Synthesis: The law of small numbers could lead to both hot hand and gamblers fallacy, causing both underreaction and over reaction to market signals, in the short term investors follow the gamblers fallacy, however after a longer sequence, investors overinfer.

In terms of a lottery situation, the law of small numbers could lead to people exhibiting a gamblers fallacy and expecting winning numbers to not repeat, however with regard to stores there may be a human element with regard to how stores are selected leading to a hot hand.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

How Gandhi did not make Hindu Muslim consolidation a political priority till too late....

The biggest tragedy of secular India was in 1930:a moderate secular Jinnah losing out to Gandhijis direct action community based approach;that marked the end of moderate gokhales dream for undivided India pre 1947, the second biggest tragedy was gandhis dream of Hindu Muslim unity losing out to jinnahs post 1930 British stooge avatar; that marked the end of jinnahs dream to stamp out separate electorates which treated one eye as different from the other....what a contradiction is India...pig eating Jinnah...a Muslim hero being supported by a mosque breaking advani who in turn is criticised by congress leaders for supporting Jinnah vs Nehru

 Sometimes... remaining silent when someone is attacked is as dangerous as opposin; Gandhijis response to jinnahs disagreement of direct action was always: anyone is free to resign, if they disagree! I am afraid that a careful reading of Indian history, brings me to the conclusion that: the precipice of the Nagpur Congress in 1920 to which Jinnah was brought could have been avoided...

 between 1920 to 1930 leading upto the nagpur congress, bapu did not sufficiently allow his opponents like jinnah and subhash space

 the Father of the Nation did not nurture all his children equally...although none could have foreseen partition...its portents were visible...there was a dire need for consolidation of secular forces...not a business as usual " like it or lump it" approach with other leaders allowing them to fall away if they "did not agree" or "were losers to begin with after all"....

in the 1920's a section of the muslim elite was already following the footsteps of 19th century British stooges among the Muslim community, onwards from Syed Ahmed khan... a distancing of Muslims from Hindus had already begun that is why...Bapu should have sensed the portents...the undercurrents of Seperatism...which were very much there...Hindu nationalism among Hindus and Muslim consolidation among Muslim elite...alas Bapu did not keep Hindu-Muslim consolidation as a political priority till too late though it was a concern for him....

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Hindu and Muslim nationalism can coexist

Hindu Nationalism
ye pratap ka vatan pala hai azadi ke naaron pe....

Dekho mulk marathon ka ye yahan shivaji dola tha
mughlon ki taakat ko jisne talvaron pe tola tha....

Muslim Nationalism
Ye dekho Taj Mahal
Ye Bharat Ma ke Seene pe
AAbhushan hai mughalon ke Abhimaan ka

Jahaan angrezon ne chaate the talve tipu ke

Yeh woh mitti hai jise maulana ne rashtra prem se seencha tha
Veer Pathan Ghaffar khan ki faujon ne khaayee thee seene pe goliyaan hazaar

Nanak kabir Rahim ne apne dohon se patit paavan kiya tha

Yeh woh dharti hai jisme jyot hai Dilli ke Jama Masjid ki shaan ki......

Monday, 5 August 2013



the question of freedom of speech also comes into play, as long as i am not supporting murder or something which leads to murder OR the supporters of murder, i should be allowed my attempt at irony... even if ignorant irony, also on a slightly seperate sub theme of the above topic, idols or heros of one person, may be villians of the other, the essential element when you venture to express your opinion is not only to be informed of the details but to have done detailed research, these are two different things, also ensure that your expression however well intentioned, doies not lead to violence from those who are not as well intentioned as you, cause if you know that is going to happen but still say your piece, then YOU are not well intentioned....unless of course the objective of your statement leads ultimately to a benefit larger than the costs...its an extremely complicated issue this...

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Development of Social Spaces Through Infrastructural Development[1]


Munish Alagh

Jatin Christie


Urbanization, defined as the economic and demographic growth of urban centres essentially entails the growth of the percentage of urban population in total population of a nation physically.  Urbanization, as a phenomenon, is in a state of frenzy for sociologists, psychologists, behavioural scientists, and economists. With burgeoning urbanization, there have been discussions all around about urban ecology—a notion whose connotation extends beyond preserving natural environments only. Urban ecology refers to an understanding of how social environments are created and how people form groups and group norms alongside the social spaces they dwell and they interact in. One very important form of communication that we consciously and many times unconsciously indulge into is proxemics—communication via space. Proxemics explores how human beings use the space around them and communicate through it. It states of a person having Intimate Space (physical touch to 1.5 feet distance), Personal Space (1.5 to 4 feet), Social Space (up to 12 feet distance), and Public Place (25 feet or up to what naked eye can see). Depending on different cultures, we allow or disallow people to enter our intimate, personal, and even social spaces. It is interesting to note that we interact most of the time with reference to spaces as much as we do so with words and gesture.


In this paper, our focus is on the Social Space.  Social Space can be defined as, the combined use and perception of space by distinct social groups, as opposed to personal space. Social space provides an environmental framework for the behaviour of the group; it is culturally complex, flexible multi-configured, networked, and reflexive.


The reference to urbanization without discussing infrastructure development is incomplete. Be it metro cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai or even the upcoming Ahmedabad, one has to note the metamorphosis that these cities have undergone in social, cultural and infrastructural changes. Mumbai has come a long way from being a city of seven different islands to being the commercial capital of one of the largest growing markets in the world. Bengaluru, on the other hand, boasts of not only infrastructural icons  like Microsoft, Google, or Infosys buildings and campuses, but it also has a real flavour of a miniature globe in it. Nevertheless, one has to mention that while cities are making exponential growth in social and other infrastructure, there are still pockets even in these big cities which are devoid of any signs of such changes.


This case aims to understand urbanization, and how social and other infrastructure have developed in Ahmedabad. It aims to highlight a deprived Muslim ghetto called Juhapura-Sarkhej area in this mega city where the urbanization chariot has not reached on its own in a natural and distributive way. The area has seen decades of non-development, but now with the interest and acumen of the local populace it is slowly catching up with the rest of the city areas.


The paper highlights how urban infrastructure development has come up in this area in the last few years and how this has contributed in changing the physical as well as mental landscape of this Muslim-dominated locality in Ahmedabad.  The paper explores the association between urban infrastructure development like a modern school, a retail store, and a recreation park with the development of social space


The infrastructure development stated above refers to:


  • Hearty Mart—a departmental store owned by a young and enterprising member of a prominent Muslim sect.
  • Crescent School—an urban and sophisticated learning centre catering to the knowledge palate of the local populace.
  • Muskan Park—a adventure park aiming to bring energy and synergy in the area


The study site entails a 3 km stretch from Vishalla Circle to Sarkhej Police Station (called as Juhapura)


Why this area?


The history of Ahmedabad  shows that the city has come a long way from being the “Manchester of India” to the modern day “Metro City.” The city today witnesses big malls, luxurious hotels, corporate houses, overbridges, underpasses, magnificent landscaping, and prominent roads. The latest developments in the city are the Kankaria Lake Front, the BRTS, and the upcoming River Front Development Project.


The infrastructure development of Ahmedabad should be traced along with the development of its roads. It all started with the Ashram Road, and then moved to the C. G. Road, followed by the 132 feet Ring Road, and the S. G. Highway. At present, Ahmedabad is expanding exponentially on the periphery of the 200 feet Ring Road. Almost all areas of Ahmedabad are  greatly expanding with hospitals, ATMs, and other necessary infrastructure too coming up..


However, the backwardness of Juhapura co-exists with prosperity! Juhapura has been treated like a step-child. For years the area has not witnessed any infrastructure development—basic and otherwise. Juhapura has a population of 3 lakhs but what is missing or are found in small measure are:



  • Streetlights
  • Gutter line
  • Town-planning schemes
  • Water supply
  • Internal roads


Thus, supermarkets, malls, banks, ATMs, and other important amenities of the day seemed a distant dream.





Juhapura – Past and Present

Juhapura, a Muslim-dominated area lies on the western outskirts of Ahmedabad near Sarkhej. It is situated along the National Highway 8A that goes towards Saurashtra and Kutch. Previously it used to be known as Jivapura and also as Sankalitnagar.

To rehabilitate 1972 flood victims, a colony of 2,248 homes was developed; this was known as Sankalitnagar  around which Juhapura developed. It was a small suburb with a small population until the early '90s. And as late as 1992, a large number of Hindus mainly from Dalit, Bhoi, and Thakore communities lived there.  

Most of the Hindus moved out of Juhapura after the communal violence that broke out post Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. Jeevan Bhoi was one of those who lived in Juhapura till 1992. "After that it was frightening to live there," he says. "Many of my Muslim friends assured me that nothing would happen, but as I could not be at home for most part of the day, it worried me about my family's safety," he adds. [2]

Again, the communal riots of Gujarat in 1992–93 and especially after the 2002 communal riots, large numbers of Muslims migrated to Juhapura from Hindu-dominated areas of Ahmedabad for a safe haven.  From 1992–2002, Juhapura largely remained riot prone and downtrodden. It was deprived of basic amenities, and though it became a pre-dominantly Muslim ghetto, it was avoided by effluent Muslims.

Post-2002 communal riots, even the effluent Muslims shifted their base and moved to Juhapura. This changed the social dynamics of the area and it started getting attention from various corners. This migration of Muslims with deep pockets caused a construction and housing boom in the area with housing prices skyrocketing.


The Present Status: Coming up of Structures


There is a popular Bengali song written by Rabindranth Tagore which goes on like this, ‘If nobody comes at your beck and call to help your or support you, you go alone and do it (Ekla cholo re…).


Juhapura has also probably picked up a cue from this song and has charted its own plan of urban development.


People from the community have come forward and have taken up the challenge of creating modern infrastructure, and through them social spaces in and around this area. Today this stretch boasts of Hearty Mart (a modern supermarket), a multiplex, Havmor restaurant, modern schools in English medium, and two upcoming malls.  Many of them are owned by Muslim entrepreneurs. Based on these structures, we present three such cases of development of social spaces through infrastructural development.



Case  1. Hearty Mart: Faith, Hope, and Development


Juhapura has traditionally been a locality carrying the stigma of being a riot-prone, media-unfriendly area, and has always been highlighted for notoriety and civil disturbance. Perhaps that is the reason why no big brand (supermarkets, etc) ever tried entering this area which houses more than 5 lakh of some of the prominent people of the city.


When Hearty Mart was launched in 2004, the area was still trying to cope with the tragedy of the Gujarat Riots of 2002. This unfortunate incident saw many prominent Muslims shifting their base to Juhapura. Suddenly a locality which was never considered to be family-friendly became a preferred destination as a “safe haven. Still the problem remained as the educated people shifted but the basic amenities were simply below par. People had to move to areas like Paldi, Vasna, and Shyamal to meet their needs.


With a booming real estate, the area promised development, but still it remained devoid of basic amenities like a proper organized retail outlet which could provide convenience of purchase to the residents. Adanis had opened their supermarkets across Ahmedabad, but for an obvious reason avoided Juhapura.


It was in this gap that Nadeem Jafri found a huge opportunity to start an organized food-grocery store in the area in early 2004. Vishala Circle was the fastest developing area within Juhapura, as it was not cramped, and we could speculate a good growth of the area in near future.


With the vision of bringing convenience to the locality, Jafri started Hearty Mart in February 2004. It was modeled as an ideal neighbourhood store and positioned as Sabse khass ghar ke paas; it was a store which was equipped to cater to all their basic needs—a one-stop solution for their daily requirements of groceries, cosmetics, foodgrains, and so on  Thus was destined to bridge the gap between demand of daily needs and the options of supplies available.


However, the initial journey of Hearty Mart was not smooth.


Initial Problems


It is said that one problem leads to another; even Jafri faced certain problems which he could never anticipate while he was planning to open the shop here. Business operations were really difficult because of the negative feelings people had toward the area; vendors and suppliers were reluctant to support and give merchandize on credit. To break the ice win their trust, Jafri organized get-togethers and also gave them advances and post-dated cheques. Even the residents were reluctant to visit the shop and footfalls were few in the first year.  


The problem was that:


·       Most of them had migrated from other areas and they preferred to go back to the retailers from their old area for purchases. There was no shop patronage for Hearty Mart.

·       There was a lot of skepticism and suspicion on the future of Hearty Mart because they were all aware about the area and its image.

Promotions that Built the Brand and People’s Confidence


With some promotion and loyalty programmes, Jafri succeeded in having some loyal customers. Some of the initial promotion efforts included:


  • Putting up of signages and banners at prominent places in the area
  • Use of  auto-rickshaw-mounted loudspeakers to spread awareness about the store
  • Newspaper insertions
  • Invitation to prominent people from the area on the day of the launch

·       Taking specific  orders for specific merchandize from customers even when there was no demand for the overall product category. This made the customers feel special.

·       Launching schemes like free-gifts and discounts on purchases of more than Rs 1000.

·       On completion of 100 days, 500 gms of sugar with a personalized letter was sent to all the prominent customers. This was unique to the area.

·       Introduction of loyalty cards and free home delivery. Again this was new to the area as there was no proper organized player who could make such offers and provide such services

His faith in business and his efforts helped him gain their confidence. He slowly found that more and more residents became his patrons, and that helped him during the difficult initial phase of the business. The footfalls started increasing and the customer-base grew.


Contribution of Hearty Mart in creating a Social Space:


The success of Hearty Mart at Juhapura broke the myth that the area was not conducive for business. Many hesitant entrepreneurs, who closely watched the success of the mart,  are now successful businesses in the area.

The development of the area post-Hearty Mart is as follows:


  • Hearty Mart is a prominent landmark of Sarkhej–Juhapura Road.


  • A good organized neighbourhood store in the area promises a convenient abode for the residents. Presence of Hearty Mart at Elecon Tower, ensured that all the flats of the 10 floor high-rise building were sold at a premium; which the builder could not sell before as people were reluctant to purchase an apartment in a high rise after the earthquake. 


  • Though Subhiksha across India has closed down; it was success of Hearty Mart that encouraged Subhikhsha to set up its shop in Juhapura. In fact it became the first big retail chain  to open its shop here.


  • A private bus stop has developed just before Hearty Mart.


  • Lots of media coverage of Hearty Mart brand has perhaps inspired a leading Mumbai-based non-veg restaurant to open its outlet here.


  • Axis Bank has opened its ATM in the premises of Hearty Mart. Hearty Mart has rented them 100 sq ft for the ATM as a shop-in-shop concept. This is important looking at the fact that the area had no Bank or ATM since last many years. The ATM has been accepted well by not only the Hearty Mart customers but also by the local public staying in the area.


  • Radhe Developer has announced a 3 BHK premium apartment project “Imperial Heights” bang opposite Hearty Mart. It would have all the modern facilities for lifestyle seekers. Again a unique residential scheme for the area which none  would have thought of before.

Today almost 4 lakh Muslims live in Juhapura and that is why perhaps it has been termed as the largest Muslim neighbourhood in Gujarat. Contrary to its image of being crime-ridden and riot-prone, it has been of late a preferred area of Muslim professionals, artists, government officers of IAS and IPS ranks, and businessmen. It is needless to say that they have contributed in the development of the area in their own special way.


Today, Vishala Circle is perhaps the best locality for many Muslims in Ahmedabad, and they are ready to pay a premium for an apartment here.


Hearty Mart is not solely responsible for the infrastructural development that took place around it, but it has definitely succeeded in creating a social space for the Muslim community staying in the neighbourhood.


Case  2 : Crescent School



As stated earlier, Juhapura is an urban ghetto with poor streetlights, poor drainage and sewerage system, , poor internal roads, and water supply mainly through borewells.. What is worse is that there is lack of awareness among the people for the need to demand these facilities.



In addition, schools in this area are few,  and with 6,000 students seek admission in the first standard, choices are limited; although the demand for quality education is quite high given the changing class structure of the population. Moreover, there is a need to provide safe and secure environment for these students. During the 2002 riots commuting to and from the school was  a major concern for the parents as many had their children studying in far-flung schools like the Delhi Public School and St. Xavier’s school  which do provide quality education.  People, especially the middle class, look for amenities nearby, which include schools, and this needed to be fulfilled in Juhapura. In fact   there  was  a demand for “quality education in proximity,” which is waiting to be fulfilled.


Responding to this demand Asifkhan Pathan an educationist, set up  Crescent School. In the very first year there were535 enrolments. Currently, the school operates standards 1 to 5 in the English mediuim and standards 1 to 6 in the Gujarati medium. Crescent is not an Islamic school. It had initially taken non-Muslim staff (Christians, and Hindu) but they all left because of mostly social pressure or social exclusion or ostracization they faced for working in Juhapura. But that apart, the initiative taken by the school are  a tie up with Euro Kids for kindergarten (KG) and Sr. KG classes; SmartClass which are net-enabled classrooms with LCDs; and a Rs 12 lakh budget for teachers’ training at Calorex Foundation. Moreover, the student–teacher ratio is a favourable 30:1.




Cresent stands for quality education. What the parents of the children want is that cultural values be instilled in the children, specially moral values of their religion, keeping in mind the present day environement. When we went around the school, we noticed that there was in-depth interaction between the students and the teachers from the KG to the primary level. Teacher  in fact were giving practical examples to the students from their daily environment. The school follows a modern and contemporary curriculum that promotes overall and holistic development of its students. However, Crescent also aims to instil basic Islamic moral values among them through a uniquely designed English alphabet where each letter represents an Islamic artifact or value and also other distinct norms like using asalam e valekum as a greeting.





SPRAT stands for  Society for Promoting Rationality. It is an NGO working in several areas of Ahmedabad with an aim to understand the reality of deprivation of minorities and how it can respond to their problems through interventions at individual, community, and societal levels.


One of the important facts that SPRAT aims to cater to is the problem faced by people due to lack of infrastructure available to them; both physical as well as social. SPRAT has aspired to build a happy, peaceful, and harmonious society, which is tolerant, inclusive, and empathetic to all.


Juhapura has had a long-standing tiff with the surrounding areas, which are non-Muslim.  This is mainly due to the seeds of distrust and suspicion that certain section of the society have sown in minds to fulfil their vested interests and ambitions.


Muskan Park was envisaged in Juhapura, almost adjacent to Vejalpur, with the intention of promoting communal harmony by engaging the youth of various communities, castes, and classes in healthy recreation, and friendly competitions. The idea was to break the ice between the two communities  and enable them to share not only the physical space but also the mental space to eradicate suspicion and develop a sense of camaraderie, solidarity, and mutual respect.. The main motto of Muskaan Park, which is spread  over  2500 sq.m, is  “Shared Pursuits.”


Objectives of Muskaan Park


  • Communal and social harmony through affordable recreation
  • Health and happiness through pleasurable activities
  • Promote environment of peace, safety, and security
  • Eradicate hatred, discrimination from communities
  • Engage people in shared recreation





  • Health through adventure and exercise
  • Enable appreciation of science
  • Communal harmony


The park looks to create a good social and physical environment around in the area.


Muskan Park model was based on following perquisites:


  • It should be scalable
  • it should be modular
  • it should be replicable


Therefore recycled waste was used in Muskaan. This gave the park a very rugged look,  but also made it affordable and replicable.


Materials like tyres, wooden planks, steel rods were used to make equipments like see-saws, swings, slides, and so on. The park is not made up sophisticated material, is not perfect, and so can be easily replicable. There are no gears and no electricals. In fact, Muskan Park follows the policy of  selective neglect.





Initial Response


The initial response of the neigbouring community was not good. People staying in the nearby areas raised their compound walls to create visual barriers. Some changed the entrance of their houses so that it did not face the park. The number of non-Muslim users were less than 10 %.  There was some subtle unrest and apprehension among the people in the surrounding areas. . Even the Muslim community did not give a positive response to the park initially.  


However, as time went by people understood the meaning of the park and why it had come up. The initial inhibitions given way to the mingling of communities and castes and the park has moved toward becoming a place to spend time and for recreation.



Different spaces within the park


The park wants to create spaces for people belonging to all age groups and so they have created separate spaces for children, youngsters, and senior citizens in the park. These spaces house recreation material suited to the needs of the targeted age-groups. These spaces have been separated by different colours.



Help from corporate world


The park has been generously supported by AUDA-AMC, ONGC, BSNL, IOC, TORRENT-AEC, GED, and a number of small and big corporate houses. Amul too intends to set up shop there.

Muskaan Park has acted like a bridge between the two communities and has gradually emerged as being a social space in this ghetto where people can come and relax, spent time, spent time on recreation, and shed inhibitions.



Observations From the above cases it can be observed that a  holistic and overall development is strictly the need of the hour. It is also true that there are always few pockets that get neglected during development. But what comes out from the three cases is that if the community or local inmates shows grit, enthusiasm, resilience, and acumen,  any neglected area can embark on its journey toward development—both external as well as internal.


We strongly believe that Juhapura is fast churning out newer social spaces for its residents to encounter, operate, flourish, and nurture newer bonding and relationships. Also, the upcoming and developing urban infrastructure has started providing better quality of work and life to the people of this area and surrounding areas.




Thus there is definitely a link between urbanization and development of strong and healthy social relationships through creation of new social spaces. A park, a school, a mall, a hotel, or any such common property resource has no religion and are simply places for a community to mingle, interact, meet, share and indulge in recreation. However, when we look at development of such infrastructure in Juhapura, it has allowed the local community, especially the Muslim community, to find their own social space.


People find it easy to emulate success because there is a proven path to follow and it also increases confidence. The cases discussed in this paper—Hearty Mart, Crescent School and Muskan Park— show that they have enabled other entrepreneur and business entities from within and outside the community to invest in local infrastructural development.


We hope that this infrastructural development will not only change the face of the area but boost confidence of the local people to freely mingle and interact with each other in the newly found public places, which over time will become comforting social spaces.


We also feel that while on the one hand a city can fully develop through self initiation of local community, on the other there is a strong requirement for public–private partnership  and also a strong need for government support to foster holistic development.




[1]Edited Version of this article in Commodity Vision, January 2011