Showing posts from 2016

Bachao! Mumbai's Demolition Gangs are doing “Secret Encounters”

Mumbai, 30th December 2016: Did you know that Mumbai municipal officials can bulldoze and smash entire streets without official paperwork? No show-cause notices, no letters and memos, no demolition register entries, no records whatsoever. It's like normal BMC tod-phod in broad daylight, except there's no paper trail. If you ask under Right To Information, BMC says, “No records exist”.
On the morning of 10th December, 2015, Dinesh Bhosle (Sub Engineer H/West Ward), Vikrant Manyar (Junior Engineer) and Siddharth Kasare (petty works contractor)went to 40th Road, Old Khar West with casual labourers and a hired bulldozer, and smashed up many shop extensions.

Here's a video of the demolition, with local resident Imran Mansuri (red shirt) arguing with BMC officials and a policeman.Constable Sanjay Ware in this photo was identified by Khar Police Station in response to Imran’s RTI application. Following Mansuri's complaint to Deven Bharti, Joint CP (Law and Order),Constable Sa…

FIR filed against K Raheja builder: Horizon Green Borivali has invalid OC and Fake Drainage

Mumbai, 24th December, 2016: Mumbai Police recently filed FIR against K Raheja's Palm Grove Beach Hotels Pvt Ltd. Reason?Violation of Town Planning Act by unauthorized construction of a drainage line in November-December 2015. Many months earlier, Palm Grove misled MCGM into givingDrainage Completion Certificate and  Occupation Certificate (OC) for their new building Horizon Greenwithout drainage. To make up the lacuna,the developer belatedly built a drainage line going uphill. That's right, uphill!
The Deputy Municipal Commissioner's remarked on 5th January, 2016,"Validity of issue of occupation certificate dated on 18.4.2015 is doubtful".If any flat-owners take possessionand come to stay in their flats, they are in for a rude shock. When they start having baths and flushing toilets in sufficient numbers, their sewage will overflow.
See level difference in two blue circles in this drainage plan

Near the building, the drainage is 102.926 metres above mean sea level…

Modi is that man your mother warned you about

"Mitron, I'm that man your mother warned you about," says Modi to all of us. A ripple of pleasure passes through the crowd, and dozens of people shudder and come in their pants.

Modi's premise is simple: Pain is good. "Is that so hard to believe, you fucking faggots?" he thunders.
His promise is simple. He promises to fuck this nation so hard, it will go numb from pain and blood-loss. "If you think demonetization was painful, you don't know what I'm about to shove up your ass next," he gloats. "Just lie down and keep quiet, it will hurt a lot less that way," he advises.

Modi is confident that India is full of people who say that the more it hurts, the better it is.

You know, the kind of people who say, Hit me baby one more time?

The kind of people who pay someone wearing leather thongs to tie them up, gag them and then whip them till they vomit and black out? Or choke them till they almost die? You know?


K Raheja's REBUTTAL to our Press Release on HORIZON GREEN Drainage Issue

The below email was sent as a rebuttal to our press release.

From: K Raheja Constructions <>
Date: Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 1:30 PM
Subject: Re: Kind Attn Mr Sandeep G Raheja: Draft Press Release about Horizon Green for your rebuttal
To: Krishnaraj Rao <>
Cc: unique <>, City Office <>, archana desai desai <>, "K.Raheja - Delhi" <>, Mr. Krishnaraj Rao
Subject:        Building Horizon Green at Borivali.
Reference:    Your emails on 20-12-2016 & 22-12-2016.
At the outset, it may be stated that by and large the statements made in your draft release are far from facts & ground reality.  The rebut para-wise is as follows.
The levels mentioned in your first para of your draft as well as sketch furnished there below are surface levels and have no bearing with the invert levels of …

"Cashless" endangers the masses: HDFC Bank leads the way

Mumbai, 22nd December, 2016: Think how dangerous cashless payment can be if you are a typical unwary customer. If you pay in cash, you have the assurance of knowing that nobody can reach into your wallet and take an extra buck. But if you pay online, extra money can be skimmed by your bank without your knowledge.Sanjeev Goel of Belapur, who runs a coaching academy, read his account statement and found that HDFC Bank had repeatedly made deductions that he wasn't informed about, had not permitted, and wasn't notified of by SMS alerts.
Sanjeev was charged Rs. 34.50 for each of the 32 times he paid student's fees of Rs 3000/- to Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). Sanjeev immediately got an SMS alert for debit of Rs 3000/- but not for Rs 34.50. TISS denies deducting that amount, so clearly, HDFC deducted it. For what? Authorized by whom?
Geetha Priya, Manager Correspondence (PNO Desk) claimed in an email: "We take this opportunity to reiterate that the surcharge inf…

What my Atheism means for believers & religious people

Let me unpack the atheism concept a bit. Theism is belief in a deity, a creator. Such belief is a default position in society, because of how we are all born into Christian, Hindu or Muslim families.. and that's how we end up with Hindu-sounding names like Krishnaraj or Christian-sounding names like Lata Tauro. Based on our names, everybody, including State, assumes that we are followers of Hinduism, Christianity, etc.

However, some of us (like Lata and I, for instance) analyze our childhood indoctrination and conditioning little by little (or all at once) and we conclude that our earlier beliefs were based on mythology rather than reality. We come to the conclusion that our religious faith is totally unsupported by evidence. (Simultaneously, we also process the available information and come to the conclusion that other religions besides ours are also similarly unsupported by any evidence.)
Nor is it just a question of lack of evidence in the existence of a deity.…

Making Bharat-mata-ki-jai Compulsory

I had this conversation with a Hindu friend who wanted every Indian child and adult to compulsorily say, "Bharat Mata Ki Jai". "If they don't say it, then it means they are unpatriotic, and they don't love India. Anybody who doesn't love India should get out and go to Pakistan or wherever," she said. And so we had an argument, which went like this:
I: For Sunni Muslims, bowing before or even imagining any deity other than Allah feels sinful. So the idea of saying "Bharat Mata" makes them very uncomfortable. You know that, right?
She: Since when does an atheist like you sympathize with people's religious feelings? And what is the harm if Hindus, Muslims and everyone else is compelled to express love publicly for our motherland? We must all be patriotic and love and respect India, who is like our mother.
I: Personifying India is a very Hindu thing to do. We tend to personify and worship anything, and it comes naturally to us.
She: So? What is y…

Hanuman & Spiderman -- Imaginary Superheroes

Hanuman, like Spiderman, is an imaginary superhero. The people who imagined and wrote the Hanuman stories -- as part of a larger story called Ramayana -- are ancient people, revered as sages. They lived in India many millennia ago.

The sages wrote these imaginary stories for the ethical upliftment and entertainment of the illiterate masses, and filled these stories with morals. Through such stories, many generations of sages improved the quality of life of many, many generations of Indians, and helped to regulate society. Through such stories, they propagated rules for proper living, and also gave people something to believe in.

But that does not change the fact that Hanuman is an imaginary superhero. He did not exist at any point of human history, and he does not exist today. Hanuman -- and the whole pantheon of superheroes, demigods, gods, demons and super-villains -- are imaginary.

Time to stop being senti about our dhoti-wearing gods and grow up. Ancient does not…

Time to outgrow Amar Chitra Katha Comics

We grew up reading books of history and Amar Chitra Katha comics that convinced us that wise people called sages could gain superhuman powers by sitting down in a forest or ashram, meditating, practicing austerities and doing penance.

Even educated people in India believe in these things as if they are historical fact, and not just mythology. As impressionable comic-reading kids who suddenly sprouted breasts and moustaches, we never had the occasion to question such childhood beliefs before entering the grown-up world.
Grow up, people.Think. If a person sits in a forest or a hill for months or years "meditating", the only things he will get are: (1) severe malnutrition, liver and kidney failure (2) permanent wasting away of the muscles of his legs and hips (3) horrible bedsores on his bony bums (4) insect bites and parasites. It doesn't matter whether you are a "sage" or an "asura", the same rules of biology apply to all of us.

Time to ou…

Stop diverting Respect from the Living, to Give Respect to the Dead, the HIstorical, the Imaginary & the Non-Existent

Every time someone tries to force you to respect an inanimate object, a dead person, an ideology or an institution, they indirectly steal your self-respect from you. By making you "respect" the dead and the non-living, they make you respect yourself less. And they make you respect other people less -- people who are alive. Respect is a currency in our social lives. It is a scarce and precious currency. This is a diversion of respect from those who are alive, to those who are dead, or those who were never alive in the first place. I object to such diversion.

When I talk about respect, I talk about all the forms of respect. 

Respect for the non-living and non-existent manifests itself in many forms. It manifests as worship and devotion. As fear and awe. As blind following and blind faith. As a refusal to think and question. As a refusal to act rightly, or speak out, when violence is being inflicted upon the living.

Without thinking, without questioning, people say things like, &…

Don't let bullshit get past your bullshit filters. Question everything.

Right-wing politicians are constantly trying to make you feel it is your duty to be "proud" of being Indian. They keep trying to make you part of an unthinking herd. And that is only the tip of the bullshit-iceberg. 90% of the bullshit iceberg is below the intellectual water-level, where you can't see it.
It is our highest duty -- our calling -- to resist being herded. It is crucial to be mindful of hidden messages -- efforts by politicians or religious gurus to curtail our freedom of speech, thought and action.
If you feel under pressure to blindly hero-worship Bhagat Singh, Mahatma Gandhi, or Narendra Modi, or Prophet Mohammed, or Guru Granth Sahib, or our army jawans, or any other icon, beware! If you feel under social pressure to unthinkingly "accept the values that these great people/ great books represent", beware!
If someone wants you to believe that there was a golden era -- a Rama-Rajya or a pre-British or pre-Mughal time when India was a Sone-Ki-Chidi…