Sachin or Anna? Mumbai, who will you choose?
If Sachin does well tomorrow, much of the attention on Anna’s fast will be diverted. Let’s remember, cricket is religion in Mumbai and Sachin a God; Anna, at best, is hope and prayer.
There are four conversation hooks for Mumbaikars as we approach the end of the year. The first is, of course, Anna Hazare’s fast at the MMRDA grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex. The fast effectively divides the population in trains, in buses, on the roads, in clubs and at tea-stalls.
Are you for Anna or anti-Anna? Although 'Are you for corruption or anti-corruption', should be the question, it isn’t. Tomorrow will see the first day of the fast, with the police taking no chances. The Mumbai police has created a special team whose main task is to ensure that no one is able to slap Anna, no one is able to throw objects, especially footwear, at Anna and that no individual or group raises a black flag protest against Anna Hazare.
The police apprehension is understandable, as an incident like this can spark off violence, especially as the stakes in the game are high. There will be disgruntled and insulted Sharad Pawar supporters who would attempt to get their ten seconds of fame by doing to Anna what was done to Pawar – a slap, which amused Anna greatly. Mumbai’s administrators would be hoping for a peaceful fast.
The courts will be teaching all that is going on, as will politicians. Historically, the Bombay High Court hasn’t really been soft on Anna Hazare. More on this here.
Sachin Tendulkar would, based on the state of the match, be stepping on to the MCG in search of his 100th test/ODI century, and the city, his own, will be watching intently. If Sachin does well tomorrow, much of the attention on Anna’s fast will be diverted. Let’s remember, cricket is religion in Mumbai and Sachin a God; Anna, at best, is hope and prayer.
The attention shifts to the jail bharo campaign starting on 30th December. What’ll be interesting to watch is how many court arrest. It will also be interesting to watch who are the candidates for arrest and how the police deal with the exercise. Will it be peaceful? Will there be confrontation between the protestors and the authorities?
Finally, we come to the celebrations for the New Year, which will overlap with the second day of Anna’s jail bharo campaign. If Anna’s campaign puts pressure on an already overwhelmed jail network, the Mumbai police have promised a crackdown on drunken driving on New Year’s eve. Be careful if you are drinking at parties; make sure you have a (sober) designated driver, because if there’s one area that the Mumbai police have demonstrated their seriousness, it’s in their battle against drinking and driving.
While on this, the city authorities have made partying longer for those who want them longer, allowing hotel outlets to stay open till 5.00 am on 1st January.
Make your choices, make them well, and have a peaceful end to 2011.
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