Mumbai – Travel in India, The Kirkpatrick Report
Mumbai – Travel in India
August 18, 2011
I have a 17 hour layover in Mumbai and am staying at a hotel near the airport. I hadn’t planned on an update from here, but a couple of things have caught my attention and I thought warranted a quick update.
Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is India’s second largest city. Traffic here is always ten times worse than in the more southern cities where I have been the last ten days. Today, however, seemed to set an all-time record as it took me 1-1/2 hours to travel approximately two miles from the airport to the hotel.
Protests in India
Apparently, Mumbai, like many other India cities is facing traffic jams caused by mass protests (all appear to be calm), about a social activist named Anna Hazare (male). There is an act before the India parliament aimed at reducing corruption in the government (the Lokpal Bill). Anna and his growing legions of supporters claim that the bill is too watered down to have impact (sound familiar to the U.S. politics?) and wants Parliament to consider his version. Parliament had declined and so Anna has threatened a public hunger strike.
The local authorities decided to arrest him and the country has gone wild – with both opposing parties unilaterally coming out to support him. So, as of August 17, the government decided to release him from jail, but he refused to go until all his terms are accepted. As of today, it looks like the government is doing a 180 and giving in to all his terms – – but meanwhile Pandora’s box is wide open and the whole country is on the Anna warpath to address corruption in the government.
As I said earlier – I have not, and continue not, to feel in any danger and it’s certainly interesting to be experiencing from the inside what could (or could not) turn out to be a rather broad revolution in India politics. So, stay tuned to all the news-wires and we’ll see where this goes. And I’ll be seeing it from Turkey after I leave here in about 13 hours.
One other thing: I am staying in a brand new Marriott – close to Mumbai airport. The building is large and very elegant. However, as I look out my window, I see some of the Mumbai low income housing that literally backs up to the hotel. That’s no big news, but when I looked a bit closer, all these barely standing shacks have one thing in common – satellite TV dishes. First things first…
Unless more surprises come along, talk to you from Istanbul.