#VinitasPune: Speaking Up Is An Integral Puneri Trait

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Eminent, Pune based industrialist, Rahul Bajaj, sharing stage with BJP leaders, Amit Shah, Piyush Goyal and Nirmala Sitharaman, spoke his mind about public fearing to criticise the government. He is not the first one but we all need to learn from those who speak their mind for the good of the society

What stalwart industrialist, Rahul Bajaj, of Amche Pune said at The Economic Times ET Awards 2019 function last weekend has gone viral on Twitter with hash tags #RahulBajaj and #HamaraBajaj.

He said there was freedom to pull up anyone in the UPA 2 tenure but now industrialists cannot openly criticise the present government, as they are not sure if it would accept criticism in the right spirit.

While Rahul Bajaj is being widely appreciated as well as trolled for saying what he said, the fact is, for long, most citizens of our country have been innately fearful of taking on the establishment, even at the expense of silently suffering injustice. Recently, there several Puneites who have taken on the establishment; a tradition that goes back to hundreds of decades.

A couple of years  back, when the automobile segment began to receive an unprecedented setback, Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director a Bajaj Auto and son of Rahul Bajaj spoke out against Demonetisation at the annual NASSCOM leadership forum. He said that the very idea of demonetization was wrong. Newspapers quoted him as saying, `”If the solution or the idea is right, it will go like a hot knife through butter…if the idea is not working, for example demonetisation, don’t blame execution. I think your idea itself is wrong.” 

A few months back, well-acclaimed actor-director Amol Palekar was repeatedly interrupted when he was giving a speech at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Mumbai. The occasion was the opening of an exhibition Inside The Empty Box in the memory of artist Prabhakar Barwe. He crticised the Ministry of Culture for scrapping the advisory committees at the gallery’s Mumbai and Bengaluru centres which comprised people from the field of art. Hence, he said this would be the last show, selected by experts from the creative field and it will be hereafter left to the bureaucrats to make the decisions. This enraged a member of NGMA who asked him to refrain from criticism and stick to the event. Later, Palekar made it clear through social media that he will speak out when he feels that things are going wrong in the society and rued that, “I felt restless that no one in the audience that day said ‘let Palekar speak his mind’.’’

Early this week, Jaya Bachchan, Bollywood star and Rajya Sabha MP, spoke her mind in the upper house post the horrendous gangrape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad. I tweeted, `Reading between her lines Jaya Bachchan rightly said that why no mob lynching for these horrendous culprits who gang-raped & burnt the young lady by setting her on fire with petrol till she was charred when otherwise innocent people are mob lynched.’’ While the legal aspect of it all came to the mind of those who trolled her, she spoke out her anguish and fits the bill of being a Puneite as she studied in FTII!

Puneites are known to be fearless and take on the civic administration with conviction of courage. These comprise several RTI, social and civic activists; the reason why the civic administration and local politicians have to be on their guard. 

However, many of us as individual citizens lack courage in our everyday lives and constantly live in injustice, just because we are afraid.

How many of us report crime to the police; make a noise over bad quality or cold food or late service in restaurants, act on receiving bad public amenities, be it water-logging, pot-holes or garbage in your neighbourhood?

Very few. We are mostly content with discussions in the cyberspace. We should not only be thankful to activists who take up the cause of water, trees, pollution, roads, crime against women and so on but join them in right earnest.

Remember, One tree can start a forest; one smile can begin a friendship; one hand can lift a soul; one word can frame the goal; one candle can wipe out darkness ; one laugh can conquer gloom; one hope can raise our spirits ; one touch can show you care; one ACTION can make a difference…….. Be any ONE of that today.


#All views expressed in this article are those of the author and/or the quoted individuals and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.

Vinita Deshmukh

Vinita Deshmukh

Passion for the written word that comes alive, not only to tell a story, but to speak out loud about all that's good, bad and the ugly in society...

That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.

Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,
Vinita Deshmukh