India Uncut

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Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Marathi attitude

Girish Shahane writes in Time Out:
All too frequently, Marathis mistake their stinginess for prudence, inflexibility for uncompromising principle, arrogance for pride and rudeness for honesty. The often-quoted credo of the Marathi businessman is, "I will break but not bend." In business, this translates as: "I will go bankrupt but won't adapt."

The context that Shahane writes this in is of Anantashram, a Maharashtrian restaurant in Khotachi Wadi whose possible closure has drawn dismay from localites but is a result of its own business inflexibility. Shahane continues:
Don't get me wrong, many Marathi enterpreneurs are nothing like the Khadpes [who own Anantashram]. And even if they were, it wouldn't matter, because we could always shop and eat at non-Marathi establishments. What's aggravating is the Marathi attitude carried over into public services, where we have no option but to bear its brunt. Having spent most of my life in Bombay, I'd got used to being alternately ignored and barked at in any encounter with officialdom. Last year, I had to interact with dozens of government employees in Secunderabad and it was a revelation.

Shahane, of course, is a Maharashtrian himself, and ends his piece thus:
Bombay's sons of the reclaimed soil rarely have introspection on their agenda. I wish they'd learn from other cultures instead of whining about "outsiders" all the time. After all, few get to be as lucky as me and get paid to write snide columns: without question a Marathi guy's dream assignment.

If only Time Out could be persuaded to put Shahane's columns online so that one of our finest columnists could gain the wider audience he deserves. Or maybe Shahane could start a blog. If you're reading this, Girish...
amit varma, 4:51 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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