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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Mumbai to Shanghai












We are all waiting for the day when Mumbai will become Shanghai. The government has been talking about this at every meeting. Mumbai intellectuals have been recommending better habits to citizens to make the city cleaner. A company of thinkers has drawn out an elaborate plan with enormous investment suggestions to make this happen.

Most of us have never been to Shanghai. Some years back my idea of Shanghai was only of being a centre of sleaze in China. However many of the Mumbai wellwishers have become convinced that Shanghai is the way to be. Roads have been dug up at all place. Hills are being cut and our ladies have started dressing differently. The municipality has set up signboards everywhere encouraging us to bear with them to enjoy Shanghai in the near future.

But when people are charged up they forget simple basics. For example, why create all this hassle to daily life and spend so much money when things could be done so easily. Turning Mumbai into Shanghai could be achieved so much more easily just by changing the name of the city. We have done this earlier so many times (Bombay to Mumbai, Madras to Chennai, Calcutta to Kolkata etc). So why have we forgotten this simple route now? We can achieve our desired goals. The Chinese given the current brotherly attitude towards India, will not bother to claim this city as theirs. This way, we can have all the great cities in India. Chennai can become Sydney, Calcutta can become New York and Delhi can become London. The americans have adopted this strategy long back. All the major cities like London, Toledo etc are there in the US. You even have a Delhi and a Bombay. And look how that country has done economically and politically. So as always lets use our heads and take the easy route.

3 comments:

One Helping said...

das,
the name change - outrageous(!!) but am sure it'll strike some bells.. :)
was in shanghai last sept and just realised why its being talked of so highly. infra is what strikes u - well planned combo of roads, underground rail, and then the business districts. but its still a city which was built ground up. (http://indiamusings.blogspot.com/2005/05/this-left-isnt-right.html)

Dhiman said...

You might be confusing with causality, correlation and concomitance . Almost every town and city in New England area has a name same as that of a town in UK and we know why. How did that help to flourish US economy ?

Its good to have a benchmark like Shanghai, but Mumbai can strive to borrow good features of other metros -- Paris metro and train systems, multiple airports as in London, crisscross city plan of Manhattan and so on.

Long way to go !

Shivaji said...

Hey Dhiman, dont take it so seriously man...Like all other Mumbai-Shanghai plans, this is also not meant to be actually implemented..

But since you asked for it, here's Shivaji's macroeconomic gyan on naming:
See when the New Englanders named their villages on English towns, they could take away some of the pain of leaving home-towns...Thereby their so-called "protestant work ethics" could focus more on building up an economy in this new land...
When Greenland was named so to attract settlers, some dudes did go there falling for the trap...
And in this information age, most of the initial business case for foreign investments is built on internet research by junior staff...And search on any subject, you will find many more articles and data on India than China over the internet..So if some small company management asks a hapless flunkie to make a business case for Shanghai..the dude already overworked, may do a rough-cut internet search based ananylis and come up with a double thumbs-up report on Mumbai(Shanghai)..and in a few cases, the CEO might actually decide to come here...Of course this may happen in only a few cases,but bund bund se sagar and all that crap you know....