Roadside Shrines: BMC Demolition Drive
Duration: 00:08:18; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 12.757; Saturation: 0.051; Lightness: 0.390; Volume: 0.416; Cuts per Minute: 7.224; Words per Minute: 135.444
Summary: A woman named Jaya Dhure runs her late husband's roadside shrine which was razed recently by the govt. officials despite having the requisite paperwork. The locals & passersby rally around her to let the shrine continue to exist. The location of the shrine at the cusp of the market behind and the road in front offers a streetscape around the broken shrine shows the accessibility of the temple which is inherently convenient for passersby and devotees. despite have the paperwork, officials are finicky and end up using these local pockets of activity sometimes to even do nothing more than make an example of, be it the destruction of the shrine marking it as a supposed illegal structure, or the backing of it to for legitimization and personal gain.
Towards late 2003, the BMC, acting under High Court Orders, started a massive drive to clear illegal road side shrines. The court order was passed as a consequence of a Public Interest Litigation filed by a citizen, Mr. Bhagwan Raiyani.
There were various allegations and various protests mounted from all sides. There were city planning 'experts' who felt the shrines were a obstruction to public thoroughfare. There were those who felt that some shrines had become a site for the outbreak of violence during the 1992-1993 riots. There were politicians and religious interests who wanted to defend the shrines. There were newspaper stories of policemen feeling unhappy with the demolition. And shrine 'owners' or custodians, and others who frequented the shrines, who protested the demolition.
JD:-My name is Jaya Raju Dhure
My husband, he died about 10 years ago.
He died in1994, 23march, 10 years ago.
After that, it's been me who's been doing all the work. I take care of the shrine, all the morning rituals etc.
I have two boys, this fellow is the younger one (points behind her), and one elder, they attend SIES W School. All my cost and living expenses are met due to this shrine.
VK:-So whatever money, little money you make from this place, it goes towards your expenses.
- Yes, I am able to run my house due to this place
VK:-Where do you stay?
- I stay at Vadala
In a rented place
VK:-And then, you come here and the entire day goes in tending to the god.
- Yes tending to al this. I come in the morning at 6am and I go home in the evening at 8.30-9pm.
VK:-So what do you do the whole day, what are your different activities?
- Well the whole day, when this mandir was there, do the morning prayers and offerings etc, to bathe the idol etc, treating it just as you would your own child.
I have great respect ever since navasa cha mulga jhaala (religious belief where your wish for a child is fulfilled and that is attributed to your belief in the god who fulfilled that wish) So even if I don't drink even a cup of tea in the morning, ill be here to do the needful.
VK:-So w hat made your husband acquire his faith?
- Well, he started believing in god, his faith was instilled, when your wishes are fulfilled, when some episodes take place that cement your manukamna (faith/innermost thoughts)
But some say why did you build this place, you shouldn't have…
Jaya Dhure, who runs her late husband's roadside shrine being interviewed by Vidya Kamat.
navsacha mulga jhaala
high court order
VK:-So tell me, who first helped you to build this shrine?
- When the shrine was built I was very young, and I was not yet married, some men from this area helped him out.
So since then you've been looking after this place.
No not since then, only since 1994
VK:-Since 1994,since your Mister died,
- Yes, because before that I'd do the household work, nothing over here, the kids work at home, cooking etc, I'd never come here.
VK:-What do you find so special about this place? And this shrine?
The main thing I find special about god, per se is the faith I have in him. Our wishes get fulfilled.
VK:-So this is how the general public and the locals here feel
So how many people come here? It's Thursday…
- Well….you know what, let me tell you… (thinks for a bit) about 250-300 people come quite regularly on Thursday. More…actually, much more.
VK:-From all sections of society?
- All, all…. Hindu, Muslim, Christians have come.
All(says with emphasis)
VK:-When they broke the shrine, what happened and when ?
- When they broke the temple, it was a Monday, and most of the shops were closed, since it was a Monday, so no one came and no one was around.
And I showed them all my registration papers- everything, but he didn't take the paper in his hand
VK:-What did he say to you?
- He said we have to break it, we do not know anything else.
We have gotten our orders from the upper authorities, there's a court order, we will do our work.
VK:-Then he broke it.?
VK:-And the idol?
They returned that to you?
- Yes, at that time they returned it to us and then again after that, the second time, during the last month i.e. the 12th month, around the 29th, they came and took it away again.
It was on a stone; they broke it and took that away too.
VK:-So, after the first time, the murthi (idol) that was put was demolished and taken away again.
- Yes, even that was taken away
VK:-So what is your wish, to build the temple here again?
- Yes, to build it again, a lot(says with emphasis) of people have said, you build it again, we will support you help you in any way we can, but we want the shrine here again
VK:-But now the people who have pledged support, what kind of help exactly will you take from them? If you want to build it again ,i.e.
- People say, you build it again, whatever money you need we will collect it amongst ourselves and give it to you, then you can build it again.. That's what they say, take the necessary permission etc.
That is their wish
That this shrine should once again be resurrected.
VK:-But now for the municipality, what are the documents that you need?
Well, the municipality documents and registered papers that we had, we gave-VK:-Registered means, what exactly did you get done?
I mean the registration of the place, all the documentation involved in it.
Do you want me to show you?
VK:-Do you have it?
- Yes I do,(calls out to her son)
Open the cupboard!
Here see ,all the logistics and paperwork is present with us
The bills we pay to the municipality, the light bill, the registrar papers.
VK:-So you have all the paperwork /applications and everything needed.
- Oh yes I do, I have the applications, registrations everything. It's not like I don't have any paperwork with me but still they didn't pay any attention, they chose to ignore it totally
VK:-And what type of paperwork is this?
- Oh, that's for the "miraunuk"(yatra-or a procession of the idol on a palakhi[ palanquin])
Where we take the god for a procession
The photos I just showed you, we do it once a year-this paperwork here are the originals for that event
VK:-You mean to say ,at that time you have to take special permission in order to do that
- Yes, you need to take permission for such things, once a year, and at that time, they give the permission.
And we do it.
VK: - How about the police? How do they respond?
- Well the police say we cannot do anything. if the orders are from higher up, they cannot intervene, there is no use in coming to us. It is a law and order issue
Here. see all these registered papers(shows the papers)
The interviewer questions and takes opinions from some of the regular shrine visitors and apparent supporters of the broken shrine.
VK:-How long have you been coming here?
- Since the new year
VK:-Are you south Indian or Maharashtrian?
- I'm Gujarati
VK:-So, for how many years have you been living here?
- 25 years
VK:-So….25 years…and for how many years have you been visiting this temple?
- Since 10 years
VK:-So what do you think about what needs to be done with this temple
- No, no this temple needs to be rebuilt
VK:-So why do you think so?
What is your thought process behind it?
- I am very attached to Sai Baba
VK:-The people here….
- No, I am only speaking about myself… I have a lot of love for Sai Baba
VK:- And you think that you have been able to get this support from him due to Sai Baba
(shaking her head in agreement as she speaks) Oh yes, definitely.
As Vidya continues to casually talk to Jaya Dhure, we can see people continuously walking up to her for prasad (sweets offered to go) as they go about their daily chores. Stopping by to pray or take Prasad as though it is one of the day's chores, all done very matter of factly.
Busy sounds fill the streets; people walking, cars and other assorted vehicles negotiating streets