Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mulgi Shikli, Pragati Jhali...

Since I'm poor, and to complicate matters, aaram-pasand...... I almost always travel in Bombay by autorickshaw. Therefore I'm about as qualified to have as many posts on Auto's as Annie, but my aaram-pasand nature doesn't allow me to ponder long on such things or get up & blog them.

So what's causing me to resurrect myself now...? Well, recently I've noticed a movement that's motivated me to contribute to the cause.

These days, almost every autorickshaw I see has "Mulgi Shikli, Pragati Jhali" written neatly (and sometimes not so neatly) at the back of the hood. Literally translated from Marathi that means "Girl Educated, Progress Happened".

I'm excited at the humble auto's use as an advertising medium to drive this very simple but extremely crucial social message.

Perenially curious, I made some enquiries with various rickshaw drivers until I got my answer two nights ago. Apparently, the RTO doesn't "pass" any new vehicle that doesn't have this social message emblazoned on it's back.

The best part of this drive is not that every commuter on the roads in bumper to bumper Bombay traffic reads this message & is aware of it's importance. That is only a fringe benifit. The best part is that each poor, semi-literate autorickshaw driver now knows that this is an important message!

The results I guess will be seen only 20-25 years from now, and maybe at that time no one will be able to pin point the stimuli behind the sudden change in India: Literate people, staying away from trouble, creating intellectual & material wealth for their country!

All the more reason to applaud this very noteworthy effort right now. Whoever has initiated the idea needs a sound pat on the back. And if there is a Social equivalent of the Nobel, that as well!


  1. good for them :)
    wish delhi would wake up and smell the CNG.
    the sex ratio is so bad here

  2. also, why is the BPO blog all blank. put one token post up, at least!!

  3. Opinionated-ji--

    Annie plugged your post here on her blog. As this is the 1st I've read from you, the thickness of presumed (but unsure) irony is hard to run thru my iron-o-meter; the dials spin ineffectually, without calibration. I'll nonetheless assume the Nobel nudge might be somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

    Might you be too aaram-pasand to help an illiterate (Hindi-wise) reader by footnoting (e.g. here) the meaning of aaram-pasand? Though in context, I imagine I can infer the general sense.

    The slogan anyway has a nice sing-songi cadance; one wishes for a following line rhyming with Jhali. Knowing nothing of Marathi, I can only humbly submit this:

    Mugli Shikli Pragati Jhali
    won't you teach me Gunakali?

    -- but perhaps this is less universal in appeal.

    cheers, d.i.

  4. ps:
    as if that weren't bad enough, here's an additional couplet for this (nascent) song:

    Mugli Shikli Pragati Jhali
    Fatehpur-Sikri? here's your thali


    Mugli Shikli Pragati Jhali
    cheek-to-cheekly - Salvador Dali!

    suggesting a truly global education?
    But I should've quit while I was ahead.

  5. Most of the Delhi ones seem to have either "pappu coach" or "hum do humare do" on them.

    A few years ago an economics teacher tried to tell us that the slogan "hum do humare do" should be replaced by "one is fun!". I have yet to see this on an auto, so I'm guessing it hasn't caught on.

  6. This is a vey warm welcome, thanks to Annie. I guess socially relevant posts elicit a far better response than my usual.
    D.I., the rhymes are interesting. The irony may be unintentional. And I meant every word about the Nobel too. Does that tell you something else about me?
    Aaram-pasand literally translated means "Rest-Preferring". Maybe languor is the word I'm looking for. The gunakali link is down.

  7. Annie,
    The BPO blog needs a lot of time to get updated. It's "collablog". With my crazy routine & that of my "collablogger", it's a little difficult. It'll be there, don't you worry; but prolificacy may take upto retirement or the lottery!

  8. Well this is the case across India. Next time you see a National Permit lorry, look at the message behind it.

    The ones from TN have message on AIDS.

    Karnataka is usually Family planning.

  9. hey even i noticed these on mumbai autos.. one even went ahead and said mulgi asli pragati jhali.. in effect... there is progress even if there is a girl.

  10. Your post left me with a sense of Deja Vu

    I'd written about this a long time back, when I was in Mumbai

  11. all very nice truly like this entire thought and all that .. doesnt it seem like Shiv Sena ramming Marathi down your throat in Mumbai,when half the population is either migrant and if it is the autowallahs they are trying to target then i guess this is even more skewed what with more than 72% of the auto driver population ( thoda pheka hua stats hai) from the Indo Gangetic belt.

  12. Auto rickshaws have a prominent presence in the suburbs and it is good that they should be carrying social messages rather than things like "Buri nazar wale, Tera muh kala" and the rest of the nonsense.

  13. Thanx Hiren. And nice to see you here Jay! Link to your bog please! Oops! I mean blog! ;-)
    The shiv sena being mentioned on my blog is to me the equivalent of beef in a temple!
    Jokes apart, point well taken, however it may not be correct to blame only the shiv sena for ramming Marathi down our throats. Even our Congress CM's & leaders are Marathi sons of the soil! Most States & some Countries as well are going through a similar identity crisis. South India insists on signposts in the local language too! And all the name changing, Madras to Chennai, Trivandrum to Thiruvanthapuram (they could've let that one be for simplicity's sake!) and Cambodia-Kampuchea!
    Like Annie says, the fault is ours. We prefer to critisize from the sidelines & continue to let conservative, semi-literate people make a hash of things in our Country instead of being in the Govt. and focusing on the things that need change.
    But not to worry, hopefully we'll be an educated nation in the next couple of centuries and things'll be better!
    Don't get me wrong. I'll be the last person to shy away from calling the so called "sena" a dirty spade, but in this case if the Marathi women get educated & raise worthy sons of the soil, it may well work out to the advantage of us cow-belters!

  14. Hey Opinion, you can always write to me, with yours. My email id is not hidden. And I promise to write back, nicely. Cheers

  15. Thanks, but does that entail emailing my comments to you? A tad more complicated than submitting a comment on your blog ain't it?

  16. hi opinionated
    i like you.
    welcome to blogland

  17. Travelling by auto rickshaws costs a lot of money,dude!!


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