Thursday, June 12, 2014

Babush- Robin Hood of Goa?

I went to Goa last month. Driving down the streets of Panjim, Miramar, Vasco, I was amazed. It could have been  any seaside town in Europe. The roads are clean, no sign of any rubbish anywhere, the houses tastefully built. Amazingly no overhead wires and no hoardings.

When I commented, Dipak my cab driver said, "It's Babush. He's done all this."
Babush, he told me, was the local MLA or something like that.
 I googled for Babush.( Incidentally Babush means little one. ) Babush in adult life is Atanasio Monserrate. Quite a mouthful.   Apparently he is accused of fleecing builders. (Should that be a crime? Really?)

But, as Dipak confided, Babush has really changed the landscape of Goa. "He is the Robin Hood of Goa," laughed Dipak. "No one goes to Babush's house and comes back empty handed."  The people I spoke to all admit that maybe he is guilty, but  what the hell, they shrug, at least he is giving some of the money back to us.

Police patrol the streets, said Dipak and all shop owners and stall holders have to clear up any rubbish around their shops and stalls, else they lose their licenses. Wow. And the wonder is that tourists who come from all over India  also take care not to litter. ( Except for Calangute.Abandon hope all who enter there.)
The rivers too are as clean as the Thames or Seine and the bridges that have been built in places to replace ferries are works of art.  Public transport is clean and arrives on the dot. Planes actually arrive early. Toilets are clean. Even market places are clean!

I felt really proud to be a Goan. It may not all be due to Babush and I hold no brief for him. But surely he has shown the way.  If Goa can be so clean and beautiful why not the rest of India?

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