A Tale Of Two Federations
Recently, thanks to the controversies raised in the newly launched issue called Parsi Junction (which seems to be a continuation of what was once called Metro Junction), a new controversy has surfaced in our Community, where supposedly two Federations – representing Baug associations, Community Activists and general well-wishers of the community – are going head to head.
I am part of one of these Federations, (proposed name) ‘Federation for Community Welfare’, which was born out of discussions between the BPP Trustees and members of the Godrej Baug Residential Welfare Association (GBRWA). During these talks, which discussed the issue of ‘Waste Disposal’, we also deliberated on the possibility of some kind of a Group or Federation, which would represent our community and work with the BPP, with the primary aim of bridging the gap between the BPP Trustees and the Baug Associations and our Community in general, by facilitating a formal, two-way communication system, for the benefit of our Community.
This Group or Federation, as we visualised it, would meet the BPP Trustees occasionally and work closely with them whenever and wherever the need, for such close working, arose. This Federation would also engage in Constructive Criticism, if and when required, of the BPP and its policies, and also be available to the Trust and Trustees to identify relevant issues – For eg. the number of locked flats in the colony – to work with the Trustees in countering and preventing intrusion by third parties into our Trust properties, especially when such intrusion takes place by non Parsis, particularly helpers/care-takers, who are hired to look after single, senior occupants, and then stay on in the flat, and worse, on occasion, even land up with their entire families to occupy the flat.
This discussion was partly recorded initially in the minutes of August 28, 2018, wherein it has been clearly stated as follows, “He (Kersi Randeria) requested the representative of GBRWA to form a committee of different Colonies / Baug Association, who were ready to work along with the BPP”. In a subsequent meeting on October 30, 2018, this discussion was further taken forward and recorded in the minutes, where a member of our Federation “was of the opinion that if all the colonies come together and form a Federation which will try to object all policies of BPP, then the same would be harmful to the Trust, which the Trustees should realise. Trustee Kersi Randeria informed him that, instead, form a Federation and start working hand in hand with the Trustees for the betterment of the occupants and the Trust.”
Even as a small team started working cohesively together on two occasions, this newly found group was able to work closely with the BPP Trustees and staff, where, in one particular case, a certain Dorab Elavia, who was BPP’s erstwhile civil contractor and is currently blacklisted, intruded into the flat next to his. The BPP staff, some of the Trustees and members of this Federation worked closely together, and with the help of the police, were able to take back the possession of this flat. Dorab Elavia, who has allegedly intruded into yet another flat in Khareghat Colony, which is still under litigation, must have hoped to also get this flat in his possession for the next ten to twenty years, till he was, if at all, thrown out, by the Court. But this was not to be.
The efforts of the members of the Federation, the BPP staff and the Trustees paid off and not only was Dorab Elavia forced to hand over possession back to the Trust, but he has also been Charge-sheeted by the Tardeo Police Station.
However, this single case is neither the beginning, nor the end, of the indication of the success towards the benefit of the community, that will arise if the BPP Trustees and members of the Community work together, for the welfare of the community.
Despite this success, during our meeting with the BPP Trustees on 5 February, 2019, which unfortunately ended in a rather unpleasant manner, all the Trustees, including Xerxes Dastoor, and barring only Viraf Mehta, fully acknowledged our Federation. In fact, it was Xerxes Dastoor who even sought our support for the serious and current Parsee General Hospital issue, that needs to be addressed by our community.
The concept of a Federation has been often discussed in the past, and it appears that Parvez Driver and a few other people have gone and registered another Federation with the Charity Commissioner, without any reference or discussion with the BPP! The stated objectives of this Federation are so wide and far-fetched that it is obvious that this Federation only intends to play political games, create hurdles in genuine community welfare projects, and highlights certain candidates at the time of elections – a game that has been played with our community members repeatedly, over the past fifteen years.
However, as far as our Federation is concerned, we would like to leave it to the BPP, its Trustees and the Community to decide how to deal with such individuals and their Federation. We also believe that if this Federation intends to do only good work for the community, then we too will warmly welcome and recognize their efforts.
Our Federation, was birthed and has germinated because of constructive discussions between members of the Community and the BPP Trustees, with the following simple and transparent 3-fold Purpose:
- To provide constructive criticism to the Trustees, if the Federation believes that any of their decisions may not be in the best interests of the Community; and to discuss and find a common and acceptable way forward which would be beneficial for the community and in the interest of the Trust.
- To communicate decisions taken by the Trustees to residents of various Baugs and all community members living outside Baugs, through the Baug associations, with a view to explain and clarify such decisions, particularly if the Federation believes that this would be in the interests of both – the Trust and Community.
- To work closely with the BPP to help and identify locked flats and third party intrusions – particularly by care-takers, domestic helpers and their families, so that more flats become available to community members, especially for the young and newly married couples, who need urgent accommodations to start their families.
Parvez Driver and his Parsi Junction has tried to insult, denigrate and mock our efforts of our Federation, and me in particular. It would be simple for us to reciprocate in his language using similar tactics like mud-slinging, malice and hurling of insults. However, our Federation believes that this will get us nowhere, and will ultimately, cause greater harm to the interest of our community – something that we wish to avoid and is in absolute contradiction to the very agenda and mission of our Federation.
As far as we are concerned, we will continue to do our good work, work closely with BPP Trustees and continue to carve a better future for our Community, tomorrow and always.
By Arzan Ghadially