Smruti Koppikar

When the Siddhartha Vihar Hostel in Wadala was brought down, floor by floor, in early February by the BMC, a piece of Mumbai’s history associated with Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was obliterated.

Articles by Smruti Koppikar

Lockdown is painful but may be Mumbai’s best chance at tackling Coronavirus

If Mumbai is completely locked down, it will resemble a ghost town not unlike Wuhan from where photographs and videos were shared in late January.
If Mumbai is completely locked down, it will resemble a ghost town not unlike Wuhan from where photographs and videos were shared in late January.(Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)
If Mumbai is completely locked down, it will resemble a ghost town not unlike Wuhan from where photographs and videos were shared in late January.(Vijayanand Gupta/HT Photo)
Updated on Mar 19, 2020 04:30 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Epidemic of fear and panic about CoVID-19

Whether a city manages to ride out an epidemic with minimum loss depends partly on its good fortunes, partly on its administrators who manage information and health networks, and partly on its citizens
Cities, after all, are potential hotbeds of epidemics given their large populations, public transit systems, and uncontrollable person-to-person interactions.(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Cities, after all, are potential hotbeds of epidemics given their large populations, public transit systems, and uncontrollable person-to-person interactions.(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Updated on Mar 11, 2020 11:47 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Mumbai’s story: Vicious riot and elusive justice

In Delhi, policemen were either mute spectators or predators as mobs wreaked havoc and violence on innocent citizens.
Police stand guard in a riot affected area following clashes in northeast part Delhi(REUTERS)
Police stand guard in a riot affected area following clashes in northeast part Delhi(REUTERS)
Updated on Mar 05, 2020 01:03 AM IST
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Communal riot and inter-ethnic tapestry of cities

A city is never the same after a communal riot or pogrom; it does not completely heal, it does not go back to being quite the tapestry it used to be
There was violence from both sides but reports show that the scale, intensity and viciousness against Muslims were spine-chilling.(HT Photo)
There was violence from both sides but reports show that the scale, intensity and viciousness against Muslims were spine-chilling.(HT Photo)
Published on Feb 27, 2020 12:13 AM IST
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The malice in making protests and protesters invisible

The city police attempted this with Mumbai Bagh too in a way citing traffic impediments and bringing pressure to bear on the women sitting-in, slapping notices and FIRs on them and volunteers, profiling protesters and visitors.
Updated on Feb 20, 2020 01:32 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

A Mumbai cabbie and Kejriwal’s free pass to hate ideology | Opinion

The AAP did not take on the BJP ideologically; Kejriwal did not substantively disagree on Shaheen Bagh protests or CAA-NRC.
Kejrwal who advocated full statehood for Delhi had voted with the BJP to nullify Article 370(HT FILE)
Kejrwal who advocated full statehood for Delhi had voted with the BJP to nullify Article 370(HT FILE)
Updated on Feb 13, 2020 09:34 AM IST
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Civic budget talk: Coastal Road a misplaced priority?

Pavements do not get prioritised in the BMC’s tasks lists perhaps because its movers-and-shakers do not use them
Municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi set aside Rs 2,000 crore in the budget for Coastal Road(HT FILE)
Municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi set aside Rs 2,000 crore in the budget for Coastal Road(HT FILE)
Updated on Feb 05, 2020 11:10 PM IST
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Shiv Bhojan could be game-changer if Uddhav is watchful

The Shiv Bhojan is as basic a meal as can be — a serving of chapatis, a vegetable, some rice and dal for Rs10 per thali or lunch-plate
Thackeray’s government was able to start the Shiv Bhojan programme within two months(HT FILE)
Thackeray’s government was able to start the Shiv Bhojan programme within two months(HT FILE)
Updated on Jan 29, 2020 11:50 PM IST
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How to redefine nightlife in a city that never sleeps

Mumbai, at its heart, is a commercial city; its rhythms do not cease at night and never will.
Malls, restaurants, commercial establishments in gated communities and non-residential areas will be allowed to stay open all night to boost local economy(HT Photo)
Malls, restaurants, commercial establishments in gated communities and non-residential areas will be allowed to stay open all night to boost local economy(HT Photo)
Updated on Jan 23, 2020 12:03 AM IST
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Mumbai Police must refine the art of policing

The sensitivity that the force showed towards protestors needs to be extended towards women and children too
Once spoken of as the Scotland Yard of the East, Mumbai Police now faces new and different policing challenges.(HT FILE)
Once spoken of as the Scotland Yard of the East, Mumbai Police now faces new and different policing challenges.(HT FILE)
Published on Jan 16, 2020 12:03 AM IST
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Make no mistake, Mumbai is mostly political and non-silent

Silence speaks volumes, silence is political too.
People protest against CAA-NRC at Shivaji Chowk, Vashi on Wednesday.(Hindustan Times)
People protest against CAA-NRC at Shivaji Chowk, Vashi on Wednesday.(Hindustan Times)
Updated on Jan 09, 2020 12:07 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

2020 brings hope that Indians will reclaim a composite nation

It’s a year that carries hope and aspirations of millions – hope for a gentler and more just future, aspiration to be any kind of an Indian that one wishes to be with freedom and joy.
The resistance to the CAA-NRC in the months to come would need to be sustained beyond the predictable protest-fatigue(HT File)
The resistance to the CAA-NRC in the months to come would need to be sustained beyond the predictable protest-fatigue(HT File)
Updated on Jan 02, 2020 12:04 AM IST
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2019: When city streets became protest sites

The urban space turned into a site of spontaneous and electrifying protests against governments.
Hong Kong witnessed massive protests this year(HT File)
Hong Kong witnessed massive protests this year(HT File)
Published on Dec 26, 2019 12:29 AM IST
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De-citizenisation by CAA-NRC drills through India’s soul

The purpose of CAA-NRC is ostensibly to weed out illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries but implicitly threatens Indian Muslims as well as all Indians who do not possess documents of their ancestry here.
Protests against CAA and NRC have broken out across several parts of India.
Protests against CAA and NRC have broken out across several parts of India.
Updated on Dec 19, 2019 07:24 PM IST
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Gender equality: Global concern, Mumbai’s ignominy

Despite anecdotal signals of women breaching barriers and breaking ceilings in several domains, the bias exists.
Efforts need to be made to foster gender equality in Mumbai.(HT Photo)
Efforts need to be made to foster gender equality in Mumbai.(HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 12, 2019 12:41 AM IST
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Dear parties, ignore women and urban voters, face NOTA

Three trends among many in the electoral basket stand out because their significances go well beyond this election.
The continued abysmal percentage of women in the political fray is disappointing.(HT File)
The continued abysmal percentage of women in the political fray is disappointing.(HT File)
Updated on Dec 05, 2019 01:16 AM IST
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Some takeaways from Maharashtra government formation

The shenanigans are confusing, but there are some takeaways.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is set to be sworn in as the CM on Thursday.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is set to be sworn in as the CM on Thursday.
Updated on Nov 28, 2019 03:24 AM IST
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Uddhav’s ambition, Gandhi’s dilemma, and Pawar’s pattern

The question is if Sonia Gandhi can trust Pawar enough to not throw the Congress under the bus in the months ahead if this government becomes a reality
President of NCP Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray(Pratik Chorge/HT FILE Photo)
President of NCP Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray(Pratik Chorge/HT FILE Photo)
Updated on Nov 21, 2019 06:35 AM IST
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Why Mumbai can’t honestly say ‘Let’s move on’

In the new-normal Mumbai, religion has come to play a greater part than it did in civic and personal matters
Police personnel deployed outside the mosque at Bandra ahead of the Supreme Court's historic verdict on the Ayodhya land case.(HT PHOTO)
Police personnel deployed outside the mosque at Bandra ahead of the Supreme Court's historic verdict on the Ayodhya land case.(HT PHOTO)
Updated on Nov 13, 2019 11:13 PM IST
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Mumbai Story: From sea unto sea?

The city’s geography and future is being threatened by rising sea levels as an outcome of global warming
Flooding along with unseasonal storms are a clear indication of the impact of climate change in Mumbai.(HT Photo)
Flooding along with unseasonal storms are a clear indication of the impact of climate change in Mumbai.(HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 07, 2019 12:09 AM IST
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The meaning of the 2019 mandate

The BJP-Sena divided the state’s 288 constituencies between themselves, went to voters with their record of the last five years, and asked to be re-elected.
Updated on Oct 31, 2019 12:49 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Why Mumbai’s voter disinterest is a disgrace

Mumbai did not acquit itself with honour this Assembly election; south Mumbai even less so. The average voter turnout in the city this Monday was a dull 50.5% – about 10.6% lower than Maharashtra’s average and about 1.5% lower than the city’s turnout five years ago.
Voters queue up to cast their votes at a school in Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai.(Hindustan Times)
Voters queue up to cast their votes at a school in Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai.(Hindustan Times)
Updated on Oct 24, 2019 12:08 AM IST
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We will not ‘doob maro’, will keep asking questions this elections

When the dissonance was pointed out by sections of the media, when the link between Article 370 and Assembly election was questioned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “doob maro”.
The BJP and Sena speak of an imagined enhanced status for India, the need for daily doses of nationalism. Simply put, these are not issues why Maharashtra’s voters should re-elect BJP-Sena to the Assembly.(Representational photo)
The BJP and Sena speak of an imagined enhanced status for India, the need for daily doses of nationalism. Simply put, these are not issues why Maharashtra’s voters should re-elect BJP-Sena to the Assembly.(Representational photo)
Published on Oct 17, 2019 12:55 AM IST
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The Aarey battle has invaluable lessons for Mumbai

Civil society can and does stand up for causes, even in a city like Mumbai with the crushing demands it makes on people’s time and energy. Aarey is a good example of how citizens found common cause and rallied around together.
The Aarey forest lost 2,141 trees in the span of two nights and a day over the weekend. The site resembled a war zone.(HT file photo)
The Aarey forest lost 2,141 trees in the span of two nights and a day over the weekend. The site resembled a war zone.(HT file photo)
Updated on Oct 10, 2019 12:00 AM IST
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Invoking Gandhi, the icon; Ignoring Gandhi, the idea

Gandhi, the man, must have been fascinating. Gandhi, the idea, even more so.
Students offer tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, in Surat, on Wednesday.(PTI)
Students offer tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, in Surat, on Wednesday.(PTI)
Published on Oct 02, 2019 11:38 PM IST
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Election minus contest, unipolar politics isn’t good news

The gradual disintegration of opposition parties has meant that the contrarian or challenger voice does not get reflected in the Assembly
Maharastra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been campaigning for his party, the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections.(AFP)
Maharastra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been campaigning for his party, the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections.(AFP)
Updated on Sep 26, 2019 12:48 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Mumbai’s many tongues and linguistic swagger

What else is Bambaiyya Hindi if not a unique, grammar-free, syntax-free and reference-free mix of Marathi, Gujarati, even Urdu mixed with Hindi? It is voiced by Bollywood characters on the screen but the dialect – it is that, a dialect – is heard zillions of times more on the streets of Mumbai.
In Mumbai, language matters less than survival instinct and swagger(Representational photo)
In Mumbai, language matters less than survival instinct and swagger(Representational photo)
Updated on Sep 19, 2019 01:48 AM IST
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Battle for Aarey is a battle for Mumbai

This column rarely repeats an issue in successive weeks, but Aarey is too precious to lose even an inch of.
People protest against the cutting of 2,700 trees for the Metro car shed at Aarey colony, on September 8.(HT FILE)
People protest against the cutting of 2,700 trees for the Metro car shed at Aarey colony, on September 8.(HT FILE)
Published on Sep 11, 2019 11:52 PM IST
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Mr CM, take Aarey and you set up Mumbai for more floods

The Tree Authority meeting, which saw a split of eight to six in favour of the proposal, seems to have had its share of slyness, politics and confusion
Protesters form a human chain during protest destruction of Aarey Colony.(HT Photo)
Protesters form a human chain during protest destruction of Aarey Colony.(HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 05, 2019 12:19 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

Citizen activism can’t replace Mumbai civic body’s responsibility

Citizens, however well-intentioned and resourceful, must not plug the gaps in a way that allows the BMC to get away easily
Potholes, Mumbai’s monsoon menace, have already claimed 11 lives this year. There have been more than 100 complaints of potholes from each of the city’s 27 civic wards and this is not counting the ones on highways.(Representational photo)
Potholes, Mumbai’s monsoon menace, have already claimed 11 lives this year. There have been more than 100 complaints of potholes from each of the city’s 27 civic wards and this is not counting the ones on highways.(Representational photo)
Updated on Aug 29, 2019 12:09 AM IST
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