Yesterday was an iconic day when Mumbai citizens were deprived of their dabbas (packed foods/ lunch boxs) at offices. Striking work for the first time in their 120-year-old history, Mumbai's famed dabbawalas (who deliver more than two lakh dabbas to offices every day, have a “six-sigma” certified error rate — reportedly on the order of one mistake per 6 million deliveries) Friday extended support to anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare in his fight for a stronger Lokpal bill (anti corruption bill to include even the Prime Minister in its power of action). 'Dabbawalas joined in large numbers to lend their support to Annaji,' said Nutan Dabbawala Trust president Raghunath Medge. 'They all wore caps with Anna's name on it and marched peacefully on the side of the road from Churchage station to Azad Maidan (in south Mumbai) without disrupting any traffic. This is Anna's way of peaceful protest,' he added.
Nearly two lakh Mumbaikars depend on the dabbawalas for lunch. But this Friday, they either ate at their office canteen, or ordered from or visited a neighbourhood restaurant -- if they were not on a holiday due to Navroz, the Parsi New Year. Meanwhile, those who had a working day Friday complained of being deprived of home-made food. For finance professional Akshay Magji, it was an 'additional pressure' to eat from outside. 'It has been an additional pressure on me. Yesterday (Thursday) buses and trains disrupted the local commute. Now with dabbawalas on strike, I was forced to eat outside in some restaurant. It took over an hour, plus I didn't get to eat home-made food,' he rued. Raghunath Medge, however, said that they called for strike Friday keeping in mind that most offices will be closed owing to Navroz. 'I agree that our valued customers were inconvenienced owing to the strike call, but I am sure it will be a small percentage,' he said. Those like Khantil Shah, who had a holiday, were relaxed. 'Yesterday (Thursday) when I heard about the dabbawalas' strike, I thought I would have to waste time and money to eat at a restaurant. But then I remembered it is a holiday and relaxed,' said Shah, a public relations professional who has been ordering tiffins the past three years.
Nutan Dabbalwala Trust secretary Kiran Gavande said: 'We are breaking our 120-year-old tradition by not providing tiffins today (Friday). This is the least we can do to support Annaji.' Speaking at Mumbai's Azad Maidan day before yesterday, Sopan Laxman Mare, President of the Mumbai Lunch Box Suppliers Association, said the dabbawalas, renowned in the world for their efficiency, would go on strike for the first time in their 120-year history. "We have already pledged our support to Anna Hazare. He is fighting against corruption for the people of the country. 5000 dabbawalas and 200,000 customers will go on strike on Friday in support of Anna's movement," Mare added. He also said that while bad weather and natural calamities had never made the dabbawalas to take a day off, Hazare's fight against corruption was a much bigger issue as such they had resolved to join him this national cause.
The Mumbai dabbawalas, with their never-say-die attitude have, delivered tiffins to their customers regardless of prevailing situations. “Even during the July 26 floods, we have delivered tiffins to all our customers. Many dabbawalas starved for hours but only went home after the job was complete. This is a special occasion and we will definitely pledge our support to Anna,” Mr Mare added. He also said that the one-day strike will not create trouble for the Mumbaikers. “The Mumbaikers have strong willpower and one-day strike will not make so much trouble for them. In fact, many of them will be joining us in the rally,” said Mr Mare.
Photo & information source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/economy/article2369850.ece?homepage=true
Read more: http://itsscrapped.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-should-i-care.html