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Navalkar was Mumbai's moral policeman
November 20, 2007 21:07 IST
Be it a wardrobe malfunction or a film that portrayed women in poor taste, Pramod Navalkar, who died on Tuesday, was at the forefront in fighting social ills and thus earning for himself the sobriquet of moral policeman.
A member of the cabinet in the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government during 1995-99, Navalkar is described as the most famous cultural affairs minister in Maharashtra's history.
The founding member of the Sena, Navalkar was a fierce Mumbai lover and through his famous Marathi newspaper column 'Bhatkyachi Bhramanti' (Journey of a Tramp) often lamented the deterioration of India's financial capital.
The column ran for over 50 years, a record in journalism.
Navalkar was also instrumental in setting up the Nana Nani Park along Girgaum Chowpatty.
He spearheaded a move to give police stations a new look.
"I thought of having police stations cleaned and getting them to break away from the usual look. People are scared of going to police stations since they are intimidating," he once said.
A close friend of former chief minister Manohar Joshi, Navalkar was also leader of opposition in Legislative Council in 1991-92.
Someone who had intimate knowledge of Mumbai, especially its underbelly, Navalkar once produced a revolver in the House to demonstrate how easy it was to procure arms and easier still to break through the Vidhan Bhavan security cordon.
Three years ago, he had created a sensation in the Maharashtra Legislative Council when he produced before the House devices used for manufacturing bombs.
"These things are easily available", he had said, adding Mumbai had become a "den of terrorists".
He had also produced a liquor permit issued in the name of Mohandas K Gandhi by the state excise department.