Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Hindu's Editorial on the Nuclear Deal and Other Omissions

The Hindu which prides itself on having an international perspective has not published a single news item on the abuse of authority by the Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. A paper which has devoted space extensively to modest Chinese technical achievements did not obviously think it fit to mention Mugabe's murderous election campaign, his forcible eviction of his opponent from the electoral race and the utterly fraudulent nature of his victory. Why? Someone ought to write to the readers' editor asking for an answer. Maybe Mr. Ram, like with the Dalai Lama, will be forthright enough to admit the truth. Meanwhile, I suspect it has something to do with the close relations his government has enjoyed with the People's Republic for a while now ever since the West imposed sanctions on that country.

The paper, which previously took an unusual interest in the US Second Amendment and the problem of gun violence in America even editorializing upon the subject, failed to mention the recent decision of the US Supreme Court in D.C. v. Heller which handed a victory to gun-rights advocates. A case of sour grapes? So I would think. Let us see if Frontline will happen to have anything to say in the forthcoming issue.

Yesterday's editorial looks like it was copied straight from People's Democracy with an assortment of allegations being levelled at the Congress party at both State and Central levels.

...The government it heads has no answer to the spectre of double-digit inflation, which crept up to 11.42 per cent last week.

...The issue on which the ruling party has chosen to make a do-or-die stand is not anything connected with the problems of the people — but the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal. Curiously, it is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has no known electoral base and holds office by virtue of being a member of the Rajya Sabha, who has been allowed to pull the trigger on the political arrangement that sustains his minority government. He has done this by forcing his party, under threat of resignation, to go back on a commitment the UPA made, in writing on November 16, 2007, to the Left parties. It was that the government would not proceed with the operationalisation of the 123 agreement before the UPA-Left coordination committee arrived at its “findings.” Specifically, the understanding was that the “outcome” of the talks with the secretariat of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in other words the text of the India-specific safeguards agreement, would be presented to the committee “for its consideration before it finalises its findings.” By announcing that the UPA government will soon go to the IAEA Board of Governors for approval of the safeguards agreement, the Congress is recklessly short-circuiting this process.

1. If the paper has a better answer to tackle the inflation, it should come out and say so explicitly. If radical measures are taken to curb inflation, is the paper willing to accept the sharp decrease in growth that will concomitantly ensue?

2. The paper claims that the nuclear deal is 'not anything connected to the problems of the people'. Oh, really? What about the daily power cuts that the people have to bear with, the cost of using generators for industry, the inability to use pumps for irrigation for farmers, etc? Is The Hindu so oblivious to these daily travails of the people? If energy is not connected to the people, I do not know what is. No doubt that nuclear energy alone will not be sufficient but can anyone deny that it can make a valid and significant contribution towards solving our energy crisis? It seems clear that the goal here is solely to embarass the ruling dispensation, not to solve the problem.

Besides, what exactly is this distinction between things connected to the people and those that are not? All business of government is related to the people in one way or the other which is why the entire leadership of government is elected, not only a part of it. The assertion is an utterly spurious one especially because Communists are always the first to make a public issue of the government's diplomatic initiatives - witness the brouhaha over India's vote on Iran's nuclear program for example.

3. As the paper itself notes, the agreement between the Congress and the Left was to disclose the outcome of the talks. This may but not necessarily implies the text of the agreement. The government insists that all the answers given to the Left have been based on the text of the agreement. Moreover, The Hindu itself reported a few days ago the government's claim that the Left, notwithstanding its current public posture, had never made a formal request to the government for the text of the document. Only recently after Sibal declared that the document could not be released did the Left turn its rhetoric up fully to claim that failure to release the document had left it in the dark. It appears quite plain that the failure to publish the text is being used as a pretext by the Left to justify its predetermined stand to oppose the deal no matter what. So why does The Hindu choose to disbelieve the government's version and accept the Left's after previously declaring that the deal was indeed a 'sound and honorable one'? Indeed it goes so far as to accuse the PM of deception and breaking his word. What is the basis for such a one-sided conclusion? All I can see is that ever since that first editorial in support of the deal, it appears that the paper has been in backpedaling mode. If this latest piece is one more effort towards that end, it certainly fits in perfectly.

The Left's failure to provide any reasonable grounds for its unrelenting opposition compels me to conclude that its chief aim is simply to humiliate this government by frustrating its attempts to solve a pressing problem. Just as Lenin worked against the Russian government during World War I because of his belief that 'in defeat will spring revolution', our own homegrown Left aims to undermine progress and deny the masses the benefits of essential services particularly when it is made available by a different dispensation. By keeping the people in misery, they intend to feed on the resentment and anger that the government's failure engenders. The Hindu has joined and is now actively cheerleading this diabolical conspiracy and must be held to account fully for its words.


Anonymous said...

"""Curiously, it is Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has no known electoral base and holds office by virtue of being a member of the Rajya Sabha, who has been allowed to pull the trigger on the political arrangement that sustains his minority government"""

ha ha ha, I am sure Karat and Yechury are contesting election after election seeking people's mandate to talk about the nuclear deal.

I wrote to the editor time and again about Mugabe (even during the time of the eviction of white farmers) only to believe that The Hindu would not publish any criticism on a person it believes is fighting against GLOBAL CAPITALISTS.


Pilid said...

Thanks Tunku. Excellent points. I completely concur with the observations. I am surprised that Mr.Ram did not see that hole in his argument. Mugabe was long held out to be an anti-imperialist icon. The paper, as you point out, is probably finding it difficult to acknowledge his fall from grace.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Maoists!! - These are the only words missing in the latest editorial "New tactics, deadly result"

Not one word of sympathy for the slain policemen...

Dirt Digger said...

There is a line between ideology and treason. You are right, when a person/group/newspaper loses sight of that it should be questioned and held accountable for its words.
The same questions you ask should be posed to LiC. I would be quite interested to read his comments.

Anonymous said...

the indian commies have been so well isolated now. the chindu and its paid editor can cry all he wants about inflation and unelected prime minister. but that wont change the isolation the commies face now. Third front is dead. mulayam singh will party with UPA. in the next elections, commies will not matter.

it was sordid for the commies to remind mulayam of muslim vote.

If the congress takes it all the way thru and win a trust vote in parliament without the commies, what will the chindu do? comrade karat has already fallen far - nobody in delhi media gives a sh*t to him now. the mallu boy had to give an interview to the mallu channel, asianet.

Anonymous said...

People's Democracy on "On Comrade Pandhe's Remarks"
No condemnation from comrade Karat. No apology either.


Anonymous said...

Please let me know how Chindu reports this

Left suffers another jolt in WB, this time in civic poll

Kolkata, July 2: After last month's panchayat poll, the CPI-M in West Bengal suffered yet another setback on Wednesday losing three of 13 municipalities to Trinamool Congress and another to Congress in the civic elections.

The Front, which controlled nine earlier, managed to retain only five - Panihati, Burdwan, Chakdah (CPI-M), Balurghat (RSP) and Mekhligunj (FB).

The CPI-M lost Guskara, Habra, Midnapore to TC and Dalkhola to Congress.

The most impressive win by the Trinamool Congress was in Guskara in Burdwan district regarded as the CPI-M's stronghold where it secured eight of the 15 seats. BJP bagged two and the Front won five.


Pilid said...

Thanks all for your comments.

DD, the point is well taken.

I am not so sure the communists are completely isolated. That really is the problem. Most of the smaller parties do not care much for the deal and will bend whichever way it suits them at the moment. As for the next election, no one really knows how things will turn out to be. The Congress leadership is not all that charismatic nor does it have very strong grassroots cadres in all the left-ruled states. They may win some seats owing to anti-incumbency but there are just so many unknown factors that will determine the final tally that it is virtually impossible to predict what the role of the Left will be post-election.

The Left has never made any bones about its willingness to use communal propaganda when it suits its purposes. There are many examples of this. When the government voted against Iran during at the IAEA, one of the Left's arguments was that the UPA was hurting its standing with Shia groups. They have similarly sought to link India's position on the Israel-Palestinian conflict to Muslim sentiments in our country warning the UPA that any pro-Israeli stance will cost it the Muslim vote. Their strong and unrelenting opposition to the Iraq war was also based on the dubious claim that standing with Saddam is equivalent to standing with the Iraqi people who were valiantly resisting American tyranny over the Muslim world - they have never really explained how the subsequent rejection of Saddam's party by the Iraqi voters (who have voted his most bitter opponents to office) could be squared with their earlier claim or for the fact that the invasion has succeeded in establishing a new government and actually made progress in changing the ground situation in an irreversible way.

Anonymous said...

Any "guesses" on who this "special" correspondent is?

Smells like "n" "e" "e" "n" "a" "v" "y" "a" "s' to me.

BJP claims “wave of support” in Jammu

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday claimed a “wave of support” in Jammu for its demand that the order revoking leasing of land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board be cancelled.

The police fired on “peaceful protestors” in Jammu at “four places,” and in the Kashmir Valley, the State government and the Centre “kneeled before” separatists and fundamentalists by revoking the “legitimate” order on land transfer, BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.


Karthik said...

Chindu talks about the ManMohan guy being an appointed PM from Rajya Sabha so he has no right to pursue the deal. What kind of BS is that? This is the same Chindu that cried foul when Advani said he is the weakest PM ever. They said he is denigrating PM's Office. But now Yen Ram is saying the same thing. Remember how Harish Khare writes an article everymonth about how the division of labor between Sonia Maino and Man Mohan guy is great. How Manmohan is great and all that BS. Now Yen Ram completely reversed his position. Now Yen Ram thinks PM of India has to get permission from the Left if he want to use the rest room because he is from Rajya Sabha. What a moron.The funniest thing that D.Raja's party got around .5% of votes last election. Chindu claims he is speaking for the Indian masses. What a joker.

Pilid said...


You are right that The Hindu tends to exhibit much greater skepticism when reporting BJP statements than those from other parties; as for those coming from the communists, it is treated virtually as gospel. Neena Vyas is only following in this hallowed tradition. Perhaps she was recruited on that condition in the first place. I am aware of no Hindu journalist who tends to the right which makes me strongly suspect that that is in fact the case.


Your point is perfectly right. The Hindu's tone has undergone a marked shift over the last four years even as the PM has managed to keep almost all the promises he made before the last election. The increasingly critical tone coincides with the Left's antipathy as well as the rising prospects that the Congress may not win re-election in the coming general election. Perhaps The Hindu is preparing the groundwork for the inevitable blame game that will follow any such defeat (which is the more likely outcome and therefore a safer bet given the high inflation and the historic trend of anti-incumbency) - the paper may be simply positioning itself as a champion of the popular sentiment before the ballot so that it can claim afterwards that its own assessment of the government's failures and deficiencies were vindicated. Alternatively, it may simply be championing the Left's political strategy on its pages. A third possibility is a combination of these two - strategically repositioning itself along populist lines in careful coordination with the CPI(M) party line.

Your point about the Left's questionable claim to speak for the masses is absolutely right. But that is in the nature of this newspaper. Witness the nature of the letters to the editor that are published. The policy seems to be to publish a number of letters favoring its own editorial position and two letters at the very end that appear to somewhat question that line - over the last two days, almost all the letters (barring one or two at the end on each day) have been opposed to the nuclear deal and in lockstep with its own editorial a couple of days ago. Contrast this with the New York Times which publishes letters that are representative of the entire set of responses received. Clearly, the objective of The Hindu's publication of letters from the public is not aimed to showcase the popular view (based on that sample) as it exists but to manipulate it to present a false picture of a public largely in concurrence with its own position. From the inner sanctum of the politburo to the editorial page of The Hindu carried forward subsequently as the 'voice of the people' in the Letters To The Editor, this contiguous chain forms the backbone of the Left's powerful propaganda machine in South India following Goebbel's famous dictum: 'A lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth'.

The Hindu's sister publication Frontline also has been consistently following in the same footsteps. The current issue has an article where Praful Bidwai claims: "Some pro-American sections of the middle class might love it, but their numbers, assuming that they vote, do not count for much. A probably much higher number of people are uncomfortable with the deal or oppose it." What is the basis for this view that a much higher number of people are against the deal? Though it seems perfectly clear that the claim is nothing more than an unfounded assertion (he cites absolutely no evidence in support of it), note the audacity with which he asserts the point. This is typical of much of leftist propaganda. The Hindu editorials, Harish Khare and Neena Vyas are all given to making similarly false but authoritative assertions - that is in fact the signature of Leftist propaganda in India.

Anonymous said...

>> A probably much higher number of people are uncomfortable with the deal or oppose it. >>

He had the "secular" muslim vote bank in mind.

to anybody else, the nuclear deal is not an election issue.

Anonymous said...

In the words of comrade editor, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh can not go ahead with the nuclear deal with the US because he (PM)lacks credibility-only Rajya Sabha MP, heading a minority govt. etc. These negative qualifications were revealed to Chindu only after the anti-deal stand of Karat & Co.

Then what about the other acts of the govt. such as the reservation issue, sacking of Dr. Venugopal (AIIMS Director), Sethusamudram project etc. etc.? Do these nefarious deeds qualify as perfect democratic acts according to the standards of comrade editor?