Sunday, January 31, 2010

Expanding Open Page section

S.Viswanathan, we still read chindu in the vain hope that things will improve. So too, we read your columns in the hope that you might give a rare suggestion to improve things while you are at office. Opening up the editorial content to outside contributors is not a bad idea. It has taken a few months and reams of drivel before you could come up with a suggestion that could take chindu in the right direction. A good start, nevertheless.
The Hindu : Opinion / Readers' Editor : Online : ‘Public services: a positive experience’
Meanwhile, the value of the Open Page needs to be highlighted and cherished. I do hope that The Hindu will expand this section and open up more space, in print and online, for public-spirited citizens like Thomas Tharu to contribute their experiences, insights, and ideas. The Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ demonstrates how the editorial content of a newspaper can be greatly enriched by a variety of outside contributors, many of whom may not otherwise get a chance to break into major newspaper columns.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jyoti Basu’s brain to be preserved

Communism makes a person brain-wreck. So, Basu's brain must of great interest to the scientists.

Just like the desert religions, communism too has the habit of preserving the relics of its prophets. If India were to become a communist paradise, this brain would make its way to Taj Mahal and history would once again be rewritten. This time the communists will tell us that Taj Mahal was built by the Bengalis after the great revolution.
The Hindu : National : Basu’s brain to be preserved for study

National flag an "unnecessary provocation"

Celebrating the 20 years of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, the J&K Government has decided to stop the hoisting of the National Flag at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.
The Hindu : National : BJP condemns non-hoisting of Tricolour
Astonishingly, the government’s view was that hoisting the flag would be an “unnecessary provocation” to separatists
The pink chaddi campaigners, pub bharo groups and other assorted jhollawallas must be swooning in secular ecstasy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Humiliating to whom?

The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : A humiliating non-auction
In my opinion, N.Ram is clearly over-reacting. He says it is a humiliating non-auction. To whom? Clearly not to India. To Pakistan? May be. But why is N.Ram giving us the Pakistani viewpoint? I would rather read in Jung or Dawn. Not from this phony Pakistani.

He says Indian Govt and BCCI did not send encouraging signals. What signals? What is N.Ram expecting here? That they should stand waving Pakistani flags for a commercial event owned by private parties? The Govt approved the visas in time. Job done. It is not the Govt's responsibility to influence the auction process.

Secondly, N.Ram worries about the repercussions of the IPL snub. Pakistan is reacting and making noises. It might derail the budding peace process. And all that usual secular rhetoric of the candle light vigil groups.  But there is no reason why we should take the Pakistani reaction seriously.

Cricinfo in its blog post points out that most newspapers have reacted angrily against the non-auction. But I was glad to read the below piece in Daily Pioneer. I urge you all to read it. It puts things in the right perspective. Events present us with opportunities. And Ashok Malik rightly identified tremendous opportunity in the IPL non-auction.

Ashok Malik also touches upon a very important point related to the expression of middle-class opinion. As far I can tell, this is the first time they have been able to influence the outcome of a major event. Or may be, more realistically, the team owners took a decision that would please the middle class. Whichever is the case, when the middle class has a similar effect on the decisions of political parties, it will change the political landscape.
The Pioneer > Online Edition : >> IPL has added to MEA options
The second is to consider a broader phenomenon — the increasing role of Indian business in both shaping and reflecting foreign policy and its concerns.

Good article on banking regulation in U.S.

The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : Return to Glass-Steagall?
A highly informative article. I sat up and took notice of the author, C.P.Chandrasekhar. I hope we get to read more such stuff from him, especially on the Indian scenario.
May be he could write a dispassionate analysis on the impact of the NREGS, whose outlay is being increase from 37,000 crores to over 60,000 crores next year. This is inspite of the scheme having an outreach of less than 6%.

Tabloid journalism

The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : How Prince William bowled them over
This article is almost 1500 words and hardly deserves such space in an Indian newspaper. Prince William is visiting Australia, which still bows to the English royalty. So, it makes sense if England and Australia are going gaga over it. But surely, we have our own issues. Besides, the English have lost their competencies in manufacturing, services, etc. The only thing that they have left to show to the world is their royal family. It is what drives their tourism economy. If they are writing 1500 words about Prince William in British tabloids and newspapers, it is because it serves as advertisement.

Why is chindu publishing this article? Is this chindu's own version of cash for news?

Fwd: Films China Never Wanted You To See

the early videos of tibet show that it was a society cutoff from the rest of the world but not lacking in civilizational ethos. about 1/3rd of the society indulged in religious, monastic pursuit of buddhism. almost every family sent a child to the monastery. the cultural festivals and the colours were resplendent. the royal family may have been decadent but by comparison to the chinese it comes out as egalitarian. and the population was largely at peace with themselves. it all changed with the chinese invasion.

go and see the films if you can. you will see that what chindu and n.ram publishes in tibetan news/reviews is just shoddy journalism.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Friends of Tibet
Subject: Films China Never Wanted You To See

Think Tibet and Friends of Tibet invite you to

"Films China Never Wanted You To See"

Screening of documentary films on the history of Tibet and the present situation under the Chinese rule.

5pm-9pm on Sunday, January 24, 2010 at the Centre for Film and Drama, 71 Sona Towers, 5th floor, Above Central Bank, Millers Road, Bangalore. Admission Free.

To know more, email: /

Fwd: China's internet policy

china has completely cut off xinjiang from the outside world and has targeted email accounts of foreign journalists in china. this is apart from attacking google and hacking into major american corporations. back home, the nsa noticed belatedly that the chinese have been snooping on our machines.

china has a clear strategy towards IT warfare and it definitely does not suggest a peaceful rise. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Girish

Authorities unplugged Xinjiang in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the ethnic rioting between the Han Chinese majority and the mainly Muslim Uighur minority.
No country has shut down an information infrastructure so widely for so long, said the Open Net Initiative, a Harvard-linked partnership that monitors Internet restrictions around the world.

Foreign correspondents in a few bureaus in Beijng have recently discovered that their Gmail accounts had been hijacked. Their emails were being forwarded to a stranger's address.
Here is how you can check if your Gmail has been compromised:
  • Log into your Gmail account
  • Click "Settings" in the upper right hand corner. Then click on the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab.
  • Look at the forwarding section. If there's a mysterious email address you can't recognize, then
    that's cause for concern.
  • You can check "disable forwarding" to stop future emails from being sent to this address, though other steps may also be necessary to make your account secure.
We remind all members that journalists in China have been particular targets of hacker attacks in the last two years. Please be very careful about what links you click on, what email attachments you open, and do run virus checks regularly.

SC burqa ban while voting

What's your take on this: how long before this order is overruled by the secular establishment?
The Pioneer > Online Edition : >> Shed burqa to vote rules Supreme Court
Muslim women have to shed their burqa to vote. Making this observation on Friday, the Supreme Court set aside the objection of a Muslim man against the Election Commission’s directive asking Muslim women to show their faces to be photographed as part of electoral roll verification.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kanchi Acharya trial

Yesterday, 7 witnesses turned hostile making it a total of 19 so far. Ravi Subramanian is a key witness in the case and he has turned hostile today. Read it in his own words why he turned hostile:
The Hindu : Front Page : Approver in Sankararaman case turns hostile
During cross-examination, Subramanian deposed that before he was produced in the Kancheepuram Court on December 27, 2004, he was in illegal custody for around 15 days and was harassed by then Superintendent of Police Premkumar and Additional Superintendent of Police Sakthivel.

Maintaining that the harassment caused physical and mental agony, he said his wife and children were also in police custody and harassed.

Since his wife and children were in the police custody, he, out of fear, gave a statement dictated by the police before the court, Subramanian said, adding that he was now stating the truth because the officers who arrested him were not in service.
SP Premkumar had been dismissed in May 2007. Here is some more info on Premkumar:

The Hindu News Update Service
Premkumar had already been suspended for allegedly bribing and coercing Ravi Subramanian, accused-turned-approver in the murder case, to escape from prison.
Its the same Ravi Subramanian, who turned hostile in court today.
Premkumar, who then held the post of sub-inspector at the police station, arrested Nallakaman and his son and physically attacked them. He tied their bodies with a chain and dragged them on the streets to disgrace them. Moreover, he filed false cases against Nallakaman and his son.
Nallakaman was aged 74. Premkumar was awarded 6 months of imprisonment.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Special correspondent's report on IPCC error

ToI got it right when it starts of with what a huge goof-up it has been.
IPCC retracts 2035 alarm on Himalayan glacier melt - India - The Times of India
For the first time in its history, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — a panel of 2,500 of the best climate scientists in the world — accepted on Wednesday that it had made a huge goof-up in its fourth assessment report on climate change and withdrew its assertion that the Himalayan glaciers ran the risk of being wiped out by 2035.
The rest of the newspapers too followed a similar script. Finding on Himalayas 'poorly substantiated': Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Pioneer > Online Edition : >> Finding on Himalayas poorly substantiated Climate panel
Indian Express: IPCC admits Himalayan glacier goof-up
Hindustan Times: Climate panel sorry for glacier error

Surprisingly, Chindu has adopted a different approach to the news. The headlines comes out in support of Hasnain, while sidelining the committee's admission.
The Hindu : Front Page : Vested interests have targeted my research, says Hasnain
Professor Syed Iqbal Hasnain, whose research on the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, led to a major controversy, on Wednesday blamed “certain prejudicial forces” for mounting a campaign against his “diligent” research.
Well, not exactly surprising when you know that Hasnain is a muslim, JNU scholar. His double secular credentials trump any trumped up charges.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Two contrasting views on Jyoti Basu

N.Ram in his flowering prose has fulsome praise for Jyoti Basu. Even when he touches upon the under-achievements, he points out that it was because of lack of support for Jyoti Basu's vision.
The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : A great life (1914-2010)

By contrast, Kanchan Gupta does not give even faint praise in his scathing assessment of Jyoti Basu.
Agent Provocateur: Destroyer of West Bengal

Saturday, January 16, 2010

CPI(M) on religious faith

Both the articles below are filed by "Special Correspondent". This correspondent could be a low-level reporter, or the editor or, more likely, a CPI(M) spokesperson. These reports follow a standard template. The first report giving Pinarayi's views does not give out the context clearly. It is not clear what was the issue that prompted Manoj's resignation. From this report it appears as if Manoj decided all of a sudden without any provocation that CPM was against his faith, Christianity. In fact, chindu, which reports on every little happening within the party, did not carry an article even in the Kerala news section about Manoj's resignation. We are forced to deduce this news from Pinarayi's press release. I had to search for this news on google to find out the background of this issue. In other words, there is a complete blackout in chindu of information which is not in CPM's interests.

The rectification document says that CPM party members should not take part in religious ceremonies. CPM was seeing its party base being eroded by Congress and PDP. So it decided to woo the religious communities and in this effort drafted Manoj into the party. With Manoj resigning citing religious grounds, it does send out a strong signal to the voters. So Karat comes in to do the damage control.

Karat comes out with an explanation in People's Democracy which is routinely copied in chindu. Interestingly, I can't find the Karat's article or the rectification and religion document on site. Karat says that CPI(M) intends to separate religion and state. Good. But the fundamental question still remains: can CPI(M) cadre attend religious ceremonies? The answer according to Karat's clarification is NO. You may practise your faith privately but CPI(M) party diktat says, don't display it in the public and don't attend any religious ceremonies. If only this message is sent across loud and clear to all the muslims and christians in Kerala. Don't bother about West Bengal, it is a lost bastion for the marxists.

The Hindu : Front Page : CPI(M) not against religion: Pinarayi
Mr. Vijayan said the party was not against religious faith and that this was something that Mr. Manoj knew well when he had agreed to be the party candidate. His sudden revelation that the CPI(M) was against religious faith was incomprehensible. Once he got elected to Parliament, he had settled down in Delhi instead of being in his constituency and it was for him to explain what had happened after that.
The Hindu : National : Karat: religious faith no bar for joining CPI(M)
Mr. Karat referred to the announcement by the former party MP, K.S. Manoj, that he was quitting the party since its rectification document directed CPI(M) members not to take part in religious ceremonies and as a firm believer, it went against his faith.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A hilarious article by V.R.Krishna Iyer

Read the article and have a good laugh. Am quoting a couple of lines below. If you were to ask me, no person could write such a piece unless under heavy influence of alcohol.

The Hindu : Opinion / News Analysis : The state and the evil of drink
Why do even Marxist governments make people bankrupt by granting easy licences to clubs with liquor-dispensing bars attached to them?
If I were appointed a dictator for an hour for all of India, the first
thing I would do would be to close without compensation all liquor
shops and destroy all toddy-producing palms.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Recent trend in Opinion page

One of the bloggers had earlier pointed out the number of syndicated articles in Opinion pages in chindu. Over the past few weeks, apart from the two editorials, atmost one or two articles in the Opinion page are relevant to India. In fact, articles which would have been filed under International section are now being paraded as Editorial/Opinion articles. To give an example from today's paper, take this article about a Bosnian American arrested in a terror charge.
This article is syndicated from The New York Times News Service.

It looks like chindu is seriously short of columnists.
Hasan Suroor writes about British politics and occasionally talks of Asian community in Britain.
S.Viswanathan has made himself irrelevant by talking about general media matters. When he remembers his role and the charter of the ombudsman, he picks up a few reader's letters in support of his argument on the media issue he is highlighting. Here are the latest 5 articles of his:
Looking for a new media culture and media freedom
Rathore case, public anger and media coverage
Let the benefits of the Act reach the oppressed
An act with teeth, but of no use in protecting the weak online and off line
Andhra Pradesh political crisis and the role of the media

Take any of these articles and you will see that they can be reproduced in some other newspaper without too many changes. So, what exactly is he doing as Reader's Editor? He is just another columnist who writes bi-weekly for chindu. All that stuff about the first Indian newspaper to appoint ombudsman is bunkum.

Then, there is Sidddarth Varadarajan. We all know him well, don't we.

I wonder why the rest of the contributors like Praveen Swami, P.Sainath et al are being ignored. Not that they would have made a much difference though.