Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kasim Sait lapdog of cHindu rises again

cHindu has some loyal "readers" who provide their thoughts in the Opinion section. Kasim Sait is one such loyal lapdog who expresses his opinion frequently. In a letter titled Ironical Mr. Sait voices his disgust on the media who question CPIM on the WR Varada Rajan issue.
It is ironical that the media, which do not tire of spreading cynicism about the degeneration of politics and politicians, has been targeting the CPI (M) saying it has handed out excessive punishment to W.R. Varda Rajan. Is it the contempt of the corporate media towards the party that they do not give credit to it for being an upright party? Alternatively, are they regretting that they have lost an opportunity to malign it, which they could have done had the party not acted on the complaint of sexual harassment by the victim?
In a democracy, political parties exist for the enhancement of the living standards. Why not give the CPI (M) the credit due to it, and encourage it for trying to maintain purity and transparency?
Kasim Sait,

Of all the people who questioned cHindu's whitewash of this issue, it deemed Mr.Sait's thoughts as the only one deemed worthy of publishing. I need to add another bar to this level of disgust chart. (Courtesy of Doghouse)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Picky censorship when it comes to CPM news

(Hat tip to Prasanna Vishy for bringing this up).
cHindu has blatantly given overt support to the CPM ideology by giving it more space and time in terms of news than it deserves. From the editorials which trumpet CPM's ideologies to the lowly city news articles which toot the local Commie meetings the paper has become a red rag not even worthy of wiping one's shoes.
The recent passing away(suicide) of TN CPM leader WR Varada Rajan under suspicious circumstances raises some questions. When one checks the timeline there are articles about Late WR Varada Rajan till January. Even his protests against the Sri Lankan navy were covered. But when female CPM comrades complained to CPM high command about his alleged use of explicit SMS messages he was suspended.
cHindu did not cover the levels of acrimony between the various groups within CPM. This is detailed here in this blog post.
In contrast similar incidents with Congress, BJP and other parties got yards of coverage. cHindu shows that when it comes to CPM based news the editorial control is not in Anna Salai but somewhere else.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Comment moderation policy

We had a few discussions within our team on the issue of moderating comments. In general, most comments on our blog are constructive. But we have had a few trolls and also abusive comments. However, we restrained from deleting or censoring comments.

Recently, a request from Siddharth Varadarajan has been forwarded to me about some “idiot reader” who is apparently posting comments using a “forgery”. This raked up the debate once again. But we decided, atleast for the moment, against moderating comments.

Unlike chindu, we do not believe in censorship.

It is a pity that Siddharth Varadarjan should only take notice of some troll and ignore our several objections.

Chindu and Siddharth Varadarajan have misused their position to mislead readers repeatedly. And they have been unapologetic about it.

That does not mean we will tolerate slander. Thankfully, there have been far too few such comments to necessitate action.

Having said that, I urge all our readers to show more restraint while posting comments. Please avoid forgeries; that is just silly.

MF Hussain

Some things just don't change- Like the LiC's defense of the indefensible. Take for instance today's breast beating over MF Hussain getting Qatar Nationality. 

Though MF Hussain has been a hugely controversial figure, the LiC refuses to even acknowledge it and pays glowing tributes to the crooked painter who despite his senility managed to portray Hindu deities in infuriatingly objectionable postures. The no-less crooked LiC portrays him as a paragon of secularism, modern thought and a hapless victim of Hindutva intolerance. Birds of the same feather flock together, don't they?

    "I know no one more genuinely and deeply committed to the composite, multi-religious, and secular values of Indian civilisation than M. F. Husain. He breathes the spirit of modernity, progress, and tolerance"

The disgusting defense of the crooked painter- who faces a slew of criminal cases -is nothing but an immature and an emotional outburst sans substance or merit. Age has nothing to do with criminal conduct and being 95 or 25 does not matter before the criminal justice system which, as the LiC mentioned, is shamefully lax. That perhaps explains why the justice system did not initiate action against Hussain when he drew those disgusting images back in the 1970s. LiC must understand that a crime in 1970s will continue to be a crime in 2010 too.

The most shocking aspect of LiC's argument is the equation of Hussain's lewd work with that of Khajuraho sculptures and the murals and frescos of South Indian temples. This line of reasoning is as senseless as a 60 year old pedophile citing Prophet Mohamed and Aalia to have sex with a minor.  Godess Sita and Lord Hanuman shared a mother-son relationship. Godess Sita sitting in the nude on a sexually aroused Hanuman's hardened tail is a cruel and criminal distortion that is only an expression of contempt and not "artistic freedom" as the LiC wants us to believe. Hussain is reported to have said he draws in the nude those he wants to insult. He has portrayed Hitler in the nude while several people in his other works – including Muslim women, Gandhiji are clothed. The nudity is reserved only for Hitler, Hindu gods and Godesses and Bharat Mata perhaps.

It will be interesting to know how much the LiC would enjoy a painting of him having sex with his daughter in full view of his wife and son-in-law, if he has one. Being a patron of modern art and thought, he may even allow an exhibition at his office. I also wonder if Qatar will continue to honor him with its citizenship if Hussain, the "alleged"  beacon of Indian values, extends the honor reserved for Hindu deities to Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Missned, wife of the emirate's ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who has come in for some priase by the LiC.  Can Hussain hope to get away in Vatican city if he portrays the Christ in sexually objectionable poses? Forget Vatican, can he get away in Meghalaya that saw a furore over depiction of the Christ with a beer bottle?
I don't mean offence anyone mentioned above.  The comparison is meant only to expose the shocking insensitivity of the LiC's shameful defense. And a news paper that promptly and profusely apologized for accidentally depicting an image of the Prophet (that too on a Children's page) is defending someone who has painted sexually explicit images of religious deities revered by many under the guise of Freedom of expression. What happened to the paper in question's freedom of expression? Why did it apologize? MF Hussain is just another accused evading the clutches of law by running away from the country and refusing to be accountable for his actions. To give LiC a taste of his own medicine, the people of this country are more concerned about rocketing inflation, internal security and the agrarian crisis and not what happens to a sick mind that iundulges in blasphemy. By demonizing Hussain's detractors, the LiC is only cementing his place in the fool's paradise he has been living for quite a while

Water: Two conflicting viewpoints

The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : Water as the carrier of concord with Pakistan
Associated Press Of Pakistan ( Pakistan's Premier NEWS Agency ) - Water conflict - a potential nuclear flashpoint between Pak, India

Siddharth Varajadaran is smoking a pipe dream when he says water could
be the concord of peace with Pakistan. He is out of touch with reality.
Pakistan views it as a potential nuclear flashpoint and he does not even mention it in his article. He has only painted the rosy picture when the Pakistani establishment is screaming of a diplomatic offensive against India on water issue.

The jihadis have used Kashmir to justify their terror against India. Then our PM added Balochistan to the list of grievances and the new entrant to the list is water. "At one time, jihadis were interested only in the liberation of Kashmir,
but the water issue had ensured that Delhi, Pune and Kanpur were all
fair targets
", the JuD (the rechristened Lashkar-e-Toiba)  chief Abdul Rehman Makki said.

Jihadis are using violence and chindu is using propaganda to include water in the agenda for the Indo-Pak talks.

Why is chindu keen to sell us this pipe dream when it is evident that
Pakistan is keen to use water as an instrument of diversion in the
negotiations. Why this urge to talk to Pakistan and why add to the
agenda all those topics which Pakistan and the jihadis think are

Tilak started Hindutva Terrorism, says Praveen Swami

Praveen Swami traced Hindutva terrorism to the dawn of 20th century, with Bal Gangadhar Tilak being its originator. Meanwhile, the Religion of Peace is still in its "millitancy" stage and is struggling to graduate to "Islamic terrorism". So, when Pune blasts occurred, Siddharth Varadarajan asked if enough attention has been paid to the network of Hindu extremists. Praveen Swami said, some fear Hindutva group may have carried out the German Bakery bombing.
Hemant Karkare went after Hindutva terrorism just like Bush's WMD hunt in Iraq. He didn't live to see another day when the real terrorists caught up with him. Praveen Swami and Siddharth Varadarajan would do well to stop their hallucination project and get back to reality.
In the mean time, the police arrested 4 Kashmiri muslims in connection with the blasts.

cHindu parties on hearing Pak asks China to mediate with India

Recently Pak once again asked China to mediate with India on all issues including Kashmir. This being a regular strategy of Pak to involve the Chinks whenever they feel that the talks with India will not yeild a desired result.
Response from a Chinese analyst,
China would like to see progress in talks between India and Pakistan, and will encourage both countries to promote trust and dialogue,

One can expect an editorial shortly about the positive regional interference by the Chinese while bashing the US and Israel for doing the same. India should probably invite South Africa and Peru to mediate with Pakistan.

EC interpreting Islam

The Hindu : Front Page : Wearing burqa not an integral part of Islam: Election Commission
The Election Commission on Monday informed the Supreme Court that wearing a burqa by a Muslim woman was a mere religious custom, and not an integral part of Islam.
Now, we have the spectacle of Election Commission interpreting Islam. This should get ther rage boys of Islam all worked up.
the Commission said: “Article 25 of the Constitution does not confer unfettered rights to religious practice, but merely protects the essential or integral practice of any religion.”
While reasonable restrictions can be imposed on Freedom of Speech (guarenteed by Article 19), we have the court ruling unfettered rights to sobs like MoFo Hussain. The left-lib establishment was up in arms defending MoFo's rights. But they chose to ignore this cause of muslims women, who are being expolited by being exposed to a photographic film.
The counsel's argument that "the use of photographs in the rolls was likely to cause damage to the sentiments of Muslims as a whole" has to stand in our "secular" country.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Questioning UAE's quality of life

Reading the articles published by cHindu makes one question, are the writers as blind as a bat? (Well technically the bat has superb acuity of hearing, but you get the point). There is an article in cHindu, UAE quality of life ranked top where it quotes some Arabic magazine's paens towards the nation's quality of living based on some standards.

The Gulf nation has been globally ranked as the 15th best in the world, out of 160 countries or regions evaluated, Arabian Business said, citing the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)'s 2009 Quality of Life Index.
The ranking is a reflection of the prosperity enjoyed by the UAE over the past years and the result of ongoing strategic initiatives proposed by the government across all sectors, including economy, security, health and education, the report said.

What this article does not take into consideration is that the quality of living survey took into considerations the lifestyle of the nationals living there only. Human trafficking and modern slavery is still alive and living well in the UAE. Often men and women from south and southeast Asia and some nations in Africa are invited on pretense of work and good wages and then forced live in deplorable conditions one would consider as bonded slavery.
The ILO reports on the sad conditions of women doing domestic work in the UAE,
Foreign female domestic workers are isolated physically, psychologically, socially, culturally and in all aspects of human existence. However, they differ in their level of isolation. Some foreign female domestic workers live in an abusive environment of isolation. Others are able to interact socially and break through some of the physical and psychological barriers they face.

Or for that matter the horrific stories behind how the beautiful modern day Taj, the Burj Khalifa was constructed,
While we are not against progress, innovation and growth, we feel that during all the excitement about the opening of the the Burj Khalifa (formerly known as Burj Dubai), it is forgotten that those who built it, mainly south-Asian migrant workers, have paid a high price for this ambitious project. Those workers toiled 12 hour a day, 6 days a week for pay as little as $4 per day.....
Arabtec, which built the Burj Khalifa/Dubai houses its workers in filthy labor camps. One dweller of the Arabtec labor camp described it this way: “The latrines are so filthy we cannot use them, we are so disgusted. The roads are full of garbage and waterlogged. Living and moving about here is a great problem. We suffer greatly”. A BBC investigation came to similar conclusion about the overcrowded labor camps that overflowed with sewage.

The BBC did an investigative piece about the deplorable conditions about a year back. While expecting cHindu to do something like that is beyond question, one asks whether verifying from other sources before regurgitating information as facts is too much to ask?
Update: From a reader this is the

Independent's view of the insanity in Dubai

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pictures expose RahulG's social service

The original photo posted on cHindu.

With some comments:

Still think RG is serving the country?
(Hat tip to Sreejith and Panchajanya for bringing it to our attention).

Missing Right-wing intellectualism

The Pioneer > Online Edition > Call to the Righteous
Right-wing intellectualism has suffered suppression and self-marginalisation for far too long. A Saturday Special focus on the need for new initiatives

Udayan argues that missing Right-wing intellectualism is hurting India. Indeed, it is allowing left-wingers like Sidd Varadarajan to make ridiculous statement that absence of talks with Pakistan is hurting India.

Says Karan Thapar, host of a popular TV talk show: “One wishes there were non-RSS types willing to come out and articulate the conservative position, and so we have only a small pool of ‘known’ talent. But I trust the viewing public is wise enough to know that the views they express is only partisan and not representative of the vast majority of conservative Indians.”

Karan “sudden removal” Thapar’s statement shows the kind of arrogance that has become characteristic of leftist discourse. While the leftists continue to dominate the media, they are getting a good pasting on the internet. A more recent example being Vishnu Som’s hasty retreat from a Twitter discussion. But apart from this buzz from upwardly mobile section of the society, the right-wing has been pushed to insignificance in several areas.

The political right-wing is rudderless, right-wing media is almost absent and right-wing intellectualism has no footprint in mainstream discourse. Such is the dominance of the leftists that they are being condescending and outrightly dismissive of an alternative veiwpoint. This is not good for any democracy, even for one as flawed as ours. I can only hope that a strong counterweight in the right-wing emerges sooner than later.

Fwd:Different positions in sister publications

good summary by venkat ramanan. you almost never get to hear anything but the leftist view on chindu. but it makes the right noises on businessline. goes to show that chindu is one unscupulous capitalist preaching the opposite in its flagship publication.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Venkat Ramanan

The Hindu group's bigotry is well revealed in the way they operate the different newspapers under them. While The Hindu appeals to socialists, pseudo-secularists and communist morons in our country by indulging in bleeding heart liberalism and upholding the socialist characters of our country, its si(ni)ster publication "The Hindu businessline" is fiercely rightist when it comes to economics and business. Businessline advocates free markets wherever possible, shuns socialism, embraces realpolitiks and indulges in articles on opulences which please the business barons.

While The Hindu carries reader page articles written by VR Krishna Iyer, Fidel Castro, Xinhua, Sitaram Yechury, M K Bhadrakumar etc The Hindu Business line never lets these men take centre stage. Only rightists like S Parthasarathy, P V Indiresan, B S Raghavan etc get to pen down articles in businessline.

So, why this hypocrisy? A publication should carry same tone across all its si(ni)ster publications. Or is this a well planned game of targeting the right audience, pleasing them and milking them appropriately? Majority Indians are pseudo-secular morons and hence leftist Hindu would please them, where as the business elite is majority rightist and would be pleased by a rightist Business line. Isn't this what would be called bigotry?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Praveen Swami plumbs depths of yellow journalism

(Hat tip to Xinhua Ram and kkptn for bringing this article up)
cHindu used to be known for fair, comprehensive, conservative, reliable reporting. The "Maha Vishnu" of Mount Road was once a shining light in fair journalism. However most of those pillars have been desecrated under the fearless leadership of LiC. Praveen Swami following the glorious tradition set by his editor targets the bogeyman of "Hindutva terror" a creation of Indian MSM which has little proven evidence. He starts blaming Abhinav Bharat a little known organization for the German bakery bombing in Pune,
Last week’s bombing of the German Bakery in Pune has brought the ugly story of Abhinav Bharat — the Hindutva terrorist group Purohit helped found — back from the obscurity to which it was consigned by the Mumbai carnage, which took place just days after the trial in Nashik began.

This contradicts all evidence gathered by the various Indian investigation agencies, local police and the Pakistani organization which claimed to have conducted the bombing.
I'm not sure whether Praveen Swami is plain stupid or he wants to curry favor with the radical Islamists (like his pal Kuldip Nayar) that he makes insane claims without any proof. His only claims are based on heresy like this nugget from an unnamed Maharashtra police officer,
“Still”, says one Maharashtra police official involved in investigating both Hindutva and jihadist attacks, “you can’t help wondering — what if?”

When you are guessing why not start thinking whether the Pink Panther, Sauron and the Death Star were behind the attack? This article is leading towards defamation of Hindus as a violent crazed population without evidence and is cause for libel. There should be some effort to bring accountability into writing editorial pieces in major newspapers and not some a$$wipes.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Did King Tut die or did he not?

An obscure article in cHindu shows both a lack of understanding of the statement reported as news as well as the ability to question what was said. The article titled, Tutankhamun’s mystery solved has this statement by cHindu,
Egyptian archaeologists have claimed to have finally solved the mystery of the lineage of boy king Tutankhamun more than 30 centuries after the pharaoh was sealed in a gold coffin.

However in the same article Zahi Hawass of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, contradicts his own statements by making this vague statement,
We don’t know how King Tut died. We have begun DNA testing and we have made some wonderful discoveries. The results have been confirmed by the Journal of the American Medical Association and they will be publishing all the findings. It is very exciting. We will know who King Tut was

cHindu also claims,
Among the outstanding riddles, for example, is whether Tutankhamun’s mother was Queen Nefertiti

But later states,
Queen Nefertiti — whose mummy has yet to be discovered

This type of sensational journalism does not add any value to the facts being reported not does it help the reader understand the basic news in the article was that the results of DNA testing of a mummy discovered close to 100 years back will be announced in the next few days. Shouldn't the newspaper actually question why DNA testing which was available for years not used to resolve King Tut's death?
Perhaps the answer might lie in the motives of museums which wanted to raise a lot of money by parading Tut's mummified remains to gullible public.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why wont secular morons understand talks with Pak is doomed?

Through all the brouhaha about MNIK and the comments of a certain superstar that "It (Pakistan) is a great neighbour to have. We are great neighbours, They are good neighbours." the secular Indian mainstream media maintained its focus on the Government of India's initiative that talks should be conducted with Pakistan.
In response the terrorists sponsored by the Govt. of Pakistan or its lapdog the ISI decided to send a gift to the people of Pune. There are at least 4 dead and 40+ wounded with the fatalities bound to rise.
In response the watchdog of secularism Sidd Varadarajan blows his rusty trumptet stating
likely motive: to ensure the forthcoming dialogue between India and Pakistan is sabotaged even before it has a chance to get off the ground.

What is this logic of SV's to talk to Pakistan?
the government for trying to meet its goal of ending terrorism from across the border through both a focussed dialogue and renewed emphasis on homeland security

Why is this logic bullsh!t and ignorant?
  • Pakistan has claimed that the terrorists are independant actors and it does not have control over them. While there has been more than sufficient evidence to prove that the ISI with the GoP's backing has funded and armed them over the last few decades. This stance is not going to change. What does Pak have to gain by trying to control these so called terrorists who are Pakistanis, funded by their Govt, supported by its people? Nothing.
  • The US which is behind the scenes forcing India to talk to Pak has its own vested strategy of an early exit from the Af-Pak region after handing the security keys to Pak which means India will have to deal with the dual threat of extremists from both Pak and the free Taliban who will have a free hand in the region.
  • Lack of concern for the Indian lives lost in the battle against terror. Every year it seems hundreds of lives are lost with neither the perpetrators punished or their instigators held accountable. The media simply ignores the lives lost and the families who have to lead lives without their loved ones. People like Sidd Varadarajan would sit in his couch and smoke a cigar without caring a hoot and preach his philosophies about the common man who has to walk in fear not knowing where an IED laid by his friendly neighbor from Pakistan (or a local terrorist funded by Pak).
    Indeed, that they are likely to be a more effective instrument for pressing one’s demands is precisely why terrorist organisations are so keen to ensure the proposed dialogue never takes off.

  • All this is a moot point if Pak had a strong Govt. like China, unfortunately it does not. There are multiple power centers the Govt., Army and ISI are all independent power centers and do not trust each other. There is no way India can successfully negotiate with all 3 now, when it could not do successfully when Mushy was in power and Zardari has no control over his chowkidar let alone the ISI.

There is an old adage, "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me". The media has been insanely preaching rubbish like friendship based on "secular" values when the Islamic nation of Pakistan has deemed it fit to wage proxy war on India come hell or high water. This is indication of high treason against our country. It is time for India to strike down this menace once and for all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Shiv Sena, Migrants and Nativist Movements: A Reality Check

Ever since the MNS/Raj Thackeray saga began and more recently, with the Shiv Sena/SRK episode, the media has been thrashing the Shiv Sena and its more recent variant, the MNS with a heavy hand every day. The same treatment has been meted out to the Maharashtra government which brought forth a language and domicile requirement for taxi licenses. The latest strike comes from Rajdeep Sardesai with his open letter to Uddhav Thackeray. First of all, let me clarify, I am not a fan of the Shiv Sena or its violent methods. Political parties have a fundamental obligation to adopt and follow democratic methods and respect the rule of law; any party not doing that should be taken to task. However, when the system proves unworkable and local sentiments, though universal, are at variance with the law of the land, the prospect of violence is a reality and a debate becomes necessary to decide whether a change in the law is called for.

That said, I come to the subject matter of this post. The media has only been looking at this issue from the standpoint of which party/leader stands to gain/lose, how other parties have responded to this and what their political angle is. The point of writing this is to ask the questions the mainstream media has refused to ask or answer: Firstly, is the demand of the Shiv Sena for preference to locals politically illegitimate? Are the allegations and concerns of the Shiv Sena or the MNS regarding the welfare of Maharashtrian workers valid?

Regarding the first question, the answer is absolutely not. Not only have numerous states provided different forms of preferences to locals in post-independence India, the system existed even before that. Bengalis and Marwaris migrating to Assam even in the 19th century led to resistance from locals, migrants came to dominate the Chhota Nagpur region of Bihar at the expense of local tribals who were unhappy with the arrangement, Biharis opposed Bengalis gaining prominent government positions in the Bihar government, north Indian ghair-mulkis came to dominate the Hyderabad Nizam's administration leading to resentment from local mulkis, an important factor in the Telengana movement, etc. The more recent attacks on the Pundits in J&K are of course well known.

All of this was well known at the time of independence itself. When the protest of Biharis against Bengali dominance in their government in 1938 became an issue, Babu Rajendra Prasad, then a leader of the Bihari Congress concluded that 'Bengalis who have not made Bihar their home but have come here for service or profession or business' should be excluded from appointments. He argued that it is just and proper that the residence of a province should get preference in their own province in the matter of public services educational facilities. Bengalis in Bihar, not distinguishing between the native-born, the long-term residents, and recent migrants 'speak a different language and insist on having Bengali schools. They should have due and fair share- no more and no less- in services also. Noting that domicile requirements for government employment existed in most provinces at the time, he further said, "The desire of Provincials to seek employment in their own locality is natural and not reprehensible, and rules providing for such employment to them are not inconsistent with the high ideals of the Congress, particularly when they exist in all provinces".

This question also came up in the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly when Jaspath Roy Kapoor of U.P. wanted to add 'residence' in addition to 'place of birth' to the text of article 10, the non-discrimination clause of the draft constitution. Alladi Krishnaswamy Aiyer contended on the other hand that residential qualifications ought to be permitted for the purpose of state employment and sought to amend the provision to allow parliament that authority. Various other arguments were also put forward in favor of allowing regions the right to prefer locals over others. Ambedkar urged the adoption of both of these amendments stating that while residential qualifications may detract from the value of a common citizenship, 'At the same time, you cannot allow people who are flying from one province to another, from one state to another as mere birds of passage without any roots just to come, apply for posts and so to say, take the plums and walk away...We are merely following the practice already established in the provinces'. The compromise thus finalized was to bar discrimination on grounds of residence as a general rule under article 16(2) while allowing Parliament to pass state-specific enactments as exceptions to it, a power accorded under article 16(3). This need for a balance between these conflicting interests was also later echoed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

In practice, given that migrations are almost always internal and the perceived gains of one state invariably rivals the losses of another, this has proven to be unworkable. Barring one instance in 1957, Parliament has thus never managed to enact any law granting states such freedom to discriminate. In that case, it allowed four states that special privilege - Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh - all states with agitations and conflicts involving outsiders. It is not surprising then that regional groups, despite local popularity of their cause, are thus left with one of two undemocratic choices: intimidate stakeholders in the system to bring change locally through unlawful means or force the hand of parliament. Either of these would invariably involve recourse to violence. Is it any surprise then to see the Shiv Sena engage in violence periodically with the silent acquiescence, connivance or tacit endorsement of the ruling dispensation and perhaps even the broader political fraternity in the state? Should it surprise anyone that the Shiv Sena manages to get away with it because, notwithstanding the media brouhaha, political parties see this as a popular stance and are reluctant to confront it?

Coming to the second point regarding the welfare of the marathi manoos, I am aware of no study that has systematically studied the impact of migrants on locals in Mumbai. But there are many other studies looking at the impact of immigration on local labor markets in other countries across the globe. They vary in their determination of the extent of impact but none of them suggests that large scale migration will have not an impact on employment opportunities for locals (see this paper for instance which reviews relevant literature). Some have suggested that while higher end job opportunities and wages grow with immigration and expansion of the local economy, lower end jobs suffer owing to greater availability of cheap labor. That finding matches the grievances of marathi manoos as articulated by MNS/Shiv Sena which have insisted that contractors and other employers prefer outside workers as they work cheap and are less likely to 'cause trouble' as they are not as well organized. One may or may not sympathize with such arguments but there is little doubt that there are real consequences. Furthermore, in the coming years, as fertility rates fall and economic growth hastens in the southern states relatively faster than their northern BIMARU counterparts, migration is very likely to grow with southern metropolises facing the prospect of cheap labor, growth of slums, heavy strain on infrastructure, higher crime and various forms of sectarian conflict. Appeals for peace, calm and media entreaties for national unity and broadmindedness may not bring much relief when people in overpopulated urban areas fight over limited resources. Rhetorical attacks on the Shiv Sena will resolve nothing; theatrics over Shah Rukh Khan and his new movie will fade from public consciousness but these issues including the periodic recurrence of episodic violence will remain. It is therefore better to debate them and find answers today rather than wait till they are exacerbated to a point where emotion overtakes reason and violent conflict becomes a routine and enduring feature of urban India.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

N.Ram passes the litmus test of secularism

The Hindu : National : Muslims want 10 per cent quota on backward criterion
‘It has become the litmus test of secularism’
The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : Moving forward cautiously
Large sections of Muslims are no doubt socially and educationally backward, and need the constitutionally-enabled special provision for reservation in education and employment.
...the Centre and the States must formulate a comprehensive reservation scheme for the socially and educationally backward classes belonging to all religions including Islam, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission.
N.Ram has come out openly in support of reservations for Muslims. He is asking for the formulation of a reservation scheme that can pass legal scrutiny.
There are so many factors like: history, caste in hinduism and islam, social factors contributing to muslim backwardness, effectiveness of reservations, etc. I will be surprised if we see a scrutiny of reservations, on any one of the several parameters, in the pages of chindu in the coming days. The theme has already been composed by N.Ram; the foot soldiers will blindly follow the beat.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

C.P.C avoids blaming Congress for high inflation

The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : The blame game around food prices
Among the reasons reportedly cited for the price rise in the course of deliberations at the conference were increases in the minimum support price for farm produce instituted to help the farming community, increases in international prices, increases in demand “due to the increase in purchasing power” resulting from higher growth, excess liquidity in the system, “inefficiencies” in marketing of farm produce and the high cost of intermediation.
C.P.Chandrasekhar makes the right observation that the PM is acknowledging that high inflation is inevitable. At this point, C.P.Chandrasekhar could have listed down what he thought were the reasons for inflation. But that meant he would have to give recommendations to the Congress Government. The article is striking for this reason: it tells the State Governments what to do to counter the problems created by the Congress Government at the Center but it has no recommendations for the Central Government.

Take this example: "All this helps divert attention from the longer term and more recent
policies of the Central government that were responsible for generating
the current high levels of commodity price inflation even when
demand-supply imbalances are restricted to a few commodities.
" Clearly, C.P.C lays the blame on the Central Government. Then he moves on to say how PDS and Forex reserves cannot resolve the high inflation problem. Who said they can? Because he did not identify the root cause of the inflation, he failed to come up with solutions. But the set of recommendations he came up with betray his own political affiliations.

At one point, he was giving recommendations to non-Congress governments on how to tackle the problems created by Congress Government. Shocker!

Overall, a poor article with improper analysis and useless set of recommendations.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Amnesty International “collaborating” with pro-jehadis

An insider accuses an NGO of being pro-jihadi and is kicked out. Amnesty fights for human rights and freedom of speech for speech for jihadis but cant afford to give these liberties to its own employees. Sigh!
The Hindu : National : Amnesty International in row over “collaborating” with pro-jehadis
Amnesty International was on Monday at the centre of a growing row after one of its own senior officials accused it of “collaborating” with suspected pro-jehadi elements in the name of supporting human rights.

Clown Prince travels in local train. Big deal.

When Indian MSM reaches abysmal depths, there is cHindu to plumb the abyss to greater depths. Rahul Gandhi's "train ride" in Mumbai has touched the Indian media which has behaved like teenagers ogling a Bollywood matinee idol. Taking sadistic pleasure in the clown prince's antics, cHindu grinds its axe against Shiv Sena which made another "Mumbai for Mubaikars" stand.
For the Shiv Sena, which came out in spurts to protest his visit with black flags, Mr. Gandhi’s journey was like a slap in the face, even as he transited through its bastion Dadar while going to Ghatkopar.

The entire article would be valid statements of the clown prince's bravery if he went alone on a train. But snuck into the last few paragraphs is the real truth about the train journey,
There were about a 100 police officers with him. We escorted him as he took the over bridge to change from Western to Central.Mumbai police commissioner D. Sivanandan, who also had to ride with Mr. Gandhi till Ghatkopar, said “plan B” was only known to him. “For a policeman this can be a security nightmare but it went off well,”

Yup the clown prince needs his posse to travel in the local train. Its an event like the annual lunch the Chief Ministers have with the poor and then puke it out.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

India begins dialogue with Pak

The Government has set in motion the talks process and then unleashed a propaganda in the newspapers. Suddenly there was a spurt of activity with articles and debates on why India should talk to Pakistan. A few days ago, Siddharth Varadarajan was telling us in chindu that absence of dialogue is hurting India. The FTN show on CNN-IBN had constituted a 2-1 expert panel in favour of talks with Pakistan and promptly concluded the same based on airtime. Next, we will see a flurry of articles discussing how peace has been established in our times because the talks have started again. The media is hand in gloves with the congress.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is setting the agenda for an all-encompassing talks and is using it as an opportunity to legitimize its crumbling democratic infrastructure.  And our leaders will go in to get results more shameful than the Sharm-el-sheik. It is not because they are incompetent but because they are sold out. Just like our media.
The Hindu : Front Page : India awaits Pakistani response to talks offer
Invitation to discuss ‘issues affecting peace, security’ conveyed two weeks ago

Reporting allegations instead of news

Chindu has now come down to report allegations instead of news. What, is this some sort of minority appeasement, chindu style? Or is it just indulging in speculations and wild allegations? Even if the "Special correspondent" wrote this, did the editor not read it and find the oddity.
The Hindu : National : BJP questions Digvijay’s visit to Azamgarh
The Bharatiya Janata Party has questioned the visit of Congress leader Digvijay Singh to Azamgarh and his alleged meeting with the families of alleged terrorists.
hattip to xinhuaram

Another rotten piece from N.Ram

It is as if N.Ram pulled out a few anti-RSS, anti-BJP statements that came close to the topic from his communist library and then ordered those statements to form this rotten piece of edit. It is when N.Ram writes about BJP/RSS that you see his most acerbic comments. He still has not forgotten the promise he made to Pakistan that he will take care of BJP.
The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : A new kind of discordance
From Gujarat 2002 to Orissa 2008-2009, the country has been witness to a pattern of violence against minorities whose primary driver was the thought process that motivated the Parivar rank-and-file.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Pakistani cricketer attacked on the field at WACA

Going alongside with the series of attacks on Indians, now a Pakistani cricketer has been attacked during the fifth one day international between Pakistan and Australia at WACA, Perth. The first part of the below video also shows Shahid Afridi's ball tampering. The second part shows Khalid Latif being taken down by a fan(?).

Shahid Afridi EATING A CRICKET BALL .. !!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Absence of dialogue is hurting Pakistan, not India

The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : Absence of dialogue is hurting India

Using the recent auction of players in IPL 3, Siddarth Varadarajan is arguing that the absence of dialogue is hurting India. Evidence? Sidd said so.

In the IPL 3 auction, of the 66 players on offer, only 11 players were sold. None of the 11 Pakistani players was grabbed. IPL is a windfall for the cricketers who have managed to get a contract. It is a huge money spinning machine for the BCCI, an advertising bonanza for the corporates, a fillip to our economy, and a great entertainment source to the public. Apart from the Pakistanis (and by extension, our jhollawallas) whom nobody will be missing, it is hurting none.

There were security concerns surrounding IPL 2 as it was identified as a prime target for terrorist attacks. IPL tournament coincided with the 2009 General elections. The Centre refused to commit additional paramilitary forces to enhance the security at the games. So the venue was shifted out of India to South Africa.

IPL2, just like the IT sector in Bangalore, represented the economic success of India. This is what made it a prime target for the terrorist attacks most of which were originating in Pakistan. BCCI had the option to invest in its own security arrangements or cancel the IPL2. Or shift the venue out of India in a short span of time and incur a huge cost and manage a logistical nightmare. That it chose to do so indicates that the decision was dictated by sports, business and common sense. It was not aimed at enhancing India's soft power or brand or bilateral relations with South Africa. Being a commercial entity responsible to its stakeholders, it took a decision that was in the best interest of all its stakeholders. Was it a snub on India? Did it suggest an inability by India to provide security to it citizens and guests? No.

If IPL 3 auction is a snub on Pakistan, by the same logic shifting the IPL 2 was a snub on India. But there was no hysteria then. We understood it as a decision driven by sports, business and common sense, just as the IPL 3 auction is. No need to get all worked up into a frenzy, Sidd.

Pakistan is a pariah in international cricket. All countries have canceled their tours to Pakistan citing security concerns. Over the past 3 years, South Africa played 2 matches in 2007 and Sri Lanka played 2 matches in 2009. The Sri Lankan tour was abandoned mid-way because of a deadly attack on the cricketers in which several players were injured. If countries have stopped touring Pakistan, it is not construed as a snub. It is plain common sense. Pakistan must understand that it cannot reap the commercial or diplomatic benefits of cricket if it indulges in terrorism, whether within or outside its borders.

If Pakistani cricketers had to be selected in order to promote people-to-people contact or for some diplomatic reason, next there will be demands to specially accommodate them in Indian reality shows. Before we know, there will be talks of reservations for Pakistanis. Thanks, but no thanks. Private enterprises are better left alone. We have seen the effects of 50 years of state intervention during the Nehruvian Stalinist era. Private enterprises in the hands of Indian government are disastrous tools of coercive diplomacy.

IPL auction is not a result of lack of official contact between the two governments. It is because Pakistan has pushed itself to irrelevance in cricket. Pakistan, along with West Indies and Bangladesh, is at the bottom of the rankings. And Pakistani players are notorious for their mercurial performance. Now, India vs Australia rivalry is considered bigger than the rivalry with Pakistan. Put simply, nobody is dying to see Pakistani players in IPL 3. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, the IPL auction decision was influenced by the middle class who form the bulk of the consumer base. And they did not like the idea of gifting their money to Pakistanis. Or atleast that is what the club owner thought.

The worry about IPL auction being used by Jihadi elements within Pakistan to gain moral high ground is an absurd argument. In fact, it shows a cynical manipulation by the terrorist elements to recruit or motivate its cadre. Such elements do not need a legitimate grievance for it does not take much effort to create imaginary ones. Siddarth Varadarajan wrote articles on Gujarat taking liberties with truth. LeT used material by leftists, seculars and jholawallas to reinforce the message to the terrorists of 26/11 attack that muslims are being persecuted in India.

On using India's soft power to restore normalcy in our relations with Pakistan, there is no strong case for India to enhance its soft power keeping Pakistan in view. In fact, India will better be able to enhance its soft power by ignoring Pakistan. Take the case of Bollywood which is hugely influential. By contrast, Pakistan's film industry has all but shut down. Bollywood's soft power will grow by focusing on India rather than making Urdu films focused on Pakistan. Themes based on Pakistan will not find resonance in many places even in Pakistan because the Islamists will ban them.

BCCI toppled the British and Australian hegemony over cricket by riding on India's economic growth. Take the case of IPL. It is a highly lucrative business model that emerged to cater to the Indian consumer and not targeted at any specific external market. Once again, it is a sign of India's growing prosperity and domestic market potential. India's soft power lies both in its growing financial clout and the access to its domestic market.

Under the given circumstances, denying Pakistanis the use of Indian soft power is as effective a tool as using India's soft power on Pakistan in negotiations. For Pakistanis, India provides a way for redeeming themselves from the ghettos to which the radical Islamists have pushed their society. This is what the IPL auction demonstrates. Pakistani cricketers have been denied access to India's domestic market and it hurt them.

So there is no urgent need for India to get onto the negotiation table. If we have negotiated with Pakistan for decades without conceding an inch, that is no reason to continue doing so. Old strategies do no hold in the changed situation. India and Pakistan are on two different trajectories. While India is rising, Pakistan is on a self-destructive path. Pakistan is bound to look at events from the old prism, but there is no need for India to get hyphenated with Pakistan.

Just as accommodating Pakistani players in IPL provides them an easy outlet from the Islamist ghettos, dialogue with India provides legitimacy to the disintegrating Pakistani democratic establishment. India must stand firm and not get into talks until Pakistan cracks down on the extremist elements within Pakistan.

Zardari losing his cool

N.Ram's iPad review

I am glad N.Ram doesn't write too often on technological issues.
In its present form, the iPad does not address any particular market segment. It might be a technological marvel but it does not have any buyers. Watch the cnet review here.
Apple embracing all platforms and going global and open? What rubbish! It is evident that N.Ram doesn't have a great deal of understanding on Apple's business model. It definitely needs to embrace web-technologies but what other platform is iPad supposed to embrace? Steve Jobs repeatedly says that Apple believes in making hardware to go along with the software. The integrated approach is a key business objective. iPod and iPhone achieved their success not by going open.
The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : Time of iPad
For the media, the iPad opens up fresh possibilities on how content can be created and distributed and, crucially, monetised.
To become the convergence device of choice, Apple’s latest creation must aim to embrace all web-technologies and platforms and be global and open.
And while on the subject, here are a few ipad video jokes:
Mad Tv iPad video
The iPad is a comedy gold mine
Hitler responds to iPad