Friday, April 30, 2010

A Brief Response to Mr.Venugopal: Breaking Up SC Must Be Part of Broader Judicial Reform

Today's article by K.K.Venugopal, a well known figure of the bar, proposing a set of four appellate courts to deal with the majority of general appeals while reserving only a small number of cases dealing with important constitutional questions is a welcome step in dealing with judicial reform. The issues are complex enough to require at least a journal article for their detailed exposition. This post does not attempt that but makes a few observations which need to be remembered while considering his suggestions.

1. An appraisal of the effectiveness of Mr.Venugopal's suggestions can only be made by recalling how and why the SC has landed in its present predicament. As he points out, the basic philosophy of the judiciary has undergone a shift over time with its primary obligation to make good law for the country giving way to its Gandhian desire to wipe every tear off every eye. That led the court to take up all sorts of cases, expand its own powers to deal with them and interpret provisions to benefit 'progressive' agendas. So long as this basic philosophy remains the guiding principle of the Supreme Court, adding another layer of courts will do little to ease the burden. It will simply add one more layer of appeals to the existing ones, the current trend of mounting arrears will continue to add more cases to the SC's docket and not very long from now, a huge burden will return and things will be back to where they were before the plan was initiated.

2. To add to this, there is also a considerable problem of mistrust. SC judges do not always fully trust HCs because it suspects High Court judges may be unduly influenced by local politics to do full justice in many cases. Likewise, HC judges do not fully trust trial courts because they suspect trial court judges to be incompetent or worse, corrupt. That leads judges at every level to want to take a close look at the overall trial with respect to every appeal coming before them. Added to this, judges do not have a well developed system of law clerks doing most of the case review and of course, if they do not trust judges, they are not all that likely to trust law clerks with important responsibilities. So they end up accepting too many appeals and with having to do all the review themselves, an accumulation of arrears is inevitable unless more and more judges are added to deal with the burden. In addition to that is the manner in which cases are accepted by the courts. Judges hold preliminary hearings of the parties before admitting a petition and that takes up a lot of their time. Even if appellate courts are set up, appeals with their judgments will continue to lie with the Supreme Court which will still have to go through each of them and decide which ones are worthy of a full fledged hearing and in depth consideration.

3. So setting up appellate courts is unlikely to solve this issue unless there is a change in the philosophy and discipline of individual judges and a more efficient case management system is evolved. The two problems are more closely interconnected than they seem. Without judges willing to delegate powers and police themselves, no system is likely to work. The only way to change that is to be able to attract the best available legal talent and in addition, create a new culture in the appellate judiciary with timely and efficient disposal of cases as one of the principal aims of its core mission.

4. Many judges in HCs are those elevated from the trial courts and almost all judges in the SC were earlier judges in the HCs. In the British (as distinct from the French) model, this is not considered ideal. The best lawyers are those in the private bar and the effectiveness of the functioning of the system is judged by its ability to attract them. Based on that criterion, our system obviously scores very low since none of the well known names in the profession even dream of joining the bench. That problem is partly that of pay which has been addressed to some extent by implementation of the sixth pay commission but more importantly the early age of retirement. Lawyers in the bar practice well into their 80s and the age limits of 62 and 65 prescribed for retiring HC and SC judges all but rules out the smartest talent from even considering the bench as a serious career prospect. Contrast this with the US where federal judges are both life tenured and retire with full pension. Mr.Venugopal's suggestion to raise the bar to 68/70 may be a practical suggestion but is unlikely to be adequate.

5. There is a nexus among judicial philosophy, discipline and talent but the first two are also distinct aspects. In the developed West, appellate courts recognize that their primary duty to make good law for the country trumps their obligation towards petitioners in court. Their main job is not to solve the public's problems but to settle prominent questions of law for the benefit of the bar. In many cases, courts have a choice between interpreting a law in a way so as to be favorable to a petitioner before them (and in that sense, 'just') but end up making bad law for the rest of the country with hundreds of others having to endure its consequences for years to come or the reverse. In most countries, that choice would be quite clearly resolved in the latter's favor but in India, even the SC has tended to favor the former delivering 'individualized justice' rather than laying down clear principles to guide lawyers and litigants in scores of future cases. This case specific approach is, in a sense, typical of trial court judges who are required, by the nature of their job and temperament, to focus on doing justice to the aggrieved victim(s) before them but adopting the same approach at the level of appellate courts ends up making the entire system dysfunctional. Today, the big challenge to changing that culture stems not only from a lack of talent but also media pressure. Restoring a measure of political accountability must therefore also be a vital part of judicial reform.

6. One last point is that a large part of the SC's case burden is owing to special leave petitions filed under Art.136. The framers were under the misimpression that this provision would seldom be used but it turned out that the SC was flooded with these petitions almost right from the time when the constitution was adopted. To this day, they constitute a huge part of the docket. I suspect Mr.Venugopal's proposal will take away this responsibility from the SC (it ought to do so if the measure is to be meaningful at all) but without significant limitations being imposed on the scope of appeal or the grant of relief, the same problem simply ends up being transferred mutatis mutandis to the newly formed appellate courts.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Anand Jon vs Joseph Jeyapaul

Both Anand Jon and Joseph Jeyapaul are christians who used their respective professions to gain access to minors and sexually abuse them. Anand Jon is a fashion designer and Joseph Jeyapaul a catholic priest. Charges, trial, conviction of Anand Jon and travails of Anand Jon's family regularly made it to front page, national and international sections. Below are a few links:

Joseph Jeyapaul's crime came to light in a different context - catholic priests have been involved in child abuse scandal at a global scale and the catholic church was in deep crisis. Joseph Jeyapaul's crime would have brought the same kind of attention on the church in India. It would have seriously affected church's agenda in India. So, it found a mention in Tamilnadu section where few would bother to check for it. Thanks to an alert reader for pointing it out or the news item could have so easily been missed.

There is another Tamilian catholic blighter (David?) who was caught in the paedophilia ring. I dont know if chindu reported it but my guess is, if it did, it will take some effort to find it without some google skills. What about Vijay Godugunuru? Similar crimes to Anand Jon's but a very different treatment from chindu.

Even before the present catholic child abuse scandal, we have had our fair share of scandals with the church. We heard of Sister Abhaya's case. And the case of mysterious missing girls from the catholic Divine Retreat Center in Kerala. The book "Amen" by Sister Jesme gives a clear indication of the extent of corruption and sexual abuse. The Indian angle to the catholic child abuse should have made news headlines and called for investigative journalism.  But chindu has shown a good deal of devotion in protecting church's interests in India.

To get a real sense of the contrast, look at the way the media hounded Swami Nityananda. Strictly speaking, it was a private affair between two consenting adults with no crime involved. By entering into his private space, the media was at fault for invading his privacy. But then he is a hindu and a fit candidate to be pronounced guilty by media trial. On the other hand, the catholic priests are super secular and so they are beyond media scrutiny. So, even when the foreign journalists expose them, our media people quietly ignore it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coverage on catholic sexual abuse

From what I remember, after N.Ram's editorial (a case of better late than never), there was another article before the latest one. Below are some excerpts from that article. To me, linking with anti-semitism sounded outrageous. A balanced edit by N.Ram was followed by two articles, one of which projected the church as a victim and the other blamed the people for having a "general liberal hostility" towards the church.
But the screening also comes amid a complex subplot in the sexual abuse crisis in which defenders of the Pope have sought to associate him with Pope Pius XII and have likened criticism of the Vatican's handling of the sexual abuse crisis to anti-Semitism.

On Good Friday, the preacher of the papal household, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, delivered a sermon in St. Peter's Square, citing a letter that he said was from a Jewish friend who had compared what he called "the violent and concentric attacks against the church" to anti-Semitism, angering both victims and Jewish groups.

In an interview last week, the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, denounced what he called "unjust attacks" on the Pope and compared criticism of the church for its handling of sexual abuse to "the offensive against Pius XII for his actions during the last World War." 

Monday, April 26, 2010

The villain is the Vatican

The innumerable cases of child abuse by catholic priests is an indication of the pervasiveness of paedophilia in the church. The complicity of the church, beginning with the pope, in trying to protect the criminals from law is disgusting. This catholic behaviour is prompting public response, which is to go with the indifference in the West towards the church. The fall in believing flock, shortage of priests and a general decline in christianity in the west is because the church is not able to make a significant difference to people's lives. Whether you would like to call indifference as general liberal hostility is debatable. To me, it sounds more like an attempt to put the church as a victim. But what I definitely would not like to see is any kind of let up in prosecuting the child abuse offenders. This demand does not come from any general position of hostility towards the church but from a secular(in its actual meaning and not as is used in the Indian context) viewpoint. This is not some kind of witchhunt (as practised by the church against pagans). The most catholic of godmen have been involved in child abuse or abetting child abuse. Bring these catholic apostles to justice and let the law take its own course.

As for chindu, I hope it resists from publishing any articles which project the church as a victim of some sort of false propaganda. So far as its coverage on the scandal is concerned, when there was an uproar worldwide about the scandal, chindu dug itself deep in sand. When more and more cases came to light, the news dragged on and there was no end in sight. Then, there was one editorial and a brief mention in the international page. After another long silence, we are beginning to see those articles that are more sympathetic to the church being reproduced in chindu.
The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : Fiction finds its villains in the Vatican
These books, though, draw on a general liberal hostility to Catholicism (because of its opposition to abortion rights and alleged misogyny) and, in the works of Mr. Brown and Mr. Pullman, the Vatican may also be a surrogate for other disgusts.

Jackass of the week - Sid Varadarajan

Guess what Mr. Pompous windbag is at it again. Jumping like a circus monkey asking for peanuts, our venerable journalist is asking for peace with Pakistan more than Pakistan asks the US for loans.
For this you Sir are the Jackass of this week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

TV channels cover BJP's price rally by "making people complain" about traffic jams

This is an example of the visceral hatred the media has towards BJP. The issue of price rise is a serious one what with the inflation of essential commodities staying at almost 20% for some time now. Over two lakh people attended the rally at a time when the mercury is pushing upwards of 44C. Nitin Gadkari fainted due to the heat. The price rise issue was close to the people and the rally in the heat was a brave effort by BJP. But it was almost blanked out by our media. Making people complain about traffic jams caused by the rally against price rise is really sick. It just goes to show the state of media in our country.

The Pioneer > Online Edition : >> Media missing the Indian agenda
While a trivial event like the IPL are sought to be covered with all seriousness, the serious issues of price rise and terrorism are sought to be treated as triviality. The television channels on Wednesday morning were busy “making people complain” about traffic jams caused by the rally.

More of the usual stuff from S.V.

Siddharth Varadarajan comes back with more of the usual stuff. Talk to Pakistan even if they wont dismantle their terror network. Talk to them even if they Pakistan wont stop killing Indians through terrorist attacks. Keep talking even if it hurts.

If it is in Pakistan's DNA, can anything change it? But Siddharth Varadarajan is talking like a paid mercenary of Pakistani establishment. And N.Ram is publishing this stuff in his paper, keeping in line with the promise he made to Pakistan to take care of its interests in India. This is the reason why you dont see chindu even obliquely mentioning that Pakistan should dismantle its terror network.
The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : Time to end the impasse with Pakistan
Of course, the dialogue did not end cross-border terrorism or extinguish the links between the Pakistani security agencies and violent extremism as some on the Indian side might have hoped. But that was always an improbable shot given the DNA of the Pakistani establishment.

V.R.Krishna Iyer asking Hinduism to follow Christianity

This is an obnoxious article by that senile V.R.Krishna Iyer. If Sabarimala and Tirupati do not have the funds to provide adequate facilities to the devotees it is because their finances are managed by the government. And these are among the richest religious places in the world. Whereas our government does not interfere in the administration of churches and mosques.

V.R.Krishna Iyer, who has given the example of Sai Baba, must be knowing that many of the services provided by this organization are by the tireless labour offered by the faithful. If Sabarimala and Tirupati and several other Hindu temples are not able to follow this model, it is because they do not have control over administration. It is managed by our "secular" government. But V.R.Krishna Iyer comes up with an astoundingly stupid suggestion for Hinduism to follow the example of Christianity. Our Editor-in-Chief, N.Ram, who is a christian by injection, did not think it necessary to edit this piece.
The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : Religious places and alms-seeking
Many churches are built by the tireless labour offered for free by the faithful. Hinduism can follow that example.

Hawking claims Aliens exist gives proof

Stephen Hawking claimed that Aliens exist and could be a danger for all humans.
“I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.

When asked about proof he gave these photographs (note poor quality)

and this one,


CSK wins!

cHindu breaks the news which already broken on live TV, internet, radio, telegram, post card that Chennai Super Kings won the IPL T20 2010. Is there a more valuable Indian sportsman than MS Dhoni? Maybe, but he'd be on the very top of a short list.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

From Praveen Swami, with hate

The Hindu : Opinion / Leader Page Articles : To Bangalore, with hate
In 2002, a drunken New Year's fight in the beach village of Marad sparked off violence that lasted a year, claiming thirteen lives. Hundreds of Muslim families fled the area.
Praveen Swami has given a nice little twist to the Marad massacre to put the blame on Hindus and claim Muslim victimhood as the cause of jihadi terrorism. But the real culprits in Marad massacre are Cong govt and Muslim league. You can read a more detailed report at the below link from Indian Express. :: Kerala sits on riot report indicting Cong govt, Muslim League
Marad erupted again, much more violently, at sunset on May 2, 2003. Armed men chopped and hacked eight Hindu fishermen to death on the beach. One assailant was reportedly hacked by mistake in the melee. The killers then escaped into the local Juma Masjid.

The commission’s report notes the submission of then Kozhikode Police Commissioner T K Vinod Kumar that hundreds of local Muslim women converged on the mosque to prevent the police from entering it to catch the killers.
The link between Nazar and Marad is too weak and is just a wild speculation. But what prompted Nasir to seek jihad in 1991? "Er, he was planning ahead for retaliating against the Babri demolition", Praveen Swami would say is my guess.
For all the technological investments in intelligence made since the November 2008 carnage in Mumbai, the attacks in Pune and Bangalore have made clear that the police are yet to penetrate the jihadist cells responsible for the terror offensive from 2005 onwards — a failure that bodes ill for the future.
It is the same guy, Praveen Swami, who was saying that the police should spend their time investigating Hindutva terror groups. May be, this idiot thinks that the police can penetrate jihadist cells by investigating Hindutva terror groups. Such is the twisted logic of secularism.

N.Ram's twitter clarification on Reader's Editor

Hat tip to Sudhir who had this conversation with N.Ram seeking clarification on the remit of Reader's Editor.

Interaction with N.Ram on Readers Editor of The Hindu

I had an interesting discussion with N.Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu group, on my complaints about how the Readers Editor of The Hindu is not talking about the views of readers... following is our conversation.

For those who don't use twitter, here's how you should understand the conversation:

All conversations starting with @nramind are those I wrote to him. All those starting with @ssudhirkumar are those he wrote to me.

@nramind. sir, when was the last time the reader's editor actually wrote about reader's greivances? Why is he writing parallel editorials

@ssudhirkumar: The Readers' Editor is an independent, critical, reflective voice. The remit is not to parrot or 'reflect' other voices!

@nramind i am confused now, when did we ask him to "parrot" our voices? he seldom talks abt readers views.. what is the pt of RE then?

@ssudhirkumar The Guardian (our model) & The Hindu have Terms of Ref for RE:

@ssudhirkumar Within Terms of Ref., each Readers's Editor fashions own role, finds & develops an indep, critical, reflective voice.

@nramind "To write a regular column addressing one or several aspects of readers' concerns, suggestions, and complaints,..."

@nramind that was picked from terms of reference... in the last 10 columns by the RE, how many have adhered to this term?

@nramind once or twice, to reflect on media's role and behaviour on issues pertaining to national interest is denying

@nramind but just have a look at the last 10 columns sir ... where have reader's concerns been discussed? The previous RE did that...

@ssudhirkumar If an RE confines his or her role to providing excerpts from readers' mail or currying favour with them, I won't applaud.

@nramind you are mistaken with my view... don't provide excerpts or curry favour...debate those views...that's what i am asking

@nramind ...and frankly sir, that's what the terms of reference clearly mention too... they are all about how to handle reader's views!

@ssudhirkumar The Guardian's two REs thus far, Ian Mayes & Siobhain Butterworth, with dif. approaches, have set high standards for us.

@ssudhirkumar The Hindu's two RE's, K. Narayanan and S. Viswanathan, with dif. approaches, have both done us proud under Terms of Ref.

@nramind am a big fan of this concept, n hence hurts to see when RE dsnt "use this column as a platform and forum for readers' views. "

@nramind again draw ur attn to "To write a regular column addressing one or several aspects of readers' concerns, suggestions, n complaints"

@nramind r u satisfied that term of reference is being adhered to by this RE?

@nramind Also, K.Narayanan has set high standards for this post. i have regularly interacted with him too. but with this RE, no interaction.

@nramind there were times when i disagreed with the 1st RE, but there was an interaction. which is what is missing now.

@nramind another term: "To use this column as a platform and forum for readers' views."in the last 10 columns,how many times has this happnd

@ssudhirkumar Which Indian newspaper/news organisation other than The Hindu has an internal news ombudsman independent of Editor-in-Chief?

@nramind i applaud Hindu for that sir. no denying. in many places, I have also given this point is that this particular RE (cont)

@nramind (cont) is not engaging with readers,his columns dont talk abt readers (terms of ref are so clear on this!) even giving examples

@nramind the 'corrections and clarifications' column is one part of his job. his weekly column should also debate readers concerns.

@nramind wasn't that the original purpose? to debate and discuss? is it asking too much? :)

@ssudhirkumar Read RE's Terms in totality. RE engages with readers' concerns, complaints, ideas, serves as platform but thinks independently

@ssudhirkumar The RE's role under the Terms is decidedly not to serve as a lightning rod for ideological homilies, slant or flak!

@nramind why are you assuming I am asking him to debate the extremes? the terms here state what his clmn shld be

@nramind and the last 10 columns he has seldom done that. i am not qualified enough to debate the wordigs with you... (cont)

@nramind ... but it says he writes independent of the ideas and views of the paper... all i am asking is for more abt rdrs in his column

@ssudhirkumar Had we more print space, I would accommodate more excerpts from readers's mail, incl. complaints with an ideological slant.

@ssudhirkumar, soon to go fully functional, provides for moderated readers' comment on articles. Should do more online.

@nramind it'd be great if you can manage to find some more space in the print edition..nothing can beat reading ur views in paper :)

@ssudhirkumar In my view, an RE who writes on diverse issues that matter to readers & society & the media's role re these does a fine job.

@ssudhirkumar Anyway, thanks for this interaction. Appreciate your suggestions, will refer them to our exemplary RE, a veteran journalist.

@nramind thanks to you too, for interacting :) glad you are taking the suggestions in the right sense :)

CPI-M does something sane for a change

CPI-M often does things that rationally would be considered insane or treasonous or plain stupid. However their cry for an investigation into why the IPL is not being taxed is a strong logical argument that should be supported.
He(Sitaram Yechury) said the resignation of Mr. Tharoor cannot be treated as the end of the matter and an inquiry is also needed since for the first time a Minister had been charged with using the office for personal benefit, if not directly for someone close to him.
As for the IPL, he said, the event is in its third year and there has been no income tax on its phenomenal earnings. He said the CPI(M) considered that the IPL had nothing to do with cricket but was abusing the affection of the people of India for cricket.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Muslims are innocent: this time from Shahi Imam

The "Special Correspondent" who wrote this report could have been N.Ram or Praveen Swami. There is not much of a difference between this article and the editorials that they write with that extra bit of prose.

Muslims being over-represented in jails is a global phenomenon. In India they are significantly less when compared to global statistics. So, really Shahi Imam and his faithful followers in chindu should be asking why worldwide muslims are flooding the prisons. Shahi Imam or Praveen Swami blaming it on Hindu terrorists is pathetic attempt at deflecting the question.

The Hindu : National : Most of arrested Muslims are innocent: Shahi Imam

Sunday, April 18, 2010

cHindu's Readers Editor - wasting ink and newsreel

I'm probably one of the last to criticize this current cHindu's Readers editor. But reading the weekly articles, shows the RE's lack of understanding of what the Reader's editor is about. Giving his opinion on complex medical issues is not the larger focus of the column. Contrast that to The Guardian's Reader's Editor, the pieces are kept to the point focusing on journalistic practices of the newspaper, commenting on the opinions of the reader offering clarifications.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A giant passes away

There are very few people whose visions have changed the fortunes of many industries and corporations. Among them are fewer who have focused on corporate profits and linked it with eradicating poverty. CK Prahalad who passed away yesterday will be greatly missed.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Banning criticism of Islam

Continuing with our tradition of selective freedom of speech, our government and courts decide to stifle criticism of Islam. A historic precedent was set with The Calcutta Quran Petition. The full book is available online here.

Expect secular silence from our left-lib warriors of free speech.
The Hindu : News / National : Supreme Court declines to interfere with book ban order
The Supreme Court on Friday declined to interfere with a judgment of the Bombay High Court upholding the ban imposed by the Maharashtra government on a book on Muslims authored by an advocate, claiming that the book brought lesser-known aspects of Islam before the public eye.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Brinda, you are harming the country by your politics

This is more or less a routine comment. Except the card carrying members of CPIM, and its loyal followers in chindu, almost everybody has the same thing to say to Brinda Karat: "you are harming the country by your politics".

It is ridiculous to call it filthy and detain someone for saying it in your face. Manik Verma probably got a little carried away when he sent it as SMS. But there is no need to hang the messenger; besides, the message is correct.

In the "pink chaddi" campaign style, this calls for a SMS campaign to let Karat know: "you are harming the country by your politics".
Man held for sending 'filthy' SMS to Brinda Karat -
Manik Verma was detained for allegedly sending a filthy SMS to Karat saying "you (Karat) are harming the country by your politics", police sources said.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

More wild ass speculation

The eminent historians featured on the pages of chindu keep repeating that discredited theory on aryan invasion. If you care to read papers other than this rag publications, you will see that:
the Indus civilisation is being regarded as the Vedic civilization,
it is a continuous civilisation without any evidence of invasion,
the so-called dravidian civilization is the same as the vedic civilization.
But the dravidian parties want to propagate the myth of a separate identity. It has paid them rich political dividends so far. Now they are institutionalizing it through some awards too.
The Hindu : Opinion / Interviews : Deciphering the Indus script: challenges and some headway
Rigvedic hymns often speak of horses and horse-drawn chariots, and the horse sacrifice, ashvamedha, is among the most prestigious Vedic rites. The only wild equid native to the Indian subcontinent is the wild ass, which is known from the bone finds of the Indus Civilisation and depicted (though rarely) in its art and script. The domesticated horse is absent from South Asia until the second millennium BCE.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finding a jury to give a verdict

It is hard to classify this as a news report. The tone and contents of the report suggest an unabashed endorsement of the view that Operation Green Hunt must stop. This is also the leftist extremist position, which usually finds favour with chindu.

We know how these jurys are constituted: they will be filled with left-lib intellectuals and jhollawallahs. The verdict is determined even before the jury is selected. To see a sample, look at any of those debates on CNN-IBN. They might drop in someone with an alternative view but will make sure that voice is inaudible in the leftist cacaphony. But you pretty much know how the debate is going to be held and what the verdict is going to be.
The Hindu : National : “Stop Operation Green Hunt”
Operation Green Hunt was in the dock at a people's tribunal in the capital over the weekend and the verdict of the jury was loud and clear: Guilty.

Monday, April 12, 2010

cHindu back to the routine of beating up Israel

cHindu in its routine of "secular" and "minority" appeasement once again beats up on Israel. Without doing any research it opines,
The Tomb of the Patriarchs, also known as the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, and Rachel's Tomb, known as Masjid Bilal in Bethlehem, are heritage structures of importance to Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. Notwithstanding the universally accepted interfaith character of these sites and their location in occupied Palestinian territory, Israel recently included them in its national heritage list, designating them for renovation as Jewish heritage sites. This cannot pass as a benign attempt to conserve old buildings.

They base this statement on,
Neither is it an isolated incident. Earlier, affected Palestinian families appealed to the United Nations to stop Israel and a Jewish organisation from constructing a museum over an ancient Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem.

The NY Times exposes this as a fallacy,
Responding to the latest protests, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement: “The Museum of Tolerance project is not being built on the Mamilla Cemetery. It is being built on Jerusalem’s former municipal car park, where every day for nearly half a century, thousands of Muslims, Christians and Jews parked their cars without any protest whatsoever from the Muslim community.”

The problem with cHindu is that it always presents one side of the story without balance and in the process puts its shoe squarely in its pie hole.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Monkey can be a friend to fighting cats

China's friendship overtures to India and Pakistan reminds me of the old story of how the monkey tried to demonstrate its friendship to two cats.
The monkeys working in cHindu however conveniently deleted the source of this new propaganda. They said,
a leading State-run newspaper on Sunday said an ‘Asia century' will remain only a dream until the two giants treat each other with mutual trust and respect. China wants to build close ties with India like that of its “all-weather friendship” with Pakistan and if Beijing could become the “mutual friend of the Asian rivals” it could contribute more to regional peace and stability

India should tell the writer of the article to find a nice high cliff and jump off it at his/her convenience.
Such rubbish can only be published at your local Chennai based Chinese National Newspaper.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wikileaks and Propaganda Warfare

Just saw this video on the recent episode of the Wikileaks video regarding the US military's shooting of Reuters journalists. The professor's comments were thoughtful and something worth reflecting on as the Indian government is increasingly confronting a similarly hostile media environment in recent times. Security forces universally make judgment errors which cost lives of innocent people - that is not new but the enormous amount of adverse publicity it generates in today's world creates a challenge for governments in managing the situation. I have no issue with the need to ensure justice to victims but how are the broader consequences of adverse publicity to be combated when doing so is in the interest of retaining the support of the civilian population, morale of the security forces and the prerogative of the state to use force itself?

Monday, April 05, 2010

N.Ram finally writes on sexual abuse in Catholic church

N.Ram is a Christian by injection (both his first and current wife are christians). So it might have taken him a while to dispell his disbelief and write an editorial on child abuse in catholic church. Unlike his editorial on internet censorship in China, commonsense prevailed in this case and N.Ram did not try to defend the indefensible. Thank god for little mercies.
The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : Sexual abuse & Catholic Church

Friday, April 02, 2010

Chakrabarti's Chinese Tonic for Indians

Sreemati Chakrabarti's op-ed in today's edition of The Hindu talks about improving Indo-China relations by removing the 'mental barrier' and fostering mutual trust. Readers who read the whole piece will notice what the issues are.

The article is well written but from a Chinese perspective. Notice that when it talks about what needs to be done to overcome the trust deficit, the onus is on what Indians need to do to appease the China.

We are told to forget the border issue because it is not hurting either side. This is debatable. Keeping the issue open will perpetuate a festering wound which is hardly going to improve the trust deficit.

Secondly, she claims that 'accepting Tibet as part of China is convenient for India or else an independent 'Greater Tibet' brings to dispute the status of Sikhim'. Again, the bogey of an independent 'Greater Tibet' is classical Chinese state propaganda. Needless to say, the claim is preposterous and little more than fear mongering. The Indian constitutional order is broad enough to allow the people of Sikhim the right to be a part of India and run their own governmental affairs while maintaining their religious allegiance to the temporal authority of the Dalai Lama. In the remote instance that any political question regarding Sikhim should arise, one should remember that the Dalai Lama being a highly respected figure in India, it is quite likely that such an issue will be resolved amicably with the GoI.

Thirdly, she says that India 'New Delhi needs [to] constantly renew its commitment on curbing Tibetan separatist actions on its soil so as to mitigate suspicion that it might intend to 'play the Tibet card'. Having declared Tibet to be an autonomous part of China, India needs to do no such thing. There is no reason not to permit the Tibetans to peacefully seek to realize the goal India has so publicly stated and has long accepted. The burden is on the Chinese government to recognize the problem and negotiate a satisfactory settlement on the issue.

Finally, her statement that 'all the facts behind the border war have not come out in the open' is mentioned only in the context of Indian media propaganda. All facts may not have been made public but enough have come out into the open to know that though India made many mistakes, Chinese provocation was considerable (even A.G.Noorani has acknowledged it in Frontline). Though India has not released the Brooks Henderson report, several books have been published giving the Indian side of the story with one of them even being allowed access to that document (Neville Maxwell). On the other hand, how the Chinese side saw it remains a black box. The blame therefore lies less on the Indian side.

Sreemati Chakrabarti's article may have been a good fit had it appeared in Xinhua. By publishing this, The Hindu has reiterated its credentials as the unofficial spokesperson of the PRC in India.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

When "censorship" is called "monitoring"

Here is N.Ram's editorial on China's spat with Google. Notice how he calls Chinese government's Golden Shield Project (Great Firewall of China) as "monitoring".

Notice how the editorial is split into two sections: the first talks about China and Google; the second talks about governments and monitoring. While the issue is one of government censorship, N.Ram frames it in the context of government monitoring. Universally, there is a great deal of agreement on government monitoring (especially in the context of issues like national security), but not on censorship.

N.Ram does not say anything about his opinion on the subject. Instead he writes about what most governments do as a matter of routine. And N.Ram avoids passing even the mildest of rebuke on China for its brutal censorship of information and brainwashing of its citizens.
The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : Google in China
Moreover, it is relevant to point out that, although advocates of freedom justifiably demand unfettered access to everything on the Internet, oversight and some level of governmental control is maintained.

It is well known that governments can and do access and monitor the enormous amounts of data that flow through digital pipes including e-mails. Google services are no exception. What governments need to acknowledge is that the mindset of traditional controls on the movement of goods and services across borders is outdated, because information moves across national borders instantaneously.

cHindu editorial blasts China and communism

In a sharp editorial LiC blasted China for its communist policies.
In a landmark statement LiC claimed to have been brainwashed by the ideology and that India should stand up for its rights against a nation that aims to put it under servitude.
cHindu now stands for the right of Tibetans to determine their own future. We will campaign for an end to the Chinese occupation of Tibet and for the fundamental human rights of Tibetans to be respected.

LiC also burnt the wooden statue of Marx in his office and told Karat that he would now support the Janata Party henceforth. He also said that the Dalai Lama is now his pal-in-arms and they have added each other as Facebook fans. The Lama in response said, Note the date.