Watching TV yesterday.
Mr Arnab as usual was leaned forward 28.6 degrees – his head perilously close to banging the camera. They were running tapes of Mr Ranjodh Singhs body coming back home in a coffin after being stabbed and set alight in Australia. For days the media had been gone to town on the Australians over this racist incident. (“Aus couple arrested for murder“, “Indians should not go to study in Australia“, “Aus rule out race again“, “Ku Klux Klan ad in India”, “Indian stabbed in Lung“, “No to Australia, “India warns against Australia trips” and on and on).
The Rs 65,000 Crore Rupee bag on the table – that Indians have been arrested for killing Mr Ranjodh Singh was completely brushed aside.
Here is PTI News Wire.
The body of 25-year-old Ranjodh Singh, a victim of racial violence against Indians in Australia, was cremated at his village in the district today.
This came down the wire on Jan 29, so the media was fully aware by then that this was an Indian-on-Indian job. The media does not even have the fig leaf of hysteria.
Minister accompanies family members to receive body
It is also startling that Ms Kaur (the Minister of State for External Affairs) accompanied the family members of Mr Ranjodh Singh to the airport to receive the body. Do they do this for all Indian nationals killed ?
Ms. Kaur, who accompanied family members of Ranjodh Singh to the airport here to receive the body, termed the attacks on Indians unfortunate. “The Indian government will do whatever is required,” she told journalists. But after it emerged that all the accused in the Ranjodh Singh case were Indians, the External Affairs Ministry put out a release in which Ms. Kaur was quoted as advising all prospective students to Australia to “carefully apprise themselves of the ground realities including suitability of the institution in question, costs involved and consular procedures.”
Source : Hindu
A question of context
On this occasion, the Union Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur on Friday reiterated the government’s advice to students going abroad to exercise due diligence. In fact, that is The Hindu’s sandpaper smoothing out her statement. She actually said this :
“In a manner of speaking this has been addressed as the advisory which we have put out to the Indians is to be careful and not to go for the moment to Australia for further studies,” said Kaur.
Source : Times Now
Why maam ? Because other Indians will kill you !
It is all about the occasion. An official statement placing Australia and its people in a bad light while receiving the body of an Indian killed by other Indians is beyond just stupid.
Answer Mr Peter Verghese -
“The Indian media have all but ignored a murder allegedly committed by three of the country’s own citizens, in marked contrast to the hysterical coverage of allegedly racist attacks on Indian nationals in Australia.” And in New Delhi, Australia’s high commissioner Peter Varghese
Source : India Today
India Today instead of apologizing has a brazen headline “Australia plays up killings by Indians“. Damn right – they are going to play it up. You should apologize for calling them racist over this Indian-on-Indian crime.
The media owes an exceptional apology to the Australians on this incident. Instead they should focus on the attempted rape of a 9-year old Russian girl in Goa.
Here is what the social elite think of Australia.
As Rohinton Mistry would say …’Such a long journey’! Even if the two cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are divided by just an hour and a half of flying time, they are worlds apart! Melbourne is more celebral and snob. Sydney, sexy and frisky. Take your pick. I enjoy both, so I refuse to take sides. But to quote a die -hard Melbourne lover, who shall go nameless, “Sydney is like a beautiful woman, a seductress, who cannot possibly hold anybody’s interest once her looks fade!” Oh dear, oh dear. Cutting edge comparison? Or just cutting?
I have been in and around Melbourne for the past three days. The reason you didn’t find me here was because of a techno hiccup – no internet access! I’ll be leaving Amazing Australia and Marvellous Melbourne a few hours from now. But somehow, I know in my heart it is a temporary goodbye. Please note, nobody pays me to say any of this! Put simply, Australia remains one of my top destinations. I have never had anything but the best time here. I find the people disarmingly casual and appealingly unfussy about everything they enjoy in such abundance.
Source : Blog
Maybe my cynicism is getting to me, but I think there is an elite* conspiracy to prevent Indian cabbies and waiters from crowding their vacation spots.
* Elite = defined as winners of the socialist sweepstakes
Article after article this republic day carried variations of this theme :
The Constitution of India is a great document – but
We have screwed it up
None of them were bold enough to take a jab at providing examples of how we strayed ! What is it about the Indian system that prevents a positive spiral from rapidly checking any straying ?
Readers of this blog will know that there exists a root anomaly. It is that compromises to the bedrock of equality to promote social justice must be allowed but only under conditions of evidence and strict scrutiny. Most interpretations of the latest Supreme Court judgment in the Thakur case agree that this is not required. In other words, equality can be snatched from citizens and not given in the form of social justice to other citizens. This can purely be at the pleasure of individuals. Can this be salvaged ? Can we still attain greatness carrying this anomaly ? I think maybe – maybe not. If Indian can achieve greatness and bring prosperity to millions while tossing both equality and social justice issues – it would turn political science as we know it on its head. We would have shown the world that equality of citizens is not all that when it comes to democracy.
There are a stunning series of articles in the latest Jan 31 2010 edition of The Organizer on the divisive bomb the UPA II government (headed by the Congress Party) is preparing to drop on us.
Start off with this.
This piece by Radha Rajan is also worth reading because it contains glimpses into the core of Indian politics. Besides, Tamilnadu is always of interest in the same way that Husain Bolt is of interest when we are studying whether fast twitch muscles make you run fast.
Christians constitute 6.5 per cent of the total Tamil Nadu population while Muslims constitute 5.5 per cent. Of the total 6.5 per cent of Christians, 6.1 per cent or around 80 per cent of the total Christian population have been classified as BC. This is 1/9th of the total population. BC Christians were cornering 300 seats out of the 900 medical seats every year; that is 1/9th of the population was claiming 1/3rd of the share of seats. And that is why Christian politicians and the Christian clergy met the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to ask him to rescind the order granting 3.5 per cent reservation for Christians.
Source : The Organizer
I dont know how true this numbers are – but that is the whole point. The public needs to know. The fallout of this knowledge could be game changing.
It turns out that this small piece of data is not just about a dozen IIT seats (you cant just shrug and move on) :
it determines who gets elected
- it undermines any effort to launch an issue based electoral campaign
- it lays to waste any effort to get a diverse group of citizens together
- it prevents an Indian identity from emerging
- since strict scrutiny is not required, individuals and outfits acquire god like status
- large sections of populations have to defect from their self interest to vote for large issues
- no accountability on performance by leaders because that is not why they are elected
- leaders are elected to proxy for or balance competing demands (remember data is not allowed)
To Twitterers and Bloggers, please read up the articles and spread awareness. The MSM guys who are lurking around the internet must be made to face facts at every turn until they change their ways or scurry back into their holes. They will try to paint you as anti muslim or anti christian or anti reservation. Stay your ground. You are pro-data. Nothing scares them more – believe me.
Vir Sanghvi’s latest article contains this :
We need to evolve a new model of higher education that may well use government financing but which functions without governmental corruption and inertia. As of now, no model exists that fits the bill.
Source : Crooks inside the abattoir of words
We already have such a model. They are called religious and linguistic minority institutions. Such as the one where Mr Chidambaram gave the speech.
A Christian Minority Educational Institution, St. Xavier’s was founded in 1860 by a Catholic Christian Minority Religious body, the Society of Jesus, and was affiliated to Calcutta University in 1862. While preference is shown to the educational and cultural needs of the Minority community, admission is open to all irrespective of caste, creed and Nationality!
Ideally, institutes like St Xaviers must not only give preference to Christians, they must be completely or overwhelmingly Christian. If not, they are just running secular courses under a Christian management, which in my view does not require constitutional protection under the minority act. If these schools teach in a secular manner, they be forced to turn into influence peddlers by petty politicos. Both CMC Vellore and St Johns Bangalore are top Christian medical schools that provide a good model for what a minority college ought to be.
Of course, for the life of me I cant understand the rationale for linguistic minority schools except as a congealing agent for dominant caste votes from other states. Again, I am not saying a Jain cannot operate colleges in Chennai. I am just saying any such institute must be almost completely Jain speaking or must forgo constitutional protection and operate like any other local college.
This by no means should be interpreted as an attack on these fine institutes that have admirably stepped into the gaping void in access to education. It is important to look at this issue dispassionately from the constitutional protection viewpoint.
Meow! A sound that dog owners will dismiss with a chuckle, but is the defining sound of our generation. Yes, I am talking about the interview of our time. An entire generation of Indian youth, on that red letter day, the time had finally arrived, history was imminent – I am getting breathless. Wait. Thank you. A shady tree that protected the two faces of India from the relentless May Delhi sun. A brilliant media mind like none we had seen before and the Woman herself. Yes,that interview under shady tree. Two sisters, one interview.
Bzzzzt! Sorry, got carried away… Back to the story.
Anyway here is an article about Nalini’s clemency plea.
Life Death and Quality of Mercy
Where had the family found the emotional strength to commute Nalini’s death sentence to life, I asked. And why? Because, she explained, they knew what it felt like for a child to lose a parent. “Something has happened to you that has made you feel awful. Something has happened that has crushed you inside. So how can you want that to happen to someone else? An innocent child, what has that child got to do with anything?” she said.
Source : The Blog of our times
Just three points – that are completely missing from this article.
1. Life term is a life term. This has been repeated by the Supreme Court several times.
2. A dozen policemen were killed that day too while on duty. One person cannot assume Zen like powers to forgive on everyone’s behalf.
3. The LTTE and Prabhakaran angle is tangential and irrelevant. The Indian state could only apprehend Nalini and the issue is her pardon. Just how important is the Tamil feeling of kinship ? Lets take an example : This Pongal there was not even a passing mention of the plight of the Lankan tamils. None of the TV Channels owned by Dravidian parties took the opportunity to spare a moment for the refugees, many of whom are still behind barb wire fences. They went straight to the song and dance routines as if nothing had happened to the Tamil race since the last Pongal. The debates were the usual mother-or-wife variety. Everyone is busy planning the a grand Tamil Jamboree at the same time the Sinhalese are celebrating a military humiliation. Everyone remembers how the cinema guys huffed and puffed at Rameswaram. Yet, none of the new Tamil cinema awardees are even going to mention the Lankan Tamils in their acceptance speech. This is the way it rolls in Tamilnadu. What does this tell you ? The dravidian movement is first about a new caste based redistributive social order rather than any grand Tamil ambition.
Being unfamiliar with the merits of her case, I am not saying that Nalini should not be released for time served. Just saying that there should be a process. It should be fair and should equally represent the grief of all those killed. Everyone is human and equal, something the generation of our time needs to grokk.
Just when you thought the Indian media had hit rock bottom, they start digging again and guess what, its loose soil.
Without much ado – here is Hookergate. India Todays latest cover story.
The police have recently unearthed several call girl rackets involving white-skinned girls in the capital as well as other cities like Mumbai. The general belief was that these are isolated cases but INDIA TODAY’s investigation into the new white sex trade made some startling discoveries.
Principal Correspondent Mihir Srivastava has been investigating the racket for some months now, posing as a businessman and potential client. He discovered that currently there are over 6,000 foreign women prostitutes in India, having come in on tourist visas. The better looking girls earn close to half a lakh a day! Their services could range from having sex with the client to playing hostess at a party dressed in a short skirt, high-heeled boots, and very little else.
For our cover story, we had all the details but lacked visual confirmation in the form of photographs. We then undertook a spycam operation by Srivastava and Photo Editor Bandeep Singh which shows how easily available the women are. All that is required is a mobile phone, ready cash and a taste for the erotic and exotic, which means foreign and white.
Source : Editor in chief – Mr Aroon Purie of India Today breaking the story. (boldface added)
To Mr-3-Month-Ho-Investigating-Journo-Guy, here is a clue for you.
You don’t need to be a brave-heart investigative journalist to solicit a hooker. That my friend is the whole point !
In a country where this is a scam under every rock, there is no shortage for such stings. So readers, if you happen to see a titillating cover on the magazine stand inviting you to part with your money with the promise of more inside, please stop and ask yourself exactly who is playing the role of the prostitute.
If you want to read some real investigative journalism please follow The Daily Pioneer. Truly the last man standing.
More links :
The big telecom news last week was Etisalat approaching the FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Bureau) to assume full control of their Indian arm, Etisalat DB (formerly Swan Telecom).
They also recently acquired a stake from a venture capital firm.
Last month, media reports said Etisalat had bought an additional 5.27 per cent stake in its Indian subsidiary for 3.8bn rupees (Dh305 million) from Genex Exim Venture, an investment firm based in Chennai.
Source : National (Abu Dhabi)
How many have heard of this company ? How many companies without even a website sell their stake for Rs 380 Cr. This single deal is worth more than half of funds raised by all Private Equity (PE) firms combined* in 2009. Surely a monumental achievement. Yet no one talks about it.
So how does the media in Abu Dhabi sees the original deal ? To refresh your memory : the original deal refers to the loss incurred to the Indian government due to the role played by the middlemen.
Etisalat originally bought its 45 per cent stake in the former Swan Telecom from the Dynamix Balwas Group in December 2008 for US$900 million (Dh3.3 billion), which included a premium to control the company’s management. Etisalat’s stake values the Indian subsidiary at $1.53bn.
Source : National (Abu Dhabi)
Etisalat seems to have paid a premium to control the company’s management. This was not reported in the media and is counter to what the former FM said. (See previous posts). It might be safe to assume that Telenor also paid a premium to the spectrum winners for control.
The startling thing about the scam is that nobody questions the fact that the government and the people of India lost and lost big.
Recently the CBI seems to be going after Mr A Raja, the minister who is in charge. There have been major raids this week.
The CBI’s sudden turn to Raja’s family-run companies in connection with the investigation on spectrum scandal is going to be a huge embarrassment to the UPA Government in the coming days.
According to sources, the CBI sleuths had got evidence of huge money transaction from abroad to real estate companies like Green House Promoters and Equaas Estates. The money flowed from Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai into these companies during the same period in 2008 when the controversial allocation of 2G spectrum took place.
Source : The Pioneer
Aside : Outstanding and courageous journalism by Mr Gopikrishnan and the Pioneer. All other media houses are avoiding this story at the same time as if on cue.
Mr Raja has repeatedly claimed that he had the backing of the Prime Minister and the former Finance Minister. He says they have been updated on every move. The Prime Minister even unusually attempted a defence from Bangkok. In public office, personal integrity does not just stop at not accepting cash. It includes not allowing others to get away with it either. This is going to be a litmus test for the PM and the former FM.
Back in the early 90′s, the media would jump on every story of corruption. That in no small measure was responsible for toppling the Congress party’s monopoly. You would think that will all the liberalization, the media would go hammer and tongs on this one. Well its not happening and that tells you a lot about how liberalized the media really is.
Another scandal the media isn’t touching
The case, popularly known as Motorola scandal, dates back to 2003 when the CBI had recovered Rs 50 lakh in a raid on a middleman on September 25 that year. According to the FIR, MTNL paid Rs 7.18 crore to Motorola for purchase of equipment, and made illegal gratification to MTNL officials through one Rajiv Gupta, a middleman.
* Source : India PE Blog http://www.indiape.com/blog
Pegs total PE mobilization in 2009 at Rs 792 Crores.
Long time readers of this blog will already know this, but what the heck. I dont think there is really much to Indian politics beyond large swathes of people voting for benefit protection and an ever shrinking free agent population wondering why price rise, rampant corruption, and all around filth are not voting issues. Of course, there is a lot of intrigue, sideshow, and drama that happens around this core. This drama is passed around as the great Indian dance of democracy.
In this light the Ranganath Mishra report is going to be a turning point. It is not about the sideshow but about the core. Just follow these news items and note where they finally end.
National Campaign to start.
Popular Front of India, (PFI), will launch a nationwide two-month long “National Campaign for Muslim Reservation” during February and March this year. The nationwide campaign will start with a grand public meeting at Pune in Maharashtra on January 31. A Parliament March will be held at New Delhi to mark the conclusion of the campaign.
MRM takes quota war to Congress bastion
In a shrewd move to turn up the heat on those who matter, Muslim pro-quota activists have zeroed in on Amethi as the next destination for airing their demands. The Muslim Reservation Movement (MRM), a conglomerate of minority outfits like Jamait-ul-Ulema, Jamait-ul-Qureshi, Milli Council, Muslim Majlis, Indian National League, etc, on Wednesday announced its decision to storm the Gandhi bastion — either Amethi or Jagdishpur — where it would host meetings and jalsa in January/February 2010.
Source : TOI
LJP Party wants hike to the 50% ceiling
Demanding that the government implement the Ranganath Mishra Commission report, LJP secretary-general Abdul Khaliq said any attempt to take out a portion for minorities from the 27 per cent reservation already available to OBCs will create tension. “The government should approach the Supreme Court for raising the 50 per cent limit on reservation.”
Mr. Khaliq said that Centre should provide reservation in the manner done in Tamil Nadu and recently in Rajasthan. “The Tamil Nadu government gives 67 per cent reservation to various communities in the State and the Rajasthan government recently announced an additional 15 per cent reservation in excess of 50 per cent to the economically backward class in the State.”
Source : Hindu
What he really said was, the 50% limit is silly and meaningless in a country where 85% are backward. He is correct though, there is little or no room to accommodate the muslims and christians in the OBC quota because there will be millions of new entrants. Ditto to the new claimants to the SC quota.
There appears to be three options left on the table if the UPA (Congress led) wants to action the Ranganath report
- Expand the quota beyond 50% to around 71% (15% for minority OBC and 6% for minority SC) pushing out open category seats
- Evaluate the BC list and move castes out and make room for the more backward keeping the 50% ceiling
- Pull the great Indian rope trick again. Increase the quota to 71%, but add extra seats so that the open category has the same number of seats as today.
Any guesses which option will win?
If you push anyone on the quota issue, he will eventually seek to settle the argument using the Tamilnadu trump card. Which is where the buck really stops. The TV channels are letting off Ms Jayanthi Natarajan and P Chidambaram far too easily on this one. Please ask them if they support studying the quota system in their state next time they are on your show. You will be in for a surprise.
So the question in front of the nation is : Why cant I have what you just gave him ?
The most primordial question of justice.
If we drop the ball on this one, forget China – we cant even stand up to Bangladesh. It will only be a matter of time.
The RTI in its current form :
- rations information on a need to know basis
- promotes a dont ask dont tell attitude
- always ends in a ‘who wants to know’
The media by handing out RTI Awards is encouraging citizens to adopt a dangerous vigilante style cowboy activism against the corrupt establishment. See this post for my take on the RTI Awards.
In this light, it is very saddening to hear the avoidable killing of 38 year old RTI activist Mr Satish Shetty.
Leading Right to Information (RTI) activist Satish Shetty — who exposed many land scams in Maharashtra — was killed by unidentified men while on a morning walk at Talegaon on the outskirts of this city on Wednesday.
“Around 7.15 a.m., when Shetty was on his morning walk, some unidentified people assaulted him and injured him seriously. He was rushed to a private hospital, but succumbed later,” Pradeep Aphale, investigating officer of Talegaon Police Station, told IANS.
Source : Hindu
Remember you have to provide your full address to file an RTI. Unless used to track your passport application status or why your pension cheque is late - this can place you and your loved ones lives in danger.
What we should root for is mandatory disclosure and full audit of all public funds. Preferably on the internet. There should not be a “who’s asking” element to seeking public information.
The media owes a big sorry or at least a discontinuation of the silly RTI awards.
A Ms Abdulali even started an organization called “Movement against Intimidation, Threats and Revenge against Activists (MITRA)” . She has a list of people who were intimidated and even injured due to RTI.
“This has become a trend and social activists are considered soft targets, the government must take immediate steps to stop such attacks,” Ms. Abdulali, convenor of Movement against Intimidation, Threats and Revenge against Activists (MITRA), told IANS.
MITRA has sent letters to Home Minister R.R. Patil, listing the attacks suffered by activists in the past few years.
Ms. Abdulali was threatened and assaulted in May 2004, H.S. D’Lima of Citispace threatened and assaulted in March 2005, James John of AGNI was threatened and assaulted in March 2006, activist Edwin Britto, was threatened and attacked in 2000 and again in June 2005, Suryakant Panchal of BEAG was assaulted in June 2004, Anandini Thakoor and Aftab Siddiqui got threats in July 2005, January 2009 and mobbed thrice, Navin Pandya of AGNI was threatened and attacked in September 2009, S. Ganesan was threatened and attacked in November 2002, and Navleen Kumar was attacked in 2002.
The media will egg us on, but think about it as individuals and family people. Is fighting the crimino-politico setup while leaving your behind unguarded a sign of courage ?
Lets ask the soldiers fighting in the snows of Kashmir whether it is better to wear white or black uniforms.
The not so important story is this :
They were upset with the school principal, who had allegedly cut off the pigtail of a Brahmin student against his wishes. According to the Saki Naka police, Parvesh Dubey, 14, a Class VIII student of St Jude’s High School, had grown a pigtail for religious reasons and had been asked to cut it as it was against the school’s rules. “My son has a problem with his vision and we had prayed to our family deity, saying that we would not get his pigtail cut till his vision was restored,” said Parvesh’s father, Mr Shivkumar Dubey. On Tuesday, Parvesh’s class teacher saw that he had not cut his pigtail despite repeated warnings and sent him to the principal’s office. The principal, Father France Fernandes, picked up a pair of scissors on his desk and snipped it off.
Source : DC
Before you take off with : “WTF, a Hindu is not allowed to keep the most ancient symbol of all, the tuft in his own soil” – read the following.
The really important story is :
Forget about the lack of coverage in the ELM for a moment. Remember this is an almost exact equivalent of the Mangalore burqa case. That case was covered non stop : See burkha issue in Mangalore. However, do not jump on the Muslims here. They did not ask for the coverage. It was largely Hindu media persons proxying for them.
Lets work with what we have (blogs and twitter).
First off : Is it wrong for Christian schools to enforce a code that conforms to their religion ? In the print edition of the Deccan Chronicle the principal includes marks such as Bindis in his list of undesirable items. Sounds like neither the tuft nor the bindi fits in with their rules. So what gives ?
Why are parents sending their children to such schools if they feel so strongly about Hindu religious symbols ?
The answer lies in the fact that Christian educational institutes dominate the education scene in India. This in no way takes away from the fact that they have admirably filled in the void left by the governments’ exit from running quality schools.
This is due to historical and policy reasons. The British transferred management of almost all elite colleges to Christian trusts when they left India. Policy wise, the constitution of India encourages the minorities to open and operate schools without government interference. See previous posts on how the RTE Act (caste + economic quota) wont apply to minority schools. None of this is out of order.
The really strange thing about all this is, that the minority institutions especially the elite ones such as St Stephens and St Xaviers admit a lot (maybe even a majority of Hindus) and the courses offered are secular ones unrelated to Christian character. This effectively means that the constitutional right has been morphed into one that anoints them with “preferred community for operating educational institutes” . The lack of scrutiny and definition leaves them with very little burden to impart Christian education.
The right approach is to force minority institutes to admit 80-100% from their community to keep its nature intact and justify constitutional sanction.
Obligatory reference to data controlled compromise of equality
How can Christians despite having such control of education from pre-nursery to post graduate claim space on the social justice platform too ? (Tip : All Christians in TN and many other states are classified as backward) Of course, the response would immediately be : If Hindu caste -X which claims top spots in the open competition can be backward why cant Christians ? Very valid question and the buck really has to stop there. We need an analysis of the utilization of the social justice programs in this country. This includes auditing minority (both religious and linguistic) institutes to see if they are maintaining their character and serving their community members.