Reality Check India

Media attacks hate speech target Mayawati

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on July 18, 2009

Where is Swapan Dasgupta ? A flurry of posts immediately after the elections led us to believe we have someone different in the media. 


Look at this blog post by Sagarika Ghosh of CNN-IBN. 

Thursday was a day when we heard two kinds of words. On the one hand, meaningless words of diplomatic gobbledygook from India and Pakistan about “debracketing” and “cautious optimism”. On the other hand, words of ancient violence, words that can turn our society into a warring landscape, primordial words that echo in our innermost subconscious and have created our society’s invisible apartheid. “Chamaar” “Achhoot” “Shudra” “Bhangi”.

 Technique : Subject is only one of two (reduce importance by 50%)

On Face The Nation, we asked did Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s words (Joshi herself being a Brahmin) become yet another example, or did they invoke the memory, of that ancient hatred that the Dalit has borne through centuries?

Technique : Set the bar really high. 

In fact, Congress state president Rita Bahuguna Joshi did not say anything anti-Dalit. In fact she said if the compensation awarded to a raped Dalit woman is only 25,000 then should Mayawati be given 1 crore of she is raped. Undoubtedly, her language was vicious, vulgar and violent but to be fair to Bahuguna Joshi, she did not deliver any caste insult.

Technique : Concede everything (vicious, vulgar, and violent) except the kernel

Mayawati made the bone-chilling statement, if the BSP workers had been out, Congress’ workers would be “shivering like rats.” Any perceived insult to Mayawati became a perceived insult to all Dalits.

Technique : Effect words (bone-chilling) to the other side in order to balance the conceded turf (vicious, vulgar, and violent)

Coming a poor third in the general elections, deserted by upper castes, forced to go in for pre-poll alliances with people like Bhajan Lal in Haryana when Mayawati was a strong opponent of pre poll alliances, its clear that the BSP is more vulnerable than ever before. The Congress strong showing in UP with its 22 seats must have come as a shock. Maya magic failed, Rahul magic worked. No wonder the Congress is Mayawati’s main enemy and her main target is Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, particularly with crucial assembly elections in 2011. UP’s politics is the politics of the akhara-as Congress and BSP fight to the finish, whats a burnt house or two?

Technique : Place blog entry out of orbit 

(Maya magic failed, Rahul magic worked is a blatant political cheer completely unrelated to the article) Even if Maya was not the CM, this is still a hate speech. If anything, this is an attempt to politicize the issue, something the media asked us never to do. Most readers at this point resign and see the hidden message.


Fact is : Vicious, vulgar, and violent in the context of “compensation for Dalit rape victims” out to be enough.

The chief of the SC/ST panel Buta Singh chimes in and calls “Mayas action misuse” and chimes in “UP tops in crimes against Dalits”. His interpretation of the SC/ST act is that it applies only for murder and rape. (A nonsensical statement because murder and rape are punishable for all including non SC/ST under several sections of the IPC). Again, he is placing his words and actions out of rational examination.

A similar event would have gone horribly wrong had the accused not been from the Congress party. I hope the political challengers to the Congress are studying this phenomenon carefully and learning.

Congress chief of largest state hate speech

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on July 17, 2009

This is not a rookie politician, this is the Congress party chief in Uttar Pradesh.

Here is a report of what she said,

A leading politician of the governing Congress Party was arrested Thursday and her house set on fire by activists after critics say she suggested that a rival leader be raped so she could better understand the plight of rape victims. Rita Bahuguna Joshi, the party’s chief in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said her comments about Chief Minister Mayawati — who uses only one name — were taken out of context. Speaking about the increase in rapes in Uttar Pradesh, she cited a few cases in which rape victims were paid $520 in compensation. Ms. Joshi said the women should “throw the money at Mayawati’s face and tell her, ‘You should also be raped, and I will give you 10 million rupees,’ ” about $210,000.

Source : New York Times

The Indian media is working overtime now to twist the issue. 

This hate speech is obviously not going the way of that hate speech. The remarkable fact is this hate speech is targeted against a specific individual (Ms Mayawati)  – calls to action a more grievous crime (rape is more serious than chop chop hand) – and is targeted against downtrodden castes (specific context of compensating Dalit rape victims).  Not to mention that the person making the speech is not a rookie first-time MP aspirant. We are talking about the Uttar Pradesh Congress Party Chief who is a seasoned politician. Each of the above are punishable separately under existing IPC sections.  Seems like a really tough one.

Why did I quote from the NYT ?  Here is a what the Indian media has to say.

Express Buzz : Maya and Rita inflame passions in UP  (see it is Maya’s fault too !) 

IBN Live : Maya a woman wronged ?  (Intriguing, You tell us the answer)

Outlook : Out of the gutter (Tells us Maya herself as used such language in the past, tells us that just the tone of Rita was wrong – her reasoning may be right)

 Times of India : Over 50% crimes against women are from UP (See so Rita’s hate speech is not the issue here. This incredible statistic (based only on reports to NCW) is the key, so there is a “ring of truth” )

Calcutta Telegraph : Rap on Rita, Lawless warning for Maya (Its even – lets move on)

A lot of other Indian media outlets have nothing to say.

Nuke deal and the G8 statement

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on July 15, 2009

Surprising lack of commentary on the recent happenings at the G8.  To summarize, the G8 resolved (with India standing by) that they will curb technology transfer to countries that have not signed the NPT. (i.e India) 

The official statement is here.  (read it yourself , do not depend on the media to interpret it for you)

Yesterday, I happened to watch Lalit Mansingh and G.Parthasarathy on a TV channel discuss this issue. The following  is Mr Mansinghs base position. 

At the end of the day money matters. If the US does not co-operate, France and Russia will. We have major defence deals (the 136 fighter aircraft) and we are going to spend $150 Bn on nuclear industry. Given such deals up for grabs, all this posturing with G8 will fall apart.

This is naive. Even if dangling these carrots were a negotiation tactic, it should be kept under wraps.  This is also amazingly dangerous.  If you link the nuclear deal with the aircraft deal, you using the airforce as a casino table chip. What if the American warplanes are better and our enemies aquire it ?  On the otherhand, you enter negotiations with France and Russia from a weak and pathetic position. For one of the guests, the 123 agreement was primarily a prestige issue. It lifted the “ban” on Indian scientists. I wont even comment on this.

Currently, it is clear atleast to me that there is a Rashomon like understanding of the 123 agreement in the US and Indian camps. We are moving on parallel roads. At some point, we will arrive at the fork in the road. Then several things can happen, the most likely outcome will be India agreeing to fall in line. Why ? Because anything conceded can be massaged by the Indian media and the public does not have a strong opinion on the weapons thing. At least not strong enough to influence voting patterns.  A diametrically opposite environment in the USA.  Only a child would think that you can bring the USA around by merely dangling carrots in the form of 136 aircraft (using borrowed money even).

Case in point :

Former US ambassador Frank Wisner also said that his country would not backstab India on nuclear cooperation

“We are bound by a sovereign decision. US made a sovereign decision. We passed Hyde Act followed by 123 Agreement. We are bound by those laws, we respect its word. It is a law,” said Wisner.

Source : IBNLIVE  (emp added)

The quote attributed to Mr Wisner says nothing about “backstabbing”. He is merely saying that Hyde+123 is the law as far as he is concerned. How on earth does what he said translate to an ‘anti-backstabbing’ statement ?  Barbarindians has several such examples.

We were told that the nuclear deal would cover technology transfer, reprocessing rights, rights to atleast status quo on weapons programme.

But then remember we are also told that the social programs we sink crores into are reaching the targets.  We are also shown life stories of various ministers as evidence.

CBSE makes class X optional

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on July 14, 2009

There is something about a dataless socialist government. The HRD ministry invariably ends up hogging the spotlight. Why ? By their policy making process, they remind us of the adhoc control they exert on normal citizens.

In the current case the HRD ministry seems to have decided to make Class X optional for CBSE boards.  Much like the rationalist movement, this decision is so out there that its only purpose is to remind us. Of how futile it is to oppose the dataless socialist state using reasoned debate as the vehicle.

First the story,

New Delhi, July 13 (ANI): Minister of State for Human Resource and Development, D Purandeswari, on Monday informed the Lok Sabha that Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has proposed to make the Class X board exams optional and to replace it with an internal assessment, which would adopt a similar pattern of questions to those in the board exam.

Purandeswari also said that to ensure that quality of education is maintained, CBSE would ask schools to maintain course of study of Class IX and X as per the Board’s scheme of studies and follow prescribed textbooks.

She added the schools would conduct internal examinations on the basis of curriculum prescribed by the CBSE and the pattern of question paper would be similar to that in the board exam.

Purandeswari further informed that at the moment there is no proposal to set up one national board for school education in the country. (ANI)

Source : Wire via Yahoo

In many states, Std X students from the CBSE boards make a beeline for the local state boards. This is because the state level admissions are invariably designed in favour of the local boards.

No CBSE school can afford to replace the board exams with an internal test (which is as good as no exam at all). No one expects one school to honour the internal evaluation of another school. This will leave such CBSE students stranded and without a choice.

Hare brained. Surely there are bigger education issues in India.


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