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Archive for the ‘Indian Politics’ Category

TNPCEE….

  • What does the TN govt think about the TNPCEE? – Unnecessary and must be done with.
  • What do I think about the TNPCEE ?? – It is a stupid exam. You would do well to ignore it in the event of it being conducted.
  • More importantly, what do i think about the TN state board exam ?? — Well.. let us not get into this. The debate would cease to be civil.

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Attack on IISc

shA horrendous attack in the IISc campus has led to the death of a retired IIT Delhi Prof. I did not know about the attack till Friday afternoon, as I was travelling by train. I was shell shocked to see the front page of Hindu carry a pic with blood in the IISc campus. Abi, a prof at IISc has more in these posts: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3. Our hearts go out to the family of Prof. Puri. One hopes that the injured get well soon and get back to doing what they love.. research. Given that the person involved went on a firing spree makes it difficult not to view this as a terrorist attack.

This would have certainly been a rude shock to IISc and all academic institutions in India. “EVEN US?” seems to be the question in everybody’s minds and it probably sums up the disbelief. But, some (like Praveen Swami of Hindu) think that this was around the corner and sufficient precaution must have been taken. Hard to disagree with him. But, as Prof Balaram (Dir, IISc) pointed out, an academic institution should not be an armed fortress. Thankfully, the blame-game is missing and the police seem to be on the job of finding the perpetrators of this act. An approximate sketch of the assassin is now avalible.

Over here at IITM, there is increased security at the entry points to the institute. A few more armed policemen seemed to have been deployed there. For the first time in three years, I had to show my ID card to enter the institute. Nothing intrusive.. and that is the way it should remain.

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There has been a lot of media space devoted to the recent remarks by Kushboo and Suhasini…
The level of intolerance exhibited by the few unruly demonstrators is appalling. Mr. Ramodoss and the PMK(and DPI etc etc) seem to have the gift of generating controversies out of nothing. The violent behavior on the streets is beyond limits even if you allow for the conservative chennai attitude. After all, these are their personal views. If you don’t like them, great!.. make ur case. Personality attacks aren’t the way to go about it.
Thankfully, most of the media is on Kushboo’s side in this regard. (except ofcourse.. some ever-callous Tamil Newspapers/TV channels) Here are some recent articles on the issue from the Hindu:

Freedom At Stake

[..]But the civil society responded, slowly but surely. Journalists’ associations were quick to sense a threat to freedom of expression, and opposed the moral policing. Among the political parties, the Left organisations recognised the seriousness of the issue and condemned the protests. Eventually, it became clear that the protestors enjoyed no public sympathy despite the wide coverage they got in a partisan section of the media[..]

Conspiring to silence Unconventional Voices

The crux of the whole debate…

[..] one is not called upon to concede that all contrary viewpoints are as valid as one’s own. All that the tolerance required in a democracy entails is the recognition that perfectly reasonable fellow citizens could hold a different viewpoint. It does not in any way diminish the strength of one’s own conviction that a particular viewpoint is the correct one. On the other hand, it is a recognition that only if varying viewpoints are aired freely, with the society itself not afraid of any idea, can democratic debate be promoted[..]

Another obvious trait is the silencing of any bold (or even perfectly normal) statements by women celebrities.. Here is a hard-hitting article by Kalpana Sharma :

Women Speak Out

[..]The other issue that our hypocritical society will not touch is the question of women’s sexuality, their right to choose and their right to express their choice. In the name of protecting “culture” or “tradition”, women are constantly told what they can or cannot say, what they can or cannot do, what they can or cannot wear and ultimately what they can or cannot think. We are willing to elevate women to the status of goddesses and worship them. But they must remain obedient and silent[..]

The good thing is that the debate is now out in the open!.. In the Final analysis, I hope that these self-appointed guardians of “Tamil Culture” see their moral sand dunes washed away .

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It was raining and the reporter was drenched. He was literally gasping for breath…he had been there all day long,”Breaking” the news. ‘The Action’ had been absorbing and draining. The whole country was hooked on to this story..or so he thought. A little extra from the reporter would have made the whole thing sound like a happening terrorist attack.. ..

This is how I felt when I saw Shivnath Thukral (NDTV) cover the Ambani Bros patch up(I am serious about every word of what I have said) . All bulletins were hijacked by this issue…and ST was the hero for abt 4-5 hrs. Ofcourse, this is an old one.. but this is one image that stuck to my mind as being representative of the attitude of the TV channels towards reporting news. If this is NDTV’s state, Headlines Today needs no clarification..only “Headlines”.
Just look at NDTV’s daily Schedule :

Breakfast Your Day, Today’s Breaking Story,News at 10,News at Noon ,Nationwide,News and Sports Update,The Evening News ,Prime Time,News Now

All of this is just a sexed up way of saying : News every half hour and ya..Anchor changes every two hours. BBC/CNN seem to manage pretty well with news every hour even though they cater to a much larger audience. They also have many broadcasts which go much beyond ‘current’ affairs. Our desi channels have an almost blank sheet in this regard.

Are you looking for a subtle/poignant portrayal of an issue??..Sorry! No place for such reporting in this maddening race towards breaking stories. The coverage of the Delhi Blasts and its aftermath by our TV channels just brought back these thoughts to my mind. Anybody saw Barkha Dutt’s live one hour program from Sarojini Nagar??(a day after the blasts) . Aprt from repeating the “Spirit of Delhi” part.. I don’t think she did much. It was all about sound-bytes.. a few catch phrases. And ya.. there was this NDTV reporter outside the Jaipur stadium who kept telling us that Dhoni has lifted the spirits of the entire country with his knock. He did this all day long. Horrendous!! If this is indeed true.. we must be ashamed as a nation. How on earth does a cricket game compare with a terrorist attack ? Forced to report every hour, this Jaipur reporter was just giving junk news.

These channels are probably in the process of maturing… I only hope that they finally get rid of this culture.

6th Nov, Update : I saw this article (by Sivanti Ninan) in the latest issue of Hindu’s Magazine.. It is specifically about the coverage of the blasts in Delhi.

[..]Live coverage continued through the night, and advertising was never put on hold. Star News was blanking out all else even 24 hours later. The law of blanket disaster coverage is that the less hard news you have, the longer you spin it out[..]

I must add that I felt that the article could have been much less polite 😕

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A Shameful Act!

[photo from news,views and analysis]

It is Delhi’s turn to fall prey to the brutal designs of Terrorists. Over 60 people killed in triple blasts on Diwali Eve. Desipundit has more links. Our hearts go out to the families of those who died. Over a hundred have been injured. See this story about an alert driver saving many lives in a Delhi-bus. He is now at AIIMS and hopefully on a path to recovery.

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Hmm, it is very difficult to take sides in Indian Politics!..Nobody is right.

Though I would have never bought the argument that there were no personal motives behind Jaya’s govt filing cases against the Kanchi seer, I expected that a fair trial would continue. But..here comes confirmation that all is not well with the way TN govt has handled the case. The seer had appealed for transfer of the case to some place outside TN and the SC agreed to it. Here are the reports from Express,Outlook ,Sify. All of them are extremely short reports that divulge very little. For ex, did the SC bench comprising the Chief Justice RC Lahoti cite reasons for this verdict ???. As expected, VHP is up in arms. And the media largely seems to have given the story a miss. I must confess that I noticed this only after I saw a bunch of letters in today’s Hindu. Given that the Media gave extensive coverage to the initial filing of cases phase, it isn’t fair to deny publicity to this judgement. Anybody has a more detailed post on this???

update 1 : I did find a couple of detailed posts on this. here and here . I guess both the blogs belong to the same author. The latter one is named “prajatantrasupplementary”..makes me curious.. this person might be working in the Parliament ?? 😕

update 2 : Frontline has an article on the issue. It is better that the articles that I quoted in my post.

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VIP Squatters


`What is Buta Singh doing here [Delhi]? throw him out, a Governor cannot have a house here

Well…This isn’t Mr.Nitish Kumar , it is the Supreme Court of India! Though the choice of words might be debatable, the SC judge did the right thing by spanking the Govt for its inability to evict Past-Ministers. From the list mentioned in the Hindu article, it is clear that politicians across party lines have failed to follow the very laws that they enacted. Today’s Hindu editorial is on this issue. The letters to editor section of the paper has been largely dominated by this issue for 2 days. Look here , here and here. Nobody is happy.. that is for sure!

Both, the increased irritability of the SC and the PIL culture have gone a long way in keeping a check on the Govt. But, in times when it is fashionable for the Prime Minister to accept responsibility for an unconstitutional act and still act like a statue (for heavens sake.. what are Buta/Patel doing in their posts ?? They must have gone the day after SC made its observations), I wonder if these strongly worded statements from the SC will have any effect on our beloved politicians. NOTHING seems to embarrass them…(Go see laloo calling the “unconstitutional” verdict, a victory … phew!)

update: The letters to editor section is still dominated by this issue!..added the third link.

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