A tale of two crimes

Pretty awful this. An on duty traffic cop, Vilas Shinde, was brutally assaulted by a youth at a Khar petrol pump,  succumbing to his injuries in the hospital the next day. What was even more unfortunate that this slain cops mother too died of shock a few days later. Spare a thought to the family of the deceased.

Isnt this news worthy enough to hog a lot of space in prime time news and front pages in leading English language dailies? Well apparently not. Its all about the narrative. The fact that the attacker belonged to a certain community makes it “sensitive” case & fit to be blacked out or swept under the carpet.

What instead hit the headlines was the news of another set of volunteers of Ganpati visarjan getting into a alleged scuffle with a cop. This fits the narrative, doesnt it? Its probable that to generalise the former more serious crime, this second instance was blown up by the media to pass it off as a more general “increasing instances of attacks on cops”.

Selective outrage have sadly become the hallmark of media coverage these days. Time to give them a royal ignore!

 

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Of flawed equality & Sabrimala Temple entry to women

Are we are really equal? I mean if one looks beyond the obvious fundamental standpoint, there are various inequalities that are built in viz., physical attributes, mental & emotional quotient, art / culture and math orientation, our work place designations / hierarchies etc. I would also add controversial caste into the above list. Caste is a case of poor choice of words. Clearly, whoever coined it in the Indian sense must have had an ulterior motive attached. Anyway, that is a topic for another day. The point is, the above is I would say this is diversity & not inequality.

Sabrimala temple entry for women has been a topic of the usual media frenzy, totally devoid of any facts and based more on superficial western beliefs and value system. The belief that the deity is in its Bramhachari avatar is a belief. Full Stop. Beliefs should be respected. Other Indian traditions in the exclusive domain of women arent highlighted. Why?

IndiaFacts has this from Nitin Sridhar. Thought provoking piece. The author builds on the flawed concept of equality which he attributes as a corollary of western belief system and its irrelevance in the Indian context due to the rich tradition of diversity in India. Sanatan Dharmic traditions and beliefs are basically complex adaptive systems constituting sub – systems which have adapted to the ever changing environment. It is this very attribute that has frustrated the futile attempts of those trying to break it.

#RighttoPray hashtags should be countered with #Backoff.

Sacrificing your soul

Couldnt get hold of the entire video, but it just cant get any worse than this.

A senior journalist, criticised for her often biased reportage, along with the Congress party actually got praised by the man touted to be one of the perpetrators of the ghastly terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008.

Hafiz Saeed, the terrorist in the video, goes to shed crocodile tears as to how misunderstood he is and how certain sections in India dont miss an oppurtunity to spread lies against him and Pakistan whereas some others like the said journalist & the Congress party are doing “good work”.

The troubling aspect is that why a terrorists thinks that these people are doing “good work”. What is it that they are actually doing? Are we missing something ?

This praise seems to have brought the concerned journalist down from her pedestal as she took high moral ground and seemed unperturbed of the criticism of being soft on the terrorists and separatists and pulverising the Indian army for “excesses”, prominent among them was the Hizbul terrorist, Wani, who got slain by the army.

In this day & age of microscopic scrutiny, this is a PR disaster for the journalist mentioned. She was at the forefront of earlier linked to the Nira Radia controversy too.

Election Season upon us

Its become all too familiar now with a set pattern having emerged. With elections around the corner (And yes that too the mother of all polls, UP Polls in early 2017), a spate of “incidents” have started receiving coverage in the national media. Some unrelated incidents (read incidents that would in normal times would have died down in a whimper) are being blown up and linked to create a grand narrative. This (and the more shocking reaction) and This are the concerned incidents.

So this entire episode concerning Mayawati is about a politically incorrect remark allegedly made by one of the BJP party functionary when making a reference to her practice of alloting tickets to contestants with the highest bids. (Hang on here. Isnt the prostitutes who should really take offence to these remarks ?? I mean they are in the profession out of sheer desperation.) Well, some things are left unsaid. But then the BJP (Dont think its intentional because if it is then stupidity) has developed this habit of shooting itself on its foot. Mayawati and her party have sounded the poll bugle

Moving to the next incident. It involves a group of people beating up another group of people. The media wants us to believe its part of a grand design against the lower castes as the group getting beaten up happened to belong a lower castes. Well, isnt it a crime? Plain and simple. Law enforcement would deal with it. Why blow it up? Why should the lense of caste be brought in here? Would it have been looked at through casteist lenses had elections not been around? And after having coloured it with casteist angle why generalise it??

Came across this piece yesterday. The author picks off on the second incident. He really lets his imagination runs wild here.  In the piece, his main argument rests on dropping the last name for protesting the caste system? He goes on to broadly generalise his argument further by listing some unrelated acts of crime (are non – dalits not at the receiving end of criminal acts in India?) and by rattling statistics (one of it being the high proportion of Dalits of religious minorities?? Now whats that? Arent other religions free from this caste evil? He busts his main argument point here and these poor guys too would have to shed their last names) of unmentioned sources. The rest of the article is plain pointless. I have taken time out to comment on the obviously poorly reasoned article above as it appeared in a paper like Mumbai Mirror and i expect them to maintain certain standard. And similar posts are all over the place.

Politicians have vested interest in keeping the caste fire burning in india, despite its effects waning due to urbanisation. If not religion then surely caste will win votes. Scare mongering is the golden rule. Religion based and caste based appeasement politics was thrashed by the average indian voter in 2014 which stunned its patrons. Like the proverbial worms during the monsoon season they have emerged again.

Availability of jobs is the biggest issue and if it is to be addressed the voter has to continue rejecting the above evils which politicians and the media are so trying to bring back in the limelight by spinning a narrative of victimhood and oppression (remember “church attacks” during delhi elections? and “Dadri” before Bihar. Is this the thing before UP polls? Stay calm and enjoy the circus!!

 

‘Brexit’icis

Financial markets were gripped with “Brexit” talk and it had an almost fever like grip which culminated on 24th Jun 2016. There was a funny whatsapp message doing the rounds on Friday evening in the aftermath of ‘Brexit’. It read, ‘Italeave’, ‘Fruckoff’, ‘Czechout’, ‘Byegium’, ‘Oustria’ 🙂 indicating the imminent break of the monetary union i.e EU, after Britain became the first country to sever ties from the EU.

Here are some “expert” views on it; Vox has this interesting piece of For Brexit view . George Soros has this to say. Ken Rogoff has this. Brookings has this

As always, the biases of these “experts” should be discounted while forming a view based on their analysis. Washington Post even has this on the distrust of the junta on these experts on Brexit.

Well, I dont mean to wish bad luck to the Brits. But this referendum would seemingly open the floodgates for the Scots, Northern Irish to exit the UK as we know it. Well,  as they say Karma has to catch up.

Egg on their faces – 2

In continuation of one of our earlier posts , the Congress Party, facing the heat (and deservedly so !) in the ‘Ishrat Jahan Encounter’ case now seems to be getting in an awkward position in ‘The Malegaon Case’ too. The case is still playing out in the courts. But the twists and turns in the case so far have raised many eyebrows. If the former seems to be an instance of facts having been played around with to give it a spin which suited certain political interests, the latter seems no less.

In the ‘Ishrat Jehan case’, testimonies of prime accused, Headley, during the trial of 26/11 attacks case, revelations of MHA officials under the previous government, RTI application papers relevant to the case revealing that former HM Chidambaram went to the extent of altering affidavits to erase references of Ishrat having terrorist links (and which Chidambaram says was to “correct anomalies”. 🙂 ) seem to have opened a can of worms. All of this point in the direction that the Congress basically wanted to give itself ammunition to target its main political opposition i.e. Modi. The merits of the case (intelligence inputs that the people shot down in the encounter including Ishrat had terrorist antecedents) took a complete back seat and the focus was shifted on proving whether the encounter is fake or not? (Basically suggesting that the encounter was stage managed). The “fake encounter case” falls apart once it is proved that the people gunned down are terrorists.

But the question is, Why take on so much trouble? Simply put, it helped them to build the narrative of an evil state government under Modi plotting the murder an innocent Muslim “college student” under cold blood. This is as potent as an automatic Kalashnikov in the aftermath of the 2002 Godhra train burning and the succeeding riots and in an era of breathless and reckless TV news channel reporting.

The Malegaon case is playing out in courts presently. This one is the 2008 case and not the 2006 one. Last update on it was that of the investigative agency, the NIA dropping charges against one of the main accused Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and withdrawing charges under the stringent MCOCA against the other Col. Purohit. Whatever be the outcome of this case, this was an instance whereby the Congress was spinning the narrative of ‘Saffron / Hindu terror’. When other clear instances of radical Islamic terrorism acts were downplayed under the pretext of ‘Terrorism has no religion’ argument, the Congress started playing up on it.

Chidambaram went to the extent of warning against ‘Saffron Terror’  in 2010. Sushil Kumar Shinde accused the BJP / RSS of inciting ‘Saffron Terror’ in 2013 at a Congress party conclave. This was in the run to the General elections of 2014. Congress Partys Digvijay Singh had earlier remarked about ‘Hindu Terror’. Clearly, the term ‘Saffron Terror’ was coined to counter balance the growing menace of radical Islamic terrorism acts with an eye on its primarily minority vote bank.

For like the proverbial boomerang you will reap just what you sow, its payback time.

JNU – ‘Anti National Controvery’ – 3

Mr Chomsky is well respected for his fearless critique of the US Foreign Policy. His famous work ‘Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media’ written along with E.S Herman in the 80’s essentially talks about the propaganda model of communication. In the book they discuss how media outlets are essentially for profit entities where the financial interests of the shareholders are paramount. Advertisment revenue is the main source of revenue as a result advertisers hold sway on the content. The news sources are typically well entrenched sources from the incumbent political establishment or bureaucracy. These sources need to be kept “happy” else the media would be starved of news and lose readership / viewership. Adverse reaction to news items or flak can result in loss of revenue. More importantly the prospect of flak can lead to non reporting of certain events. He also refers to social control mechanisms, earlier anti – communism and later war on terror which can be editorial distortion filter. More info here .

Current situation in the Indian news media space can be defined as that of manufacturing dissent. Fanning this narrative of dissent everywhere, creating this image of men in kalashnikovs (or with swords in this case as it is how workers of the ruling party and its associates, referred to as the Sangh Parivar, are caricatured), minority victimisation etc. I mean common men (or mango men so very contemptuously mentioned by the scion of the Indian political monopolists) like me are left scratching their heads. Its almost like a sustained disinformation campaign.

The JNU controversy essentially starts with a bunch of students sloganeering objectionable things. No one would have bothered had the slogans been anti – government, anti – ‘A’ minister or ‘B’ minister or even the ‘Prime Minister’ for that matter. What incensed the people was the mention of ‘India’s destruction’ in those slogans. What followed was a logical sequence of events with the university authorities taking cognizance of the activities by these students. A police complaint filed by a Member of Parliament belonging to the BJP. The police took over and finally arrested the students.

Excellent piece by Mr Sankant Sanu. His analogy should be read first especially by people not currently residing in India.

Imagine a big public funded University, say UT Austin, of which I am an alum. They hold a public event to commemorate the martrydom of Osama bin Laden by security forces. Not only that, they proclaim his death would be avenged and they will not rest till the US is destroyed and broken up into pieces. This is what allegedly happened at JNU that got people incensed. (What actually happened may need us to wait for the court to sift through all the evidence).

Now you might argue, that all this is protected free speech, but you can imagine the outrage in the US. You’d also bet the FBI would be on it. And, of course, India is far stricter on free speech where a stray remark on the Prophet would get you in jail and where Satanic Verses was banned (by the Congress government).

Mr Chomsky incidentally is a signatory to an open letter to protest the high handedness of the authorities out here. Unfortunately, he seems to have got swayed by the systematic disinformation campaign which is purely political in nature. The opposition parties are desperate to fan this narrative before every state elections and climaxing in 2019.