Friday, December 24, 2010

Zia Haq of Hindustan Times, Is Christmas Evil ?

Zia Haq is an Assistant Editor at Hindustan Times. Some of Zia Haq’s recent articles on his blog at Hindustan Times lament discrimination against muslims. These are 'I can't go to the US, My name is Haq' and 'Rahul Gandhi punished for plain speaking'. This is my response to him and I start with the latest of the two posts..

This is what he wrote: Imagine. If a politician and a foreign diplomat on a flight were to discuss terror, without anyone hearing them, and the politician does some plain-speaking in the process, is it treachery? Obviously not, unless the diplomat had other intentions.  Oh really? I am no politician or diplomat or even a professional journalist, but usually tips and insights into a person’s thinking come from casual conversations. In this case a US diplomat was picking into the insight and views of a person who could well be PM one day and his beliefs could well dictate policies of this nation. You’re a journalist! Don’t you as a routine practice pick up tips and information on behind-the-scenes goings-on from such casual conversations? Rahul Gandhi’s utterances are not treachery by any means and no one is calling it that. It is just one more of his stupid utterances in a very long list. If Rahul Gandhi really means what he says without political motives ask him to stand up in a debate and tackle the issues. Do you think he is capable of that?

To all the other things you have written let me respond in general. If indeed the RSS is the equivalent of SIMI and other organisations such as VHP, Bajrang Dal etc. pose a terror threat then let the UPA show the courage to ban them just like they have banned SIMI. Also, I am all for a ban on an outfit like Shiv Sena, a party that routinely disrupts life and creates nuisance for ordinary citizens. I am also for a ban on any party that moralises people on Valentines Day, that protests books on Shivaji. I am also for a ban on Ram Sene and the like that tell women where they should go and not. Especially, when any violence is involved.  I am also for a ban on the Deoband Muslim organisation that tells women jeans are bad and what clothing is pious or lectures on the choices of contraceptives. Will you support all these bans? Let these organisations be banned and let them rush to the courts. Let the courts decide if the bans are justified and fair. Mind you, it is not as if the RSS has not been banned before with the courts having overturned such bans.

Don’t fool yourself and others by lamenting that only muslims are painted as terrorists. If you still can’t see why, then your journalistic eyes are truly blinded.  The Islamic Terror attacks and the muslims who commit them swear by their religious scripts and such violence is routinely encouraged by many Imams across the world. Do you want proof of this? Furthermore, it is an established fact that muslims owe their allegiance first and foremost to their religion, their Ummah and not to the nation they are citizens of. Indian muslims, by difference, are not immigrants and are historically people of the soil. I will happily say that most Indian muslims are not terrorists. Those who are, are just a handful of them. Are you expecting terrorists in any society to be a huge majority in any community? Then the closest examples you can find any day of such a society is Pakistan which kills minorities everyday, or Iraq or Iran or Egypt.  

By bringing up the terrorist angle to these arguments you are conveniently overlooking a very disturbing fact and truth that Muslims have become, or traditionally were, the most intolerant of other religions and other communities. Here is Christmas celebration for you from the Daily Mail.

Can you explain that? Or once again these are people who are not muslims? Or once again these are people who have 'hijacked' or 'misunderstood' Islam?  Mind you, Tower Hamlets is one place in London where the head of the local council is Lutfur Rehman, a muslim. Although he denounces the poster, can we really believe this could have happened anywhere else?  Do you see violence on the streets of Britain because of the poster? You might well say ‘oh that’s in Britain, it’s got nothing to do with India or Indian muslims’. If that would be an argument, can one explain violence and deaths over the Danish cartoons? There is a minister in UP who declared an award for the head of the Danish cartoonist. Can you explain why this man who incited a criminal act is not in jail? Can you explain the violence in India by muslim protestors over the US invading Iraq? Protests one can understand, but violence? Whatever the cause of terrorism, religious terrorism is the outcome of religious intolerance. And intolerance is not just in terms of violence, it comes in many other forms too. Can you imagine the consequences across the world and in India too, if such a poster were to appear about Idd? Can you honestly answer that question?

In your post on being denied a US Visa you have complained about being singled out. Can you explain how and when travellers from across the globe had to start to go through severe security checks, have to reach airports hours and hours before their flight, have to remove even shoes and clothing, have to go through body pat-downs? Can you name one Imam who has condemned terror acts by Islamic terrorists? If you can, I will send you a list of 5 for each Imam you name who have actively encouraged Jihad attacks. You’re not being singled out to deny a US Visa. It is called ‘profiling’. The Hindu points out more such cases in your defence. And what is wrong with that? Should the world continuously risk threats, intolerance, inflammatory speeches because democracies provide that freedom? Recently, a flight had to be aborted because a muslim wanted to do prayers in the aisle. Can you assure me no muslim would do that? Will you do such a thing? How many Hindu shoe bombers have been arrested? Have many Hindu Major Nidals (of the Fort Hood massacre) have been found?

Here is another challenge to Zia Haq : Can you explain or justify the brutal killing of Theo Van Gogh? Would you like to debate or argue with Geert Wilders when he equates Mein Kampf with the Koran? If not, don't defend Rahul Gandhi's equation of RSS with SIMI by any yardstick.

Given that you’re a journalist, you may not be blind to the many emails and websites that Islamic terrorists have offered all of us. How many such sites and emails by Hindu or Buddhist or Christian terrorists can you point out to me? How many such emails or sites that threaten India or any other country or community can you point out by the RSS, VHP, or any such outfit? Do you have a record of all the statements or utterances of Hindu leaders or organisations which have condoned the attacks at Malegaon or Ajmer or any other places which have suffered terrorist attacks?

Most journalists confuse issues of terrorism by merely citing what the BJP or the Congress is saying. They, like politicians, have lost touch with ordinary citizens. The media may have its reasons to indulge in political correctness, but citizens do not. One can judiciously call terror as ‘religious’ terror if and only if its religious scriptures or its religious leaders are actively promoting, encouraging and applauding terror.

There are endless number of muslim Imams and political leaders who encourage and applaud terror. The terrorists themselves quote religious scriptures. Pray, tell me what Hindu scripture, Hindu leader or Hindu doctrine encourages such violence. If you find one, I will be the first one to support destroying that scripture and putting that religious leader in Jail. Can  you do the same for muslims, Mr. Zia Haq? That is where Rahul Gandhi is wrong, both in his utterances and his idiotic diplomacy.

Merry Christmas To You !

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010: The Year MSM Got Flushed Down The TOI(Let)

Once upon a time, a million years ago, the Times Of India carried a grand tagline ‘The Leader guards the Reader’. That was about its price-line.  With economic liberalisation, greater technology one would have thought competition in the media would escalate the interests of readers and viewers. If anything, much of the mainstream media (MSM) has actually got itself flushed down the toilet. The TOI should be considered pioneers in the art of malpractices in the media. That’s leadership for you.

In the last decade it was probably for the first time a journalist (of the Economic Times) was arrested. Sucheta Dalal then wrote:  ...Mumbai police arrested Rishi Chopra of The Economic Times along with an accomplice (a former journalist with another business daily) in an alleged extortion attempt.The duo was trapped accepting a Rs 700,000 bribe which was the second installment of a Rs 2.5 million payoff to kill a report about the shenanigans.... Worse, the pay-off itself had apparently been haggled down from an initial demand of Rs 10 million to Rs 2.5 million. Although corruption in the media is no longer news, the actual arrest of two scribes and the sums involved, marked a new low in this once honourable profession.  Paid news, Medianet were all such pioneering creations of the Times Group. One can imagine Ms.Dalal may have paid a price for her honesty. She could have been a celebrity like Barkha Dutt and probably much richer too.

Did the rest choose to remain far behind? The Nira Radia tapes only confirmed what most of us already suspected. A gross conspiracy of lie-mongering, bias, slant and paid news, and most of all,  journalists taking on the role of power-brokers. Mind you, NDTV shamelessly continues to keep Barkha Dutt on your screens when she should have been quickly assigned a backroom job. The recent fake tweets scam by CNN-IBN and Times Now also exposes the way they manipulate viewers and their feedback. Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi just have to be the tip of the iceberg. The head of Hindustan Times, Shobana Bhartiya, happens to be a Congress member too.

And the MSM which so so reveres ‘freedom of speech’ is usually the first to want to muzzle it when it comes to others. The famous case of the Times Group wanting to sue Pradyuman Maheshwari for his blog ‘Mediaah’ is all too well known. Fortunately, for those still interested in his posts the contents are available at His satire, humour and gossip was simply unpalatable for TOI who indulge in it all the time. Then there is the famous Barkha Dutt Vs. Chetanya Kunte episode. NDTV tried to trample an ordinary blogger for calling Barkha’s ‘Shoddy Journalism’ on the 26/11 terror attacks. And if all this wasn’t enough the media will give out sham awards like ‘Indian of the year’ to politicians whom they are supposed to be questioning all the time.

For all the TOIs, NDTVs, CNN-IBNs, TIMES Nows etc. there are few rare exceptions that shine. Sucheta Dalal is one of them. The other low profile ones are P. Sainath and J. Gopikrishnan (of The Pioneer). Gopikrishnan was the one who first exposed the 2G Scam.  I am sure there are some more that are worthy that I may not have named here. They may not achieve the dizzy celebrity status of the media crooks, but will have earned the eternal gratitude and trust of a nation.

If the mainstream media is down the toilet, what can you trust then? The new age 365X24X7X60X60 channels are the ones you are most likely to find on the Social Network on the internet. There are Bloggers, Facebookers and Tweeters who will dish out truth for a change. Sure there will be those on the social networks too who will dish out garbage like the MSM, but you will have choices. You can be sure that truth will not be hidden.

For a change it’s the MSM that will be under surveillance and we will be the watchdogs. I, for one, am happy to hear the bells tolling for the MSM and will celebrate Christmas and New Year in great cheer and hope. And I hope you do too! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Madras Univ Wrong In Denying Rahul Gandhi Permission....

According to reports the Madras University has denied Rahul Gandhi permission to use their auditorium to address Congress workers and students. Obviously this smacks of political malice. No matter how much I disagree with Rahul Gandhi and find his statements and utterances childish and moronic  I have to condemn the action of Madras University.

Freedom of assembly, speech and expression is the first fundamental right in a democracy. It implies freedom of thought. Indian constitution does not guarantee us that right in its proper form but selective practices of denying freedom of speech and assembly further erode it.

If the constitution or rules of the Madras University do not permit political speeches then they should have allowed permission to Rahul Gandhi with the condition that he cannot indulge in speeches that violate their rules. That would have been proper. To prejudge his speech deserves condemnation.

This is the same Madras University that indulges in political activity of a different kind. Two years ago in September 2008 the organisation conferred an honorary doctorate on Rahul Gandhi’s mother Sonia Gandhi. What for? Sonia Gandhi is not even a proper graduate, has not written any kind of literature, hasn’t done any noteworthy research or published any papers. If this University can confer such a degree on her, the motives are nothing but political. And I dare say, the university is quite likely to have allowed its auditorium for similar political functions in the past although I am not searching for its records.

If there has to be a stringent policy then Universities must stop conferring awards on political figures, ban political activity on their premises and ban student unions that are affiliated to political parties or are supported by political outfits. All of these happen day in and out at any university in India.

Instead of promoting greater freedom of speech most Indian institutions are politically motivated to curb it. While abusing freedom of speech is a common feature among public figures the constitution needs to be amended to allow complete freedom of speech to citizens. Articles which penalise causing hurt to communities, groups or religious sentiments are absolute balderdash. It’s nothing short of an insult to freedom itself.  Frequent banning of books is another blot on this freedom. Banning books on Shivaji, or Islam or plays on Gandhi etc. should not be tolerated in a mature democracy. Even  Hussain’s paintings should not be protested as much as Mohammad cartoons should not be banned. You must have the freedom to even question God and religion. When you don’t,  you are denying this freedom to atheists and agnostics. They are as much citizens of this democracy as anyone else.

The Madras University is perhaps being forced to act by political compulsions of the DMK government and owes an apology to Rahul Gandhi.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Times Now's Twisted Tweets

A reader posted a comment on my previous post about Manmohan Singh & Caesar's wife about this incident involving Times Now. It is getting to be increasingly unbelievable that the headlines of my blog about crooks in the media lying and spreading falsehoods are being so frequently confirmed by the media.

The CNN-IBN fake tweets incident is still fresh in our minds, but here comes another one from Times Now that has twisted a tweet to flavour its political persuasions:

This has been reported in great detail by Swathi Pradeep at her blog which makes very interesting reading, and I reproduce some parts of it:

That's the tweet that Suresh sent to Times Now, and below is how Times Now reproduced it on its channel:

“Congress should not lose its focus by worrying about Modi”.

Evidently, Times Now makes a tweet criticising Congress to appear as if it's sent by a sympathetic adviser. This is shameful and Arnab Goswami goes around shooting circulars to his staff about ethics in journalism. After much protracted communication Times Now finally apologised to Suresh Nakhua.

Read Swathi Pradeep's full article at her blog here.

Digvijay Singh, Rahul Gandhi - The RSS Nazis & Hindu Terror

Digvijay Singh and Rahul Gandhi enlightened the nation on how Hindu outfits like RSS are Nazi-like in their attitude and more dangerous than the LeT respectively. They didn't go far enough. Here are some pictures of Hindus (?) who support the Nazi ideology:

Hindu terror and Hindu terrorists are a great threat to the entire world. Almost everyday Hindu terror suspects are being arrested everywhere. A site specifically lists Hindu terror attacks everyday, counting the strikes since 9/11.
If not for Digvijay Singh and Rahul Gandhi, the world would have had to endure untold atrocities of terrorism by Hindu Nazis. Digvijay and Rahul once again save India and the world !!

Manmohan Singh & Caesar’s Wife

When you see a doctor, you trust him with your body and life. When you board a flight, you trust the commander of the flight. When it comes to the nation, wouldn’t you trust your Prime Minister?  The answer to all three questions has to be a resounding ‘Yes’. But it’s also a fact that accidents can happen, lives can be lost, nations can be harmed.  Personally, I have no doubts that Dr. Manmohan Singh is an upright, clean statesman but he has failed in his job as the prime minister. The nation has been subjected to grave harm and serious danger and he indulges in his favourite theme of ‘Caesar’s wife being above suspicion’. This is to his own Congress (I) members. If you have to make bold statements, make it to the nation and not to your party-men who will neither challenge you nor debate your utterances. If you have to be bold, face a JPC.

Firstly, it is as good as a Flight Commander saying he did everything right but his co-pilots screwed up. It’s like a doctor blaming the nurse for having given him the wrong knife. Most importantly, it reflects an utter lack of a sense of responsibility for his government’s and ministers’ deeds. MMS is offering to prove he is innocent, when no one is accusing him of guilt. People are merely seeking the truth. Despite the scams most people have unfailingly given him a ‘clean’ certificate. It’s the failure as the Prime Minister that he should accept and act upon and not on whether he should prove his innocence where corruption is concerned. Silence on various other issues is equally damning. It is for this very reason I call him the ‘head in sand’ prime minister and equally criminally culpable for the misdeeds of his government. If your dog bites someone, you are liable. Some of the prime minister’s cabinet ‘dogs’ have bitten the entire nation and left it bleeding. The PM is answerable and equally liable for those dogs.
Head In Sand Prime Minister

As for Caesar’s wife, MMS uses it as a convenient line frequently for his own benefit. Here is  what a critical analysis of his career has to say: When advised by admirers to leave the Congress in 1996 and concentrate again on propounding economic philosophies, he had dismissed the plea with his signature feeble voice, thus, "But I am in politics!" It seems somewhere in his subconscious he fancied his chances in a possible second innings in the future. Soon after the 1996 elections at a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party, he quoted the "Caesar's wife" proverb. the insinuation was clear; he was distancing himself from Narasimha Rao. (Read the full article here.)

What MMS does hide is the fact that Caesar made that statement to explain why he divorced his wife and not as proof of his wife’s innocence. The story behind that proverb can be searched anywhere on the net. The prime minster failed to divorce his cabinet wives who should have been above suspicion. If he himself, like Caesar’s wife, is above suspicion then he should divorce the Congress (I) or divorce himself from the responsible position he holds, because he has been clearly suspected of shielding corrupt ministers and covering up misdeeds of his government. For a change, the media is telling him these facts and are showing him why Caesar made that statement.

Far from the Caesar’s wife proverb, I would like to ask MMS “Et Tu Brutus”? That would be a more appropriate line for him.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rajdeep Sardesai Blames ‘Corrupt Society’ For Media Weakness

Thats right! In a seminar hosted by Divya Bhaskar in Ahmedabad on Saturday, 18th December Rajdeep Sardesai blamed the ills of the media on a corrupt society.

The DNA reports: "Today's TV viewer or reader is only in search of crime and cricket which eventually affects the credibility of the journalists," said Padmashree Rajdeep Sardesai. He added that the media at times seems week due to a corrupt society. So because people are crazy about crime stories, cinema and cricket, journalists are willing to sacrifice ‘credibility’? He also went on to say "At times, we take our viewers for granted."

I wonder how Rajdeep came to this great scientific conclusion that media is weak because of a corrupt society. What makes up ‘society’? Politicians and journalists are a very small number when compared to our populous society. The number of influential businessmen is even smaller when compared to politicians and journalists. So this extraordinary logic that a corrupt society is to blame for media ills is wanton and thoughtless at best.  Society has largely been a victim of corruption and not the perpetrator. Society is largely made up of ordinary men and women who work or do business and lead an honest life. A big chunk of society barely makes ends meet.  It is the number of corrupt people in powerful places that is a very small number in comparison.  The media is a slave to this very small population of the corrupt and not of the society.  To blame society for media’s problems is like blaming the rape victim for being provocatively dressed.  And this comes from Rajdeep Sardesai, the Chief Editor of CNN-IBN, a channel which does not exactly cover itself in glory where honest reporting is concerned. (Read the CNN-IBN fake tweets article here.)

Being credible, honest, fair are choices any professional makes. That applies to journalists too. In what way does society influence media to be anything else? On the contrary it’s the media that has the power to indulge in propaganda and lop sided stories. If stories of adulterous professors get greater TRPs then it’s the media that plays it up for drama, don’t blame society.  Rahul Mahajan’s spat with his wife from a reality show was a prime time main story on CNN-IBN. Who runs these stories?  Does society ask for such crap on a news channel? There are many other channels specialising in such dirt, what makes Rajdeep’s channel make such non-issues a major headline? Rajdeep should know that the biggest business on the internet is pornography. So if porn were to be legalised in India would CNN-IBN be peddling porn stories because it’s very popular and demanded? What kind of twisted logic is that, Rajdeep? Pray what part of society compels CNN-IBN to use fake tweets to support or legalise lobbying? What compels TV channels to dish out biased reports day in and day out? Society’s demands may compel competition, but does it compel journalists to act as power brokers with lobbyists like Nira Radia?

Rajdeep Sardesai should find better reasons for media’s weaknesses and not blame society.