Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Little-known till the mid-1980s, this Chennai-based Chartered Accountant shot into the limelight with a series of exposes against Dhirubhai Ambani and Reliance in "The Indian Express". Swaminathan Gurumurthy is an acclaimed writer whose columns have found place on several dailies and periodicals. He is known for his radical views and opinions while his intense combination of words and moods are a testimony of his passion towards raging issues. Gurumurthy's knowledge of economics and accounting principles is outstanding and his articles, though polemical, are always painstakingly well researched and crafted. He is a staunch proponent of the Swadeshi model of economic development and is a leading light of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), which is currently spearheading the agitation against some of the economic policies. Besides politics, he also enjoys considerable clout in corporate circles.
S Gurumurthy, Daily Pioneer
ASI needs stones to read history and historians need bones to understand it. Neither are there any stones left by Lord Ram, nor do his bones exist. Ironically, certain sections of the UPA were more than willing to buy this ‘secular logic’
It was a drama that lasted less than 48 hours. On September 9, Lord Ram, who existed in the hearts of millions and millions of faithfuls for thousands of years, ceased to exist, and became a myth for the UPA Government. Like a stone thrown at a beehive, this set off a reaction that made the Government run for cover. On September 11, the Congress-led ‘secular’ UPA Government quickly turned round and admitted that Lord Ram was real.
See the sequence to this somersault. On 9/11, the UPA Government told the Supreme Court on oath that Lord Ram was just a myth and Ramayan no more than fable. Besides trashing Lord Ram, the Government had also dismissed Sita, Lakshman, Hanuman and others as just ‘characters’ in the play, Ramayan. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told us so, swore the Government.
Left historians welcomed the Government’s stand, calling it ‘objective’. What is the logic that made Lord Ram a myth? That was the logic of stones and bones. ASI needs stones to read history and historians need, in addition, bones to understand it. Neither does any stone left by Lord Ram, nor does any bone of Lord Ram, exist. So, they ask, how could Lord Ram have existed without the bone-stone testimony.
Human beings do not matter to ASI. And historians cannot accept that human beings are as objective as bones and stones are. So, oral traditions of human beings are no evidence to either of them. On this bone-stone objective test, Valmiki and Tulsidas, the Government told the Supreme Court, are all like Joanne K Rowling. And Lord Ram, just another Harry Potter, the character Rowling has created. Reports say that the Government had filed over 400 pages of records to assert this. But why did the Government try to make a Harry Potter out of Lord Ram who resides in the heart of crores of people?
The case in the Supreme Court was no issue of inheritance from any of those “characters”, as the affidavit would describe Lord Ram and others in Ramayan, claimed by their heirs of today. It was an issue of heritage of Lord Ram and Ramayan claimed by Hindu faithfuls – the heritage of Ram Setu – the bridge, they believe, was built by the army of monkeys to cross the seas to Sri Lanka to take on Ravan. But the DMK, a critical UPA partner, is hell-bent on cutting Ram Setu to build the Sethusamudram Channel to create ship-way between Sri Lanka and India.
Ramayan, whether written by Valmiki in Sanskrit or Tulsidas in Hindi or Kamban in Tamil, testifies that Lord Ram’s engineers led by Nal and Neel built the bridge. So, the faithfuls who oppose the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project that cuts Lord Ram’s bridge, rely on Valmiki’s testimony. They contend that if Ramayan were true, then Ram Setu ought to be true. Consequently, they want Ram Setu to be protected, not destroyed.
They took the case to court. It is there that the UPA Government decided to establish, once and for all, the fact that Ram Setu was no monument. To prove that it took short-cut. If Lord Ram was a mythical character, Ram Setu, too, would be a myth. That is why, on September 9, the Government declared Lord Ram as non-est.
Unfortunately, the UPA Government’s affidavit on Lord Ram as a myth coincided with the pre-fixed VHP agitation on the streets all over the country against the destruction of Ram Setu. So, the issue was already on the streets when the Government filed the explosive affidavit. With the media disclosing the affidavit, there was spontaneous uproar from the people.
The rediff.com, which had put out the news of the affidavit, had opened its website for comments from surfers. In less than 24 hours, over 2,800 surfers responded, with a vast majority of them criticising the Government. Apart from BJP leaders, Mr Prakash Singh Badal and Ms J Jayalalithaa, from the non-saffron ranks, also demanded apology from the Government. Even Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mr AB Bardan condemned the affidavit filed by the Government.
The BJP, as was to be expected, went on a war-mode and demanded the withdrawal of the affidavit, and apology from Ms Sonia Gandhi and Mr Manmohan Singh, besides seeking the removal of the concerned Minister. This forced the Government to began the disowning game.
The Prime Minister told Mr LK Advani that he was not aware of anything about the affidavit. This should be taken as true as Mr Manmohan Singh is unaware of most things in the Government. The Home Minister repeated the same thing; so did the Law Minister. In hours, the affidavit saying Lord Ram was a myth stood orphaned.
Then entered Ms Sonia Gandhi – an ‘expert’ on Lord Ram and Ramayan and also archaeology and history – who, the story goes, called the Additional Solicitor General, Mr Gopal Subramaniam, and disapproved the affidavit declaring Lord Ram as mythical. Mr Subramaniam reported it to the Law Minister, who, in turn, held a Press conference and announced: “Ram is Ram; he exists like Ganga and Himalaya.” So, all experts and their opinions and those of the legal pundits were overruled.
Ms Sonia Gandhi did not even have to use her pen to do it. The UPA’s style of ruling India is self-evident. When the Government does unpopular things, whether it is petrol price hike or affidavit on Lord Ram, Mr Manmohan Singh and company will take the hit. But whenever it does anything popular, like petrol price cut or employment guarantee announcement, or the withdrawal of the affidavit on Lord Ram, Ms Gandhi will take the credit. Now she gets the acclaim for restoring Lord Ram to history from mythology.
It is new experience for Lord Ram. He was exiled by his father, Dasaratha, under the pressure of his aunt, Kaikeyi, for years. But, now, when Lord Ram was declared as non-est by Mr TR Balu, Ms Gandhi overruled him and recovered Lord Ram in just two days. So, Kaikeyi’s wrong to Lord Ram has been atoned by Ms Gandhi, thousands of years later.
Post Script: The experts, who could alone testify on whether Ram Setu is man-made or natural formation, are the geologists and oceanographers, not archaeologists or historians. But their view was totally kept out. Why? Simple. Some of them had already expressed that Ram Setu could not be a natural formation, meaning that it could be man-made – that is, it could be monkey-made.
If the Government had heard them, the results are obvious. There would be no Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project; no contract for Rs 2500 crore; and, no profit to anyone. So the reverse logic – destroy Ram Setu and for that turn Lord Ram into a mythical character.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
The American Behind The २००८ Attack On Mumbai on NPR Fresh Air with Terry Gross and ProPublica reporter Sebastian Rotella.
Please also read "Could This Man’s Warnings Have Prevented the Mumbai Attacks?"
FRONTLINE: A Perfect Terrorist
Chapter २ of ६
Chapter ३ of ६
Chapter ४ of ६
Chapter ५ of ६
Chapter ६ of ६
Sunday, November 13, 2011
UNDER RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT
Central Public Information Officer
Prime Minister’s Office
South Block, NEW DELHI-110101
I will be obliged if your honour kindly provides me complete and detailed information on under-mentioned aspects together with related documents/correspondence/file-
- Approximate number of Pakistani nationals presently in the country whose visa-period has already expired. Please provide details according to years of overstay, if feasible
- Approximate number of Bangladeshi nationals presently in the country whose visa-period has already expired. Please provide details according to years of overstay, if feasible
- Approximate number of other foreign nationals presently in the country whose visa-period has already expired. Please provide details according to years of overstay, if feasible
- Steps taken to send back Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals back to their countries whose visa-periods stand expired
- Steps taken to send back other foreign nationals back to their countries whose visa-periods stand expired
- Rules including punishment for over-stay or illegal stay of foreign-nationals in India
- Is it true that many foreign-nations especially from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh are living illegally in India entering India without any visa?
- If yes, approximate number of such persons according to country of their origin and Indian states where such illegal migrants are living
- Rules about nationality of children (having taken birth in India) of foreign nationals either residing in India illegally without obtained any visa, or over-staying on expired visa
- Is it true that many Hindus and/or their families from Pakistan have come to India with a desire to get Indian citizenship?
- If yes, approximate number of Hindus separately from Pakistan and Bangladesh who are over-staying or illegally living in India in anticipation of Indian citizenship
- Rules to grant Indian citizenship to migrant Hindus from Pakistan and Bangladesh
- Is India government aware of pitiable situation of minority Hindus living in Pakistan and Bangladesh with their percentage in population there fast declining?
- If yes, steps taken if any, by Indian government to safeguard and protect rights of Hindu nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh
- Any other related information
documents etc every aspect of this RTI petition
In case queries relate to some other public-authority, please transfer this RTI petition to CPIO there under section 6(3) of RTI Act. Postal-order number 92E 298759 for rupees ten is enclosed towards RTI fees in name of “Accounts Officer” as per DoPT circular-number No.F.10/9/2008-IR dated 05.12.2008.
SUBHASH CHANDRA AGRAWAL
(Guinness Record Holder & RTI Activist)
1775 Kucha Lattushah
Dariba, Chandni Chowk
DELHI 110006 (India)13.06.2011
Indian Government stand on persecution of Hindu minorities in Pakistan
Friday, November 11, 2011
Media and misogyny. By Aditya Sinha, The New Indian Express
The other night, on a programme meant to clarify to viewers that her recorded conversations with corporate public relations manager Niira Radia were merely news-gathering, NDTV group editor Barkha Dutt faced questions by four male journalists, three of them veterans. Towards the end of the show, Barkha commented to her channel colleague and show moderator: “Anyway, there’s been a lot of misogyny here today”. Given that Barkha is the first woman editor of a major media organisation, and given that she has for long served as a major inspiration for youngsters, especially women (before television, the media was a career fit only for men who were perhaps good at nothing else), the impact of her words should not be underestimated. Whatever else may have transpired during that show, the mention of misogyny has resonance for any woman who lives and works in India.
The fact that Barkha is the first, and still the only Editor of a mainstream media outfit in India itself speaks volumes. Till now, women journalists in major newspapers or magazines have become resident editors, but no higher. The majority of women find they reach the ceiling when they become features editor or magazine editor, which in a sense is their being told that they are capable of nothing more than commissioning or reporting on ‘soft stories’. This is of course a crock of crap. Some women do become Editor of a publication, but that is usually at a niche magazine like such pertaining to glamour or health, etc.
If women aren’t given the ultimate responsibility in editorial management, then the blame is not only that of senior journalists who have overlooked or not groomed their women colleagues for the top job, but also the media barons who perhaps are not comfortable with the idea. It surprises me, for instance, that the proprietor of my former newspaper, the Hindustan Times, despite being a woman who herself had to overcome the prejudice and misgivings of an entrenched union and old-style management when her father passed control to her, never thought of hiring a woman for the top job. It may simply be a matter of her not yet finding the right person; but it hasn’t happened yet.
This is not to say that the Times of India, despite having had a woman as resident editor in its flagship edition, is any better. Sure, it hires a lot of women and journalists, but that’s true everywhere nowadays because women appear to be better-qualified and better-driven than the boys wandering into the profession. The paper also appears to be women-friendly in its content, but again that’s another illusion; it’s merely the outcome of a cynical marketing strategy resting on the premise that women are either the biggest consumers or influence “big purchase” decisions. The newspaper shrewdly disguises commodification as empowerment.
And then there’s the sneering attitude to women in stories by even the most liberal publications, and by even women writers. Take the incident of Sunanda Pushkar’s involvement in the bid for an IPL team in Kochi. It was a simple case of nepotism involving the then minister of state for external affairs, Shashi Tharoor. (In hindsight, what they were alleged to have done pales in comparison with the scams that have surfaced since, and they weren’t even fingering public money). Yet it turned into a barely-veiled personal attack on Ms Pushkar; the tone of most articles was salacious. It was shameful.
Thus it is true that there is a pervasive misogyny in the big media. It is so deeply entrenched that most top male editors usually have a core team which is akin to a boys club. It reflects the attitudes in our working life throughout India; while women may feel physically safer on the streets of some cities, they perhaps find the workplace even more stifling in those same cities. Every woman knows this. Which is why Barkha Dutt’s comment about misogyny, made by a woman who’s risen to the top through visible labour and good work (such as in Kargil and Kashmir), is one that ought not to be taken lightly, even if other journalists or even men in general are dismissive of it. As the Radia tapes show, a good chunk of journalists are increasingly out of touch with what their readers think or feel.
In the leaked portions of her conversations with Radia, Barkha Dutt is heard discussing the back-and-forth of the UPA-II ministry formation. In hindsight, one of Radia’s aims was to ensure A Raja’s return to the telecom ministry, despite his having caused a loss of `1.76 lakh crore to the nation during the allotment of 2G Spectrum. Barkha did not appear to know this aspect, and so there is actually nothing wrong, illegal or corrupt that she did. Wittingly or unwittingly, however, she became a party, however tangentially, to the immense pressure that was brought upon the Congress and upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (who, it now transpires, had an inkling that Raja was up to no good) to retain Raja in the same ministry. To the common viewer/reader, Barkha Dutt now exemplifies the cozy relationship between business, politics and the media: of networking, privilege and power. It is likely that she was too dazzled by all this to see the murkiness of what was unfolding before her very eyes, and so you can believe she did not see a story in the fact of a corporate fixer acting as a mediator between two political parties over ministry allocation.
The four men chosen for the panel (Outlook’s Vinod Mehta wisely declined) tried to question her about it but the fact is that Barkha Dutt did not give satisfactory answers. (The Hindu’s N Ram was categorical in his assessment of the show). If anything, the men genuinely tried to be accommodating or avuncular; only Open’s Manu Joseph refused to offer no resistance to Barkha’s steady descent into attacks of a personal and pulmonary nature. Yet at no point did any of them allude to her gender; and at no point did they gang up against her (asking a follow-up to another person’s questions is a standard practice). She, on the other hand, questioned Manu’s understanding of political journalism; she evaded answers by alleging that the questioners had changed goalposts (an allegation that politicians perhaps want to make of journalists but wisely refrain from doing); and she made the reference to misogyny. In short, she lost her composure.
You may wonder that if misogyny was going to be an issue, then NDTV should have just called four women to the panel. Perhaps Barkha sensed that the grilling would have been far worse. And then she would have had nothing to blame for her unconvincing defence of why she figured in the Radia tapes.
About The Author
Aditya Sinha is the Editor-in-Chief of The New Indian Express and is based in Chennai.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
At IIM, Karnavati, Gujarat
At Begaluru (Bangalore), Karnatak
At Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Indraprasth (Delhi)
Subramanian Swamy exposing Sonia Gandhi, Robert Vadra and P Chidambaram on Chauthi Duniya
At Tilak Mandir, Poona (Pune), Maharashtra