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Friday, February 05, 2016

Racism in India: Why Indian news channels don't have dark complexioned anchors, news readers?

The mob attack on a girl from Tanzania and the alleged misbehaviour with her, has once again led to a debate over racism in India.

We may not acknowledge but racism--colour prejudice is deeply ingrained in our minds.

So deep is the prejudice against dark skin--ironically, in a country where majority is brown, that we don't even realise, while practicing it ourselves.

The first thing that people talk about while fixing a marriage is about the complexion--is the girl or boy fair? Words like 'fair and very fair' are commonly used in matrimonial advertisements.

Comments on looks on common in households, on streets and everywhere. People who are dark are mocked at, 'in jest', and these comments are taken as 'humour', not as racism.

It is common knowledge that fair people have advantage in getting jobs. And, there are certain fields where ONLY THE FAIR get a chance. Imagine, this happening in the country that is not perceived as a land of 'Whites' or 'Fair-skinned'.

So not just caste, religion, linguistic, gender and other sectarian forms of discrimination that are prevalent widely in our country, we also practice this form of apartheid, which is--'discrimination on the basis of skin complexion'.


Tune in foreign news channels and you will find people from diverse backgrounds as news readers and anchors.

Not just US that has 14% blacks, a country like UK that has far less population of the blacks, it is common to see anchors of all nationalities. However, in a country of 'browns', it is difficult to find a person with dark complexion on our screens.

Of course, there are dark complexioned reporters but isn't it a discrimination that they are not the ANCHORS! Why dark skinned people are not chosen as news-readers. It's a big question for Indian media.


As we all know, Dalits and Tribals also have NIL representation in Indian media. While there are reporters who are dark complexioned, Dalits and Tribals are nowhere even in the newsrooms.

Repeated surveys have shown how it is just the forward castes and some historically privileged and dominant castes that have representation in Indian media.

In US, the newsroom audit


After the Tanzanian girl was attacked by a mob in Bengaluru, TV channels were shouting--is our society racist? There were panelists who termed it just as an isolated incident, despite the fact that Africans are attacked repeatedly.

Students from Africa face harassment, abuse and have difficulty in finding houses on rent. The incident in Bangalore was just another example. We have seen such incidents in Delhi and other cities in the recent past.

People from North East face similar discrimination. Clearly, we practice racism and don't want to acknowledge that we are Racists. A problem can be solved when we first accept that it exists. Ostrich-like attitude won't help. 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

No outrage over train, police station burnt in Andhra Pradesh: West Bengal remains BJP, right-wing's target till Assembly elections

This photo on the left shows a train in flames.

That's Ratnachal Express, which was set afire at Tuni railway station in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

The videos are even more scary. Not just the coaches were burnt, police station and police vehicles were also set afire but there has been 'NO OUTRAGE'.

I am forced to write this because an incident in West Bengal--ruckus at a police station and attempt to set it afire, is blown out of proportions and treated as the single biggest threat for national security, for weeks.

LINKS: Train, police station set afire in AP and VIDEO of police station being set afire

But an incident of much higher magnitude--an entire train burnt is not, and is simply ignored. There is no round the clock reporting, no reporters sent from Delhi, no political delegations visiting AP, unlike what we saw in West Bengal.

The number of policemen injured is also many times more, than in Malda. However, Arnab Goswami is not at all agitated. So is Rahul Kanwal. Hindi TV channels are also silent.

The aim of this post is just to show how a pin that drops in West Bengal would be a national security threat, but if a pole falls elsewhere, it would be ignored. The reason is that BJP wants to win election in 'West Bengal'.

It [the BJP] just knows one way to win election--by communal polarisation, riots and creating religious divide. It has perfected it in the last three decades. So official machinery, its IT team, its online army, everybody is out to blow things out of proportions in states that are going to polls--Assam, West Bengal and later, UP.

Also, states where BJP or its allies rule, won't see negative reporting. So governments in states like Bihar would be the target. There will be no outrage over Manawar [Dhar] in MP but there will be national outrage over 'Malda' and 'Burdwan'.

READ: Manufactured rage, BJP's Project WB: From Burdwan to Malda, selective outrage

Friday, January 29, 2016

Islam in United States: Muslim population in America estimated at over 7 million

For years, there has been confusion over the population of Muslims in the United States of America  (USA).

In the past, most of the estimates suggested varying figures that ranged from 2.6 million to 5 million.

But other estimates suggest that the number could be well over 7 million--which is a big figure considering that the Muslims are settled mostly in urban areas in USA.

Even this is estimate was made more than four years ago. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had estimated that there were 7 million Muslims in US. 

President Barack Obama had clearly said that there were 7 million Muslims in America. He said it in his famous speech, which was delivered in Cairo [Egypt] in the year 2009. Listen to the speech at this LINK

The focus on Muslim population is back after Donald Trump, who aspires to become US president, has made controversial comments, and announced that if elected, he would ban entry of Muslims in the country.

Though it is not clear how he aims to achieve the objective, Trump's comments have led to an uproar across the world. Right-wing xenophobes like Trump may rouse anti-Muslim sentiments, but Islam has been a part of American culture and heritage for long. 

PEW REPORT on Muslim population. LINK

In fact, already there are tens of millions of Muslims in the country. But the statistics are not official.

The reason for confusion over the population of Muslims in United States (US) was that the citizens' religious affiliations couldn't be asked for in census in USA, and hence, there was no accurate and official record about the size of Muslim community in America. 

It was believed that that the figure was between 3.3-5.7 million earlier. But, independent agencies and surveys conducted, and estimated on the basis of attendances at all the mosques, have led to the estimate.

In fact, the figure may be even higher. Though Islam has been part of American culture for ages, and there has been Muslim presence in the country from the 17th century, the Muslim communities grew in size only in 20th century.


New York is estimated to have the highest Muslim population. The estimate is between 6,00,000 to 1 million [6-10 lakh].

Though there is no official figure, here is an estimate of population in states that have higher Muslim percentage [SOURCE]

The earliest Muslim communities were the African-Americans and the Arabs.

In the later part of 20th century, Muslim population in US began increasing fast.

The reason has been consistent immigration from other countries.

Muslims from South Asia, particularly, India-Pakistan-Bangladesh and the Middle East have been immigrating to US in large numbers.

Though Muslims faced prejudices and mistrust post-9/11, yet this didn't stop Muslims from coming to America.

The number of Muslims has been going up because of asylum seekers and Muslims from conflict-prone regions and war-torn countries that are being granted citizenship. The Muslim countries that got maximum green cards issued are  Pakistan, Iraq,  Bangladesh, Egypt, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Morocco & Jordan.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Indians celebrate Republic day but Hindu Mahasabha observe Black Day: Who is patriot, who is fake nationalist?

While Indians, irrespective of their religious and political affiliations, celebrated Republic Day, there are people who observed January 26 as 'Black Day'.

The ultra right-wing Hindu Mahasabha leaders took out a protest rally.

They said that they considered Gantantra Diwas as Black Day [Kaala Diwas] and raised black flags.

The Mahasabha leaders said that they didn't have faith in Indian constitution.

The major newspapers reported how the Mahasabha leaders held the protest in Meerut.

Meerut is a communally sensitive town in Western UP, which is close to Delhi.

Strangely, despite the provocation, no case was registered in this regard.

The policemen who are generally quite swift in filing FIR, didn't slap them with case of sedition.

The Hindu Mahasabha is known to be an open supporter of right-wing extremist Nathuram Godse, who had killed Mahatma Gandhi, and was sentenced to death for the crime.


Pride for national days, symbols, flag: The self-styled 'rashtravadis' stand exposed

The self-styled nationalist brigade readily terms others as 'anti-national.

However, the truth is that Muslims who are always on target and are asked to prove patriotism, foist national flag even in Madarsas and on Mosque premises.

Even, on Haj pilgrimate, Indian contingents are seen holding the flag with pride. That's the love for tricolour.

However, the fake nationalists are exposed as they secretly love 'Saffron flag' and it is well-known that right-wing groups avoid hoisting the national flag.

More photos about Republic Day celebration at Madarsas, Darul Ulooms [seminaries] across India

1. Photos of R day celebration in Indian madarsas, seminaries
2. More pictures of Republic day celebrations at Madarsas

Monday, January 25, 2016

Indian Muslims against ISIS: After fatwas against terror, Muslims take to streets, launch major campaign

First, there were fatwas against terrorism and ISIS.

Now, Indian Muslims have taken to the streets, to raise their voice against the outfit.

The photograph on the left, shows Muslim girls raising slogans against self-styled 'Islamic State'.

This is not a lone protest. It is part of a campaign. The reason is that many Muslims now increasingly feel that just condemning ISIS is not enough, but there is need to go to the street and say it, strongly, so that the message goes out.

Specially, in the wake of arrests of Muslim youths on suspicion of links with extremist groups, the Muslim community has decided to come out strongly and raise their voice.

Muslims in general are disgusted by the acts of groups like 'Islamic State', which is also known as 'Daaesh', ISIS or ISIL. Also, with media reports continuously giving wide coverage to inhuman acts of ISIS, community is deeply concerned.

The complexities of the situation in Syria and other countries of Middle East aren't clear to everyone.

However, the manner in which ISIS has been executing people and using Islamic symbols, distorting the message of the religion, has disturbed Muslims.

Earlier, over 1,000 Muslim religious heads, clerics and scholars had issued a joint fatwa, denouncing ISIS.

It termed the activities of the militia is inhuman and against the teachings of Islam. A copy of the text was sent to United Nations (UNO) too.

READ1,050 Muslim scholars' fatwa against ISIS

Now, a big campaign has been launched. It will mostly focus in Western part of India, where there are reports of many Muslim youths getting indoctrinated and affected by ISIS' propaganda.

Mumbai-based Sahas Foundation and Urdu Markaz are jointly organising the campaign. The aim is that parents also take care that the children don't get astray. A report about this campaign is published in Times of India (link below).

READ: 'Muslims against ISIS' campaign in India

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Leading Indian newspapers on social media: Times of India ahead in English newspapers, TV channels overall leaders, Jagran leads in Hindi

Social media has revolutionized the news world.

With more hits coming from Facebook [and Twitter], media groups are increasingly focusing on promoting their content on these sites.

'Likes', 'Shares' and 'Retweets' (RTs) are now used to gauge popularity of stories, reports and articles.

Most media organisations want 'content' that does well on social media.

Facebook is now considered more a platform that sends hits, rather than Twitter.

Twitter works in a different way but first, we shall look at the Facebook presence of Indian media.

Indian Media on Facebook, Twitter

All those busy in making strategy for social media, talk about Clicks and Eyeballs. The clicks [hits] are obtained through smart, catchy and even sensational [misleading] headlines.

Especially, Hindi media is doing it more to grab eyeballs. The major media groups that have strong presence on the ground, are doing well on the social media too.

But there are exceptions too. Some papers with huge circulation, don't have strong social media presence.

When you 'like' a page, you automatically become a follower and hence a consumer of its content. The more 'likes' and 'followers', a media company has on Facebook, the more is the reach of its content.

And, it not only brings advertisement revenue but also increases the brand value of the company. The media groups also use different ways, even spending money to drive campaigns for more 'followers'.


Times of India is the clear leader on Facebook. It has more than 79.38 lakh or 7.9 million likes [followers]. However, the surprise is that 'The Hindu', which is considered more traditional, is second in the list with 44.17 lakh or 4.4 million Facebook likes.

Hindustan Times has 41.33 lakh likes which puts it at the third place. Indian Express is also catching up fast now, though it was far behind till recently. Express has nearly 35 lakh 'likes'. Deccan Chronicle follows.

Among other English media, the weekly India Today has a strong following on Facebook. It posts content of dailyO as well. India Today has nearly 73 lakh or 7.3 lakh followers, which puts it among the most influential news brands on Facebook, in India.

Times of India 79.38 lakh [nearing 8 million]
The Hindu 43 lakh or 4.3 million
HT 39.68 lakh
Indian Express 34.69 lakh
Deccan Chronicle 13.98 lakh

TV CHANNELS' INFLUENCE: Aaj Tak, ABP leaders on Facebook

When it comes to TV channels, Aaj Tak and ABP News are the leaders. Aaj Tak is at the TOP. In fact, the two channel leads in all the segments as they are far ahead of English, Hindi and regional papers too, on Facebook.

Both Aaj Tak and ABP have crossed 10 million or 1 crore figure on Facebook. It is followed by NDTV, Zee News, Times Now, IBNlive.com, India TV and IBN 7. There are many other channels too, with over a million followers on this social networking website.

Aaj Tak 1.1 crore plus [10.1 million]
ABP News 1 crore plus [100 lakh], more than 10 millions
NDTV 58 lakh or 5.8 million
Zee News 51.86 lakh
Times Now 40.17 lakh
IBNlive.com 37.21 lakh
India TV 42.36 lakh
IBN 7 27.37 lakh

JAGRAN leads Hindi newspapers

Dainik Jagran 84.21 lakh or 8.4 million
Bhaskar 78.48 lakh
Amar Ujala 39.86 lakh
Navbharat Times Online 36.71 lakh
Punjab Kesari 29.07 lakh


Quint 31.40 lakh or 3.1 million
24 Ghanta 29.32 lakh [Bangla]
ABP Ananda 27.12 lakh
Manorama [Malayalam] 21.27 lakh
Mathrubhumi 18.66 lakh [Malayalam]
The Siasat Daily 12.64 lakh [Urdu]

For those interested in New Media, see the link below:
Top ten 'New Media' websites in India. LINK

*The figures above will keep changing, increase, in most cases. The data is for January 24, 2016.