Saturday, March 18, 2017

Don't get surprised, even Yogi Adityanath had Muslim supporters who rooted for him in UP

Yogi Adityanath will be chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

On social media, several people reacted as if something earth-shaking had happened and as if it was unexpected.

Why? Didn't you see it coming? Ahmed bhai had already sensed it and was supporting Yogi Adityanath even when the election campaign hadn't begun at all.

On the banner for 'Eid Milan', the slogan was 'UP Dol raha hai, Yogi Yogi bol raha hai'....'

Call him opportunistic or whatever, but there were guys who knew Yogi's time was coming.
And you call Muslims monolithic!

There were some who even said that they wanted Yogi at any cost.

"No BJP, Yogi first. We prefer Yogi", that was the slogan too in Gorakhpur and surrounding region.

So when the 'Hindu-wadi' leader had so much support even among Muslims, just imagine the support among Hindus!!!

We have seen the rule of GB Pant, Sampoornanand, the most hated UP CM Vir Bahadur Singh and Kalyan Singh.

Now, we will see Yogi Adityanath leading India's most populous state, too. 

Urdu newspapers flourish in Bihar: Several prominent Urdu papers published from Patna

Bihar has been a citadel of Urdu for ages.

The state has more Urdu readers than many of the North Indian states.

In fact, Patna has nearly a dozen major Urdu papers published from the city.

The photograph [Courtesy Mahtab Alam sahab] on the left shows many papers.

While many Urdu speakers in Uttar Pradesh had a superiority complex in terms of Urdu and felt that they were guardians of the zabaan, truth is that Bihar has  been more fertile for Urdu post-independence.

Though I am a UP wala, but I have to admit the fact.

These are the Urdu newspapers published from Patna, the capital of Bihar. You can find the major papers like Qaumi Tanzeem, Taseer, Inquilab, Pindar, Jasarat-e-Bihar, Farooqui Tanzeem, Ameen, Pyari Urdu, Hamara Samaj, Sangam and Awami News.

There are some other papers too published from Bihar. Akhbar-e-Mashriq has an edition too.

Bihar had thousands of Urdu schools till a few decades back and still there are Urdu schools across the state though UP has none.

In the last two decades,  Urdu journalism has seen a revival. Though Urdu papers were strong in Hyderabad, Telangana [earlier Andhra Pradesh], Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kashmir, the situation once again improved in North India.

In Delhi and UP, there are many big newspapers now. West Bengal and Jharkhand too has several Urdu papers.

However, the situation in Madhya Pradesh is not as good, as there are few papers with declining circulation.

Among big states, Rajasthan and Gujarat don't have Urdu newspapers though almost all the states from JK, Punjab in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South, have Urdu publications.



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Irresponsible journalism: Hindi newspaper Nai Dunia publishes false story about fatwas against teenaged singer

This is an example of what plagues journalism today.

Hindi newspaper Nai Dunia [Nav Dunia in Bhopal], published a false story about '40 fatwas against a Muslim girl' for singing bhajans.

The truth is that there was not even a single fatwa against Nahid Hasan, the teenaged singer.

It seems that the pamphlet in Assamese was not even read correctly.

Earlier, even TV channels had carried the story that the Muslim girl was stopped from singing by Ulema.

Even CM tweeted about it and the imaginary fatwas created outrage. In fact, the pamphlet did not even mention her name. The pramphlet said that events shouldn't be held close to mosques, grave yards et al. reported 'The fatwa against Assamese singer that never was...'. Subsequently, many journalists apologised for the haste and the irresponsible reporting. If there was a pamphlet that objected to holding an event, it should be reported that way only.

Nai Dunia was once considered a respected newspaper in Central India. It is published in both MP and Chhattisgarh. Originally it was named Nai Dunia but after a title dispute, some of its editions are sold by the name 'Nav Dunia. Jagran group has taken it over sometime ago.


The fact remains that any story about 'Fatwa', even if totally imaginary, sends certain media houses into a frenzy.

This is a reflection of the bigotry and inherent biases against Islam and Muslims in the media. However, we stand by Nahid Hasan's right to sing and if there any attempt to stop her freedom to sing, we are against it, and extend our support.

In fact, papers issue fatwas these days. We hope such papers will be careful in future and won't issue 'Fatwas' on their own. Press council must take serious action and stop the channels & papers from imagining, inventing and issuing fatwas

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Open letter to Akhilesh Yadav after UP polls result: Now act as a strong Opposition, kindly ensure communal harmony is not disturbed in UP

Dear Mr Akhilesh Yadav,

                                     As Samajwadi Party's five year term in Uttar Pradesh comes to an end, I feel compelled to write you this letter, especially, in wake of the Assembly poll results.

Every citizen has hopes from the government and leaders. I too have such expectations and hence I felt that I should communicate my thoughts to you.

Five years ago, in 2012, your party had got overwhelming support from different sections of the society. Like other communities, Muslims had also voted for your party in a big way.

After SP won, the party didn't pay much attention to most of the promises made in the manifesto. The party had promised better representation to Muslims in police apart from reservation in jobs and opening Urdu schools, educational institutions in areas with Muslim population and action in case of youths framed in false cases.

One doesn't expect every promise to be fulfilled but there is always the hope that at least some attention will be paid to what was mentioned in the manifesto. Sadly, this didn't happen.

What came as a big disappointment was the handling of Muzaffarnagar riots. If, at all, top government functionaries had reached the spot immediately, got local administration to act tough and given call for Army promptly, the violence may have been controlled in the beginning.

It was the worst communal conflagration in this decade in the entire country and made thousands of people refugees on their own land. No other state, with the exception of Assam (where Congress was in power then during Kokrajhar killings) had witnessed such scale of killings and displacement in recent years.

I feel that even after the riot, due steps that could have helped people gain confidence, were not taken. People remained in camps through the harsh winter. Financial compensation can never be substitute for human lives, their sufferings.

Besides, there wasn't seriousness in ensuring justice for women who faced sexual violence during the Muzaffarnagar riot. I do not doubt your intentions for development. But the failure to control law-and-order and inability to rein in rabble-rousers was evident.

How could things turn communal every now and then? How could Dadri happen? The government had a full majority and yet the administration wasn't able to deal with communal elements sternly. If there is will, there can't be a riot. Strong governments don't allow riots and don't let incidents to take communal turn easily.

Many of my friends who are supporters of Samajwadi Party or are close to it, put blame on the 'rivals' for propaganda and for creating communal disturbances. They kept saying that things were given communal turn to pit communities against each other.

But that's what one expects a strong government to do--to deal with such elements in a strong way. I do remember an instance when a riot had begun and immediately the DM-SP were changed (new officers sent by helicopter). That was well over a decade ago.

Now kindly play a strong, constructive opposition

Now that your party is in the Opposition, I hope the experience during the last five years, will help you a lot.

We hope that the party that prides itself on principles of social justice, will take up issues of the ordinary people, the poor and backward communities in the state, work on the ground and ensure that there is no communal violence.

Your party has several MPs and scores of MLAs. SP has a strong organisation up to village level in every corner of Uttar Pradesh. I hope your party workers and leaders will join hands with common men, help raise their voice and redress their grievances.

An active opposition can do wonders in a democracy. I wish a party like SP could form communal harmony morchas that would take this message to people and ensure that harmony prevails.

Besides, I hope SP will be keeping eye on implementation of schemes and raising issues that affect people--health, education, employment opportunities and corruption. However, I wish your government had at least amended the Congress-era discriminatory law that bars Urdu as medium of instruction in UP schools.

If only you had taken this step, you would have taken a step which we would never have forgotten. Elections come and go. Lok Sabha elections aren't too far, barely two years from now. However, the issues remain and we do expect our leaders to come up with solutions.

As an Indian citizen with roots in Uttar Pradesh (hailing from Lucknow), I thought I would share my concerns. Hope you would take them positively. After all, your party plays the role of the main opposition in UP Assembly, now.

Best Wishes.


Shams Ur Rehman Alavi


1. Urdu must get its constitutional right in UP: Amend discriminatory rule that stops Urdu as medium of instruction in UP

Monday, March 13, 2017

Biggest terror attack leaves 12 security personnel dead but Indian media is not stirred: TV channels have no time for martyrs, no outrage either

This is the biggest terror strike this year. Twelve Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in a blast in Chhattisgarh.

The Maoists triggered a landmine blast, which caused deaths of the security personnel. The incident occurred in Sukma district. The Maoists also looted the weapons and managed to escape.

Yet, the news of this ambush didn't stir Indian media. It was Uttar Pradesh election that was important, and hence the news didn't have much interest for media personnel.

Besides, the suspects were Maoists and the incident was in rural part of Chhattisgarh. Hence, no TRP and no interest. Neither there was any discussion about the 'dalam' involved, its leaders or their names.

Those killed included one inspector, two sub-inspectors, one head-constable and eight constables. There were no mention of the names of these martyrs in national media. No sympathy or candle light vigil or even tributes.

No reporters visited the families of these martyrs or raised questions about whether VIPs even attended funerals or not, how much compensation was announced and how martyrs' families would not lead their lives.

Political parties didn't say much. There were customary condolence messages but no protests or demonstrations. Even Opposition parties were silent--no demand for CM's resignation or even statements about poor law-and-order situation.

In the newspapers next day, it was carried but not as lead or as a major national news. Indian Express carried it in a single column. Hindustan Times probably didn't carry the report at all. At least, I couldn't find it even in brief.

A day later, most papers didn't even carry a follow-up. This is unlike the recent incident in Lucknow where a terror suspect was gunned down and it dominated prime time news. Saifullah was not accused of any killing.

Yet, the encounter made headlines and was telecast live. In sharp contrast, the biggest militant attack on security personnel, got little coverage. Online too, the few papers that carried the story, had plain coverage, based on agency reports.

Most of the headlines avoided even words like Terror or Militancy. Rather, the headlines were like, 'cops ambushed' or 'Naxal attack'. But that's a story which continues forever. That's what our media is all about. [Photo: Raipur edition of Dainik Bhaskar on March 12]

English media stories: LINK 1, Link 2, Link 3