Thursday, December 25, 2014

Terrorist or 'Rebel': Bodo terrorists kill 70 in Assam, yet it is not 'Terrorism'

The heavily armed members of banned outfit, fired on unarmed women and children, killing at least 70 persons in cold blood, and yet this is not termed as a 'terrorist attack'!

This has happened once again in India. On Tuesday, as details began emerging--the death toll rising from 11 to 34, and later crossing 50, most of the TV channels avoided the story.

On certain English channels, it was visible in the scroll, but many 'national channels' had no time for it. For them, results of Jammu & Kashmir election, was the sole important story of the day.

Certain channels had changed their entire home page on the website for the day, and it had nothing except poll results. Such was the brutality that a kid was shot seven times. LINK

Of those dead, around 40 were women and children. Yet none of the major news groups termed it a 'terrorist attack' in plain words, despite the fact that NDFB(S) is also a banned outfit just like Naxals, SIMI or other such extremist outfits.

In fact, words used in morning newspapers on Wednesday, showed the attitude of Indian media towards such acts. Even word like militant, radical or extremist was avoided in the newspapers. For Hindi papers, they are 'Ugravadi' not 'Aatankvadi'. Strange.

Telegraph, which is published from Kolkata (West Bengal), a state neighbouring Assam, carried the news in brief on its front page. See news encircled in red on the left. That's how they treat such a massacre, despite the number of deaths!

The headlines were either 'Massacre in Assam' or 'Rebels kill 40', [not terrorists kill 40 or 70] forget bold headlines which are otherwise visible, along with photographs and adjoining stories of outrage. Why? Do you have any answer? Later, in follow-up stories, most papers termed it as 'Assam violence'.

Many papers didn't carry the news on front page. In fact, there have been incidents when one or two persons injured in a suspected extremist attack, has been enough to shake the nation, because of the hysteric round-the-clock coverage. So who is a terrorist and who is a militant or a rebel? Time for definition!


If gunshots don't make it a terror attack, then there is another example. Just three days ago, a blast in Manipur had killed three migrants. It wasn't a 'terrorist attack' either for TV channels and newspapers.

Clearly, if the perpetrator is a Maoist or a non-Muslim group, there there is no need for outrage. Numbers are just numbers. There is no outrage, nothing about modules, leaders of the outfit, its members, its aims, its past history and its 'threat to the nation'.

Dangerous Distinction: Indian media must introspect, be objective in reporting

It is very clear that our media indulges has double standards in covering incidents, depending on ethnicity or religion of the perpetrators.

Why else, one of the biggest massacres on Indian soil, in recent years, was simply hushed up?

Once incident in which no one is killed may be termed a 'terrorist attack' and another in which dozens are killed, could be simply hushed up or ignored.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly, whether for TRP or because of biased mindsets, this is happening regularly.

It is poisoning the society. Certain incidents are blown up and panic is created by non-stop coverage while others are blacked out. Shouldn't journalists and media houses be objective and show the correct picture or at least adhere to a certain guideline and agree to using similar terms for similar acts of violence irrespective of perpetrating group and its ethnicity.

If one incident in which 70 persons are killed, is not termed terrorism and the story is not splashed on front page, and only particular incidents are treated as 'cases of terror', then, it is very dangerous game, as it is calculated game to condition minds, stuff biases in the minds of people and misinform the society. Isn't it?

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Greatest sporting icons Muhammad Ali, Pele and Sobers: Heroes of an Indian sports lover; coincidence all three of them are black!

In a conversation with a friend over the greatest sports icons, I instantly took names of three names--Muhammad Ali, Pele and Sobers.

The names just came out without giving much thought. In fact, I later thought over it again, but I couldn't find anyone else who fits in this league.

When I and those in my generation (who were born in seventies and began appreciating sports in the 1980s), these three sports stars were already icons for decades. We grew up with elders talking about them and reading about their heroics.

For the sports crazy, it's an exhilarating thought, something not easy to explain, that one just feels happy with the thought we have lived in this era and have the honour to see the sports persons. All of them are now septuagenarians.

Icons--they are in an altogether different league, those who are simply incomparable with other players or sports stars. In other sports, like Tennis, you may have Rod Laver, Bill Tilden, Don Budge or the Jordans and Johnsons, in Basketball, but none of them come close to my idea of an icon.

You may personally love a McEnroe or Roger Federer or more, but icons are different. An icon is an sportsperson who not only enthralls the world but inspires entire generations with their actions, both on and off the field, and the mention of whose name evokes respect.

While Pele and Ali are great sportsmen, for the cricket crazy Gary Sobers evokes similar respect and passion.

In our childhood, we heard that there was the incomparable Sir Don [Bradman], who hit 29 centuries in 52 tests, with an average of over 99.

But it was Sobers, who was almost an equal legend, in the second half of the 20th century.

Garfield St Auburn Sobers excelled in every sphere of the game. He amassed over 8,000 runs in his test cricket with more than 200 wickets, apart from nearly 100 catches, and his impact on cricket world was tremendous. For ages, his 365* was the highest individual innings of a batsman.

And, in the twilight of his career, it was he alone who could score 254 and demolish Dennis Lille, who was in his prime. Boxing legend Ali had the guts to speak up and take a strong [and highly controversial in those days] stand on the Vietnam war.

It is a strange coincidence that all these three icons are black. In the era when Apartheid existed [till late 80s in South Africa], they were role models and heroes for youths and sports lovers across the world. Ali is now 72, Pele is 74, and Sobers, 78.

Like Ali, Sobers and Pele also played an important role in confronting the racial prejudices and the idea of White supremacy. Great men, inspirational figures and statesmen, there is no one close to them in the world of sports.

Long Live, Pele, Ali and Sobers, my heroes.

READ: Story of Muhammad Ali, how he became symbol of resistance and hero of the world

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Taliban are NOT HUMAN, surely NOT: Islamic world, leaders must stand up, go beyond condemnation to tackle the monsters and their ideology

The Taliban are NOT HUMAN.


Which ideology, belief or motivation can turn humans to become monsters and kill innocent children with such brutality.

They are not MUSLIMS
They are not HUMANS

The world must shun Taliban and their ideology.
Muslim world must stand up and take a decisive step.

Taliban are MONSTERS
Taliban are not HUMANS

Ulema, citizens, should say loud and clear, that all these groups are outside the pale of humanity and religion. After the attack in the school in Peshwar in Pakistan, that's the smallest first step which is needed. If this doesn't wake up everyone in Pakistan, against the Taliban, what else will?

Taliban MONSTERS. You have shamed us all. 

Media's excessive, hysteric coverage of Australia hostage crisis led to worldwide panic: Is one madman enough to scare us all?

The Australian hostage crisis was no doubt serious but the amount of coverage it was given--live reporting across the world, for nearly 14 hrs, created panic across the globe.

Is it fair? Is one madman or a criminal [and his actions] in a city [Sydney] enough to create scare in the entire world?

No one says that it was a minor incident. But it is also a fact that it is not the first such case. Hostage situations regularly take place in cities across the world.

The amount of live coverage and the publicity given to the incident, is astonishing. Aren't we terrorising ourselves?

Isn't it that any nutcase or delusional person or a hardcore criminal--who either wants attention or is lunatic, can now do a criminal act, and know that he would be able to create scare in the world for a day.

Media's high-pitched coverage across the world led to such a panic that everywhere people were discussing this incident. Even heads of states in other countries were being briefed about it, TV channels reported.

Aren't we giving too much attention and publicity to criminals and giving them ideas? Media must introspect. There are incidents of much bigger magnitude--in terms of abductions and deaths, but they were never played up in this manner.

Is it because it happened in Australia, and incidents in particular countries get more attention. Just like incidents in Africa, Latin America, East Asia are ignored! However, by any standards, the coverage was excessive.

Incidents of gunmen who have killed dozens in US in recent incidents, never got this much coverage. The Sydney siege and the manner in which media played up, is definitely disturbing. For the sake of eyeballs--for getting more viewers, an unfolding story is reported live and it creates paranoia all over.

Australia government, officials' role praiseworthy

The Australian government, officials and their people must be praised for their role. They dealt with the situation deftly.

Their maturity level was clearly visible. Australia's prime minister Tony Abott on TV said that it appeared to be the work of a 'politically motivated perpetrator', however, in India, a leading Hindi TV channel was translating it into 'Aatankwadi', even when not a single bullet had been fired.

The hashtag #illridewithyou on Twitter to show solidarity with Muslims, must be praised. It was no small gesture, given the kind of coverage and its possible backlash. We Salute you my Australian brothers and sisters for it. 

In comparison, in India, TV channels suspended other stories and throughout the day, aired it. In fact, a bomb blast in Manipur in which a person was killed and five were injured, was not even mentioned. See LINK

The world has definitely shrunk but in process, have our brains, especially of those in the media, shrunk too?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hindi shouldn't become India's national language, says eminent Hindi author in literary festival in Raipur

When renowned Hindi poet and author Ashok Vajpeyi, said that Hindi isn't India's national language and should not be one, the newspapers lapped it up and published the statement in a big way.

Vajpeyi, 73, was speaking at Raipur literary festival in Chhattisgarh.

He said what is not commonly spoken--the fact that Hindi is not Rashtriya Bhasha.

No wonder, some newspapers tried to sensationalise the statement.

Vajpeyi said that Hindi was never India's national language, but it was often termed as a national language.

"Nowhere in constitution, it is written that Hindi is national language", he was quoted in Patrika newspaper. Aajtak reported, "It is a foolish thought that why Hindi is not our national language. After all, why should it be the national language.

If Hindi has to be national language, then why not Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada--languages in which wonderful literature is being penned". [SEE LINKS of the reports HERE & HERE]

"India is not just a country but one of the most ancient and composite civilisations of the world. The beauty of India is in diversity", he was quoted. Dainik Bhaskar carried the story as a lead in the paper.

It quoted  him saying that when one language is made the sole national language, it becomes a 'tanashah' [dictator]. LINK

There are many languages in India and all of them should be celebrated."

Vajpeyi is a poet, intellectual and a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award for his poetry. He was also chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi. The Raipur Sahitya Sammelan concluded in Chhattisgarh recently.


What Vajpeyi said may shock many people in the Hindi heartland, but it is true. Hindi is an official language along with English [Rajbhasha, not Rashtriya bhasha], but not national language.

In fact, all the 20-odd languages listed in the eighth schedule have equal status in the country. The Gujarat High Court had also held that there is no national language in India. See another report in The Hindu and a blog post on IBN website.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bengaluru woman's race slur charge turns out to be fiction: She had attacked burqa clad women, then played the victim card

It is a sad story that how an educated and privileged woman, who is the daughter of an ex-MP, falsely claimed that she was racially abused but it turned out that she was the aggressor and her lie was exposed thanks to CCTV footage.

Rachel Sangliana's allegation that two women at a supermarket racially abused her, drew instant attention. The reason was that her allegation that she was targeted for her looks, struck a chord. There have been many incidents when people from North East, have been targeted.

Hence, it was taken seriously. Retired Supreme court judge, Markandeya Katju, who has a huge following on Facebook, also expressed concern. Rachel had claimed that the women told her that, 'We are Indians, you go to China", as per media reports.

She claimed that she was also assaulted. Outrage was expected and it happened. The incident had made headlines. Firstpost wrote, "The image of India's I-T capital Bangalore as 'one of the most cosmopolitan cities' has taken yet another hit..."

TV channels, newspapers were also quick to take up the issue. But the other side of the story came out soon. The supermarket staff testified that it was Rachel, who had used provocative language against the burqa clad women and told them to go to Pakistan.

Also, camera footage showed that the women didn't use racial slur, and it was she who did it. This was the reason, apparently, that she wasn't keen on filing an FIR earlier. But the later developments didn't lead to any outrage. In fact, it wasn't covered in media well.

Rachel Sangliana's father was police commissioner in Bangalore and also a member of parliament (MP) later. The burqa clad women's trolley had dashed her leg but the women had apologised. Still, she shouted, raised her hand at one of them and even asked them to go to Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Further, she made a false claim of being a victim of racist attack. While the incident shows how people who have connections, can play the 'victim' card, and create sensation. Thanks to technology (camera), the entire episode can be seen and other side of the story can be probed.

Else, the one who shouts and plays the 'victim' card well, gets away, despite being at fault. Hopefully, a proper police investigation will reveal the truth.

See links

1. CCTV footage shows Sangliana's daughter slapped first

2. Twist in tale: Bangalore cop's daughter told burkha clad woman to 'go back to Pakistan'

Monday, December 01, 2014

Media and national security: How Indian media views Burdwan, Manipur blasts differently

This post once again brings to fore the serious issue that how our media is now viewing incidents of similar nature, differently, and is creating scare in one situation while it completely ignores the other.

For weeks, in fact, two months, everyone on the national security beat in TV channels and newspapers, seem to be talking about Burdwan blast in West Bengal. 

It is being described as one of the biggest issues as far as law-and-order is concerned. Day after day, we see reports about it, the concerns expressed in this regard.

Top officials go to Burdwan [now Bardhaman], politicians take up the issue and media has made it a national security issue of such magnitude, which we haven't seen in the last  year or so. 

It's fine because that's the job of investigative agencies to look into anti-national activities. We all agree that such disruptive elements [like those involved in Burdwan blast] should be chased, caught and completely crushed

However, it is not that fanatic elements haven't died while making IEDs or bombs before in the country. From Bajrang Dal activists in Kanpur to Himanshu Panse's module in Nanded, Maharashtra, there has been a long list. None of these incidents in the past got as much media focus. 

Still, we must welcome the media's seriousness towards it. But, the recent blast in Manipur, remained off the media radar. In fact, after the incident, there was hardy any special stories, capsules or discussions in prime time. It was not even carried in the headlines by 'national' channels.

In one report on IBN Live website, the headline was 'Blast in Manipur kills one'. Read this short report at IBN website at this LINKThis incident was serious, especially, as it happened just before Prime Minister's visit to the region. 

In fact, this report in IBN didn't even mention that the 'person' who died was a child. It wasn't taken seriously, else the report could have been updated, as it happens later in online reports. Other papers, channels and agencies also didn't consider it worth reporting. 

It was a general report with no focus on the organisations or extremist groups involved in the incident. Prime time discussions weren't conducted. If TV has no time or finds little TRP on North East, newspapers could have covered the story properly. But no, there was no interest or focus.


Of course, nothing about modules, no suspects, no Terrorism angle, no name of terrorist or extremist outfits or worries about threat to India's security. There have been no follow-up stories either about this incident. Just one Hindi newspaper, Amar Ujala, on its website gave the news some importance. LINK

In fact, we hear nothing about arrests of suspects, which otherwise continues for days, nothing, just nothing. Silence. That's not the first. Of course, we know West Bengal will go to polls 2 yrs from now. We also see other developments. [Also, read the report in Asian Age]

But does it mean that media would take one incident so seriously that it would go on to demonise all Madarsas, and go to obscene levels of reporting. And in a similar other incident, there is hardly any effort to even report it, let alone talk about outfits, ideologies, local factors, law-and-order issues.

The factors are clear. Certain states and their demography, and presence of certain outfits in these regions, stir media more, than say, states that have outfits of different ideologies or even Naxals. The latter may commit even more heinous acts, but they aren't taken seriously. 

No wonder, media's credibility has hit rock bottom. But isn't this too worrying?