Friday, 27 June 2008

My second blog

I have started another blog - - where I will be posting stray thoughts about what disturbs me about the media and journalists. I will be cross posting some of them on this blog as well, like the one I have done below.

Dadagiri by Journalists

I was aghast to see in today’s Pioneer a report about how journalists are demanding revival of CGHS (Central Government Health Scheme) facilities for them. Apparently at the cabinet briefing, they gheraoed the minister of state in the PMO, Prithviraj Chavan, and forced him to assure them that he would take up the matter with the Prime Minister. But they were not satisfied with that and said they would not let the briefing start without a satisfactory answer. They were finally persuaded to allow the briefing to proceed.

This is nothing but dadagiri. One, journalists have no business demanding health facilities from the government, especially those meant for government employees. An unrelated point: the CGHS facility for government employees (which is hugely corruption ridden) is itself being pared down because of the financial strain. Secondly, they have no business holding up a press briefing on a cabinet meeting for these kind of demands.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Beyond Reservations

This article in Outlook Business is a must read. Chandrabhan Prasad, the well known Dalit commentator, has always had a sensible approach to the issue of Dalit uplift and now he is engaged in some serious on the ground work about how this can only be possible in a free market environment. The study - Occupation-Food Habit-Lifestyle Changes amongst Dalits since 1990” - covers 20,000 Dalit households in two blocks Bilariaganj in Azamgarh district in east UP and Khurjain Bulandshahar district in west UP- both having almost ten thousand Dalit households each.

I have a PDF of a study he has done, Market and Manu, as well as some questionnaires etc. Till I figure out a way of posting them on the blog read the article.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Communalising Foreign Policy

So CPM general secretary Prakash Karat has been forced to come out and say that politburo member M K Pandhe’s warning to the Samajwadi Party that an overwhelming majority of Muslims are opposed to the nuclear deal and that it should therefore not support it do not reflect the views of the CPM. This follows outrage among Muslim groups as wonderfully reported in the Indian Express ( They told the CPM to stop firing from their shoulders and using them for its political ends. Mulayam Singh’s lieutenant Amar Singh also snubbed Pandhe.

But who started this communalisation of foreign policy? Prakash Karat himself. In November 2005, when India was caught in a dilemma about how to vote on Iran’s nuclear programme at the IAEA, Karat while addressing a rally in Lucknow said “there is a close link between Lucknow and Teheran”. At the same rally, a Shia leader Mukhtar Anees claimed that after Ayodhya, Iran is the biggest issue for Muslims. It will go against Congress.”

That time only the Indian Express had written an editorial against the communalising of foreign policy. This time almost every paper has hit out against Pandhe’s remarks. But I think it was the reaction of the Muslim organisations that has forced Karat to distance the party from Pandhe. But make no mistake; this is only a tactical retreat. The Left will not stop playing the Muslim card.

And these are the defenders of secularism!

That’s another bogey being played out amidst this crisis over the nuclear deal – that secular forces should stay together. So the BJP and its allies are communal forces and the UPA and its allies who are cynically exploiting the Muslims with meaningless tokenism are secular!