TRP: Television Rallying Point

Is Afzal now just a rallying point for intellectuals?

A day before the fifth anniversary of Parliament attack, some of country’s renowned journalists, activists and writers – led by Booker Prize-winner Arundhati Roy – came together to release a book that raises 13 “damning” questions about the attack. But is Afzal simply an intra-elite debate among India’s Left liberals or do the intellectuals actually have a public constituency outside the seminar halls of Delhi and Mumbai? [CNN-IBN]

A rallying point, says the dictionary, is “a point or principle on which scattered or opposing groups can come together.” So the question suggests that ‘intellectuals’ are merely exploiting Afzal to ‘come together’; the act of ‘coming together’ is the sole motive of the exercise. Continue reading TRP: Television Rallying Point

CPM In the Service of Capital

The cynicism of power, if you will, has got the so-called Left. In a sense, this is not very new – communists in power have always been diabolic to say the least. But this one takes the cake – pressed as it is in the service of capital. How else does one explain Sitaram Yechury’s insinuation that the entire struggle against forcible land acquisition in Singur, is motivated by corporate rivalry. How else can one read his statement that “There may be some whose interests would be hurt when the Rs 1 lakh car comes out. It is for the media to find out who could be behind all this”…There is of course a sense of deja vu in this cynical attempt to de-legitimize all opposition – such were the fairy stories fed to gullible followers about the soviet empire until one day, lo and behold! it vanished from the face of the earth.

Continue reading CPM In the Service of Capital

One Question

It is a matter of great satisfaction that our sluggish justice delivery system has bestirred itself and through a process of daily hearings found 100 people guilty of the conspiracy for the Bombay blasts. Almost 90% of them were Muslims, they as well as the remainder, have all been served their just desserts.

Justice has not only been done, more importantly, at least as far as our 24X7 media is concerned, it also appears to have been done. Every one knew from day one, who those fellows were, now the courts are saying that as well. So once these two basic requirements of appearance and deed have been met the national conscience, so gravely disturbed over the last several decades, can heave a collective sigh of relief and all men of good faith can take a well deserved rest.

One question, however, continues to bother me. Continue reading One Question

13 Questions for December 13

It is shortly going to be five years to December 13, 2001 when the Indian parliament in New Delhi was attacked by a group of men who entered the precincts of the Parliament in an Ambassador Car. In the past five years, we have seen the ups and downs of a convoluted trial. The forging of evidence, the acquital of SAR Geelani (one of the accused) and in recent days a mounting sense of disquiet around the circumstances in which Mohammad Afzal Guru has been handed a death sentence.

Many questions remain unresolved. Here is a list of 13 Questions for December 13, excerpted from the introduction by Arundhati Roy to the forthcoming Penguin India publication – ‘December 13 – A Reader: The Strange Case of the Attack on the Indian Parliament’.

The book is an anthology of essays and texts on December 13 by – A G Noorani, Arundhati Roy, Ashok Mitra, Indira Jaising, Jawed Naqvi, Mihir Srivastava, Nandita Haksar, Nirmalangshu Mukherji, Praful Bidwai, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Sonia Jabbar, Syed Bismillah Geelani and Tripta Wahi

13 Questions for December 13 (by Arundhati Roy – from the Introduction to ’13 December – A Reader’, Penguin India, New Delhi, December 2006)

Question 1: For months before the Attack on Parliament, both the government and the police had been saying that Parliament could be attacked. On 12 December 2001, at an informal meeting the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee warned of an imminent attack on Parliament. On 13 December Parliament was attacked. Given that there was an ‘improved security drill’, how did a car bomb packed with explosives enter the parliament complex? Continue reading 13 Questions for December 13

Begging for an answer

[First published in Mid-Day]

The blogosphere has imperceptibly risen to great importance in my life. The same time as being intangible, (that is why it is called virtual isn’t it), it is also a more visible sphere. The readers have names, you can interact with them, the comment-war can sometimes become unending. And there are no national boundaries.

A piece I wrote for a web journal called Kafila was linked to some other blogs and in one day alone, at one blog alone, there were over a hundred comments.

Apart from blogs, which is a sort of personal space with a public view, there are also mailing lists where critical discussions take a different form than a newspaper or a printed magazine. Continue reading Begging for an answer

Why Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV is Broadcasting Sunday Mass

By SOPHIE McNEILL

Sophie McNeill is a reporter with SBS Television Australia, her blog from Lebanon can be found at http://www9.sbs.com.au/

[Note from NM: I received this from nothing2report@gmail.com, and was struck by how this kind of complex reporting is almost non-existent in India, at least in the English media . How often do reporters actually speak to participants in a rally, going beyond the media-designated ‘stars’ who are present (whose own sincerity and commitment the media itself then paints as being ‘merely for publicity’ – it’s a vicious cycle.) How much political protest by non-party citizens’ groups gets covered at all except as traffic disruptions or if it has been ‘newsworthy’ because of stars/violence/self-immolations? How many reports in print or on the 24 hour TV news channels actually give the consumer a sense of what the issues are, what are the debates, or try to go beyond the Big Fight format of For and Against? Do news reporters do any background research ever? How many 6th of Decembers have passed with no coverage at all of huge-to-small (differing from year to year) secular protests by a range of people from Gandhians to the ultra left; but with two predictable photographs every year – one of recognizable Muslims and another of the Shiv Sena/Bajrang Dal protesting and celebrating respectively, counterposed on front pages of newspapers?
Apart from being an exemplary piece of reportage, Sophie McNeill’s article below give us a fascinating insight into politics in Lebanon.
]

A truck laden with yellow Hezbollah flags drives past the Christian neighbourhood of Gemayzeh early Sunday morning in downtown Beirut. There’s a picture of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on the windscreen, but it’s not his name that the young men on board are chanting. “General, General!” yell these young Shiite boys.

Their chant is for the leader of Hezbollah’s largest Christian ally, the former General Michel Aoun. And this van captures an important dynamic that many of the international and Lebanese press have omitted from their coverage of the last few days — that almost a quarter of the crowd at the huge anti-government protests have been Lebanese Christians. Continue reading Why Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV is Broadcasting Sunday Mass

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