Tag Archives: Shekhar Gupta

There’s a G on my Neck (again): Simran Kaur

Guest post by SIMRAN KAUR

Shekhar Gupta is at it again: lacing an insidious agenda with just enough actual facts that even the targets of his vitriol become eager to swallow. Aspiring Indian Journos, this is how a good Sardar Joke—and while you are at it, jibe at the poor, the rural, the unemployed, the mourning—is done, while earning your paycheck yet again as an esteemed Editor-in-Chief, at best with head-in-clouds, at worst, a stake-in-oppression.

Shekhar G’s latest thesis: The rest of the country has moved on but Punjab has become a prisoner of its boisterous old stereotype. It has forgotten its entrepreneurial energy, its competitive spirit and slipped into a complacent, decadent trance of perpetual balle-balle.

His first argument for the thesis of Punjab’s decline: “the Punjabification”…of Punjab. He bemoans that signs and posts are in Punjabi, in Punjab.

The 50s and 60s saw Punjabi Hindus becoming the unique community to denounce their own mother-tongue. Upping the ante, G. ridicules Punjabis who use Gurmukhi, the script developed in the time of the Sikh Gurus. He finds tell-tale signs over Punjab (he notes his fieldwork of actually travelling on the Grand Trunk Road and flying over Punjab by helicopter recently) of the people being un-couth:  signage on Punjabi establishments, in poor English.

You will take a minute figuring out what the “burgars” and “nudles” painted on so many fast-food shops mean, or why Lily is always spelt “Lilly”, whether it be the name of a restaurant in Phagwara or a beauty parlour in Bathinda…If you haven’t figured out already that this, indeed, is Singh’s English.

Brilliant two-birds strike, Shekhar G. Continue reading There’s a G on my Neck (again): Simran Kaur

Should only Minorities be Worried over Mr Modi? Sanjay Kumar

(Photo Courtesy : ibnlive.in.com)

Guest Post by SANJAY KUMAR

By stealth, wealth, and media barrage a phalanx of powerful interests is trying to create a public opinion favourable to Mr Narendra Modi. It appears the entire privilegenstia of the country, the super rich capitalists, professional elites, entrepreneurs of the religion, top bureaucracy, including retired army men and police, upper castes, media pundits, even NRI academics, are united in their enthusiasm for Mr Modi. From Ratan Tata to Ramdev, people have been told how the man is the only saviour of a country in crisis. What exactly do this bunch of rich and privileged, but discontented people hope from Mr Modi as PM is important for the future of the country. The moot point here is the difference between declared intentions and actual motives. Perhaps even more important is the response of Mr Modi’s political opponents, because that indicates the kind of resources the country can fall back upon when confronted with the reality of him in power. The moot point here is a lack of understanding of the significance of the usual, non-Modi type politics for ordinary Indians. The stakes are high indeed. Far from what the phalanx and its ideologues claim, it is actually this politics which is their target, and which they wish to change under Mr Modi.

The most prominent charge leveled by Mr Modi’s opponents is that he is communal and divisive, and will alienate minorities. From Mr Lalu Prasad to Prof Amartya Sen, that appears to be the chief misgiving. If the charge against Mr Modi is so framed, then by implication it also appears to be asserting that if there had been no Gujarat 2002, Mr Modi and the kind of politics his party represents will be as good or bad as any other party politics. Are minorities’ misgivings about Mr Modi’s the only fact that the rest of Indians should worry about? Is the hesitation of minorities about him the only legitimate concern that may stop the man from reaching the PMO? Continue reading Should only Minorities be Worried over Mr Modi? Sanjay Kumar

Disinformation and Journalistic Ethics: A Letter from Harsh Mander

We are publishing below a communication received from Harsh Mander, a former member of the National Advisory Council, regarding misrepresentation of his position and his politics by no less a person than the editor-in-chief of the Indian Express. The misrepresentation could easily have been corrected, had the mistake been really a mistake but by not publishing the letter or even an editorial correction, newspaper and the editor seem to be acknowledging that the error was in fact, intended. In the language of the Cold War, acts such as these were called ‘disinformation’. 
Response to Mr Shekhar Gupta’s article ‘The Bleeding Heartless’ in the Indian Express, June 1 2013
 

In response to an article by Mr Shekhar Gupta ‘The Bleeding Heartless’ in the Indian Express, June 1 2013, I sent the letter reproduced below on 3 June 2013, which has not yet been carried by Indian Express. I try not to respond polemically to articles which disagree with my views on public policy or other issues, as these differences are perfectly legitimate in a democracy. And who is to be sure that I am right, and my critics are wrong? But this was different, because it utterly falsely described my ideological position on Maoism as sympathetic, whereas I have always been passionately and publicly opposed to all forms of violence, including Maoist violence. Moreover it linked this to my membership in the NAC, and through that by implication to the many pro-poor agendas I sought to bring into and support within the NAC in the two years that I was a member. Finally Indian Express did not check with me the full facts reported in the opinion piece. I therefore felt I should respond formally to the report. But since this response has not been carried, and on the other hand it is being publicly referred to by others as well, I felt it would be best to place this reply in the public domain. – Harsh Mander Continue reading Disinformation and Journalistic Ethics: A Letter from Harsh Mander

The Desertification of Punjab and the Liability of Opinion Makers

In August last year, we had drawn attention to a piece by Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta on the remarkable edit page piece he had penned on what he claimed was the ‘absence of drought’, in the Green Revolution region and provided his ‘explanation’ of why it had been possible. It had been possible, Gupta had opined, because all the great things had been accomplished in decades when the most retrograde environmental and jholawala movements in the history of mankind had not yet arrived on the scene. And with no evidence whatsoever and with nothing but his blind ideological faith, Gupta had even misled his readers that ‘underground aquifers were being constantly recharged’. This when just a few days ago, NASA satellite pictures had shown the extent of groundwater depletion in this region. Continue reading The Desertification of Punjab and the Liability of Opinion Makers

Editors and Journalists Must Declare Their Assets As Well

On 15 August, our favourite newspaper, the Indian Express, carried a lead article on the edit page by its editor, Shekhar Gupta. The learned editor tells his readers, in case they are feeling depressed with the drought scenario, to drive down to Punjab – to Shimla, Chandigarh or Amritsar. ‘Just drive out’ he says… don’t fly’.

For then you will like Ali Baba be able to enter the magic cave and lo and behold! you will see ‘Totally lush, bounteous fields of paddy stretch endlessly into the horizon on both sides of the highway.’ And he goes on: ‘So where is the drought? Where are the caked, cracked and dried mud-flats with withered saplings that characterise drought? And mind you, Punjab and Haryana are among the worst hit states this year, notching up a rainfall deficit of 50 to 70 percent…’

Lord’s Own Voice, speaking through its prophet, tells us that why this is so:

Continue reading Editors and Journalists Must Declare Their Assets As Well