PERSPECTIVE
NALKA IN POLITICS
Should film actors join politics: The Urmila Matondkar-Sunny Deol Yardstick
02.05.19 - S Pal
Should film actors join politics: The Urmila Matondkar-Sunny Deol Yardstick



"Navjot Sidhu was also just a cricketer and a comedian. And Bhagwant Mann or Gurpreet Ghuggi were just stand up comics on middling Punjabi television shows, sometimes starring in low-budget shoddily-written Punjabi movies. If people accepted them in politics, what is wrong with Sunny Deol? After all, his films give big nationalist message."

If that is the best defence that die-hard BJP leaders are coming up with, then I have even more sympathies for one of this country's brilliant contemporary women politicians, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The BJP had fielded her to welcome Sunny Deol into the party fold. "I am indeed very happy to receive firebrand, popular, very committed to his art, young great artist from Bollywood, Shri Sunny Deol," she had said.
 

So, Deol was all these things at the same time: popular, young, firebrand, committed to his art, and a great artist.

We should shelve for a different day the discussion about his being "committed to his art" and being "a great artist" because dragging in the names of Girish Karnad or Shyam Benegal or Govind Nehalani would be unfair to someone identifying himself with an uprooted hand pump, the new symbol of political connect with a people dealing with catastrophic impact of environmental destruction.
------------
The argument about whether a film actor should venture into the electoral political arena is a no brainer. Some have no business doing so, and some enrich our politics. 
------------
And we should immediately concede the argument that Sunny Deol enjoyed reasonable amount of popularity. He, definitely, was popular.

That leaves us with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's claim that her party's new gift to Punjab is "young." By now, Raksha Mantri should have had some practice in basic mathematics, having calculated and recalculated the new and old prices of Rafale fighter jets, but you can settle the argument with this simple query: how far away is Sunny Deol from becoming a member of the BJP's Margdarshak Mandal? For practice sake, Ms Sitharaman should subtract Deol's age from her own. She'll not only get the correct answer, but will also feel better.

That leaves us with the BJP's biggest claim: Sunny Deol is firebrand.

How firebrand Deol is could only have been known if he had been a part of resistance movements, an advocate for dissent, a warrior in the courts for pro-people causes, someone speaking truth to power while advocating pumping more resources into the domain of culture, or been an activist on the ground in health or education or national security or panchayati raj or environment movement. He is not a Green Peace activist, has never been spotted in any protest against farmer suicides, was nowhere near the India Gate when millions had converged for Nirbhaya and for true freedom for our country's women, and was not to be spotted anywhere near Anna Hazare's stage.

Sunny Deol has not uttered a word on any of the causes. He was a part of India's film fraternity, made movies, some of them undoubtedly popular. He spoke lines written by someone else. He sang songs actually sung by someone else. And he danced steps choreographed by someone else. And that is exactly what he was supposed to do: he was doing a job that he chose to do. Sunny Deol was a film actor and this is no place or occasion to pass a judgement on his acumen in that profession. 

But many in that industry have held strongly political views, and some have often expressed these. Some from the world of films have ventured into politics, many have been part of the politics of culture, and our world is richer because they pushed the envelope and opened spaces that our politicians were afraid to go anywhere near.

Many did their politics through writing, directing films or taking up roles that prised open our minds, bit by bit. Some also straddled the world of activism. Many came into electoral politics and contributed. Some could be the envy of even the most cerebral of our citizenry. 

So the argument about whether a film actor should venture into the electoral political arena is a no brainer. Some have no business doing so, and some enrich our politics. 

Urmila Matondkar and Sunny Deol are a case in point. Both have known each other for decades now. Sunny Deol made it big with Betaab in 1983, the same year Urmila gained wide recognition in the highly acclaimed drama, Masoom.

Urmila Matondkar recently joined the Congress and is the party's candidate from Mumbai North. Most people's memory of her will be from the 1995 rom-com Rangeela, directed and produced by Ram Gopal Varma. 

People tracking the larger Indian political scenario had heard little about the political stances of either of the two — Urmila Matondkar or Sunny Deol. 

So the best one can do is to track what the two had to say once they announced their entry into politics.
------------
Sunny Deol makes a reference to a hand that weighs 5.51156 pounds, though it is not clear exactly what kind of deformity could have been responsible for such an unfortunate condition.
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That should not be difficult, particularly when it could be helpful in deciding who should enter politics or stay away from it, and why.

In one after the other interview, Urmila Matondkar has been delving in detail about her politics. She is facing some of this country's brilliant journalists on and off camera. She is fielding tough questions and making out a case for her politics.

Compare her words with the responses of our "young", "committed to his art", "great" and "firebrand" film star: "Mainoo tusi bus tang na karo bahuta..main tuhadi sewa karna chaunda...bus mainoo vote pao, mainoo jitao...main Vinod Khanna jee de kamm nu agge lai ke jaana hai."
 

And he also makes a reference to a hand that weighs 5.51156 pounds, though it is not clear exactly what kind of deformity could have been responsible for such an unfortunate condition. The role of the hand pump in politics, of course, is a wider area for memes, outside the scope of this article.

Here is Urmila Matondkar, when asked why she decided to join politics: "Over the last four-and-a-half, five years, there have been many issues where a normal person is forced to think about what is happening in the country....Intellectuals being killed in broad daylight — Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare — and incidents related to extreme religious intolerance that have not only grown abundantly in the country but are highlighted and even celebrated. These were very disturbing, and we are slowly moving from a democratic country to a dictatorship and that is very unsettling..."

"I believe instead of sitting passively, it is better to take a stand and do your bit before it is too late," she said.

In an interview with Barkha Dutt, she naratted how her father worked with Narendra Dabholkar and how she is associated with that movement. "I come from a family that is academically inclined, and socially and politically aware," she said. 

"How can you be an anti-national if you question the government on promises not delivered? How can it happen that all of the government schemes have been failures? The cherry on the top is the growing intolerance in society." Matondkar is not tired of tough questions, she is not tired of venturing into the slums in her constituency.

Urmila Matondkar's campaign has been by far the best in Mumbai, but she is clear what will clinch it for her: "I am not naive or stupid enough to imagine that people are just going to look at my face and vote for me. You are dealing with people’s lives, their hopes and aspirations. I have tried to generate hope and trust as a person."

Sunny Deol says he has been already living in people's hearts for decades and now all they have to do is to vote for him. 

Besides, as we all have been informed by the Hona'ble Raksha Mantri, he is "great” and "young.” If we believe our Raksha Mantri on something as sensitive as the question whether or not there has been any corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal, then we should also believe that she finds him young and great.

Aap ka jaata hee kya hai? Nalka hee to hai!

As for whether film stars, comedians, celebrities should join politics, now you have two arguments: Urmila Matondkar and Sunny Deol. You can test anyone by either of the two scales.

N Chandra's Narasimha (1991) starred both of them. It gave Sunny Deol a larger than life imagery, and had a most hilarious angry young man song. I still find it most suitable for our times, though it felt stupid on the screen. Please feel free to sing it at all the rallies of Sunny Deol, and of Urmila Matondkar. 

Chalo is tedhe ko sidha hum aaj kare
Jo iska ilaz hain wohi ilaz kare
Kaise bhaiya kaise kare kaise kare
Aise kare aise kare aise kare
Pakad pakad khich ke pakad
Pakad pakad khich ke pakad
De dana dan hayya
Pakda gaya hain
Chor bhage na bhaiya
Pakad pakad khich ke pakad
De dana dan hayya
Pakda gaya hain
Chor bhage na bhaiya

Mar saale ko peet saale ko
Dhar saale ko, dede de saale ko
Hayya ho hayya hayya ho hayya
Hayya ho hayya hayya ho hayya

Post Script: Sunny Deol is 62-years-old, Ms Sitharaman is 59. Urmila has made no claims about being young.

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 




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Need for mending ties with the Sikh Diaspora
26.04.19 - Tridivesh Singh Maini
Need for mending ties with the Sikh Diaspora



In November 2019, Sikhs world over will commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of their faith, Guru Nanak Dev. The first Guru was not just a social reformer, crusader and poet, but also a traveler as is clearly evident from the distance travelled during the course of his four Udasis (journeys).

Sikhs have spread to different parts of the world since. They have even gone on to become senior political figures in the West. For instance, the current leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) and potential future Prime Minister, Jagmeet Singh, is a Sikh. The incumbent government of Justin Trudeau has four Sikhs in senior positions, including Harjit Singh Sajjan as the Defence Minister.

"I have more Sikhs in my cabinet than Modi does,” Trudeau said in a 2016 address at the American University, Washington DC.

Across the Atlantic, two Sikhs – Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Preet Kaur Gill – got elected to the British Parliament in 2017 from the Labour Party. While Dhesi is the first turban-wearing Member of Parliament at the Westminster, Kaur is the first Sikh woman to hold the elected position.

Ideally, Punjab should see the rise of Sikhs to prominent positions in prominent Western democracies should as an opportunity to harness the Diaspora’s global clout. Yet, unnecessary schisms have surfaced between Sikhs living in India and those overseas. Differences of opinion over certain issues are understandable, but the shrill political discourse in Indian Punjab on the Sikh Diaspora benefits no one.

In many ways, the fissure is an outcome of the overzealous attempts by politicians in Indian Punjab, both from the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress, to prove their patriotic credentials. This often amplifies non-issues while underplaying crucial ones – like justice for the victims of Sikh pogroms in 1984 and the need for genuine closure in the thousands of extrajudicial killings during the counterinsurgency campaigns by the police in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

Certain Diaspora groups who push counterproductive agendas instead of sticking to the key issue – justice for Sikhs – are to blame too.

At the same time, the Indian government needs to realise that Western governments cannot prohibit peaceful advocacy for a separate Sikh state. They can only take action against those groups against whom there is clear evidence of promoting violence.

The key flashpoints between sections of the Sikh political class overseas and in India is how they look at the human rights and independent Sikh state issues. To complicate matters, there is now another entity, an organization by the name of Sikhs for Justice, which seeks to ‘liberate’ Punjab from India through a ‘referendum’ of Sikhs in twenty countries.

Current Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, has played a decisive, and not-so-positive, role in increasing the acrimony between the Indian and overseas Sikh communities. Captain Singh, after taking over as Chief Minister of Punjab in April 2017, refused to meet visiting Canadian Defence Minister, Harjit Singh Sajjan, accusing him of being a Khalistani sympathiser. Sajjan’s visit had also happened at a time when the Ontario State Assembly passed a resolution dubbing the anti-Sikh violence as a ‘genocide’, which drew a sharp reaction from the Indian government.

Interestingly, Captain Singh had addressed a Sikh congregation in the Dixie Gurduwara (a hot bed of Khalistanis) in 2005 with a banner of ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ behind him. 

While Captain’s decision to not meet Sajjan was hailed outside Punjab, especially by sections of the Delhi media, the ordinary Punjabi who has close links with Canada and can relate to the success of people like Sajjan, did not take too kindly to the snub. In February 2018, Justin Trudeau was given the cold shoulder in New Delhi while the Chief Minister, instead of raising crucial economic issues, raised the decibel on the Khalistan issue and handed Trudeau a list of suspected Canada-based Khalistani militant handlers. Trudeau did, however, receive a warm welcome in Punjab and was honoured by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).
 
Singh’s lack of nuance in handling such an important visit was perceived as a lost opportunity for a state whose economy is currently at rock bottom. Large sections of the Delhi media, duly high on hyper nationalism, too did their bit to sabotage a crucial visit.

Recently, the Punjab Chief Minister lashed out at Canada again when it removed all references to ‘Khalistani extremism’ in the annual ‘Public report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada’ report. Every country has a legitimate right to worry about its security. But, Captain Singh’s reaction was surely overreaching when he said that this move was a "threat to Indian and global security.”

India may perceive what it dubs as ‘radicalism’ as a threat, but, it can be taken up with Canada in a more mature manner without making things awkward for the Sikh Diaspora. 

Beyond Canada, the Kartarpur Corridor issue is another point of trigger. India is apprehensive of the Pakistani deep state’s apparent agenda to revive militancy in Punjab by promoting Khalistani propaganda and facilitating a separatist referendum by Sikhs for Justice.

When current Cabinet Minister in the Punjab government, Navjot Singh Sidhu, spoke in favour of the Katarpur Corridor, he was widely slammed. But, once the demand was accepted by both governments, all political parties ran to take credit. Yet, Chief Minister Singh was critical of Sidhu for attending the inaugural ceremony of the religious corridor’s opening ceremony and hugging Pakistan army chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa, at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s swearing in ceremony in August 2018.

Singh, while indulging in numerous flip flops has missed out on the relevance of the project and reduced the whole project to an ‘ISI conspiracy’.

While there is no doubt that the Pakistani deep state will fish in troubled waters, reducing tensions with the Sikh Diaspora is crucial. It is also important to not hyphenate this Diaspora with Sikh radicalism. Besides, it is high time the Indian government and people realise that speaking up for 1984 or extrajudicial killings does not make one a ‘separatist’. In recent years, even those Sikhs who have expressed discomfort at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s view of Sikhism as an offshoot of ‘Hinduism’ have found themselves labeled as Khalistanis by right-wing trolls.

So what should New Delhi and the Sikh Community in India and outside do?

First, New Delhi needs to realise the gravity of certain issues, such as the blinkered and insensitive interpretation of the traumatic military attack on the Darbar Sahib by India’s mainstream media, and inadequate progress on justice for the victims of the 1984 pogrom and extrajudicial killings that were either straight out obfuscated from public discourse or dismissed as ‘collateral damage’ in the fight against Sikh militancy.

These are issues that touch a raw nerve with not just the Sikh Diaspora, but also the domestic community.

Second, Sikhs themselves need to have a more structured dialogue between themselves, at least on crucial social and political issues. This will help resolve key ideological differences within the community, and render its politics more coherent.

Guru Nanak Dev’s dialogue with the priestly classes from other faiths, with whom he had numerous ideological differences, during his travels in South Asia and beyond should serve as a solid reference point for the Sikh communities in India and abroad. Dialogue surely has little replacement.
 
 

Tridivesh Singh Maini is a New Delhi-based policy analyst currently associated with the Jindal School of International Affairs, OP Jindal Global University, Sonepat.

Courtesy: eleventhcolumn.com 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 





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The Arnab Goswami-Shekhar Gupta Spat on TV – Intelligentsia Reacts
09.04.19 - PT MEDIA DESK
The Arnab Goswami-Shekhar Gupta Spat on TV – Intelligentsia Reacts



WITH SANER SECTIONS of society already sorely miffed with the mainstream media, particularly news television, the latest onslaught by Republic TV’s Arnab Goswami against fellow editor and media entrepreneur Shekhar Gupta and his venture The Print, reported by Punjab Today, has elicited strong reactions from within the media world as well as the academia. 

 
A number of readers wrote to and many called Punjab Today offices to express their frustration with the antics of certain journalists on television. Interestingly, a significant number of readers felt miffed with the fact that Punjab Today considered Goswami even a journalist.
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Prof Chaman Lal, a well known academician and public intellectual who has taught at JNU, Delhi and other universities, was not amused and minced no words. "I don't think Republic TV to be a media platform and a person screaming on screen to be a journalist at all; he could be anything but a journalist,” he wrote to Punjab Today, adding that while he had read about the froth-from-the-mouth fracas in Punjab Today, he never watches these screaming slugfests on news television.

Veteran journalist Gobind Thukral, known for his intellectual heft and a blemish-free long career with The Tribune and later helming different newspapers, said this "abusing journalism is the new norm of television news channels.”

"Big money is playing dirty role in the field of journalism. We are not providing hard facts and people are not being informed independently. What Arnab has done amounts to merely abusing (someone). He has not put across any hard facts,” Thukral said, commenting on the Punjab Today story. 

Senior journalist Vipin Pubby, who retired as Resident Editor of The Indian Express’ Chandigarh edition and now writes for various online platforms and newspapers, said it "an irony (that) those who exposed the Augusta scam and relentlessly followed the story are being targeted while those who did not write at all or never followed the story are getting a clean chit!”

Incidentally, Vipin Pubby is father of journalist Manu Pubby, who, alongwith Shekhar Gupta, drove the coverage of the AgustaWestland chopper deal scam. (In case readers wonder about Pubby Sr’s possible bias, here’s Punjab Today’s own stance: We strongly endorse Vipin Pubby’s view and stand by the same. — Editor.)

"Arnab, as we all know, is a blot on the fair name of media,” Pubby added. The fact is that the roll call of people in the profession who are a blot on the fair name of media, is now too long. 

"Nowadays, media is losing credibility and the news television channels have been mushrooming due to rich people's lust for power and influence,” Thukral added. On being asked to comment about the facts in Arnab Goswami’s fulminations against Shekhar Gupta, who Republic TV did not name but left no one in doubt, Thukral said, "I have worked with Shekhar Gupta. He was always high flying but then Arnab has not presented any damning facts about his role.”

Dr Pramod Kumar, Director, Institute of Development and Communication and a commentator and frequent contributor to media platforms himself, said while notions of objective reporting is being given a flip now, partisan and subjective coverage was ruling the roost.

"Media houses are actually acting like campaign agencies now. Earlier too, media was providing a ‘service’ to the politicians, like conducting surveys and pre-announcing results in their favour but now even that veil is not required. Media is now openly taking sides and it seems that days of independent and unbiased journalism are gone,” he rued.

Harcharan Bains, a long time associate of former chief minister Prakash Singh Badal and someone who handles the media affairs of the Akali Dal, and particularly the Badals, commented on Punjab Today’s reportage about the ugly war of editors on television.

"This media war of unprecedented bitterness has hit the image of the Indian media, already in a shambles,” he said, and then, interestingly, meted out an even-handed rap on the knuckles to those in the fight.

"I am no fan of Arnab. Whatever his other virtues, and many would question my use of this term at all here, the fact is that he is no journalist. But those at the receiving end of his arrogance and abuses needed to be called out, Arnab or no Arnab. That said, neither side is a paragon of journalistic virtues. And neither side practises journalism,” Bains said, before matching the tone of the parties embroiled in the fight, possibly to make himself heard: "Both sides! Quit the profession, dammit!”

Academician Dr Akshay Kumar of Panjab University said the media no longer mediates. "It arouses feelings of hostility. Anchors are the new age gladiators of the arena called TV studios. They do not just accuse each other of wrong conduct, they just demolish each other's reputation.”

Prof Kuldip Puri, an expert in pedagogy and education policies who teaches at Panjab University, Chandigarh, said having read about the Arnab-Shekhar spat in Punjab Today, he felt "dismayed at the crude display of power and arrogance.”

"It is a bit hard for us to not admit our reservations about the non-partisan credentials of both the renowned editors. The (Punjab Today) story substantiates the fact that there is a general contempt for professional ethics,” he said, adding, "However, hope lies with few glorious exceptions!”
But largely, Shekhar Gupta seemed to have his fans, even among those who bring critical faculties to bear on any situation. Dr Akshay Kumar clearly had a soft corner for him: "Shekhar Gupta has all along tried to maintain a degree of critical neutrality, but it does not sell. One has to outshout the other. Being vocal now means just being vociferous.”

Well, that’s one area where it is difficult to beat Arnab, or any Arnab clone!
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT
 





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Comment by: Vinay Saini

Arnab is no journalist . He is a sold out stooge of Modi

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.... and justice for the victims remains awaited.
28.03.19 - Vipin Pubby
.... and justice for the victims remains awaited.



THERE APPEARS TO be a pattern in the acquittals in cases pertaining to a series of bomb blasts mainly targeting mosques during a two year period of 2006 to 2008. The investigations and prosecution by the National Investigations Agency (NIA) are falling in the courts one by one.

The latest was the acquittal of all the accused, including the prime accused Aseemanand, in the Samjhauta Express blast case by a Special Court located in Panchkula.

During the initial period when a series of such blasts took place, the finger of suspicion was towards extremist elements from across the border in Pakistan but later investigations led to a small group of radical Hindus allegedly responsible for the attacks. Just as such cases were reported all of a sudden, the alleged bursting of the group and arrest of some key suspects led to a sudden cessation of such incidents. In the meantime a key suspect Sanjay Joshi, who was believed to be the key conspirator, was killed under mysterious circumstances and his killers have remained unidentified.

All these cases were initially investigated by the Special Investigations Teams of the States affected and were later handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Subsequently on the formation of National Investigation Agency (NIA), all these cases were passed on the agency.

Among the half a dozen such incidents was the blast in the two unreserved coaches of the Lahore-bound Samjhauta Express on February 18-19 night in 2007 near Panipat.

Out of the 68 casualties, 43 were identified as Pakistan citizens, 10 Indians and 15 remained ‘missing’ in the blast. After a long trial the Special Court has now acquitted Aseemanand, who had earlier admitted to his involvement in the blasts by giving a statement to a magistrate under Section 164 Cr PC. His original name is Naba Kumar Sarkar. Others who have been acquitted are Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary. 

In the Mecca Masjid blasts, in which nine devotees were killed and 58 injured at Hyderabad on May 18, 2007, all the accused including Aseemanand, Sanjay Joshi, Lokesh Sharma, Devendra Gupta and others were acquitted by a Special Court in April 16, 2018.

Similarly in the Ajmer Dargah blast case, a bomb had ripped through the Ajmer Sharif Dargah on October 11, 2007, killing three and injuring 17. Again among the accused were Aseemanand, Sanjay Joshi, Lokesh Sharma, Bhavesh Bhai Patel and some others. A Special Court acquitted Aseemanand as well as some others giving benefit of doubt but convicted RSS pracharaks Bhavesh Bai Patel and Devender Gupta.

There were two incidents of bomb blasts in Malegaon in 2006 and 2008. However trial is yet to begin in both the cases. Multiple chargesheets SMS have been filed by Maharashtra Police, the CBI and NIA. Besides Aseemanand (pic), the accused in Malegaon blast cases include Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Purohit. 

Going by the track record in similar cases, the accused are likely to be acquitted in Malegaon cases too. The BJP and other Hindutva organisations have been strongly denying involvement of any Hindu organisation and had been blaming Muslim terrorists behind these blasts to ‘discredit’ Hindus. Union Home minister Rajnath Singh has said on record that the government would not challenge the verdict of the special courts before any other higher court.

Mr V N Rai, a retired Director General of Police, Haryana, who led the initial investigations and cracked the Samjhauta Express blast case, said it appeared that neither the NIA nor the government was interested in pursuing the cases. He said very few in India had a stake in the investigations of Samjhauta blast case as a majority of the victims were from Pakistan and the case was lost due to poor ‘pairvi’ or supervision. He said unless the investigation agency was sincere and determined to get convictions for the accused, the cases are bound to fail.

Given the similar line of investigations, almost the same accused in all such cases, it would be prudent to investigate whether the charges were all cooked up or whether the investigations were not done in right earnest. A dark chapter of violence appears to be over now......but justice for the victims remains awaited.
 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)


 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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THE PILOT CAPTURE VIDEO - IT'S ABOUT US
Bloodied pilot is page one material for some, not so for others
27.02.19 - S Pal
Bloodied pilot is page one material for some, not so for others



WHILE LEADING INDIAN newspapers and news television channels, including The Times of India and NDTV, consciously decided and declared that they will not be using videos and images from the videos of the Indian pilot now in Pakistan custody, some other media houses went ahead splashing the pictures of the bloodied pilot on their front pages and television screens.

Clearly, Indian media has trouble in coming to a more evolved understanding of ethics in use of imagery and visuals even in cases that are blatant and where there are no two sides to the argument.

The world has not seen images of thousands of men, women and children killed in the 9/11 attacks in the United States, but Indians must have a massive appetite for seeing the images of a bloodied pilot. At least, that's the rationale that has emerged from the front pages of a section of the media.

The Times of India took care to splash a front page story on the videos but remained restrained, even declaring that the "TOI has consciously decided not to use any images from the videos." The NDTV made a similar announcement. The Hindustan Times, if it applied its mind to the issue, did not talk about it, but the gory pictures were there on page one.

Mass-circulation multi-edition Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar actually made a sketch based on the video and then embedded a software, asking readers to scan the image and watch the video. Punjab’s Ajit newspaper had no compunction in using the images. English-language The Tribune and its Punjabi sister publication, Punjabi Tribune, consciously decided not to yield to the temptation of using sensational images. Readers can check their own newspapers to see where they stand on the ethical scale.
 

The fact is that occasions like these can be used by the media to expose the general public to the complex, layered idea of ethics in public communication. People think because they have found a particular video informative — see, this is how bad Paksiatnis have dealt with a bahadur Indian pilot? — therefore, they are fully within their right to forward it to other friends who, too, must educate themselves about bad Pakistanis.

On the other side of the border, the argument can't be very different. They must have made videos and circulated the same to show how a bunch of Pakistanis captured an aggressor Indian pilot. 

Just think if a Pakistani pilot had crashed and captured outside an Indian village, would our people have treated him any different?
 
There are details available about how the pilot descended with the help of a parachute after his plane caught fire and crashed, how the local social and political activist Mohd Razzaq Chowdhary of Horra’n village about 7 kms from the LoC asked local Pakistani youngsters not to go near the wreckage and instead try and catch the pilot, the claims by locals that the pilot ran for some distance and fired shots in the air to keep the angry crowd at bay and his later capture by Pakistani army personnel, but the point is not to divulge more.

Our focus must remain on the aspect that wars have human faces.

Of course, Pakistan must deal with the situation and respect the Third Treaty of the 1949 Geneva Convention. It can actually do more. It can treat the pilot in a manner most humane, assure the world, and primarily India, that no harm would come to him and he will be sent back as soon as possible. The pilot, in fact, can become a ruse to trigger peace in a volatile war like situation.

The pilot in Pakistan is a reminder that wars involve human beings, human beings who are trained and motivated to go and kill to keep our own selves safe. Wars have a huge human cost. Even the first steps towards a conflict can extract a massive cost. Are we ready to pay this because we are actually not ready to pay the larger cost for peace, a quest that involves a long haul?

Surprisingly, many leading Pakistani newspapers did not use the images from the pilot capture videos. The Dawn, a leading heavy-weight voice, editorially commented that "from here, the distance towards unthinkable conflict and destruction could be shorter than war strategists, planners and decision-makers in either country recognise.”

Indian politicians are, by and large, conducting themselves far better than the Indian media that regularly pillories them. The inane war-mongering on the screen is now uncouth, vulgar and downright unethical. By pushing the 'send' button on many a videos dripping with hate, we could be missing the peace bus. Not just peace between nations, but one with our inner selves.

That's no one's political agenda, but why is it not yours? 

How you watch a video, what do you say about it, what do you tell your daughters and sons about it, and the kind of discussion you have with your children and family and friends is the stuff we are made of. It applies to Pakistanis, too. That’s the logic of war, and of peace.
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles:
 

KYUN KE HUM HAIN HINDUSTANI

Three Women of 1984

 FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?   

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE     

KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

Healers & Predators – The Doctor is In, & is very corrupt

Amarinder Singh, the coup in the CBI & the ED case: Headline is missing, so please read it between the lines

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

WOOING THE PANTH: Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron

"Captain Amarinder Singh ji” and "Rahul”: Reading Sign Language In A Relationship

SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties 
A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES 

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION
BAD, BAD WOMAN! 

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL

 

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT




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