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Monday, March 14, 2016

OPEN LETTER TO THE HINDU

Hello World,

I have been noticing something odd on my daily newspaper. We read ‘The Hindu’ at our home and lately, we have been noticing something odd about the way news are being reported. Maybe, this has been the norm and I am noticing it just now or this is a new growing trend. To clear the confusion, ‘The Hindu’ will have to clarify the facts so we do not misinterpret anything. Hence this open letter:

Dear ‘The Hindu’,

Please refer to the instances of alleged unfair reporting on your part and please clarify the reasons and facts behind them:

Instance 1:

Article Title: Madras High Court orders fresh autopsy on Monisha
Date of Publishing: January 28, 2016

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/svs-college-murder-row-madras-high-court-orders-fresh-autopsy-on-monisha/article8159701.ece 

The article ends with a mention of a person and his membership with a ‘fringe Dalit outfit’. The outfit’s name or the basis for classifying it as ‘fringe’ however did not make it anywhere on that news report.

Here are the questions:

What is the name of the Dalit outfit? Why are you not mentioning the name of the outfit?

What is the basis for classifying the outfit as a ‘fringe’ outfit?


Instance 2:

Article Title: Decades-old group rivalry revived
Date of Publishing: March 9, 2016

This report is also online: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/decadesold-group-rivalry-revived/article8329195.ece


One of the victims [of a tit-for-tat gang war] is being described as a Dalit leader without mentioning the name of the outfit he founded or was associated with prior to that. However, soon after covering his involvement in murders, the report includes victims and members of the other group by mentioning the title of the outfit they belong to. That outfit is not categorised as ‘fringe’ outfit.  

Murderers are murderers, irrespective of caste/ethnicity. When one group of murderers are mentioned only with a broad classification of their caste, the other group is mentioned with specific mention of their caste and the outfit they founded/belong to.

Here are the questions:

What is the basis for avoiding a Dalit outfit’s name and including a Caste Hindu outfit’s name, when members of both outfits have been involved in the same murder case being covered in the report?

The report includes this phrase: “…, who had nurtured himself as ‘saviour of Dalits’ by orchestrating a few attacks.”

What does ‘few attacks’ signify? How many attacks are being included as ‘few attacks’? What is the factual data behind those attacks that establish the individual’s effort to become ‘saviour of Dalits’? 

When the rival group has committed similar retaliatory murders, why aren’t they being classified as someone nurturing themselves as similar ‘saviour of Caste Hindus’?


Overall, I see this trend of classifying minorities as ‘fringe outfits’ while exclusively mentioning caste-hindu groups in your reporting. May be, this has been happening for a long time and I remained unaware. Irrespective of the frequency of occurrence and history, the reporting style followed by ‘The Hindu’ is outright unfair.

The final interpretation is:

‘The Hindu’ is deliberately allowing the negative representation of minorities [in this case the Dalits] and positive representation of caste-hindu groups.

                                                       OR

‘The Hindu’ doesn’t really care how minorities are being mentioned in its reports and therefore knowingly tolerates such unfair reporting styles from its reporters/writers.

Irrespective of what it may be, here are the final questions:

Is ‘The Hindu’ following such unfair reporting styles to get the favour of the ‘Hindutva’ movement?

What is ‘The Hindu’ getting from caste-hindu groups for such negative representation of minorities?


In my opinion, ‘The Hindu’ is operating as a ‘divisive media partner’ that can support the ‘divide-and-rule’ tactics, irrespective of who is trying to apply them. 

The questions for you, ‘The Hindu’, 

Are you really missing out on such negative reporting styles or this is all part of your larger design for a divided society that can crumble at the snap of a finger?

Why is your reporting looking to breed contempt and retaliatory hatred among ethnic groups within the market you operate?

I don’t think anybody from ‘The Hindu’ is going to reply, however, as a human being who believes in equality, I cannot allow a media house play spoilsport unasked and unquestioned.

I still believe, if all kids go to school and college and if the education they receive are of decent standards, we might end up with a society that can at least be taught to practice equality. With millions of citizens remaining illiterate/uneducated, we as a country are building a society of blind followers who can be manipulated by those who practice sectarian governance through inter-ethnic hatred, something supported by media houses such as ‘The Hindu.’

If you think this is an issue that needs to be curtailed, please consider signing this Change.org petition below and share the same with your friends and family:

Stop Discriminative News-Reporting Against Dalits


 Thanks for the help!!!!

Update as of 21-03-2016:

'The Hindu' published a follow-up report on the same incident and this time, both the organisation titles were mentioned. However, the Caste-Hindu individual's position/rank within his organization is mentioned but the Dalit individual's position/rank is not covered. The Caste-Hindu individual is mentioned as the 'President' but the Dalit individual is mentioned as the 'leader'. In spite of a forced response for fair news-reporting, the reporting style still holds minority groups at least one step below the Caste-Hindu groups. 

Here is the follow-up report as it was published today:




So the questions to you 'The Hindu' are:

What makes dalits so inferior that you are so desperate, not to mention the rank/position of the Dalit individual covered in the report? 

If the Caste-Hindu individual is the 'President' what was the title held by the Dalit individual? 

If you have the journalistic prowess to cover one group in such detail, why is that you wilfully neglect the finer details of the Dalit individual?

This is the true indicator of how deep and hard the anti-dalit prejudices are imbibed within the society in Tamilnadu, as of 2016. I am almost suspicious if there is a deep inner voice among these anti-dalit mentalities which keeps screaming 'Don't let the Dalits stand-up as equal. Keep them a step below you and that is how it should be.' In my honest opinion, it is this deep caste differentiation that is causing such unfair news-reporting styles.

A word of thanks to those few individuals who signed the petition. Some of them are not Dalits but still they have the heart to support equality. My deepest respects to those human beings.

Summing up, @'The Hindu', there is very little you can do about this. You have hundreds of reporters working for with hundreds of prejudices each. Given that your own editorial group has been flying away from you citing unfair management practices, there is very little evidence that you actually have any fair thought behind your news-reporting strategy. 

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Best Regards,





Saturday, March 12, 2016

COST OF COLONIALISM: BLOWING IN THE WIND

Hello World,

I had noticed something very interesting when I visited the Andamans in 2012. This year, I visited Andamans again and visited the same spot to cover the experience. I am referring to to something I noticed in Ross Island, a small island visible from Port Blair, the current capital of Andaman & Nicobar islands. Ross Island was the first British headquarters set up in the archipelago and this island was even invaded by the Japanese. 

My experience has to do with the pre-independence colonial timeline when India was under the British rule.

We need to look at what I saw to get started:
















Long story short, these are the people whose graves have been captured in the pictures above:

  1. Benjamin Lewarn A.B., Died at the age of: 25 years and 6 months
  2. Anne Elizabeth of Lahert, Died at the age of: 21 years, 3 months and 10 days
  3. W.H. Eales, Born at Kingston, near Brixham Devonshire, Died at the age of: 38 years, 5 months and 29 days
  4. Benjamin Kelton, Died at the age of: 35 years
  5. James John Elder, Born at Liverpool, Lancashire, Age at the time of death: Unknown, 
  6. James Wyness Esq., Died at the age of: 38 years
  7. John. W. Wood, Died at the age of: Unknown [probably 29 or 29]
  8. Name: Unknown, Died at the age of: 23 years and 27 days
  9. William Collins, Died at the age of: 28 years
  10. Samuel Smith [Pensioner], Died at the age of: 67 years
  11. John Edwards, Died at the age of: 28 years
  12. Benjamin Welton, Died at the age of: 35 years
  13. Lawrence [Infant son of Lawrence and Jessie Jemima Carthy], Died at the age of: 22 hours

These are some of the graves at the cemetery on Ross Island. 

With 22 hours and 67 years as clear outliers, the age at the time of death is largely between 21 years and 38 years. 

Young men and women are lying under the ground in a lonely Island in the Bay of Bengal. All because someone decided to colonise India. I have no idea if the family of these people knew about their death. I wonder if someone, many generations later now, have ever visited Ross Island to see their grave. May be because most of these individuals died at a very young age, they never had the opportunity to bring their next generation into this world. 

This is just the minuscule part of the human capital invested by the then British administration in the effort to colonise India. Based on the very little I understand, the then British administration, used its taxpayers money to recruit and deploy their own sons and daughters on a land very far away, only to leave them dead under the ground, when it realised the complexity in keeping country under its control by force. 

Since 1644, when the first British fortress [Fort St. George] was founded in Chennai, the administration did not or rather was not willing to realise the infeasibility of a never-ending colonisation of a sovereign state. My interpretation is therefore directed towards the assumption that the then British administration never really cared about its own citizens or at least not up to the level of what might constitute anything related to fairness.

So the question, we as the current survivors of the race called mankind need to answer is, did all this investment of human capital really benefit those who engaged in colonialism? You consciously paid for the spices, minerals, opium and agricultural resources with your sons and daughters, some of whom are under the ground of this sovereign state to this day, rather dissolved or decomposed, but under the ground in a foreign land anyways.

The dark comedy is, of those who came to India for spices, hardly ever use them in their cuisines. Cinnamon made it to coffee, cardamom and saffron made it to some foods. The other agri resources were mostly consumed for the purpose of further colonisation. I am unaware but very skeptical of colonial wheat and rice feeding the citizens of the colonial state. Even if that were to be a fact, was it all worth the sons and daughters you left buried under foreign lands, which now are sovereign states similar to yours????????

Next time we draft random men, women and transgenders to be deployed on foreign lands for military operations, we as the race called mankind, will have to think a few hundred times to assess the benefit we will realise by sacrificing the humans for the sake of monopolised control over resources in foreign lands [includes democracy and fundamental rights]. 

Desperate times calls for desperate measures and desperate measures require high value investments. It is impossible to avoid it but we can definitely act based on the fair assessment of long-term impact on mankind rather than deciding on the short term diplomatic relations and control over alleged ‘aggressors’ for the sake of regional security that is then bartered for oil or something much more trivial than something nothing can replace: human life.


As for an answer to these questions, all I recall are Bob Dylan's words: “….the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.” 


Best Regards,