(Im)partiality of NDTV

Edit:

The breaking news of today is The Hindu’s and Wikipedia’s expose on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi being a middleman for an arms deal. Every other news organization has it as their main story or at the least in the top 3. Surprisingly nothing on NDTV’s website. I guess when you are looking for controversy, its not difficult to find reasons to justify your delusions 🙂

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I came across this youtube clip recently which if you listen carefully has the producer or anchor commenting on taking a pro-congress stand.

I obviously tweeted the link to NDTV but haven’t seen any official comments yet. It got me thinking back to the Nira Radia tapes where Nira Radia was asking Barkha Dutt to be a messenger between the Congress and the DMK. Searched for the barkha dutt denial interview and after re-watching, I’m not entirely convinced on her defense. It’s a 50 min video, so I’ve taken the liberty of starting it at the point where the interview gets interesting.

Make up your own mind on whether NDTV is impartial as they claim or are have more than a stake in the well being of the ruling Congress party.

Who’s my bitch now

A recent picture showing Tony Blair in an almost sub-servient position while talking to George Bush epitomizing Britain’s relations with the United States.

The current American administration deals with foreign policy in clear black and white terms. An historical American ally, Pakistan, found out recently when they had to choose between siding with “the coalition of the willing” to fight the Taleban and Al-Qaeda or be refuse and be termed as an enemy.

Against this backdrop India has been steadily leaning away from its traditional stand of Non Alliance (NAM) which it co-founded with Yugoslavia and Egypt during the Cold War and increasing its ties with the US Government.

The Indian government has been pushing the Civilian Nuclear Agreement which would ensure that the civilian nuclear plants would come under IAEA supervision and in return India would get raw materials and technical know how to improve its nuclear power generation. In return India has already made some tough foreign policy changes based on “American persuasion”.

One of its first changes was voting against Iran in the United Nations. Iran has traditionally been an ally for the Indians and the change in stand didnt go down well for bi-lateral ties. In the meanwhile India put forward Shashi Tharoor, the current Undersecretary General of the UN, as its candidate for the Secretary General’s position. Its been rumored that America used its secret veto power to reject the candidate.

Recently President Bush called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh trying to “persuade” India to vote against, fellow NAM member, Venezuela’s bid for a non permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. In trying to get the civilian nuclear agreement through, India may end up in the same situation as Britain. America may end up having options to the question, Who’s my bitch now?

It’s been a good month for the dictators

“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

Aung San Suu Kyi started her “Freedom from Fear” speech with these words. Her party won the Myanmar (formerly Burma) general elections in 1990, however the ruling military junta annulled the elections. Aung San has been under house arrest since 1989 in her quest to bring democracy to her country (reminiscent of Mahatma Gandhi’s and Nelson Mandela’s struggles), however the world has turned their back on her and her non-oil rich country (hence not fit for democracy).

Thailand – the military staged a coup when the Prime Minister attended the UN General Assembly in New York. This isn’t Thailand’s first coup and it remains to be seen if Aung San’s words come true.

Pakistan – President General Pervez Musharraf is on a state sponsored official tour of the United States cum book promotion tour. Its nice that the general gets to go on the Daily Show with John Stewart with the state sponsoring the expenses. Aung San’s words have come true in this case as the General was supposed to call general elections three years after seizing power, maybe the millions earned in book sales would ensure a healthy retirement fund.

History is written by the victors

Been a bit caught up with life, so thought I’ll get in a post in September before the month is past.

There is a general school of thought that power begets respect. Like it or not America is at the centrestage of the world power game. There will be no government in the world which would be fooling enough to pick a war with American nor try to execute an American citizen. On the other end of the spectrum, India is being bled in Kashmir where tens of thousands of its citizens have been killed, terrorists have attacked the seat of power of the country by attacking its parliament, an aircraft was hijacked to Afghanistan forcing the Foreign minister to make a trip with goodies and release of a few more terrorists who are plotting the next string of attacks; while the government has been powerless to protect its interests.

I love this country and its people, maybe there is a lesson to be learnt from here. After all, history is written by the victors.

Once an outcast always an outcast

The Indian government acting on either vested interests or bureaucratic bungling failed to renew Taslima Nasreen’s visa (author of “Lajja: Shame”). As a cruel joke, they issued a tourist visa valid for 6 months.

Ms. Nasreen fled her home in Bangladesh due to a fatwa issued against her life by an Islamic cleric. Even after repeatedly expressing her desire to settle down permanently in India, the government has effectively denied her citizenship. They have decided to play into the hands of fundamental extremists and put her life in danger.

The myopic government stand has negated traditional Indian hospitality extended to political and humanitarian refugees like the Dalai Lama and condemned Taslima Nasreen to the life lived by Salman Rushdie – always on the lookout for the next extremist to take her life.

India doing a China

India’s rivalry with China is pretty intense and is now extending to the cyber world. Similar to the some of the moves made by its communist neighbour, the present Indian government has asked ISP’s around the country to block access to around 20 websites and blogs.

Access to all blogs and websites hosted on
blogspot.com, typepad.com, blogs.com, geocities.com
have been blocked from India to prevent “anti-national and anti-inflammatory” content.

This government is famous for its nonsensical decisions. The communist left party (a coalition of the present government) and the sycophantic congress party seems to have taken a dim view of the (justified) criticizms of the current government and have resorted to fascist policies to stay in power a bit longer.

Democracy is held hostage with the current government. The government will probably not get this message, but maybe it’s time for you to go.

Rang de Basanti generation

I was very young when the original Mandal commission and reservations in education came about. My first exposure to it was actually in the men’s room. A line was drawn with the following words scribbled next to it ‘If you want to join the fire department, pee over this line’. Someone then had another line drawn half way down and scribbled ‘For Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes‘.

On growing up and better understanding reservations in education, it started making more sense and you see the need to uplift sections of society which never had oppurtunities before. The former American President’s, while introducing affirmative action, said “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line in a race and then say, you are free to compete with all the others, and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

The current ruling Congress party brought the reservation issue back to the forefront with a proposal of increasing the reservation quota and including Other Backward Casts along with SC/ST. The Congress party has a history of playing caste politics to preserve its vote bank, inspite of knowing that the number of OBC’s have doubled in the last decade since the mandal commission. The whole pretext of helping underpriveledged classes is no longer true as the poorest and most downtrodden have been passed over. With their narrow minded approach towards OBC reservation, they seem to ignore the other non Hindu religions in India. Muslims have one of the lowest literacy levels in India, so why shouldn’t they avail of reservations as well, not to mention Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and all others. The government instead wastes money pouring it down the drain, funding the flailing public schools while every minister’s child attend the better known private schools.

The government apathy lead to widespread protests amongst the student community. Quite a few of the students resorted to hunger strikes in an effort to have themselves heard.

The government, in a desperate attempt to save face, tried to use police force to break up the protests. Somewhere along the line to keep their caste based vote bank, they seem to have forgotten that the protestors were medical and engineering students.

The fire of protests have started, will be interesting to see what the government’s next move will be.

With a touch of dramatism, here’s words from the movie rang de basanti

Hai liye hathiyaar dushman taak mein baitha udhar
aur hum taiyyaar hain seena liye apna idhar
khoon se khelenge holi gar vatan muskhil mein hai
sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

haath jin mein ho junoon katt te nahi talvaar se
sar jo uth jaate hain voh jhukte nahi lalkaar se
aur bhadkega jo shola-sa humaare dil mein hai
sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

hum to ghar se nikle hi the baandhkar sar pe qafan
chaahatein liin bhar liye lo bhar chale hain ye qadam
zindagi to apni mehmaan maut ki mehfil mein hai
sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

dil mein toofaanon ki toli aur nason mein inquilaab
hosh dushman ke udaa denge humein roko na aa
duur reh paaye jo humse dam kahaan manzil mein hai
sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai

Government rebuttal

The US Government finally released the pentagon video to counter conspiracy theorists. The plan shows a plane hitting the pentagon (not too conclusively unfortunately since its a security cam and doesnt have decent fps).

This bit of evidence does give a bit more credibility to the government and I’m glad they are taking some of the conspiracy theories more credibly. Maybe the Sheraton hotel cameras, gas station and the virginia Department of Transportation camera prints will be conclusive evidence of the plan attack.

But for now to the credit of the government they have stepped up with some evidence.

loose change

For every major event in history there have always been a group which believe that there is a conspiracy behind it. There have been numerous theories from Neil Armstrong didn’t actually land on the moon to the CIA being behind John F Kennedy’s death.

It’s easy to discard most of it offhand, but after watching a couple of documentaries on the attacks in the United States on Sept 11, I am inclined to believe in that the normal understanding of the attacks may be flawed.

Now 9/11 is an emotional topic for most americans and others (including Indians which were the second largest group in the casuality list) and this post isn’t meant to offend anyone. There are a few questions raised which appeal to my logical sense and I believe they need to be answered for it be a balanced discussion.

I’d like to live on the sanskrit principle ‘satyam eva jayate’ or truth always prevails – not trying to be too preachy :).

People who haven’t watched the loose change video, would be encouraged to atleast try to watch the video before dismissing their observations.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Some of the arguments put forward by the loose change video for a government conspiracy behind 911 are

* WTC towers are the first couple of buildings in the history of sky rises to fall due to fire. These include building which have been burning for quite a few hours as well as the empire state building which survived a b-52 bomber which crashed into the building. World trade center 7 was the only building to collapse even though there wasn’t any direct hit on it.
Quite a few of the survivors of the WTC towers mention secondary explosions in the buildings which go along with video footage and the recently releases fire fighters audio conversations with control suggesting multiple secondary explosion almost like implosions carried out in controlled demolitions.

* Multiple first hand observer accounts suggest that a airplane which did not have side windows hit the WTC towers. This would negate any commercial jetliner which are believed to have hit the WTC.

* The pentagon was hit by a low flying airplane which did not leave any skid marks on the grass. Also the only damage on the pentagon is a 16 foot hole with no damange caused by the 42 foot wingspan of a boeing or by the titanium alloy engines. There are no fuselage or other wreckages of the airplane at the pentagon with the official explanation being that everything evaporated due to the intense blaze of the crash.
This seems to be quite unlike any other aircraft accidents.

There was a neighbourhood gas station, a nearby sheraton hotel and the virginia DOT which had cameras which could have captured the crash. These videos were confiscated by the FBI. If this is true, the government can release these videos and silence any conspiracy theorists.

These and other observations (with print and media references) would raise questions in any reasonable logical mind, IMHO.

In the end it may remain an urban folklore with neither side having a reasonable grasp of reality