Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Trysts with MSM - Part 16: "Spewing Venom"

MSM stands for Main Stream Media. If you are new to this series, I recommend that you read the other 15 parts (scroll down that link) too :)

Part 16 began with this tweet of mine:

I can't believe this!! "Is stone throwing a valid form of protest?" asks NDTV!! :O :O :O @BDUTT

And the subsequent tweet:

Really? Twitter "abuse" is abominal etc etc, but actual stone throwing that causes damage, pain and at time death is "debatable"? @BDUTT

Alert friends on tweeple quickly pointed out to me that the discussion was on "shoe" throwing and not "stone" throwing.

I corrected myself but the question was still valid though. When media stars consider "abuse" on twitter so disgusting, why on earth do they want to debate on something like "shoe throwing"?

And then she replies:

@ssudhirkumar please explain what you want to achieve with your relentless snideness? wont it be easier for you to unfollow me?

Baffled at the response, I ask back:

@BDUTT wait. You sayin, you don't wish to answer questions? I don't abuse, I present facts and ask - so why the reluctance to answer?

@BDUTT Why should I not follow you, and hold you to the "exact same standards" you think public personlaties should be held to?

To which she responds back:

@ssudhirkumar because all you do is spew venom. and beyond a point thats a waste of everyones time. but as you like.

This time, I ask back:

@BDUTT see. that's rhetoric again. Can you give me 1, just one example, of me "spewing venom"? Let's take the latest example if you wish

@BDUTT infact, I have documented many instances of how I was labeled and abused just for relentless qns. I guess u wouldn't be interested.

As usual - no reply.

So the same script plays out again. Don't answer questions. Wait for some time. Label the questioners. Scare them away. Base arguments on rhetoric. Same strategy followed by all NDTV journos. They are journalists - yet we should not question them on their coverage. Why should they NOT be questioned "relentlessly. Barkha mentions "beyond a point". Beyond what point? When did you ever answer any of my queries that you feel "beyong a point" it is a waste of time? Why should I not question relentlessly? Is there some kind of protocol that needs to be followed? Ask 2 hard questions, praise 5 times, then ask 2 more questions - something like this? "Unfollow me" is not an option. The day you open up for scrutiny is when you meet the "exact same standards" with which you scrutinize politicians on your shows.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why I am protesting, by fasting today...

Anna Hazare is a well known social activist. His latest crusade is against corruption in India. As part of this, he has been demanding a stronger and effective anti-corruption system. And in his view, he believes that the "Jan Lokpal Bill", drafted by citizens like him is a very effective tool (This link at the PRS site is a good read on Lokpal and Lokayukta). He wants the government to facilitate a discussion on the points mentioned in their draft bill. He, along with the co-drafters believe they have some strong points to make and hence wants the government to set up a joint committee.

And since our "honest" Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not even responded to their requests, Anna Hazare announced that he will fast unto death against corruption in India. And he began this fast on the 5th of April.

Now, there are multiple issues that people are discussing. First amongst those - is this proposed "Jan Lokpal" bill the solution to all evils? No - it is not. It empowers one institution (Lokpal) with very strong powers and the person manning this institution is not an elected representative. Fellow blogger, RealityCheckInd has summarised brilliant points on the modifications that are needed to this bill. Please take a moment out, and read that blogpost. The intent behind the draft may have been very good, but there are specifics in the draft that may not be acceptable. Please read that post. Also, a blogpost by Swathi Pradeep favouring the Jan Lokpal bill is here

Second - Is Anna Hazare fasting unto death demanding that this draft be accepted? No - not at all (no wonder, that is the impression that the english media creates on gullible minds). He wants to debate this bill too. He wants the government to talk to them on how to make the bill more effective. Is that such a wrong demand to make? We have National Advisory Council which is unconstitutional to the core, and that includes members of "civil society" actually drafting bills and insisting that the government take it up. Every ministry puts up a draft bill on their website seeking public feedback - why should this be any different?

Third - It is not like Anna Hazare released the draft on April 1st, and announced intent to fast from April 5th. They have submitted this draft to the Prime Minister on December 1st. And all they sought was a forum to discuss. Now, what is so unreasonable in this?

Fourth and most importantly, I seek to explain why I am protesting today, by fasting.

This Prime Minister has shown anything but contempt while dealing with corruption. The country has seen unprecedented levels of corruption under his direct watch, and yet he gets away with it always. Upon hearing that Anna Hazare announced a fast unto death - he appoints an Group of Ministers (as always) headed by the great Sharad Pawar. Sharad Pawar ranks amongst the top corrupt ministers in this government. The man heads the Agriculture ministry but has very little time for matters of the ministry. He is also the President of International Cricket Council, and so now we know where his loyalties lie. Appointing him to head this GoM is an insult to the people crusading against corruption. I need to verify this, but also heard that M.K.Alagiri S/o M. Karunanidhi and minister in the central government is also part of this GoM. If true, can this get anymore bizzare? Is this the contempt with which Manmohan Singh treats serious issues like massive corruption?

And then ofcourse the Congress party has to see a conspiracy in every thing. They now stooped down to the level of calling Anna Hazare as an RSS agent. For a moment, let's assume he is. So? How does it anyway diminish this Prime Minister's stellar contribution to rising corruption in the country?

And then the Congress party calls this fast as "premature"? Eh? So how long should they have waited? The first time the Lokpal bill was introduced in Parliament was 1969. So it's been about 40 years. We have seen monumental corruption in recent times and yet we have to wait till your Prime Minister and ministers find the leisure to consider interacting with citizens?

Please read this letter by Anna Hazare to the Prime Minister yesterday. He nails the lie of this Prime Minister yet again. One point from the letter -

5. It is being said that the government wants to talk to us and we are not talking to them. This is utterly false. Tell me a single meeting when you called us and we did not come. We strongly believe in dialogue and engagement. Kindly do not mislead the country by saying that we are shunning dialogue.

It is this mindless arrogance of the government that I am protesting today. It is this dismissive contempt of the government headed by Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi that I am protesting today. Tomorrow, if you and I wish to protest against this government, we will also be labeled according to their whims and fancies. It is this unprecedented corruption that I am protesting today. In their fight against corruption, I support them - with the bill, there are some reservations but since all that Anna Hazare is asking is a forum to debate and discuss, I wonder why this government, headed by Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi is reluctant. I protest this arrogant reluctance. And hence, as a token of my support, I have decided to fast today.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Indo-Pak talks - A Chronology of Compromises

"We will work to defeat the evil designs of terrorists and will not allow them to succeed.". This statement was given by the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh after the serial blastsin Mumbai's local trains on July 11, 2006. Wait a minute - the only Mumbai attacks we know are 26/11 right? Well, that's because our English media has all but ensured that all terror attacks before 26/11 are erased from public memory. Anyways, let's back to the issue.

So our Prime Minister has ensured us that he will work towards defeating the "evil designs of terrorists". Who are these terrorists? He himself enlightens us some months later - "There is credible evidence of Pakistani involvement in these blasts." Remember, this statement is coming from the highest authority in India. The dialogue process was suspended after these attacks, only to be revived very soon. Without any "credible" action by Pakistan, the foreign secretaries of both the countries tell us - " We have both agreed that the peace process between the two countries is important and all possible efforts should be made to see that this process is not adversely affected."

Just a quick question - who exactly is making effort to see these efforts fail? Pakistan right? Whom are these people fooling?

Cut to November 26, 2008. Again the same banal statements were issued. The dialogue was suspended. This time we thought this was serious. Because, these attacks were audacious enough to ensure that we stick to our stand. Here's where our Prime Minister decides to stump us. Within months on announcing that there will be no dialogue with Pakistan unless action is taken against the terror perpetrators, the Prime Minister decides to start talking to Pakistan.

Following is the chronology:

The meeting with Zardari - June 16,2009 (about seven months after the 26/11 attack)

It was decided at this meeting that the foreign secretaries of the two countries will meet to discuss our primary concern - Terrorism. Actually this meeting was the only meeting where the PM showed some spine. In the full glare of the media, he said this to Zardari - "But I must tell you quite frankly that I have come with the limited mandate of discussing how Pakistan can deliver on its assurances that its territory would not be used for terrorist attacks on India." We kind of rejoiced that the PM is indeed serious about ensuring that we don't talk to Pakistan until they take action on terror. Maybe because of the international flak he received or some strange external influence or some bizzare inner calling - things started changing drastically from here on.

The summit at Egypt - July 15, 2009 (about a month after the above mentioned meeting)

India and Pakistan Prime Ministers issued a joint statement. Two things stood out in this joint statement. One is that for the first time, Balochistan was included in the Joint statement. Only Pak PM's reference to Balochistan was included. Our PM's response was not. Second was more damning. And the clarification after that statement was even more confusing! Let's take a quick look.

Statement 1:

Excerpt from the Joint Statement issued by India and Pakistan in Egypt: "Action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these [sic] should not be bracketed."

Statement 2: Excerpt from the Prime Minister's answer to a query later in the day: "..dialogue cannot begin unless and until the terrorist acts of Mumbai are fully accounted for and the perpetrators are brought to book"

So, now, can someone tell me how both these statements are the same?! Which statement should we give credence to? The first one issued by the two governments, or the second one by our Prime Minister? Or is there going to be a third statement in Parliament after he returns?

According to The Hindu report, Indian side interprets the first statement like this: "Pakistan should not wait for the resumption of the composite dialogue to take action against terrorism" And the Pakistani side interprets like this: "..this meant the future of the dialogue process should not be held hostage to the perception in New Delhi that Pakistan had not done enough to stop the activities of terrorists operating from its territory". And therefore both sides see this statement as a breakthrough!! Wow, diplomacy and interpretation just took a new turn towards naiviety.

Geo TV head, Mir responded like this after the meeting - "According to our information the meeting of India and Pakistan foreign secretaries in the last 48 hours in Egypt has been crucial.Pakistan's Bashir took a tough stand against Menon. Bashir told Menon if you bracket the Mumbai attack with the comprehensive talks between the two countries then there is no possibility of a joint statement.""

Pakistan took a strong stand against us?!?! If true, how do we even begin to react? And if false, isn't our climbdown on the "delinking" giving them enough leeway to make these statements? Why is it that, it is us who always end up making compromises. What are we losing if there is no joint statement?! What are we losing if we don't to talk to a country that has least respect to our concerns?

This Joint Statement was issued just four days, yeah, just four days after the External Affairs Minister told Parliament that enough was not done by Pakistan. And within four days, we decided to delink action on terrorism from the composite dialogue.

The Foreign Secretary, S.S.Menon said this was a case of bad drafting. The Prime Minister never clarified on this. The then Minister of State, Shashi Tharoor said this was a not a legal document, so why worry? The Prime Minister never clarified on this. The Prime Minister never replied why his reply to Pak PM on Baluchistan was not included in the statement. And ofcourse, he berated the opposition, called it names and left it at that!

"Literature" and all that...

On friday, February 25, 2010 - the two foreign secretaries met in New Delhi (for something like, to give peace a chance, blah blah). After the meeting, the Indian foreign secretary met the press, and took some questions. All answers were on expected lines. We discussed terror, they did bring up Kashmir and we stated our positions etc etc. So far so good.

At around 5:40pm, the Pakistan Foreign Secretary, Mr Salman Bashir (hereinafter referred to as the Dude!), started addressing his press conference. And all pieces slowly started falling apart. The Dude tells us not to lecture Pakistan. When asked about the dosseirs, the Dude tells us they want concrete proof and not "literature". And then the Dude goes on to lecture us on how the talks should be held, and how we are being unreasonable in talking about only terror, and how Kashmir is the core issue blah blah...yaawwwnnnn. The Dude then tells us that their country has seen 1000's of Mumbai and how their country is also a victim of terror. Never mind that the Dude forgot that terror was of their own making, and that they are trapped in the grave that they have dug!

The "stroll" at Thimpu - April 29, 2010

At the above mentioned foreign secretaries meetings, as has been the trend, India gave 3 dossiers to Pakistan and then said that the next round of talks will happen after Pakistan responds to them. And Pakistan hasn't yet responded to them. True to our stand, the secretaries did not meet. But hey, we never said the Prime Ministers will not meet right? Hence, the Prime Ministers of both the countries met. Infact, they even went for a stroll, at the "insistence" of the summit leaders. (by the way,If you are wondering what Summit - the SAARC summit. Wouldn't blame you for forgetting that, given the fact that SAARC has been reduced to this bilateral farce long ago! ) Anyways, post the "stroll" and then a one-on-one meeting, it was decided that the dialogue process will be put back on track.

Nothing changed after the Feb. 26th meeting; nothing changed from the time Chidambarampublicly rebuked the High Commisioner of Pakistan; nothing changed from the last time A.K.Anthony told us that there are 42 training camps across the LoC. And yet our Prime Minister decides to put the dialogue "back on track".

The "useful" and "constructive" talks between SM Krishna and S.M.Qureshi. July 15, 2010

India's External Affairs Minister, S.M.Krishna (SMK) met his Pakistan counterpart, S.M.Qureshi (SMQ). They addressed a joint press conference. When Pakistan's Foreign Minister was asked this "We are talking about taking the dialogue process (between India and Pakistan) ahead. In this scenario, Hafiz Saeed's anti-India tirade is affecting the environment, was this issue discussed"

To which he replied (it's a long answer, but you will have to read it in its entirety. "We discussed it. Incidentally, the minister (referring to India's S M Krishna) raised the question that he was concerned about hate speeches that incite people, and that we should avoid them. I do agree that both sides need to create an enabling environment, and not let the climate of engagement be vitiated by these speeches, should refrain from negative propaganda against each other"

Perhaps even he was bored with the same crap being dished out always and therefore continued thus - (here comes the actual stuff). "When you point out to Saeed's speech, or speeches, let me draw your attention to the Indian Home Secretary's (G K Pillai) statement. The dialogue which was reported in all Pakistani papers.. Tell me, to what extent it has helped? We were of the opinion that it was uncalled for"

So first he gives a long winded answer, and then goes about equating our Home Secretary with noted terrorist Hafiz Saeed. Hafiz Saaed is on record for his vitroil against the Indian state. It has been our long standing demand that he be tried for crimes against India. And Pakistan now has the gall to equate that guy with the Home Secretary of the country (who said that ISI is behind the 26/11 attacks). So now blaming ISI and threatening India are on the same page. Yet, we chose to remain silent on this.

Our great External Affairs Minister didn't refute the "we agree" statement. The silence is defeaning. No no, we just don't remain silent - we are desperate to talk to them. We are desperate to see to it that the talks do not fail at any cost. Happen what may, the end statement has to be that the talks will continue. Our Prime Minister is just so desperate to have the talks at any cost - it doesn't matter what people feel in India about it.

And ohh by the way, for the record, Pakistan found the talks "useful" and India found the talks "constructive"

S.M.Qureshi vented further frustration the day after it too. And all that while our minister Mr. S.M.Krishna was still in Islamabad. He said that our "selective approach" is taking us nowhere, and he doesn't want to just meet for photo oppurtunities! As always, we have refuted his comments, and then said we will continue to talk. SMQ then later says, that he believes in talks. Also, he againchanges track and says if he is going to visit New Delhi for further negotiations, he will do so only if we are prepared for a "result oriented dialogue" and will not come for "leisure trips"!

The $5 million flood aid.

India offered $5 million aid to Pakistan, as a humanitarian gesture towards its relief efforts relating to the devastating floods. Guess what - Pakistan took eternity to decide on whether or not to accep this offer! That's right - Pakistan took about a week to decide on whether this money can be accepted! Reason: Because it is coming from India! While Pakistan was still debating whether to accept the aid or not, our Prime Minister calls up their Prime Minister and offers more aid! Again, that's right! We offered them more aid even before they "accepted" our aid. Anyways, finally saner sense prevailed and Pakistan "accepted" our aid offer (which by the way, The Hindu felt was too low!), and as a mark of gratitude, Pakistan Prime Minister sent mangoes to our Prime Minister!

And now - the cricket diplomacy. March 30, 2011

The Prime Ministers decided to take forward the recently started dialogue process to achieve “more permanent normalisation of relations in an uninterrupted manner.” Uninterrupted manner. Which means, if god forbid, another dastardly attack happens on innocent citizens in India, such an attack will have no bearing on the dialogue process. In other words - happen what may, we will always be ready to talk - even if you kill our people.

"Mohali diplomacy successful" screamed some headlines. They followed that headline with "Pak PM invites Sonia" and "Pak PM invites Team India to come and play in Pak". Now, is this what successful diplomacy has been reduced to? We invite them, they come here and invite us - and all is well? Pakistan is yet to take any serious action on our terror related complaints, and here we are - ever ready to showcase that we are willing to forget all those lives lost. This blatant display of over enthusiastic intent to pursue talks that will lead nowhere is baffling.

Yet, we shall continue to talk.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

That's all, Your Honour! : Mar.27 - Apr.2

1. Maybe not a billion, but surely tens of millions of citizens were rejoicing since last night. The reason - Indian cricket team won the World Cup last night :) :) . We won this cup after a gap of 28 years (6 World Cups have passed by since we won in 1983). We came close to winning in 2003, but lost out very badly in the finals against Australia. We had a very disastrous World Cup campaign in 2007, when we got eliminated in the first round only. Since then, Team India has shown new initiative and new enthusiasm in getting back on track. The team won the T20 World Cup in 2007 (though we lost early in the subsequent 2 World Cups). The team then rose steadily to become the top ranked team in Tests too. This was a stupendous achievement given the difficulty in playing Test cricket. We then went onto become the top ranked team in ODIs too (I think currently we are second). This slow and steady rise has also ensured the hopes of fans also rise :). The initial round of this world cup saw India winning 3 matches, losing one and tieing one. Sachin Tendulkar (yes, even after 21 years in International cricket, he was our best batsmen!), Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan were in top form in this tournament. However, we lost to South Africa due to a disastrous batting collapse and the tied match against England was due to some very shoddy bowling and batting at death. This had sceptics again wondering - we are winning against small teams and losing against the top teams. Amidst this background, we took on Australia (which won the last three World Cups!) in the Quarter Finals. Some superb performances by team members ensured that we beat them comprehensively. Next came the big match - Semifinals against arch rivals Pakistan! This match was hyped to unbelievable levels by our media. The Prime Minister of India invited his counterpart from Pakistan to view the match (more on this "diplomacy" in the next point). Amidst this pressure, Team India again came out with flying colours. Sachin Tendulkar was adjudged the Man of the Match for his 85. Each Indian bowler took 2 wickets. The win again reinforced belief in team effort. And then the finals - another superb team effort. Dhoni, who did not click with his bat in the entire tournament stuck form at the right time. Along with Gambhir, who made a superb 97, Dhoni ensured that we won the match with enough wickets to spare. From a first round exit in 2007 to winning the cup in 2011, the team has come a very long way. In the early 2000s, Sourav Ganguly exemplified leadership, and inspired confidence in the team to very high levels. It was during his time that "Team India" was born. And that spirit was continued by M.S.Dhoni and the results are now there for everyone to see. We won T20 World, are on top of Test rankings and we are now World Champions! What more can a cricket fan ask for :).

2. "Mohali diplomacy successful" screamed some headlines. They followed that headline with "Pak PM invites Sonia" and "Pak PM invites Team India to come and play in Pak". Now, is this what successful diplomacy has been reduced to? We invite them, they come here and invite us - and all is well? Pakistan is yet to take any serious action on our terror related complaints, and here we are - ever ready to showcase that we are willing to forget all those lives lost. A separate blog post to detail the PM's obsession with Pakistan to follow. Until then, enjoy the world cup victory your Honour!

అదన్నమాట! : మార్చి 27 - ఏప్రిల్ 2

"క్రిందటి ప్రభుత్వం లో భూ పంపిణీల విషయం లో కొన్ని అవకతవకలు జరిగిన మాట వాస్తవమే" - అని ముఖ్యమంత్రి కిరణ్ కుమార్ రెడ్డి గారు సెలవు ఇచ్చారు. క్రిందటి ప్రభుత్వం అంటే ఎవరిదీ అండి? ఏదో అనమికుదుడి అయ్యినట్టు మాట్లాడుతున్నారు ఈయన ! వైఎసార్ గారిదే కదా? జగన్ గారి మీ పార్టి వదిలి వెళ్ళిపోయారు కదా - ఇప్పుడు ఏమైనా మాట్లాడేస్తార సార్ మీరు?

అసలు ఈ వ్యాఖ్య చెయ్యడానికి ముందు రోజూ ఇంకో దరిద్రమైన సంఘటన ఒకటి అసెంబ్లీ లో జరిగింది అండి. "వైఎసార్ దొంగల ముఠా " అంటూ తెలుగు దేశం పార్టి వాళ్ళు బ్యాన్నేర్స్ పట్టుకున్నారు అండి. కోపం తో ఉగిపోయిన అయన తమ్ముడు యైఎస్ వివేకానంద రెడ్డి గారు సదరు ఎంఎల్యే దగ్గరకు వెళ్లి ముందు ఆ పేపర్ లాగేసి, తరువాత అయన మీద చెయ్యి చేసుకున్నారు! ఈ రాష్ట్రానికి వ్యవసాయ మంత్రి అయిన ఆయన , సాక్షాతూ అసెంబ్లీ లో ఇలా రౌడి లాగ ప్రవర్తించడం ఎంత సబబు అండి ? మంత్రి గా ఉంది, ఎంఎల్యే కి కొడతార అండి? కేవలం క్షమాపణ తో వదిలేస్తార అండి? అసలు ఈ మనిషి ని మంత్రి పదవి నుంచి తొలగించాలి. కాని మన ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారు చెయ్యరు అలాగా. మంత్రి క్షమాపణ చెప్పారు అంట, కాబట్టి ఇంకా మనం మర్చిపోవాలి అంట! కాంగ్రెస్స్ పార్టి రాజకీయాలు ఈ రాష్ట్రాన్ని అదః పాతాళం లోకి తీసుకువేల్తున్నాయి. అయిన సరే, నోరు మూసుకుని చూడడం తప్పించి ఏమి చెయ్యలేము.

ప్రతిపక్షం మొత్తం ఒక్కట్టి అయ్యి గత ప్రభుత్వం కేటాయించిన భూములు అన్నిటి మీద ఒక కమిట్టీ వెయ్యాలి అని పట్టుబట్టాయి. ఆ డిమాండ్ లో భాగమే తెదేపా ఎమ్యెల్యేలు ప్రదర్శించిన ప్లకార్డ్లు! ఎట్టకేలకు ప్రభుత్వం ఒప్పుకుంది ఒక కమిటీ వెయ్యడానికి. ఆ కమిటి వేస్తునట్టు ప్రకటిస్తూ ముఖ్యమంత్రి గారు పై వ్యాఖ్య చేసారు. వైఎసార్ గారు దోచుకున్నారు అని చెప్పడానికి ఇంత కన్నా నిదర్శనం ఏమి కావాలి అండి మనకు!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Swami Bhakthi

The concept of Swami Bhakthi is simple. It means Devotion to one's Master. For some it is God; for some it is their parents; for some it is their teacher; for some it is their mentor; for NDTV it is the Gandhi family!

The above statement might sound as an exaggeration if looked in isolation. However, let's just look at what happened two days back. India and Pakistan played in the Cricket World Cup semifinal at Mohali. Sensing this as another opportunity to further his redundant peace agenda, our Prime Minister invites the Prime Minister of Pakistan to view the match. So there you go - two big news items. An India-Pakistan semifinal and the two PMs meeting.

But...but NDTV had different plans. Apart from covering these two events, it decided to give some more prominence to showcase Swami Bhakthi again. Sample these:

News item one: "Rahul Gandhi watches slog overs from non-VIP stand" - This is a Press Trust of India report, but given the barrage of Rahul's coverage, what was the need for NDTV to have this too?

News item two: " A billion voices thank men in blue" - This is a slide show put together by NDTV. Picture 1 is that of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Pictures 2 - 5 are titled "Rahul's various moods at Mohali". Really? In a slide show that is titled "billion voices thank...." you devote 4 slides to your master's "various moods"? And what are those "various moods"? "Rahul Gandhi watches the semi-final match between India and Pakistan." - This news item was covered in the first slide, so why repeat the same inane stuff again?

Next - "Rahul acknowledges the crowd." What does acknowledging of the crowd have to do with the "mood" of the person?

Then - "Looks worried about India's fate.". You know what - we are truly worried about India's fate, should this man hold any, I repeat, any position of responsibility. Perhaps we need to concentrate on our worries too, but then that's too much to ask from NDTV.

And lastly - "Rahul Gandhi poses for a fan.". Again - what does this have to do with "mood"?

Now you must be thinking that two news items are more than enough. Here's where NDTV stumps you -

News item three: "Sonia, PM, Gilani at Mohali. " And ofcourse, again Rahul Gandhi's picture in the accompanying collage. However, that is not the issue here. There is an order of preference one needs to follow while talking about those who hold public office. Sometime back, in a headline, The Hindu wrote, "Manmohan, Kalam condemn killing". Two days later it clarified that the headline should have read "Kalam, Manmohan condemn killing" because the President gets precedence over the Prime Minister. A "breach of protocol" was accepted by The Hindu. Now let's get back to what NDTV wrote. "Sonia, PM, Gilani at Mohali" - this is not breach of protocol? Sonia Gandhi gets precedence over the Prime Minister in NDTV's headline, thereby showing where the devotion lies at. It might have been an innocent mistake on the part of NDTV, like that of The Hindu, but then where is the clarification? Where is the correction? Too much to ask I guess, for then the display of devotion will be diluted.

You must now be thinking we are done! And NDTV again decides to stump you! Immediately after the victory, NDTV puts up a collage of our victory and guess whose picture is included in it? No points for guessing.

After outrage by folks on twitter, NDTV removes the picture of Rahul Gandhi from that collage. The word sycophancy got a whole new meaning with this display of devotion by NDTV.

Just realised that today is April 1st. What better day than this, to blog about Rahul Gandhi and NDTV :D.

Special thanks to fellow tweeple Sivachandan, i_panchajanya and archer_2011 for documentation.

Note - The following picture has been added on April 3rd. A day after the final, when India won. On NDTV's home page, is the following image. ""Rahul Gandhi in aam aadmi's stand". "Sonia celebrates on Delhi streets"."

Also, if you are wondering that NDTV's devotion is limited to Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi - you are again mistaken. Priyanka Gandhi gets unlimited amounts of that. An old blogpost, talking about a slide show by NDTV here. Pasting it below for a comprehensive view of Swami Bhakthi.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Presenting to you, from the stables of NDTV, Priyanka Gandhi - The new Indira.

Text accompanying picture number 4 in this NDTV link:

"Possessing the same grit as her grandmother, Priyanka has never hesitated in putting her foot down.Much like how Indira took major decisions that eventually altered the course of Indian history."

What are the instances when Priyanka has put her "foot down"? What decisons of hers are comparable to that of Indira Gandhi? What is Priyanka Gandhi's political experience? Running campaigns in her mother's and brother's parliamentary constituencies? Isn't this approximatly a month's work once in 5 years? Given that the constituencies from which they fight elections have traditionally their family bastions, there is really not much scheming and planning involved. Working in an environment where you know that victory is yours, really doesn't qualify a person to be compared to how Indira Gandhi, as Prime Minister took "major decisions", right?

But you see my friends, logic and NDTV don't seem to be very good friends :D

Moving further (photo 5), NDTV also emphatically declares:

" 'Mass appeal' is one among the many qualities that she inherited from her grandmother. Priyanka's popularity drew crowds from far and wide as she often accompanied her mother and brother to their constituencies of Rae Bareilly and Amethi. "

Far and wide? As in from other constituencies? Other states? Other countries? No - we are not supposed to ask. They will just write whatever superlatives fit into the sentence - facts ain't a concern here, you see!

The gem - Text accompanying photo 7:

"Priyanka is reputed as being a good organiser and is believed to be her mother's "chief advisor" on political matters."

What are the events she "organised" to earn this "reputation"? More importantly, can we start holding Priyanka accountable for both successes and failures of political decisions of Sonia Gandhi ? Will NDTV start asking political questions to Priyanka Gandhi from now on? Oops - did I just ask for the moon? :D

The Diamond - Text accompanying photo 8:

"The dressing style of both ladies has been quite similar too.Many manage to catch a glimpse of the iconic leader specially when Priyanka is seen donning starched cotton sarees.Looking impeccable, of course."

Seriously NDTV? This is NEWS?? starched cotton sarees is what is attractive?? Seriously, NDTV?

The bestest is reserved for the last. Text accompanying photo 10:

"Irrespective of the constant comparison between Indira Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, no one can deny the fact that Priyanka's aura is truly her own.Her poise and elegance sets her apart from all others who hail from political families. Truly, a radiant personality who is willing carrying the Nehru-Gandhi legacy forward, but in her own unique way."

Each word smacks so much of sycophancy. Each word is aimed at selling the idea of Priyanka Gandhi as the next Indira Gandhi, when she does not have a single success to boast of. Frankly, it is not surpising that NDTV has stooped to this level to hype up a member of THE family. What is shocking is the openness with which they do it, and yet claim that they are unbiased in their "reporting". Surely, the country deserves better.