Edits In Short: January 4, 2013
Didn’t get time to read the edit pages in today’s papers? Don’t worry. We’ve read them for you!
The Hindu, January 4, 2012
An antidote for pure poison – Editorial
This edit conveys pure disgust at Akbaruddin Owaisi’s hate speech, commenting that it “plumbs new depths” in trying to promote enmity between Hindus and Muslims by using a “clever trick” to equate all Hindus with extremist elements. “To the discredit of the MIM, other leaders, most notably the party’s MP Asaduddin Owaisi, Akbaruddin’s elder brother, have not uttered a word of reproach against this hate speech.”
The edit then finds it necessary to quickly qualify that Hindu leaders have also made hate speeches. The police (apparently fearing violence in the event of an arrest) only acted on Mr. Owaisi’s speech after the courts received private complaints. It is clear the edit states that the law in India is often reduced to a political tool that is applied selectively. Mr Owaisi has crossed the line and “must be made an example of.”
Between a rock & the republicans – Editorial
The edit comments on the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that has finally been passed after much debate by the US House of Representatives, and now goes to Obama to be signed into law. The new Act “is only a stage in a bitter political war between the President, those Congressional Democrats who support him, and the House Republicans in particular”. The Republicans, the edit states, after winning the House, have persistently obstructed all Obama’s efforts. And vice versa.
“This apparently endless and bitter confrontation shows U.S. politics at its ugliest and most dysfunctional, as well as the constitution’s vulnerability to the very factionalism it was meant to prevent.”
Conquering the fear of the setting sun – Main Article
Ravinder Kaur, Director, Centre of Global South Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen, touches upon the class aspect of women who have to venture out of their homes after dusk. “The struggle for something as basic as equal access to public spaces as men at all hours is an everyday ordeal that women without resources feel more acutely.”
Initially, she writes, there was some class confusion amongst commentators, reports and protestors who identified the couple belonging to the middle class. “The woman and her companion later turned out to belonging to the aspiring section of society whose mobility depends on safe public spaces.” This confusion ended up mobilising public empathy into public protests – something which doesn’t happen when tribals, Dalits or poor women are raped.
The solution, she writes, is not for women dependent on public transport to retreat but occupy the “outside” if the fear of the setting sun is to be conquered. They need to demand good lighting, good security and need to challenge patriarchal values. And also demand “class solidarity from those women who have seceded into a privatized world of new India.”
The Hindustan Times, January 4, 2013
Striking the right balance – Editorial
The edit is happy with the Supreme Court’s decision upholding Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal’s decision to appoint Justice (retired) RA Mehta as Gujarat’s state Lokayukta, and notes that this is a setback for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. It’s good for three reasons. One, Gujarat will get a Lokayutka after nine years of squabbling between the CM, Chief Justice of the High court and the Governor. Two, the Chief Justice of the High Court’s opinion needs to be given primacy. Three, the SC has also clarified the governor’s legal position in appointing a Lokayukta.
The lessons from this judgment are – the successful functioning of the Constitution is dependent upon a spirit of fair play, self restraint and of mutual accommodation of different views and interests.
Sleepless in the city – Editorial
This edit deplores the attitude of the Delhi government as far as setting up homeless shelters in winter is concerned. There are around 1.5 lakh homeless people (NGO figures) in Delhi, and shelters available only for 14,000 people.
“The High Court on Wednesday reminded the Delhi government that it is the duty of the State to protect the homeless from the cold and directed it to increase the number of shelters…in areas where poor people work, and not in the outskirts of the city…”
But given Delhi government’s track record of demolishing shelters to spruce up Delhi for the Commonwealth Games, the edit isn’t very hopeful. As one homeless man told HT, “We are not a vote-bank…so we don’t matter.”
Thereby hangs a tale – Main Article
Author, screenplay writer and columnist, Farukh Dhondy writes an interesting piece on the reason for the inexplicable suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha after she fell for a hoax call by two Australian DJs.
“Killing yourself by hanging, even though as a nurse one probably has access to a cornucopia of lethal drugs, seems an unfathomable reaction to being fooled by a silly hoax. So why?”
Perhaps he writes, in a country quite obsessed with its royalty, nurse Saldanha “felt she had betrayed a trust and felt so deeply about a duty to the royalty that she took the tragic, drastic and horrific step.”
She was not a criminal, he writes, comparing this with a hoax call in India where Captain Rustom Nagarwalla in 1971 phoned the State Bank of India imitating Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s voice and asking the duty cashier to hand over Rs 60 lakh to a contact. It worked. Nagarwalla was later caught, and died suspiciously along with the investigating officer a year later.
Those deaths were suspicious. This one is “a socio-psychological if not a forensic mystery.”
The Indian Express, January 4, 2012
Yellow fever – Editorial
As Chidambaram indicates that he will raise basic customs on gold, making it more difficult to import, the edit suggests that this strategy may help in the short-term, but in the long run getting foreign investment is the solution. This decision could also “stimulate the dormant business of gold smuggling”.
Full Article: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/yellow-fever/1054222/
The answer to Owaisi – Editorial
The edit states that Akbarrudin Owaisi, MIM’s MLA from Andhra Pradesh, should “pay politically” for his hate speech. According to this edit, after MIM’s split from Congress, it doesn’t feel the need to watch it words. However, it emphasises that people like Owaisi and Varun Gandhi (both accused of hate speeches) are people on the fringes of politics.
All atwitter – Main Article
Anurag Kashyap makes it to the Express edit pages defending “soft target” Yo Yo Honey Singh. He points out that the likes of Honey Singh exist because there are willing consumers for his songs and the same is true for item numbers. This demand is borne out of repression. People flock to item numbers but filmmakers are asked to show responsibility. The solution, according to him, is to have a dialogue with people to come out of this repression. Some of his arguments are sound, but a full disclosure on his association with Honey Singh on the album, Satan, would have put things in better perspective.
Full Article: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/all-atwitter/1054233/
The storyteller of sport – Article
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle shares his views on Christopher Martin Jenkins and Tony Greig. He says that although the styles of these two were as different as “maple syrup and vinegar”, they understood broadcast and commentary very well. However, he writes that in today’s broadcast scenario Jenkins’ soft style wouldn’t find many takers even though Greig’s abrasive style would have some acceptance. He feels that good cricket commentary in broadcast and print is compromised and “youngsters are indoctrinated into… fifteen minutes of attention over a lifetime of trust”. That is sad because they entered into the profession because of their love for the game.
The Times of India, January 4, 2012
Flying Blind – Editorial
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has criticised the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on the grounds of staff numbers, the training of technical staff and passenger safety.
In 2012, which is considered the safest year in international aviation history, India saw several near misses – 22 in 10 months (approximately).
The DGCA’s sluggishness is not only putting in jeopardy the lives of its passengers but also has a negative impact on future growth.
No More Stalling – Editorial
The edit comments favourably on the Supreme Court’s appointment of retired judge RA Mehta as Gujarat’s Lokayukta, despite objections from Modi.
Modi protested that Governor Kamla Beniwal had bypassed his government in selecting Mehta. The Supreme Court however, upheld the appointment valid on the grounds of “primacy of opinion” of the High Court Chief Justice who had endorsed Mehta’s selection.
The edit feels that Gujarat Lokayukta’s revival is a step in the right direction considering the post has been lying vacant since 2003.