Friday, 9 October 2015

10 oct 2015 editorials

prep by: ashok sharma

The Hindu: October 10, 2015 01:16 IST

Beneath the veneer, partisan parlance.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to comment on the lynching of a Muslim in Dadri while speaking at an election rally in Bihar more than a week after the crime, he must have been hoping to take advantage of both the time-lapse and the distance. Evidently, he felt no compulsion to dwell on the horrific nature of the murder, its immediate circumstances and context, and the motives of the perpetrators. Instead, he couched the references to the lynching in generalities and homilies, talking of the need for Hindus and Muslims to work together to fight poverty, and of the importance of communal harmony for the nation's progress. While appealing to the people to ignore "controversial" statements by politicians, he did not refer to the involvement of persons affiliated to his own party in the lynching. Torn out of its context, the violent act was almost reduced to an abstraction, just another instance of the supposedly long-standing communal conflict between Hindus and Muslims. By blaming all Hindus and all Muslims, Mr. Modi in effect blamed none. By refusing to name the politicians who made inflammatory speeches and asking the people to ignore them, he made it appear that this was a general malaise with no cure. That many of his party men were among those who made incendiary speeches on this issue does not appear to have struck Mr. Modi at all. The same day he spoke in Bihar, BJP legislators beat up independent MLA Engineer Rashid in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for organising a 'beef party'. What was jarring when Mr. Modi broke his silence on the lynching was that his words seemed part of some evasive action, and not meant to tackle a serious problem head-on.

But, although he spoke at an election rally, Mr. Modi seemed intent on appearing as being above the political fray. By invoking the speech of President Pranab Mukherjee, who warned the nation against wasting the core values of Indian civilisation, Mr. Modi did sound like the Prime Minister and not as the BJP's principal campaigner. However, at other rallies in Bihar he did not shy away from using the controversy over beef and cattle slaughter to attack his political rival Lalu Prasad of the Rashtriya Janata Dal for his comment that some Hindus do eat beef. Clearly, Mr. Modi is refusing to make the connection between the Hindutva campaign against cattle slaughter and the Dadri murder. In equating Hindu communalism with Muslim communalism, he appeared oblivious to the dangers of majoritarianism. All communalism is undesirable and reactionary, but the communalism of a majority group holds greater dangers for a democratic polity. As a quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson puts it, there is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.

·        be·neath
Extending or directly underneath, typically with close contact.

·        ve·neer
A thin decorative covering of fine wood applied to a coarser wood or other material.

·        par·ti·san
A strong supporter of a party, cause, or person

·        par·lance
A particular way of speaking or using words, especially a way common to those with a particular job or interest

·        lynch
(of a mob) kill (someone), especially by hanging, for an alleged offense with or without a legal trial.

·        com·pul·sion
The action or state of forcing or being forced to do something; constraint.

·        dwell
Live in or at a specified place.

·        perpetrators
(perpetrate) perform an act, usually with a negative connotation; "perpetrate a crime"; "pull a bank robbery"

·        hom·i·ly
A religious discourse that is intended primarily for spiritual edification rather than doctrinal instruction; a sermon

·        ma·laise
A general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify

·        in·cen·di·ar·y
(of a device or attack) designed to cause fires.

Incongruous in a striking or shocking way; clashing.

·        head-on
› A head-on accident is one in which the fronts of two vehicles hit each other:
The car crossed the road and hit a truck head-on.
a head-on collision

The Hindu October 10, 2015 01:11 IST Two sides of an ambitious deal

The Trans-Pacific Partnership pact reached this week between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations including Canada and Japan, has raised both hopes and concerns. The commercial value of the deal, when it is approved, is immense, tying together as it does almost 40 per cent of the world's GDP. It seeks to eliminate or reduce about 18,000 tariff and non-tariff barriers. Its supporters, including President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, say the pact would boost growth in the U.S. as well as the Asian economies. But it faces opposition inside and outside the U.S. Several members of Mr. Obama's Democratic Party oppose the deal, saying it would only help American companies send jobs abroad. Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders calls it a "trade disaster". Critics in other countries say it would benefit large corporations, particularly American big pharma, with the common people at the receiving end. Health advocacy groups say it would reduce access to generic medicines in developing countries; Internet freedom campaigners see it as a big threat.

Mr. Obama has made the TPP the centrepiece of his trade and foreign policies, and seems determined to push it in Congress and persuade other governments to accept it. The strategic potential of the deal is clear. The U.S. started pushing for a Pacific free trade agreement at a time China was emerging as an economic super power in the region. Defending the accord, Mr. Obama said: "We can't let countries like China write the rules of the global economy. We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products". The strategic ambitions of the U.S. are clear. Traditionally, the U.S. has tried to isolate its enemies and integrate allies with its own worldview. With Beijing it couldn't do either. China is now the world's second largest economy, which has invested trillions of dollars in U.S. treasury bonds; "isolating" such an economy is next to impossible. Though the U.S. reversed its hostile China policy in 1972 in order to exploit internal rivalries in the communist bloc, China never became a U.S. ally. And the chasm only widened after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, with China emerging as an economic powerhouse with new institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in place, the U.S. is trying to form a grand alliance that would shore up its influence in Asia. But will this strategic push be at the expense of its own workers, and the poor in the developing world? If it is, as economists such as Joseph Stiglitz have pointed out, the TPP would hardly meet either its declared commercial goals or its undeclared strategic ambitions, and could turn counterproductive.
·        per·suade
Cause (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument.

·        ac·cord
Give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition).

·        chasm
A deep fissure in the earth, rock, or another surface

·        coun·ter·pro·duc·tive
Having the opposite of the desired effect

Business Standard

Big Brother in Nepal

The warmth generated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal last year and India's rapid aid response after the earthquake in April, presaged deeper ties. Three million Nepalis live and work in India and an open border via a 1950 "friendship treaty" has given India a natural advantage over China as a sphere of influence. Sadly, in less than a year, relations have deteriorated so much that senior Indian officials are met with black flags, TV signals from Indian stations are jammed and the social media bristles with anti-India rhetoric. The proximate cause of this surge in India-bashing is the fortnight-long agitation by the Madhesis, inhabitants of a strip of fertile and prosperous plain running along Nepal's southern border with India, over the terms of the Constitution adopted by Nepal's parliament last month. The Madhesis' demands for more representation and autonomy have received tacit support from the Indian establishment in the run-up to the elections in neighbouring Bihar. Several people have died in the clashes — but it has been the week-long blockade of essential supplies at the border that has dangerously heightened tensions. It is widely believed that Madhesi protestors could not have imposed this blockade without India's help.

Madhesi anger may well be valid, but the Indian security establishment's transparently cynical exploitation of an extra-territorial controversy for domestic electoral gain — including urging Nepal to declare itself a "Hindu" country — is hardly exemplary statecraft for a secular country. It is also worth questioning the standards of Indian intelligence-gathering that the government was caught unawares by the terms of the Nepali Constitution. A more pro-active advisory role — one India had played relatively deftly in the 2000s — seems to have been warranted in the endgame of the Constitution-framing process.

To meddle in the internal affairs of a friendly neighbour with whom India needs to cooperate for watershed and environment management of the Himalayan ecosystem can scarcely be termed good diplomacy. India's economic gains also could be substantial if it could successfully tap Nepal's huge hydro-power potential. But, Kathmandu is desperately turning to its giant northern neighbour for alternate routes to access essential supplies and even exploring collaboration in other sectors. It was possible for India to impose a selective blockade on Kathmandu in the 1980s when the latter sought to buy Chinese weapons. Now the balance of power has changed drastically. China's state-directed investment is steadily encroaching on countries around the neighbourhood — from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to Myanmar. And India appears to have frittered away a natural advantage. Kathmandu is only too willing to extend hydro-power concessions; Beijing, suffering a slowdown, is only too keen to look outward to stoke employment and jobs. Time for some old-fashioned diplomacy perhaps?

·        warmth
The quality, state, or sensation of being warm; moderate and comfortable heat.

·        de·te·ri·o·rate
Become progressively worse.

·        bris·tle
A short stiff hair, typically one of those on an animal's skin, a man's face, or a plant.

·        surge
A sudden powerful forward or upward movement, especially by a crowd or by a natural force such as the waves or tide.

·        deftly
Dexterously: with dexterity; in a dexterous manner; "dextrously he untied the knots"

·        med·dle
Interfere in or busy oneself unduly with something that is not one's concern.

Indian Express
Clean-up time

By walking out of the five-year deal that was due to expire in 2017, Pepsico, IPL's title promoter, has dealt a crushing blow to the already battered BCCI. This sponsorship snub — Pepsi pulled out blaming issues relating to the spot-fixing scandal — would hurt the moneyed cricket board more than the recent judicial jabs or even the media knocks. It's a known fact, the BCCI's Achilles heel lies somewhere close to the bulging purse resting in its pocket.
That's because its ongoing reign as the most-influential cricket body in the world isn't going to be remembered for spreading or grooming the game but for changing cricket's economics. Putting it simply, in history books, the last decade — the India Era — will be about how the BCCI helped itself to most of the global income pie.
Pepsi's withdrawal could finally make the BCCI acknowledge the dirtiest area of its office space — the IPL corner.
The new president, Shashank Manohar, promising sweeping reforms, flaunted his broom. Now, at the working committee meeting on October 18, Manohar has the best chance to show intent, with the futures of the two suspended franchises, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR), set to come up for discussion. The BCCI can no longer afford to brush things under the carpet. Kinships and alliances need to be forgotten. It's time to follow the rules, even if it means burning bridges. And if its well-meaning constitution demands that the CSK and the RR be suspended, so be it. It didn't press the panic button when the IPL's image was being sullied. The loss in dollars might finally see some purposeful activity in the corridors of Cricket Centre.
In days to come, the BCCI could find a worthy corporate to replace Pepsi. It could even sign a fancier contract. Like in the past, the IPL next year could see packed stands and demands for free hospitality tickets. But the damage the IPL has suffered is nearing irreversible proportions. If the BCCI wants the IPL to be considered the foremost T20 tournament with global interest, not simply a showpiece dishing out kitschy entertainment, it has to salvage whatever is left of the league's integrity. Last year, it launched the clean-IPL campaign by having the likes of Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar address crowds and explain how it's been corruption-free. But the men at the BCCI headquarters cannot forever hide behind the on-field accomplishments of their superstars. Now, more than ever, they need to get their house in order.

Injured by repeated blows or punishment

·        snub
Rebuff, ignore, or spurn disdainfully.

·        jab
Poke (someone or something) roughly or quickly, especially with something sharp or pointed.

·        bulge
Swell or protrude to an unnatural or incongruous extent.

·        flaunt
Display (something) ostentatiously, especially in order to provoke envy or admiration or to show defiance.

·        sul·ly
Damage the purity or integrity of; defile.

·        kitschy
Bathetic: effusively or insincerely emotional; "a bathetic novel"; "maudlin expressions of sympathy"; "mushy effusiveness"; "a schmaltzy song"; "sentimental soap operas"; "slushy poetry"

Oct 10 2015 : The Times of India (Ahmedabad) just in jest! - The Beastly Business Of Identity Politics

  Election-mode BJP moves to gai pe charcha, Lalu says the animal kingdom is Mandalised George Orwell and RJD bossman Lalu Prasad are unlikely to have seen aye to aye on any number of things. But the author of the political allegory Animal Farm ­ which contains the oft-quoted quote "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" ­ might well have concurred with Lalu's observation that even animals have their own caste system. Following upon RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's remark that perhaps it was time to review caste-based reservations, the RJD supremo is doing his rhetorical best to turn the forthcoming Bihar state assembly elections into an epic production involving a caste of thou sands. BJP, too, has collaborated in this effort to politics by turning their earlier chai pe charcha, project identity politics by turning their earlier chai pe charcha, where they talked mostly about development and modernisation, into gai pe charcha. Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi has suggested this election will primarily be a contest between beef eaters and cow protectors. Such gai pe charcha has forced Lalu to retract his statement, that Hindus too eat beef, by claiming some "shaitan" put those words into his mouth. Both Lalu and Bhagwat may be said to suffer from "truth-in-the-mouth" syndrome; they tempora rily forgot that election-time jum las are not supposed to be adultera ted with any measure of truth whatsoever. Unlike defamation cases, truth cannot be a defence. Reverting to jumlas and implicitly refuting the RSS leader's reserva tions about reservations, Lalu cited the example of elephants to buttress his claim that even animals have their caste identities. Political pundits might well scratch their he ads wondering if the wily Lalu was having a sly dig at Mayawati, whose Bahujan Samaj Party has a tusker as its election symbol. Is the RJD supremo attempting to steal a march on opponents at the hustings by making the haathi his saathi in the upcoming elections? At any event by introducing a zoological element into the politics of religion and caste, and the cast of politics, Lalu and Modi have set the cat among the pigeons and made the feathers fly . Beastly metaphors seem particularly appropriate to describe the general goings-on in the political menagerie. However, not all the animal spirits infusing the circus of Indian politics are equally felicitous. Horse trading, for example, is the Election Commission's nightmare. But those who resort to it are not thereby deemed to be outcasts ­ or outcastes ­ from the political marketplace. Indeed, in the era of coalitional convenience and cohabitation, an ability to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds might help to identify one not as a base snake in the grass but as that prized species of leopard which can, and does, change its spots at will. While politicians caste their lot together in a Noah's ark of their making, the voting community as a whole might view itself as a fatalistic camel awaiting the final straw that will break its longsuffering back.

·        al·le·go·ry
A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one

·        wil·y
Skilled at gaining an advantage, especially deceitfully

·        sly
Having or showing a cunning and deceitful nature.

·        fe·lic·i·tous
Well chosen or suited to the circumstances.

Oct 10 2015 : The Economic Times (Mumbai)

Social Media Must Regulate Itself

Inciting violence is misuse of freedom, must be checked
Misuse of social media to spread social enmity and incite violence should be back on the public agenda, following the toxic outbreak on social media following the Dadri lynching. From urging death to cow killers to calling the media riot mongers, various social media handles have been spreading objectionable material on the web, with impunity . Does such impunity merit being tolerated in the name of freedom of expression? It does not. Freedom of expression does not run to inciting violence and hate speech, particularly on volatile occasions such as a riot or a lynching. The only question is what shape the regulation should take. And any regulation would be superior to the mass blocking of mobile broadband that the authorities resort to on such occasions.
In print, things are relatively straightforward. The publisher bears responsibility for material carried in the publication, as choice is exercised in deciding what goes into print. On social media, where publication is instantaneous and by the user, is it fair to expect the social media platform to vet every post or message before it is published? While Facebook does exclude adult materi al, thus exercising some regulation of its own, it is neither feasible nor desir able for any social media platform to exercise judgement as to the accept ability of certain views. However, social media platforms must be required to do two things.Overt incitement to violence should be removed instantly and other material objected to must be subjected to a swift review by internal and external bodies on the basis of commonly worked out industry guidelines. Social media must institute a mechanism to act on objections brought to their notice, without waiting for an official directive. There is no call for state censorship.

Further, they must be able to trace the creators of social media identities used to spread hatred, or defame a commercial rival, for that matter. So, even as those desiring anonymity are not denied, those who carry out mischief while hiding their face from the public must be identifia ble to the social media platform, for warning, disqualification or prosecution, as required.

·        in·cite
Encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behavior).

·        en·mi·ty
The state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.

·        im·pu·ni·ty
Exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action.