Haasan to Nandy
While the BJP avoided criticising the ban on the screening of Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam in Tamil Nadu, fearing it would antagonise Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, a cover story in the Organiser does not hesitate to assert that “it is strange that the ban on the movie should come so quickly” by “giving in to fringe elements who don’t number more than a few hundreds”. While the story focuses on Jayalalithaa’s justification, it laments that “when it comes to threats from fringe groups belonging to some minority communities the state prefers to take quick action for the fear of large-scale violence”.
The prominently displayed report, in fact, stretches its argument against the banning of Vishwaroopam to highlight the protests against Ashis Nandy’s comments about corruption and the inability of writer Salman Rushdie to travel to Kolkata to promote the movie based on Midnight’s Children. All of this is part of a trend that “reaffirmed the fact that India as a nation is still to come to grips with the modern ways of thinking that is prevalent in most of the developed world”.
The article does not, however, hesitate to punch holes in Haasan’s outbursts and Nandy’s arguments. It objects to Haasan’s threat to do an M.F. Husain, pointing out that even “Salman Rushdie could come and stay in Mumbai...” As for Nandy, the article objects to his alleged contention that West Bengal has been the cleanest state in the last few decades because the Left had been ruling it. It claims that Nandy’s argument is “farfetched” because it ignores the “unrelenting corrupt ways and means adopted by the Left government” and so his remarks should be “condemned”. The article does not demand his prosecution under the SC/ ST act.
John Kerry’s appointment of US secretary of state appears to have got on the nerves of the Sangh Parivar. An editorial in the Organiser says that “Terror as a tool of American duplicity” has been exposed. While the American response to the decapitation of an Indian soldier by Pakistani forces and the denial of David Headley’s extradition to India have been used to couch the arguments, it is Kerry’s appointment that appears to be the provocation for the saffron camp’s harsh reaction.
The editorial, in fact, reminds readers that the newly appointed secretary of state is “the author of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill that provided more than USD 7.5 billion in five years to Pakistan” and highlights that it is John Kerry who maintained that “Pakistan ‘has not got sufficient credit for its help in getting bin Laden... Kerry is one of the most fervent supporters of Pakistan, sometimes he almost sounds like the Pakistani foreign minister...”
The editorial claims that the Headley case should serve as evidence as to which way “the US would tilt if there is a serious confrontation between India and Pakistan” and consequently it is time India “took a serious call on this issue and showed America the mirror”.
“America is nobody’s friend. but it is friendlier to all terrorist regimes in the world and inimical to democracies everywhere,” the editorial concludes.
The Lokpal, which the government seeks to get approved during the forthcoming budget session of Parliament, has attracted the Sangh Parivar’s attention. The editorial in Panchjanya highlights the BJP’s “objections” to and Anna Hazare’s “disapproval” of the revised proposals as an indicator of the “government’s disinterest in providing clean and corruption free governance...”
The editorial objects to the government’s decision to not bring the entire CBI under the Lokpal on the pretext of maintaining its autonomy. It also faults the proposal to not grant the Lokpal the last word on the transfer of officers investigating graft cases referred by the Lokpal itself. These two factors, the editorial suggests, will make the Lokpal a “toothless body”, which will be nothing but a “betrayal” of the popular demand.
Compiled by Ravish Tiwari