Sidharth Mishra

Committed Media, Emaciated Of Wit

In the Bombay edition of Times of India dated 28 June 1975 was published a small obituary insertion, 22-words to be precise, in the classified columns. It said, “O'Cracy, D.E.M., beloved husband of T. Ruth, loving father of L.I. Bertie, brother of Faith, Hope and Justicia, expired on June 26.”

This was two days after Emergency had been imposed in the country and press censorship introduced. The government clerk sitting in the Times of India office and clearing the news reports and paid insertions saw nothing anti-government in the obituary insertion, when it was placed on the evening of 27 June 1975.

The next day, the advertiser, a young reporter with Reader’s Digest, called up a Times journalist to tell him about the obituary and explain how it “looked like a protest against press censorship.” Suddenly the Press fraternity of Bombay realized that everybody among them was not as pusillanimous as their editors were.

The intrepid reporter, who had made the paid insertion, was Ashok Mahadevan, who later went onto become India editor of Reader’s Digest. At that point of time, the social media did not exist, nor did exist the 24x7 television news channels. Thus the intensity of those 22 words was realized much later. Today in the media schools it’s referred to as benchmark of a journalist’s protest against the move to control a liberal, free and autonomous media.


Padmaavat: How The Resistance Waned

The impression that the average person got before the launch of the movie “Padmaavat”, in certain BJP ruled states was that heavens would fall; law and order situation would collapse, the world would come to an end, plus Rajput pride seriously dented. No such thing has happened in fact the producers and all people associated with the movie are laughing all the way to the banks.  On the other hand the negative publicity has made a lot of people watch the movie. There has been a certain curiosity, “a query”, in every one’s mind what’s objectionable lets ’see it for ourselves, thus increasing the ticket sales. My first reaction after seeing the movie was that the intelligentsia had let down the movie maker. Seeing believes, the movie on the other hand portrayed Rajput pride, showcased historically women sacrifice in our society, and down played the Delhi Sultanate. 

Thus what caused the bubble to bust; one wonders, was it not politics and the Rajasthan bye elections lost by the BJP.  While watching the movie most of us were wondering whether throwing stones at children and causing pain and anguish to these innocent lives was not only condemnable but also barbaric. There was nothing in the movie to show such anger.  Not a single politician that mattered had condemned the horrific incident in which schools going minor children were targeted. The question still remains “what is the guarantee that such a despicable act will not be repeated”? Are human valves so fragile?


Jharkhand Pilot for DBT of Food Subsidy a Dismal Failure

In October 2017, the Jharkhand Government introduced a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) pilot for the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Nagri– a block on the outskirts of Ranchi. Instead of rice at Re 1 per kg at the ration shop, the PDS cardholdersare to receive thesubsidy (calculated atRs 31.60 per kg) in their bank account, and they buy rice at the ration shop at Rs 32.60 per kg. If this pilot succeeds, the Jharkhand government plans to extend it across the state.

A recent survey in Nagri, however, found that that 97 per cent of the sample households opposed the DBT pilot. Their unhappiness – indeed anger – with the DBT system is not hard to understand. In January 2018, about 25 per cent of cardholders did not receive the cash. Even those who get money face many hurdles. Many households do not know which of their bank accounts is being credited with DBT money (the sample households had 3.5 bank accounts on average).

Cs Thapa

When Govt Fails Soldier, Family Stands In Defence

It was the action of a parent not the government or the Ministry of Defence that led to the stay by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Major Aditya Kumar of 10 Garhwal Rifles.  A serving officer Lt Col Karamveer Singh had done more than his duty by sending his son to the forces. Yet as a father he had to move the court to get justice for his son. What action has the nation taken to protect its soldiers except put them in harm’s way and shrug one shoulders and call it “occupational hazards”?  Is this the failure of the establishment that our children for doing their duty have to be legally protected by their kith and kin?

The drastic attack by cowards on the families of soldiers at Sunjwan military station in Jammu is condemnable and just shows the pusillanimous nature of Pakistan Army, another attack is underway at Srinagar. This is not the first time that such a thing has happened; the Army’s systems are resilient. We pray for the departed souls wish the survivors’ speedy recovery but also feel that those who live through such traumatic incidents are well looked after.

Sidharth Mishra

Modi Sets Agenda For Battle Of 2019

Prime Minister NarendraModi in his address in Parliament on the motion of thanks to the President's address last week was at his visceral best. He made most of the opportunity which came his way to lash out at the Congress party. This is not the first time that Modi has chosen to hit out at the Congress but there was certain amount difference in the genre of attack.

Modi on the earlier occasions took on the the nation's oldest political party as the spearhead of the Opposition. This time around he was attacking the Congress, which in the role of the Opposition now was out making mincemeat of claims of development of the NDA-II government.Congress plan for past six-months beginning with the run-up to the Gujarat assembly elections has been plain and simple. They have chosen the grammar and style-sheet of the BharatiyaJanata Party itself, which has been proving to be disconcerting for both the Prime Minister and also BJP president Amit Shah.