An attempt to know, understand (and ultimately, transform) that which occurs on the fields of play - India (her politics, media, music) and beyond ...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Round-up: Jan. 11

Let's begin with this egregious write-up in The Indian Express.
1. Marketing Guru by VRINDA GOPINATH

Is Swami Ramdev a 21st century Swadeshi Jagran Manch groupie and Jane Fonda, all rolled into one nationalist-yogobic-cosmic package?

Is this the standard for writing about a Swamiji who has brought about a profound transformation in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Indians? 'Groupie', 'Package'? 'Yogobic' (this one really gets me!)?! If this was coming from a foreign journalist, one might excuse it on the grounds of cultural insensitivity, but from an Indian (and ostensibly Hindu) journalist? Macaulay couldn't be prouder!

His DIY Yoga, beamed on millions of television sets every morning through a religious channel, promotes the practice of pranayaam or breathing techniques for healthy and pure living, is perhaps the only next thing after the hysterically popular 1980s Jane Fonda aerobic workout regime.

Why this obsession with Jane Fonda? Don't you tire when these journalists describe practically every phenomenon in India in terms of phenomena abroad (read, USA)? Who are these journalists writing for that Swami Ramdev is compared to Jane Fonda? For readers in India or abroad?

The Swami understands the power of technology, selling his spiritual wares ...

'Spiritual wares'? 'Wares': articles of commerce!

SWAMI Ramdev would have continued on his astral-marketing journey uninterrupted, had it not been for Communist leader Brinda Karat, who had a bone to pick with him.

Leaving aside the awful pun on picking bones, 'astral-marketing journey'? Clearly Vrinda has by now slotted all that Swami Ramdev has done in business/commercial terms: so, never mind that he is helping hundreds of thousands improve their lives through meditation, it has to be seen as marketing!

Wait, don't puke yet! Hold it and puke the whole lot out in one go - read on:

Naturally, his screaming followers hurled abuses at Karat and burned her effigies, and accused her of being an MNC stooge. It is perhaps not spiritual indignation but a keen corporate sense that has propelled Swami Ramdev to unleash the protests and agitations. After all, he was only protecting a vast cosmic empire that was now threatening to collapse under this incriminating heap.

Such are the standards of Indian journalism!

2. Phone tapping follow-up: Amar Singh vs. Delhi police

a. Police gives clean chit to the government

The Delhi police on Tuesday gave a clean chit to the Government in the telephone tapping allegations made by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and said it was a "case of forgery and cheating."

Delhi Police Commissioner K.K. Paul
, in a report submitted to Home Secretary V.K. Duggal, ruled out the involvement of the Government as alleged by Mr. Singh.
Police believe that one of the two detectives had forged letters seeking permission to intercept Mr. Singh's telephone.

OK, fine, the documents were forged by the detectives! But, the important question, dear police commissioner, is 'at whose request' (did the detectives set out on the forgery and tapping)?! It seems unbelievable that these detectives would decide on a whim to tap the Samajwadi Party leaders! What of the reports of these detectives being paid Rs. 5,00,000 every week for months together for the tapping? Who is behind the tapping conspiracy?

b. Amar Singh: miscreants tried to enter my house

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh on Tuesday lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police, saying that some miscreants, purportedly belonging to the Youth Congress, forcibly tried to enter his Lodhi Estate accommodation on Tuesday. However, the police denied that there was any such attempt.

Around 4-30 p.m., Mr. Singh went to the police headquarters to file a complaint to Police Commissioner K.K. Paul. Though Dr. Paul was not present, the complaint was accepted.

Mr. Singh said that in the past several days he had been maintaining that there was a threat to his life from the Congress, but no one had paid any heed.

A police officer said about 70 protesters gathered outside Mr. Singh's residence on Tuesday. They were detained and brought to the local police station in a peaceful manner.

As of now, no action on Mr. Singh's complaint was being contemplated, he added.

I remember that several years back the police had refused hospital privileges to a prominent industrialist who was charged with some crime. The poor industrialist died due to the police's refusal. I hope Mr. Amar Singh has adequate police protection.

3. We'll continue to violate the Constitution, says Union Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh!

Or something to that effect! Never mind that the Supreme Court threw out acts of a previous Congress Govt. according minority institution status on Aligarh Muslim University and the current UPA Govt's discriminatory reservation of seats for Muslims on grounds of constitutional illegality! Arjun Singh still wants to violate the constitution!


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