Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'm done with DNA!

I was very excited when DNA entered the news market with their detailed research and clever marketing campaign. They promised change. Of course I didn't know what they meant by change until recently.

I subscribed as I wanted to break from the blatant commercialism of the TOI.
Initially, their articles were good (incompletely researched sometimes), but of late they've started displaying a tilt towards right-wing politics in India.
For the benefit of those who wonder why this term is applied to their favourite political party, allow me to quote from Wiki: "right wing views continued to be concerned with keeping "traditional" values (often religious values)". Allow me to digress a little here. So the right-wingers are those who are conservative, and specially so with respect to religion. Compare this with progressive or liberal thought. Compare this with secularism.
It should be obvious at this point why what is referred to as the right-wing in India is opposed to secularism & do not leave any opportunity to denigrate the very idea & it's proponents. It is at total variance from their cherished ideals, however outdated they may be.

Allow me to demonstrate this tilt.
The Indian Express recently did a story on how Azamgarh in UP has increasingly thrown up goondas & terrorists in the recent past. They presented facts. They interviewed people and presented both sides of the story, and left it at that. That's called reporting. You investigate all facts, write an unbiased report & leave it at that. The public will read & decide.
DNA too did a story on Azamgarh (much later than IE understandably), but they opened the article branding it aatankgarh. This is not what reporting is. This is sensationalism & this is a not so subtle attempt to influence public opinion!

When the Tatas awarded the Nano project to Gujarat, the IE reported it like that. "Gujarat gets the Nano" or something to that effect.
DNA on the other hand was jubiliant. For them it was some kind of a victory that needed celebrating. And it wasn't about Gujarat for them. It was about murder-accused modi for them! The headline read "Modi & men bring home the Nano"!
Is this a mainstream newspaper that thrives on unbiased journalism? Or has it become mouthpiece to the right-wing?

I spoke about secularism & the stance of the right-wing on it earlier. Take a look at how two of their columnists attempt to take down secularism & it's adherents. I can understand if you feel that someone is ignoring a point of view. If you have to make a point, make that point! Why repeatedly take on an obviously modern, progressive concept? Silly according to me this attacking an idea! Take a look.
R. Jagannathan attempts to blast secularists here, and
Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr tries to do the same a few days later.

It's becoming obvious to me that DNA is either attempting a balancing act that has gone totally wrong, or worse gone over to the one side instead of staying firmly in the middle.
And until they can get their act together, I am unsubscribing myself from DNA. Advertisers please take note.

While I was a huge supporter of Subhash Chandra when he started the ICL & went up against the BCCI establishment, that support is on hold ever since I heard that he recently expressed that the right-wing needs adequate representation in the media. Can someone please present a link that either confirms or denies this bit of news?


  1. I just have a question to ask with all good intentions. Not about your article, just in general. Why is it that one gets a feeling that many posts on mutiny are just stories (based on facts ofcourse) woven around either a Modi,Sangh Parivar,BD or some other "fave" charecter. Am I doing the "jumping to conclusions" here or does this feeling hold any water. Are they the only villians who need to be flogged.

  2. 1conoclast, on second thoughts.....please dont publish my question....Thank you and sorry for the inconvenience

  3. contentious,

    Publishing & Replying to you after seeking your consent on email.

    No inconvenience at all. I would like to address this question!

    I can only answer part of this question. Maybe Chacko & some of the other Mutineers can address this better as they started & took the Mutiny to where it is now.

    As the name probably suggests, it was formed in revolt to what was happening in India. When we see injustice, we speak out against it.

    The accusation that we only speak out against the right-wing is inaccurate. We speak out against the left-wing equally when it makes a mistake. Chacko himself does, despite allegations of him being a Communist! Here's an example:

    Just go to his page under authors. You will find another post ridiculing Prakash Karat & so on & so forth.

    He speaks out against the right & the left.

    As for me, this is what I do:

    If we still come across as flogging only the right, it could be because of 2 reasons:
    1. Our commenters could have a slightly right-wing stance, that makes them view us in a negative light. OR
    2. I can only speak for myself here. I was getting the feeling that the rise of the right-wing was not being addressed adequately. The Left has been long maligned in India & has been left marginalised. The Right-wing's violent march seemed to be continuing unabated. I had the feeling that someone had to speak up against them. Show the fact that they too were terrorists like the ones in Kashmir or the naxals. They had to be seen for what they were.
    So I took it upon myself to do it.

    Wherever there is injustice, murder, rioting, violence, lies & deceit, I intend to speak up.
    If I am missing out on any incidents, please always feel free to bring them to my notice, as they may have escaped my notice. I don't actively trawl for news on either side.

    Also, like I've said before, I like to speak on behalf of the underdog. He's the one who needs the help, right?

    Wasn't Gandhiji too speaking out against injustice? Wasn't he also against anyone extremist? Did he too not effectively sideline the extremist factions? Did that not work to our advantage?
    Didn't the right ultimately kill him, proving his fears right?
    Doesn't the right try & project godse as a hero?
    WHY therefore, should I not try & expose them?

    I owe it to the man who gave my country freedom. I owe it to my country. Don't I? Don't you? Don't we all?

  4. Thank you for taking time out to respond to my question.

    One cannot argue about (and which is commendable) your motivations to support ,thru posts/comments .. ..yours and by other authors, the underdog or the " less represented" causes. But it is noticable that in the zealousness to highlight these causes , you (and some others too) sometimes exhibit extreme tilt/inability to be fair.The post/comments tend to be more about selective bashing or selective defence rather than presenting facts in their correct light. Which is also fine, as we are but human and our biases and personality traits will reflect in our words.

    And yes I did notice the "right wing" flogging does manage to attract more commentators than other posts (kindo funny). Which is good for mutiny, n'est ce pas. Killing 2 birds with one stone type of situation :P

    Anyways I do "enjoy" spending time at mutiny inspite of certain reservations. And inspite of all, the posts/comments are thought provoking, which is half the job done.

  5. contentious,

    One of the possible reasons for this "inability to be fair" could be due to the fact that I'm not a trained journalist. I write more with passion than with an awareness that I have to come across as balanced. I'm not even sure if I want to be balanced when I'm criticising someone for having gone wrong on a point. For example if I am speaking out against the caste-system in Gujarat schools, how can I balance that post? By saying good things about the caste-system? Or the schools that perpetrate it? Won't the point of my post be lost?
    Similarly if I am criticizing DNA for displaying a right tilt, if I try & balance it by saying that they have good sports coverage, won't the point I am trying to make be totally diluted. I am trying to let people know one fact about DNA. Why should I cloud that fact by trying for balance?
    When I criticize the Tatas for choosing to go to Gujarat, will my message not get lost if I spend time on what a fabulous product Tata Salt was?

    If you've noticed, I do attempt to back everything up with links to recognized media, so that my facts come across as facts & not mere opinions.

  6. contentious,

    That said, your feedback is welcome.
    If you noticed, the edit team at the Mutiny did make me revise me Ratan Tata post to a more journalistic style.
    I hope that counts for something.

    If however you're expecting that we will shy away from calling a spade a spade, then you may be disappointed.

  7. 1conoclast....

    I am the last person to want anybody to dilute the passion with which they feel or write about any subject/issue. Just asking for a little open mind /agreement, if it is deserving, to views which are contrary to their own.

    And there have been instances of "balance" where a piece about incidents of abuse within the christian clergy had a small P.S. that such incidents ALSO occur within the Hindu community. What was that about?

    In any case, we are all learning/evolving...your piece on casteism had an addendum in the comments which made your take on the issue more whole....this is the sort of balance that I was talking about.

    And great about the Ratan Tata post, am glad you presented your views in a different tone without taking away from it the core of what you wanted to convey.

    I WANT a spade to be called a spade and NOT a shovel.

  8. Well.. I don't have any links on me at the moment.. but the Zee group is pretty much an established Right Wing entity.. Zee News is quite a Hindutva favorite from the looks of it.

    Why would anyone want 'adequate representation' or a right wing bias?!


  9. Comments release karo yaar.
    Nahin karne? Chalo, koi baat nahin.

    As long as you read what I said and understand the points, it's good enough for me.

    Then again, you yourself have said you argue your positions based on passions and not reason or logic, so we probably won't see eye-to-eye anyway.


  10. DNA published this brilliant article yesterday, saw it just now, thought you should read it. Found it here:

    This made my day :)

    History is not an excuse for carnage
    Tuesday, October 14, 2008
    Ranjona Banerji

    It is true that Mahmood of Ghazni arrived in India and went through the land with sword and fire. He also raided the Somnath Temple many times. There. I said it. The only problem is that Ghazni died in 1030 AD. This does not affect me personally, so it is not that kind of a problem. The problem is that I find myself unable to understand the logic that connects his excesses to explain why it is somehow okay for Muslims to be burnt to death in Andhra Pradesh in 2008.

    And so, now, I feel the wrath of the "majority community" or the Hindutva brigade, in other words. "Do you have the guts to write about Muslims being terrorists?" All right, here you are: There are Muslims who are terrorists and terrorists who are Muslim. Could you please now tell me the logic that connects some Muslims being terrorists to a family of six Muslims being burnt to death in Bhainsa, Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh? The fight in Bhainsa was something to do with Dassera versus Eid cele...........

    To buy full story contact :

  11. Here's the link to that brilliant article in DNA :)

    Please read it, she has put in words the thoughts of so many 'true blue Indians'.

  12. contentious...

    But I am calling a spade a spade. And calling a shovel a shovel.


    Have heard that & would like some links that bring it out.


    Was away from the site for some time. In case you missed it (which you do a lot of by the way), no one's comments were being published nor any new posts going up, as I wasn't on the blog.
    I would really like it if you could point out to me where I have said that I argue my positions not based on reason or logic. If you can, great, otherwise this will be just another example of your total ineptness as a worthy adversary. :-)

    Thanks IHM,

    Ranjona is the only one I like. She's courageous & unbiased. I am in love with her. :-)

  13. nah, some dont know the difference between a spade and a shovel...they assume that the reader is also ignorant or that they can get away with it.

    in any case the comment was not directed at you exclusively , so relax :)

  14. contentious,

    I don't know about the some, but I have met quite a few commenters who tend to over-generalize. But I have the feeling you're not referring to that. :-)
    There you go! Called a shovel a shovel! ;-)

    Thanx for the clarification, though the "not exclusively" bit still raises a few questions.
    Am relaxed buddy.

  15. yeah we, most of us, do tend to much more fun, neh! (though i consider myself not contributing as much to the average :) )

    and yeah rite again, u hit the wrong shovel in the dirt. :)

    about the "not exclusively" bit....ruminate a bit and the answers will make a make a miraculous appearance :P

    glad to know that you are relaxed, all good as long one is not too lax.

  16. contentious...

    Now you're rambling a bit buddy... :-)

    Relaxed... Lax... same difference...


    and in which part of my comment did i ramble, i swear (really do) i was not lax when i wrote down the comment, relaxed yes :P

  18. Aw contentious c'mon...

    Give me a break. I wasn't getting into semantics!

    Let it go. I am feeling a little lax. :-)

    I'm amazed at how much I still manage to push myself!

  19. done, i let it go...was not going any place sensible, anyways

  20. I read some time back, I think in the Mumbai Mirror that Subhash Chandra is an ex RSS man.
    That could explain a lot of things regarding his inclination and that of Zee Group


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