English: Indian writers trashes unease of adopting the aggressor’s language

Syed Shoaib writes about the grown popularity of English language amongst the writers and the vast unexplored regional literature waiting to get translated and read by the Generation ‘Y’ of India. Excerpts from his article titled ‘English should power our writers’ in Post Noon, Hyderabad’s first afternoon newspaper:

They were hesitant steps, yet left their mark in the poems of Sarojini Naidu and writings of authors like RK Narayan.

It was only after Salman Rushdi’s Mid­night’s Children in 1981, which won the Man Booker prize, that Indian writers saw the potential of writing in English.

Indian writing being a very young literature, writers were not able to find the right idiom to express themselves effectively. Hence, a large part of Indian experience is now unrecorded and the tendency to present India as an exotic land is prevalent in these writings.

It is only after the huge success of English books written by Indians of late that the authors realised the vast Indian market for their works. A major part of the audience is in India while the western audience is limited to critical acclaim. Writings of Shobha De and Chethan Bhagat are very popular among the Gen Y, much as the earlier generation was familiar with Mills & Boon, James Hadley Chase and Westerns. Today, the young set has a blank look at the mention of these authors.

With English becoming the global language for communication and the ‘computer language’ the unease of adopting the aggressor’s language has been trashed. What has doubly helped is that memories of colonial rule are becoming faint and distant. English has also become the lingua franca in the country, so there is more acceptance of this young tradition of literature, kindling optimism about its future.

Aside the original writing in English, there is also the big unexplored potential of translating works of Indian languages into English. The limited English writers in India, mainly urban India, have captured only a miniscule slice of the great experience that is India.

It is from creative works in regional languages that an in-depth view of the totality of India can be had. This could be a window to India for the rest of the world and we would do well to foster this activity. 

Read the full column: English should power our writers

Breaking News:Indian electronic media needs to introspect

Aasif Shah

The biggest misfortune today in India is not hunger, poverty, unemployment or lack of development but it is when problems like such remain unaddressed. While on the one hand a gigantic percentage of poor people live on the streets and in pathetic conditions, the media industry in India is busy in promoting only cricket and Bollywood celebrities.
News like “Amitabh Bachan is suffering from severe fever, Shilpa’s has dandruff, Ashwariya has given birth to a baby girl and Sachin is back” is ‘breaking news’ for the Indian media particularly broadcast media, thereby leaving aside all socio-economic issues of the country.

"electronic media are behaving like Hitler and think whatever they report is true"

"electronic media are behaving like Hitler and think whatever they report is true"

Instead of being the watch dog of the society, media has turned out to be a mouthpiece of few chosen people (less than 1% of total population). The way it performs its services is enough to prove that this particular industry is simply there to make money.

If Shahrukh Khan cuts the cake, it will be shown as the breaking news but if a poor man dies of hunger, it will not be even condemned. If Katrina is not present for Salman khan’s birthday bash, it will become top priority for most media houses. And when a poor, debt ridden farmer commits suicide, it will not even be castigated. If Sehwag makes a mistake during a game, it will be broadcast for days together but if a politician or any bureaucrat is involved in a scandal, it will given the least of coverage.
What irritates me most is when needless information is broadcast again and again. Although media is often considered as a mirror of the society with an aim to update, educate and amuse people but unfortunately it seldom performs that duty. It sends out a very disturbing message of media having no social responsibility at all. The Indian media, by way of its obsession with only celebrities, has clearly exemplified its role which has nothing to do with socio-economic problems of the society.
According to the latest report by Global Hunger Index (GHI) published in 2011, India holds 45th rank among countries with hunger crisis. Besides, a study by the Oxford  Poverty and Human Development Initiative, it was found that there were 650 million people (53.8% of population) who live below poverty line in India, of which 340 million people (28.7% of the population) live in severe condition.  In addition, the UNICEF report of 2011 shows that, one in three malnourished children globally are in India.
However, I firmly believe that India as a country is not poor. It might be an exaggeration for many but it is a fact. The recent scams involving, top businessmen, bureaucrats support this fact. The 2G scam involved a staggering amount of Rs. 176,000 crores, common wealth scam (Rs. 36,000 crores), Satyam scam (Rs. 14000 crores), Investment scam in Kerala (Rs.1000 crores), Education scam in Maharashtra (Rs. 1000 crores). In short, scams in India have gained massive proportions with one after the other and there are chances that even a mathematician could commit a mistake to convert these huge amounts into billion figures.
Now, imagine if such scandals would not have happened, and if such money would have been allocated into priority sectors, the story of India would have been different. The country would not have been topping the list of having the highest number of child labourers in the world. Besides there would have not been a growing rate of unemployment in the country causing frustration to the youth. It is reported that more than 40 million people in India are still unemployed.
On the one hand, crime rate is increasing steadily and on the other hand inflation has become the worst nightmare for a common consumer. The poor are dying on the streets due to starvation and due to severe chill of winters and the burning heat of summers. A considerable population of rural India is still living without basic necessities of life such as electricity, water supply and sanitation facilities. Farmers continue to commit suicides and the so called menace of ‘un-touchable’ is still prevalent in India.
Moreover the human rights violation and custodial deaths have become the order of the day. The ‘Human Rights Watch global report’ released in the last month of January demonstrated that human right excesses committed by security forces continues, particularly in J&K, the northeast, and areas facing Maoist rebellion. The report highlights that India is yet to revoke the draconian laws thereby allowing abuse of human rights.
The main tragedy is that all these problems are untouched and unaddressed. The media is making hue and cry for no reasons. They highlight such issues which are of no significance and value. It looks like as if the Indian media is misusing its right of freedom of speech. I wonder why Salman Rushdie’s visit to India turned out to be a biggest issue for them. Though on one hand the reaction of Indian Muslims to Rushdie’s visit was quite appreciable but I failed to understand the intention of media, the way they highlighted the case.
The responsibility of any media outlet is to make administration responsive to the requirements of citizens and to help the nation to grow. However, time is not too late. The Indian media can still make a difference by separatin its core responsibilities from business and politics. Although earning money is important but earning money should not be the legitimate goal. The media industry must stand as a responsible pillar in the community and it must learn to respect the needs of the society as a whole.  Both Indian media as well as Indian bureaucrats should now wake up from a deep slumber to change the fate and fortune of their nation.

The author is a Ph.D Research Fellow in Department of Commerce (SOM), Pondicherry Central University and can be mailed at shah_aasifpu@rediffmail.com

courtesy: Rising Kashmir

Indian Media News Round-Up: Media Laundry @Dhobitalao

Govt.’s media plan, Rahul’s Chintan, bans & censorships, content immaturity in coup, muslim lifestyle magazine ‘muallim’ & readers outburst on ‘army coup rumor’ !!!

Akbar-Birbal tale of the yokel who chose to look for his lost ring at a place where there was light rather than the spot where it had actually fallen.

“Looking at Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi‘s ‘review’ of the party’s debacle in the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, one is reminded of the Akbar-Birbal tale of the yokel who chose to look for his lost ring at a place where there was light rather than the spot where it had actually fallen. Much like the fool in the parable, the Congress seems to have ignored the fact that the primary cause of it’s defeat were its senior leaders from the state – Beni Prasad Verma, Sriprakash Jaiswal, Salman Khurshid and Rita Bahuguna Joshi to name a few. It is best not to expect any strict action from Mr Gandhi because if any of these leaders is held accountable the blame will sooner or later land at his own doorstep, or at least that of his mentor Digvijaya Singh, who had an equally important say in matters like candidate selectio.”

Delhi Premier League: Babus v/s Ex-servicemen

Civil servants posted in various Delhi government departments and civic agencies are up in arms against retired defence service personnel angling for plum postings. The Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands Civil Service (DANICS) officers don’t want any exservicemen to bag high-profile positions in the DDA, MCD and the Delhi government. A senior official of the Delhi secretariat said.

We already have limited opportunities to work, we keep shifting between the Union Territories and if even here such new, untrained personnel are brought in – our career, promotion aspects will suffer the most. We are at a loss to understand if these retired defence personnel are so competent why did they leave the services before retirement or superannuation.

Officers are contemplating going on a ‘protest strike for a day’.

Read more on: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/index.html

Govt. plans for strengthening reach of media units & administration

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is contemplating to introduce structural improvements for strengthening the performance and reach of different media units . Uday Kumar Varma, Secretary to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said:

all media units need to bring transparency and encourage work culture to flourish, for improving the information dissemination mechanism. This would help in reaching out to the common masses with the information about policies, programmes, achievements and initiatives of the central government, in a better way.

read more: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/i-and-b-ministry-plans-for-strengthening-reach-of-media-units/933503/


India has witnessed a number of instances of ban on books, films, plays and ideologies in the last two decade. From Salman Rushdie‘s The Satanic Verses to MF Husain’s nude paintings of Hindu godessess, from Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal’s adaptation of American play Vagina Monologues to Vijay Tendulkar’s Marathi masterpiece Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy and from NRI filmmaker Deepa Mehta to Bollywood director Anurag Kashyap, India has seen a series of bans, censorships, court cases, allegations, threats and violence.

Are we a nation of bans and censorships? Is India not ready to accomodate voice of dissent? Do we really get ‘hurt’ by an induvidual’s opinion on religion, morality and social conduct? Or is it merely a matter of whim of an individual or a group? Hindustantimes.com asked the readers and here’s their response.

In our survey, 59 % people agreed that Indians are incapable of dissent and criticism while 38 % thought otherwise. Three per cent respondents had no opinion.

In our survey, a whopping 76 % responded ‘Yes’ freedom of expression is under threat in India, while a meagre 20 % felt it was not the case. Four per cent of the people could not decide.

Though 41 % of our respondents believed and independent tribunal should look into objectionable content, 52% respondents said nobody should decide what to ban and nothing should be banned. Only 7 % respondents believed the government is the best agency to regulate objectionable content.

Read more : http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Are-we-a-nation-of-bans-and-censorship/Article1-836679.aspx


Emergencies exercises from Hissar and Agra Army bases towards New Delhi were misunderstood by the media, as a Coup attempt to topple the democratically elected governement.

The major misguidence created by such news was linking the Ground Battle Maunevours to the disputed statements and legal battle of the Indian Army Chief’s against the Union Government, to make some sensation…. In a larger democracies like India, it is really unmature to think of coup attempts against government, as all the other two branches of Defense Forces viz, Air Force and Navy have got their individual Chiefs for whom there are no special disputes with the Union governement. Coup in big nations is unrealistic sans participation of three wings of the Defense Forces with a pre-motivated objective. So, the allegged coup attempt to overthrow the Indian government is a news that shows its content unmaturity.

By dchaitanya.

read more: http://www.groundreport.com/Politics/GROUND-BATTLE-MAUNEVOURS-OF-INDIAN-ARMY-IS-MISTAKE/2945285

“Muallim” Muslim Lifestyle magazine in May

Maxim Media Pvt. Ltd. a media house based in Mumbai has announced to launch Muallim, a Muslim Lifestyle magazine in English language in the Month of May 2012. The magazine, “Muallim,” will be the first of its kind to be published from Mumbai in an attractive 4 colour format, which will enrich the lifestyle of Muslim Families. Regular feature will be on Islamic theology and contemporary affairs in Muslim world. Editor-in-Chief of Muallim, Ubaidur Rahaman Qasmi, an Alim from Darul Uloom Deoband and a member of Islamic Investment and Finance Board of India, said,

taking a cue from the lecture of Hazrat Maulana Sayyed Abul Hasan Ali Nadawi (R) “We should quickly move to form an Islamic media, otherwise Europe will invade us and deform our ethics” delivered in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia -1976). We are introducing “Muallim, to enrich lives of Muslim who are well versed with English language.

Appreciating the concept, Hazrat Maulana Rabey Hasan Nadawi, President All Indian Muslim Personal Law board, said,

“The time is apt for Muallim to hit the market as there is dearth of such literature which focuses on Islamic upbringing and on contemporary issues.”

Read more: http://www.ummid.com/news/2012/April/06.04.2012/indian_magazine_launch.htm

Readers outburst on ‘Army Coup Rumor’

The editorial “Misplaced fears” (April 5) has rightly questioned the rationale behind the full-page coverage given by The Indian Express to the troop movement story with a sensational headline, after stating the word “C” implied ‘ curious’ and nothing else.

Ever since Army Chief General V.K. Singh’s age row came into the open, many television channels have been giving undue publicity to the controversy and sensationalising news pertaining to defence matters.

The media should exercise the utmost caution and avoid publishing reports that are alarmist. Such reports not only dampen the spirit of our proud and heroic Army but also strengthen the enemy.

C.A.C. MurugappanKothamangalam

The editorial and the cartoon (April 6) are a telling comment on speculative journalism. While television news channels are vying with one another to reap maximum benefit, irrespective of the implications of their observations for the morale of the Army, The Hindu needs to be complimented on tackling the controversy with a sense of responsibility.

But I do not understand the argument that The Indian Express is well within its rights to write about a sensitive matter like this. If a sensitive issue is “overblown” and the content is “alarmist,” why not condemn it unequivocally? Given the kind of sensationalism certain media houses are resorting to, it is important to send the message that the media must regulate themselves and exercise restraint.

Y.L. SrinivasHyderabad

It is extremely distressing to see accusations and counter accusations flying thick and fast in the media, particularly the 24×7 television channels, on the discord between the government and the Army.

The Army is one of the most respected institutions and should be allowed to remain so. Television news channels, especially some of their anchors, should be banned from airing atrocious comments which not only demean the government and the defence forces but also bring disrepute to the nation.

Raj SabapathyChennai

The entire truth about the alleged troop movement is yet to unfold. Several questions remain unanswered, leading to wild speculation. The Prime Minister should come out with an open statement on whether all procedures were observed before the exercise and the civil administration was taken into confidence. The government should tighten its hold on the armed forces while giving them full operational freedom in day-to-day matters. Let us look around at our neighbours to avoid any cataclysm, anticipated, apprehended or imagined.

S.V. VenkatakrishnanBangalore

Gen. Singh’s remark that the report on troop movement was “absolutely stupid” is unacceptable. There was a movement of troops near Delhi. It is also true that the Army Chief was aggrieved over his DoB issue. Since the troop movement was a severe case showcasing the mistrust between the Army and the government, all things must be addressed to protect our democracy.

Sameer Abbas ZaidiBareilly