Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On DNA's anti-Dalit bias

The story 'Residents live on razor's edge' published in Daily News Analysis (Mumbai) is surely in a bad taste. Of course, on the basis of just one story, you can't label a newspaper insensitive to a community or group but this is not the kind of journalism we expect from DNA.

The correspondent, Haima Deshpande, apparently wanted to highlight the inconvenience suffered by the middle-class/upper-class as Dalits came in lakhs at Chaitya Bhumi on December 6, the day Dr BR Ambedkar died.

But it has turned out to be a story prejudiced against Dalits and reminds one of coverage of 'native's events' in English papers during the colonial rule (pre-Independence era).

Quotes like “There is loud music at night, people barge into buildings and dirty them, bathe in the open on the footpaths, throw food around and make life miserable for us. We cannot go out or take our cars out for fear of hitting someone. We are under house arrest all day', that are clearly offensive and not at all justified in a story.

Is the story about Indian citizens or cattle? The story begins with, 'Come December 6, residents of Shivaji Park in Central Dadar press the panic button. Many alter their work and daily schedules, beef up security in buildings, inform schools that their children will remain absent, and literally barricade themselves inside their homes with heavy-duty locks.' Just like racist European papers often write about quarters dominated by blacks which are marked by filth and litter.

The inherent prejudice in the minds of the writer and more so the desk (sub-editors) who let it go in this form, can be gauged easily by the story. A newspaper like DNA that sells in lakhs should be more restrained and careful.

The story was published here
And I first read about it on the blog of Harini Calamur here


Anonymous said...

I don't know if i agree with your post completely. The story was entirely from the point of view of the residents of the area. If the residents expressed prejudiced views about dalits for whatever reasons that they have the right to do so, that stand can not be attributed to the paper or the reporter. What the story was obviously about was the inconvinience caused by a large crowd of people (which community it happened to be is completely situational). Had it been a Shiv Sena or a group of hindus, the focus or purpose of the story would have remained the same. The voice of the subject in any story cannot be misunderstood for the voice of the reporter and the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

You may not agree, Supriya, as it is as much one's right to agree or disagree.
Papers have responsibility. People express extreme views often but they are not always incorporated. Yes residents may have expressed these views, but it can give the impression that the writer was opinionated and had this 'inconvenience' in mind. Political rallies, religious functions and other assemblies also affect normal life but when a paper writes about people 'who dirty the area' it smacks of clear prejudice. They are also human beings.
When did such inconvenience of just a locality in a city became a story for a national newspaper. Sikh processions passing through non-Sikh areas in Delhi or other areas, Dussehra processions passing through areas dominated by Muslims or Moharram processions in Hindu areas can cause no less inconvenience but these reflect the myriad colours of our composite society. When we read stories about such inconveniences? 'The suave, sophisticated, flat-owners alone' don't have the right to live in this country. It is the same contempt with which 'jhuggi-walas' and every poor/unprivleged person is treated. One can't live without them but also can't stop criticising them....the same fascist thought that disallows slum-dwellers the right to live in the urban areas.

Anonymous said...

ASADUDDIN OWAISI Mp (HYDERABAD) : Sir, at the outset I would like to compliment the hon. BJP Member for being the devil’s advocate. I happened to go to Vadodara on the 8th of this month. I have even gone to the place where this Dargah stood once. If the municipal authorities were doing a work, why was there a need for the Mayor and the concerned MLA to be there? Why was there a need that all of them had to clap, all of them had to raise religious slogans when this Dargah was demolished? I fail to understand that.I went to the Government SSG hospital to see the 24 injured patients. Out of them, 23 belonged to the minority community. All of them had bullet injuries above the waist. I even went to the houses of the deceased. I do not know whether any of the hon. BJP Members had gone or not. What crime did Mohammad Rafiq Vohra had committed that in front of his house he was first attacked by swords, killed and then burnt? When his family telephoned the local police, the police asked them to go to Pakistan. It is there on record on NDTV. What crime had Ashfaq Ahamed committed that he was shot in the head? He used to work in a night showroom. What crime did Mohammad Ayaz - a boy of 17 years, a brother of three sisters - had committed? All this clearly shows the complicity, connivance, conspiracy, and open support by the Gujarat Government. But for their active support, this incident would not have happened. In the name of development, minorities have been destroyed.Under the Central Wakf Act of 1995, all Muslim places of worship, mosques, dargahs and graveyards are protected. How can any Government go and eliminate a wakf property? Has the concerned State Government conducted any proceedings? Has any order been issued? Nothing has been issued.We are talking about Gujarat only here. At the same time, on April 14, a bomb blast took place in Jama Masjid. I have a complaint here with the Government also. So far, not even a single person has been caught. A bomb blast took place in Benaras. Within 48 hours two youths were killed in an encounter in Delhi and one person was killed in Uttar Pradesh. After 25-30 days’ time, Maulana Waliullah and his associates were caught. Whenever a majority place of worship is attacked, immediately within 48 hours or even ten days five to six Muslim youths are killed in encounters. It happens as if you have a buffer stock of Muslim youths who can be killed any time. When Jama Masjid bomb blast took place, why was this not done? Who is responsible for the bomb blast in Jama Masjid? Why did Delhi Police have to say that it was not a terrorist act when it was a terrorist act? It is not found out as to who was behind that act.The next point is about Uttar Pradesh. We are talking so much about secularism over here. Fifty Muslim youths were hit above the waist in Aligarh. The National Minorities Commission has demanded a judicial inquiry. What action is the Government going to take?I was hearing the hon. Member from Shiv Sena. The hon. Home Minister represents that area, Nanded area. On 6th of April, 2006, a bomb blast took place in the house of Laxman Rajpodwar. They are known Bajrang Dal activists. It was a single bomb blast. Later on, Surya Pratap Gupta the Inspector General of Police of that area said that they were manufacturing bombs. The police confiscated a live IED bomb with a timer attached to it. It was a timer similar to the one that is used in the Jama Masjid bomb. So, who is responsible? Those people are known Bajrang Dal activists. Why is the Maharashtra Government not imposing the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act? What is stopping the Maharashtra Government from imposing that Act on them? Why is the Government of Maharashtra not requesting for a CBI inquiry so that the truth comes out? I am very surprised. Who is going to pay the price? In Ghatkopar bomb blast, Gateway of India bomb blast, all the people have been exoneratedI am really surprised that some upper caste chocolate boys do the demonstration in Mumbai; police do lathi charge; and an inspector is suspended.What about Ghatgopar bomb blast incident? Accused were exonerated. What about Nanded bomb blast incident? How many police people have been suspended? It shows that there is no value for a Muslim life over here.The UPA Government was formed to stop the obscurantist forces. It was a verdict against the communal forces. My main grievance and grudge is with this Government. We know what RSS stands for? Maybe, the Sangh Parivar is celebrating the centenary celebrations of Golwarkar and to pay huge tribute to him, they are indulging in all these activities.In Mahasamud district of Chhattisgarh, on April 23, 2006, a mosque was demolished. In fact, burnt. Koran scriptures were burnt over there. Who is responsible? But for the Sikh community, nearly 20 families would have been killed over there.Not only that, in Rajasthan, in Pali Town, Saint Milad-Un-Nabi procession was attacked. On 11th of April, in Kandura in Madhya Pradesh, Milad-Un-Nabi procession was attaked. There is an end to it.I would like to bring it to the notice of the hon. Minister that in Karnataka, in Budkal, Jagannath Shetty Commission has come out with its Report. There is a huge tension over there. I am bringing this to the notice of the hon. Minister that the Government should take immediate steps to ensure that this tension does not lead to communal riots.I would demand from the Central Government that it should pay compensation to the victims of Baroda. This Government should immediately come to the rescue. I know that it is a State subject. But people are asking that when Sikhs were killed, three lakh rupees were given as compensation, why not to Muslims. What is stopping the Central Government in giving monetary compensation to the people? I think, it is a very important issue.Justice Srikrishna Report is there. Secular Government is there in Maharashtra. The same person who used to say that if Justice Srikrishna Commission Report is implemented, Mumbai would burn. That man is in your Congress Party. Why do you not implement the Justice Srikrishna Commission Report. Nanded incident led this Government to pressurise the State Government there. Let them ask for a CBI inquiry in the Nanded incident. Bajrang Dal activitists were involved. These same people have committed crimes in Parbani and Jalna. I had been to the mosque over there. Unless and until the lives and liberty of minorities are safeguarded, this country cannot progress. If the feeling of insecurity is there, Sir, it is very bad for the nation. I hope the Government will take some corrective action.

Anonymous said...

HT carried a nice piece about the same event. In their sunday pages I think. Though why it took them 5 days to come up with it I don't know. But it was a more balanced piece than most of the other national papers.
HT scores over DNA in features. As for the news, well...

Anonymous said...

Another Atrocity Story

Khawatein Voice said...

Islam, Pseudo Dalitism and the Philosophy of Hypocrisy

If we look at the society around us, we find good and bad everywhere. In every stratum, in every caste, in every religion we have good and bad people. A poor should be called a poor, and a rich, a rich. Being poor doesn’t make one a good person, and being rich doesn’t make one a bad person. Goodness and Badness is not dependent one’s level of income. It’s an innate nature of human beings.

However, this innate nature is often influenced by external conditioning – such as family environment, immediate society, education, religion etc. To a Christian or a Hindu, the influence of his religion is not as strong as that on a Muslim (male). This is because a non-Muslim is never “conditioned” to think in one way - as a Muslim man is conditioned to think. A Muslim man cannot think beyond Koran. Dr. Zakir Naik of Islamic Research Foundation rightly says that for Muslims like him Koran is the benchmark for everything. Science is okay in as far as it agrees with Koran. It’s a different matter that Muslim scholars strive to extrapolate, mince and misinterpret Koranic verses to prove that they contend with science. Koran and Science is a new area of research for these Muslim “scientists” (people like Dr. Zakir Naik) to prove that Science agrees with Koran (and, not otherwise). All developments of science - theories, postulates, theorems and axioms are there in Koran, which need to be researched, unveiled and exposed. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Quantum theory, Concepts of relativity, Postulates of Darwin… etc. are all there in Koran. Prophet Mohammed was not only a prophet; he was also a scientist-par-excellence. He had his own research laboratory with 11 lab assistants (you guess the names). It’s an irony that the developed world doesn’t recognize his scientific genius. One Koran is enough to replace all books on Math, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, and Anthropology… by just knowing and understanding the Koran, a person can understand all the secrets of nature.

The Rich Dalits and Muslims… Thriving on Hypocrisy and Hatred towards Hinduism

I must not deviate. Though I am a Muslim myself (a true Muslim never deviates), I am in the habit of deviating from the right path (the path of Islam) and search for newer paths. The Koran in Surah 2 (The Heifer) talks about these hypocrites like me. I, on my part, would like to talk about the hypocrites like VT Rajshekar (Editor of magazine “Dalit Voice”), Kancha Ilaiah (of “Why I am Not a Hindu” fame), Zakir Naik (Dr. Koran)… and the likes. These people portray themselves as oppressed and subjugated – as if all the agonies and sorrows on earth have befallen them. So beautifully they craft words to win audience, that the true Dalits – the really true Dalits, who are really oppressed and exploited, lose their voice. Has anyone enquired into the personal lives of these pseudo-dalits? Are they really dalits? To talk about the rights of dalits is welcome – but who is the real dalit? Whose voice is unheard of? These powerful men have themselves become rich talking about dalits and Islam, but we Muslim women continue to remain under misery and desolation. Do Muslim women have any voice? I was luckier that I married a non-Muslim. And today I have the freedom to write about the issues beyond the veil. The dalits of India are not as exploited as these leaders portray them to be. The plight of dalits (other than Muslim women) has more monetary nuances than otherwise. The oppressed are they who are financially weak. The financially strong, from whatever lower caste they may come from, are not oppressed. And this oppression too is sporadic and milder compared to the oppression that Muslim women face. India offers its citizens far more rights than any other country. But Muslim women are really oppressed, irrespective of their financial status. And the reasons are religious, not political or otherwise. Only Islam is responsible for their poor condition.

Majority of the Hindus are liberal, respectful to other faiths and peace-loving

My husband is a Hindu, loves me, and respects Islam more than I myself. I must say, that India offers tremendous freedom to people to speak their mind. Anti-Hindu books have sold like hot cakes – bought predominantly by Hindus only. Hindus have tremendous tenacity to accept criticism. Anti-Islam literature is mostly available online (many Islamic countries do not permit thought-provoking sites such as, but you’d find anti-Hindu books in Hindu shops! What does it speak of? If Hinduism is really that bad, if it is really that oppressive, it’d oppress anti-Hindu publications also. But it never did so. Go to any railway book stall beside Gita-Press outlet and you can freely ask for a copy of Kancha Ilaiah’s “Why I am Not a Hindu?” You can also frivolously tell the Hindu bookseller how much praise you have heard about this book from Dr. Zakir Naik (Dr. Koran) or VT Rajshekar. But I can assure you, you’d never get a hard copy of “Why I am Not a Muslim” by Ibn Warraq anywhere in India, neither in Hindu shops, nor in Muslim shops. [Read my post “Mr. Kancha Ilaiah - Why I Am Not a Muslim!’ You can use the search field on top left of this page]. You’d never get published copies of all those articles posted by Brother Ali Sina (and party) on their website Ask for VT Rajshekar’s “Dalit Voice”, and you can easily get it in your city if you do a little search. VT Rajshekar calls the Brahmins cunning – and it’s an irony that his so called “Brahmin-ruled” India hasn’t banned his books and magazine.

The Role of Media and Non-Muslims in Converting Muslim Women to Other Faiths

It’s high time that media highlights the pathetic condition of Muslim women across the globe. Let not get swayed away by the baseless rants of these hypocrites. Dalitism for them is a money-making affair. The best leaders of dalits were people like Buddha, Guru Nanak, Sufiyan Thuri, Hazrat Khwaja Garib Nawaz, Sant Ravidas, Baba Bulleh Shah, Sri Ramakrishna… who really strove for an egalitarian society... without making their life-goal a money making business. At least, they were not hypocrites.

In the end, I’d reiterate that the real dalits of India are Muslim women. They hardly have any say in anything. True liberation can only come if non-Muslims come forward to help them. Their plight is more religious than economic. They have been victims of the lop-sided and prejudiced teachings of Koran that has pushed them much behind their own men-folk (who are already behind other men of their age) in terms of education and better lifestyle. True revolution can only come if Muslim women marry non-Muslims. Christians can play a more important role. Missionaries can come forward and attract Muslim women to their fold. Secular Christian education can really go a long way in improving the status of Muslim women. Hindus need to be more liberal in converting people to their faith. There is serious lack of missionary zeal among Hindu organizations – most of them are only indolent outfits busy stopping converts to Christianity. I strongly feel that the plight of Muslim women can improve only if both Hindus and Christians come forward to uplift them. The Sikhs and Buddhists can also play important roles. Buddhists have far more missionary zeal compared to Hindus. Moreover, many Buddhists and Christians in India are non-vegetarians. This would facilitate easy conversion of Muslim women to their faiths. Let us come forward to help the really deserving dalits – the Muslim women who have been victims of worst kind of gender bias for centuries.

Mrs. Haseena Khatun, MA
Editor, Khawatein Voice

Anu said...

Nice too see your posting information.

Anu said...

Nice too see your posting information.

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