Mainstream

Home > 2021 > Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Oct 23, 2021

Mainstream, VOL LIX No 45, New Delhi, October 23, 2021

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, Oct 23, 2021

Saturday 23 October 2021

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, October 23, 2021

Sections of influential media in India do a disservice to society by not highlighting public issues in a transparent manner and not challenging the public postures of the Government or of powers that be when they appear to be one-sided. The Prime Minister spoke out to commend the Covid-19 vaccination drive reaching the 1 billion mark for the single dose of the covid-19 vaccination but didn’t tell us of the massive health & social crisis the pandemic had been, causing a huge number of deaths in India. Media coverage over this has been celebratory, unquestioning, and did not mention that there had been big hick-ups with the vaccination drive and that India remains at great risk with 70 percent of the population still needing the second dose of the vaccine. Anything that can be seen to be critical of the governmental action is often ignored in large sections of the media, which chooses to give disproportionate coverage to some issues as if to deflect attention from failures of governance. In the past week, the media focus was on Bangladesh which witnessed attacks on worship venues and Hindu temples by Islamists. Editorialists and commentators in India had high-sounding advice for the Bangladesh Government saying that it must counter extremism for sake of the country’s progress… but the same commentators remain tight-lipped giving such advice to our own govt to counter extremism and intolerance in society. Raising the question of communal violence in neighbouring Bangladesh is important but it seems very odd that a large part of media chooses to keep quiet regarding attacks on minorities on mob lynchings, attacks on churches in India. For years the current ruling party in India and certain regional forces have campaigned against a ‘red-herring’, the ‘devilish outsider’ who is ‘stealing’ your jobs, your college seats, hospital beds, is a source of crime, so-called illegal Bangladeshi migrants, or other migrants in India; they are also against inter-religious marriage, intolerant towards use of Urdu language. Religious discrimination, xenophobic anti-migrant-ism is thriving in different regions of India. An independent media is essential to keep the citizens well informed, to break the grip of selective mind-shaping sectarian propaganda.

o o

Janos Kornai, the noted Hungarian economist passed away on October 18, 2021. He was widely known for analysis and criticism of the shortages and bureaucratic controls in command economies of Eastern European communist states.

Jacques Pouchepadass, a historian of contemporary India who worked at the Centre d’Études de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud (Centre for the Study of India and Southeast Asia) and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris has passed away.

We pay our tributes to the above scholars

October 23, 2021 – HK

Notice: Mainstream Weekly appears online only.