You're one devilish dude. With disarming stuff like "your fan" and
"charmed" and "stimulating" thrown in, how can a girl summon up her
bile? Naughty… naughty... Which is not to say I'm taking the easy way:
Fact is, I guess I had it coming; and, better from you than some twit.
But I'm sure you'll grant me this: 5 out of 8 isn't all bad, eh?
Perhaps, it's back to the drawing-board for re-evaluations: You raised
some valid questions. Besides, caught between Thackeray and D'Souza,
I'm rather apprehensive. I surely won't be able to strike in the vein
of your characteristic anti-Sena aplomb – that's something you sharpen
habitually. But don't get me wrong – it's something I also take great
pleasure in absorbing. No, really, I'm an unabashed fan. And now that
we've established our mutual admiration society – to work, then:
If you don't mind, I'll first tackle this point: "As for being
'blatantly partisan', I find it difficult to think of a phrase that
applies more aptly to Saamna." Dilip, oh please say you don't really
mean this. Haven't you heard of the term "party organ"? It doesn't
connote a musical instrument played at weddings. Sometimes, it's also
called "party mouthpiece" – which, again, is not a harmonica played at
kiddy parties. Heavens, its job is to propagate the views and ideals of
a political party! Therefore, it cannot be anything but partisan (OED:
"loyal to a particular party or cause"), and neither can the staff that
writes for it.
However, that does not apply to national newspapers… Let me rephrase
that: ideally, it shouldn't apply, for non-party newspapers are
supposed to be impartial in reportage and opinions. But we silly humans
have a way of taking sides and sticking to our guns. For instance,
every English-language paper has one token unashamed-of-Hinduism
columnist among the plethora of assertive socialists/secularists (it's
an amusing game, making such a list). And isn't it odd that even when a
city votes heavily Sena, front pages should discuss the nefarious ways
in which it won? That is "blatantly partisan" – with the negative tone.
Let's move on to: "If Mahanagar's detestability and lack of decorum
offend, does Saamna's not?" Dilip, are you by any chance suggesting
that since the goonda party-organ said all those awful things, the
secular press is right in emulating/retaliating in the same manner?
Left to me, I don't mind – I'm all for aggressive retaliation. But it's
you secularists who lay such moment on media politics and ethics.
Either both papers are wrong or both are right – which is it to be? But
I don't hear anybody saying: Mahanagar shouldn't have highlighted
Khairnar's speech where he said even maidservants aren't safe around
Thackeray… We Marathi mansa obviously don't take well to conveniently
But, to particulars: Since you mentioned the blackened face of the
Haffkine Institute's director (Dr Yamul, incidentally, and sullied by
union members of the institute after he repeatedly squeezed them on the
issue of wages), do you also remember Mr Arun Shourie's face smeared
with, not tar or ink, but cow-dung? Mr Shourie had written a rational
and factually-supported piece on Babasaheb Ambedkar's relations with
the British (something to do with how he continued to sit in the Privy
Council). Where was your secular angst then? Did you feel indignant
enough to attack the… Neo-Buddhists?
As for Husain and the nude Saraswati, did you know that the offensive
article conjoining the Prophet with a pig was first published by a
non-RSS/BJP/Sena Hindi magazine in Bhopal called Vichar Mimansa? After
which, it was reprinted by scores of publications countrywide. The odd
thing is that the artist's son lodged a police complaint when posters
of a nude Husain turned up in Hyderabad (you see, it offended his sense
of propriety). I'm wondering, what's with the double-standards – did
you secularists notice the irony? Husain's just a man, while Saraswati
is a Goddess (to only us, I admit). Perhaps, Hinduism isn't the
Kleenex-soft target it's held to be.
And as for Anil Dharker's "mildly critical" article on Shivaji, who's
to decide what's "mild"? You? Or are only minorities allowed to have
those famous "hurt feelings"? Look at it this way: I think Scorcese's
The Last Temptation of Christ was pretty mild: But did the whole of
Italy? I think The Satanic Verses is a piece of art; but does any
Muslim? So don't tell me that Marathis must take lily-livered stances.
I say I have no decorum at all – now prove that you stick by your
secular piety. But what was Dharker doing by adding to the surcharged
milieu, anyway? What's he, the agent provocateur? Dilip, it's not
editors, but the people who decide when Establishment-enforced sanctity
ends: nobody dissuaded them from visiting Rajghat or raging at
Thackeray's remarks. Whether the reverence for Shivaji has ended in
Maharashtra or not – why don't you test it?
On to Behrampada: You want to "let" my "largely unlettered" pass.
However, I do not. Let me see, wasn't it your father, Mr J B D'Souza,
who, when interrogated by advocate Adhik Shirodkar for the Srikrishna
Commission, said that he didn't know where Jogeshwari was and had never
been to Behrampada? That wouldn't have been funny – had he not wanted
to carry the case of the genocide of Behrampada's Muslims to the UN.
Therefore, I'd like to ask you: Did you conduct a survey? I got my
information from, where else, the working party.
"The Samajwadi Party, largely a nonentity in Bombay… was hardly an
option." Dilip, do you stand by that? Then, tell me, how does the SP
miraculously become an option in Muslim-dominated areas such as
Imamwada (SP 2, SS 0); Zaveri Bazaar (SP 2, SS 1); and Saki Naka (SP 4,
SS 5)? Clearly, the point of virtue raises its consecrated head only in
egg-on-the-secular-face Behrampada, isn't it? Like, insinuate that the
Sena victory is nothing but a protection racket, and all's well in the
Ah! Miss Anita Pratap and the famous Time magazine. Actually, I don't
lay much stock in either – since Time's anti-India reportage on the
Bangladesh War, and Miss Pratap's obvious anti-Hindu bias. (BTW, did
you know that she's a Christian?) Did you also know that a journalist
is considered to be unethical if s/he should publish an off-the-record?
No matter. But let me ask you this: Just because a journo from this
middle-brow, semi-establishment US rag says that Thackeray said
this-this – and then cannot, will not produce the evidence – it's to
be assumed that she's honest and upright, isn't it? Not only will the
publication not produce the transcripts, it won't produce even the
tape! Can I not assume Miss Pratap made it up? But the Hindutvawadi is
always lying, right?
"Maybe forthrightness is why hundreds of court cases against Balasaheb
are never pursued and eventually withdrawn." Hello? What "hundreds of
cases", Dilip dear? Why don't you rattle off, say, 10% of them? I still
don't understand how one can make charges without backing them up.
(BTW, are you due for another visit to the Srikrishna Commission on the
question of some unsettled source naming Madhukar Sarpotdar with Dawood
Ibrahim and guns which you publicised in your column?)
You said, "'Farce' was the word you used about the Srikrishna
Commission, and rightly so…" Tch, tch, tch… in your haste, you missed
the crucial word between my "keeping the farce of the Srikrishna
Commission" and "for another day": That word was "coverage" – as in how
the secular press distorts reportage. You see, I'm a coward and will
not enter that area called "contempt of the court". It's all sub-judice
now, isn't it? Quite right: we'll talk about farces another day.
The responsibility/accountability of Thackeray: Do you honestly think
the Sena wins on the strength of Uddhav or Raj or Joshi or whoever? And
when it gets egg, on whose face do you think it lands? But look at it
this way: while the Congress flaunts what's accepted as its High
Command, the Sena has a Remote Control. You see, it's a dynamic party
and keeps up with modern technology.
Delivery problems, specifically, 5,000 houses for slum dwellers: May I
ask that in the last, secular 40 years, how many had been built? Oh,
but you doubt their existence, in any case. Therefore, the telecast
rally, with the house-keys being given away to the new owners, must
also be figments of our imaginations. However, since you are the
intrepid journalist making the charges, isn't it your job to disprove
their existence? Failing which, you are always at liberty to take the
Sena's word for it, or, zip it.
You do yourself a disservice, Dilip, when you interpret that electoral
success as evidence of anything but that Mumbaikars voted positively.
The usual establishmentarian political games have simply stopped
working (witness the Congress). It reminds me of your tear-jerking
report ruing Mrs Ramdas Naik's victory over Eustace D'Souza, a democratic
verdict given by what we must assume to be the ignorant electorate of
Finally, your remark, "rioters, looters and murderers are running
around freely on our streets" – how could I dignify with a response,
this indicting of people with labels? Naaaah.
Questions, answers, is there a point? It all comes down to closed
As always, your fan,
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