Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Talat Hussain v India

Last night I had the opportunity of watching Talat Hussain’s show on AAJ TV.

Mr. Hussain, a fine journalist by all accounts, had dedicated much of the show to the political fall out of the Mumbai attacks, this was surely a result of the Indian government's submission of a dossier against Pakistan. To say that he was livid would be an understatement; consider the following outburst [paraphrased]:

It is now clear that the purported friendship by Indians towards Pakistanis was highly superficial. Indians from all walks of life have been rallying against Pakistan After the bombing ordinary Indians, people in the media, reporters, even those belonging to middle class backgrounds (I’m presuming he meant educated non-elites, like he once was) have shed all pretense of friendship and are spewing hatred against Pakistan.

They are openly going on the media and asking their government to bomb Pakistan. On the other hand Pakistani media has acted responsibly and no Pakistanis are talking about attacking India.

I too am quite annoyed by the posturing of the Indian government and the Indian media. And if the Sri Lanka series gets cancelled because of the BCCI, its going to drive me nuts, not just because it’s cricket but because it’s such a low blow.

But the last sentence in Talat’s diatribe made no sense to me. And I would’ve given him the benefit of the doubt, were it not for the fact that during the episode he made several statements echoing the same point, i.e. following the attacks, Pakistani people and the Pakistani media have acted much more responsibly than their Indian counterparts. This is a ludicrous comparison.

He has every right to critique the behaviour of the Indian government, the Indian media outlets and large segments of the Indian people, but he should not have compared the reactions of Indians with Pakistanis. It’s a stupid thing to say and Talat should know better.

Also, Talat, the Pakistani media and the Indian media have got to stop referring to Pakistanis and Indians as a collective. All Indians do not hate Pakistan and want to attack it and all Pakistanis are not complicit in the Mumbai attacks.

Parting shot at elements in the Indian media: You know you sound like bullies and jerks when you have debates on topics like “War on Terror: Israel's the way to go with Pak?”

The really scary bit. Result of the CNN-IBN SMS/Web poll (available on the above link):

Is Israel a role model for India when it comes to security?
Yes: 59 per cent
No: 41 per cent


gh said...

Your poll should have included musharraf as well.

Rabia said...

yeah, I saw his show last month about the evil influence of bollywood. It's really unbelievable. I guess you guys were right about him being a right-wing populist -- espeically wrt to india.

bubs said...

Rabia: That show really was quite incredible. It's a masterpiece of stupidity and pointlessness. Everyone who wants a good laugh can watch it at this link:


Anonymous said...

Hi Aks,

It is a pleasure to come across your post.I totally agree with you that,"All Indians do not hate Pakistan and want to attack it and all Pakistanis are not complicit in the Mumbai attacks.As far as IBN/CNN poll is concerned,I will say that we shouldn't trust these polls as they maybe representing a smaller section of the people of India.

Zubair Sheikh said...

Well, i belive Talat was on the spot in the entire program.And most of his comments were also what everybody was thinking.
Your on post on the blog is is negating your thesis. You wrote in critique of talat, and you are saying that all indians do not hate Pakistanis. WEll, my be not all but majority of them do that.
I observed this personally as i travelled around the world and met with many indians. Recenly, whenever the topic of Bombay attacks was brought into conversation in presence of an indian i observed this fully.

babi said...

Anonymous comments above that the IBN/CNN poll represents a small section of Indian opinion. Any views on the representative status of views of readers of The Hindu and The Hindustan Times, 80% and 72% of whom (respectively) on last count were in favour of India launching a military attack on Pakistan to teach it a lesson? The Hindus poll rating of 80% was on 22,000 respondents, which is hardly unrepresentative! if 8 out of 10 Indians want to attack Pakistan, so be it, and lets' face the facts and get ready!

Ray Lightning said...

If you look at the most recommended comments on BBC Have your Say, you would come to the conclusion that all BBC readers are racist, right-wing nut jobs.

Online polls are usually no indication for the populist opinion. One person can create multiple identities, and not every person who reads the website votes.

It is not in India's strategic advantage to go to war with Pakistan. What India needs is a regime change in the Pak army and ISI. This cannot be accomplished by an external army.

Anonymous said...

I concur with Ray Lightning that online polls are not true representative of the popular opinion. Let's not trust media blindly.Lets think rationally.War is not the solution. Also, It is naive to believe that majority of Indians hate Pakistanis and vice versa.

Babi said...

The polls at The Hindu and The Hindustan Times were not comments from a few readers! They represented 22000+ respondents! Hardly the work of a few zealots creating multiple identities!

The logic of war is indefensibly wrong!-which is why it is important to recognise that a huge number of people in India (80% or thereabouts of those readers of two of its leading English papers who polled) are being whipped into an illogical war hysteria ! Dangerous stuff!!

Anonymous said...

I have just one question do you think opinion of the 22000 readers represent the opinion of the whole country which has a population of more than eight hundred million. The problem is war, or at least confrontation, has been dominant on our minds.My question is have we exhausted all our options and failed?Are we still going to fight battles started in 1947, or are we going to look ahead to the future? Everyone who is sane on the subcontinent, with an interest in the prosperity and success of the subcontinent will share the desire of peace as they know that war is huge drain on the economy and if that money can be utilized in making the subcontinent the largest economic market in the world, bigger than Europe or China, and the capability of raising living standards to the levels of the twenty richest countries. Just imagine and visualize this future for a minute.