Showing posts from April, 2008

Raising their voice

‘Liberty, equality and fraternity’: the Dravidian Movement in South India

“We are fit to think of ‘self-respect’ only when the notion of superior and inferior caste is banished from our land” — Periyar Ramasami.

I visited India last year in November as a Panos fellow. The trip was quite memorable in itself, but one thing that left a deep impact on me was our visit to Anna Arivalayam in Chennai, the official headquarters of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). DMK is the ruling party in Tamil Nadu. A permanent exhibition depicting the entire history of the Dravidian Movement has been installed in Anna Arivalayam. The exhibition includes portraits of Dravidian stalwarts, scholars and leaders who inculcated the spirit of Tamil language and Tamil culture into the minds of the people; drawings and photographs of significant events that took place during the evolution of the movement; a mini-theatre has been set up where documentary films of Dravidian leaders, namely Periyar Ramasami, C.N. An…

Pak-India media: the barometer of development

If there is one barometer through which one could gauge the intensity with which the engines are moving towards acquiring the vision of ‘Shining India’, it is their mass media. Wilbur Schramm, the guru of mass communication, too emphasised that the mass media is reflective of a society’s level of development. Using this touchstone, it would be advantageous to compare the media of both Pakistan and India with regard to the quality, cost, readership/viewership, economics and the amount of freedom afforded them by the state to know at what level of development – political, social and economic – both states stand at present.

During my stay in India as a Panos fellow, it was quite amazing to see that an 84-page English newspaper costs Rs 2.50 in India, while a 20-page English newspaper in Pakistan costs Rs 13. It is quite another thing that the 84-page Indian newspaper is full of advertisements (nearly half of the pages carry advertisements), a lot of pages are filled with showbiz news (som…

Restoration of deposed judges: the fourth option

It is being widely debated these days how the deposed judges can be restored. Three options have been proposed till now. One, the deposed judges can be restored through an executive order; two, the National Assembly can bring about a resolution with a simple majority on this issue; and three, the issue can be resolved by making some constitutional amendments, for which a two-thirds majority of the parliament is needed.

These are the three options doing the rounds. Yet there could be a fourth option – that of a referendum, as suggested by a renowned politician and former parliamentarian, Haji Saifullah Khan, in an exclusive interview with Channel 5. A veteran politician, Haji sahab is one of those few parliamentarians who not only understand the Constitution and the law very well, but have deep knowledge of parliamentary practices too.

Haji Saifullah said when the 160 million people of Pakistan would vote for the restoration of the deposed judges, the judiciary would not only be indepen…