The Organiser has covered the Chennai floods with a cover story, “A Flood of Humanity”, and an editorial, “Deluged under Delusions.” The Sangh mouthpiece alludes to the recent Paris global summit
on climate change and observes: “When the world leaders are negotiating the crucial climate change issue, the delusions of development and urban planning are exposed in Chennai.”
“There are,” according to the Organiser, “three types of delusions that are deluging us.” The first delusion is rooted in the economics of urban planning, it says. A distorted concept of urbanisation has “killed the villages around urban centres”. The second delusion is that science can provide solutions to all the problems created by humans. As a case in point, the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) in Chennai, the seat of urban expansion, has engulfed several fishing and agricultural villages. Incidentally, this technological hub, with its massive concrete structures that have choked flood source areas, is the worst hit.
The third delusion is the politics of urban dwellings, which treats illegal colonies as “vote banks”. According to Chennai Municipal Corporation data, out of 242 slums, 122 are classified as objectionable. It means these slums have come up in areas of rivers, canal margins, catchment of drains and greenbelts. This happens in connivance with local politicians and officials. “This approach can win you a couple of elections but cannot ensure safety and security for your locality,” the weekly concludes, adding that the reasons for the suffering of Mumbai, Srinagar, and now Chennai, are the same — encroachment on wetlands and water bodies, inadequate drainage system, insufficient water works, rampant construction and corrupt civil administration.
Anchors’ Day Out
The Organiser has attacked the recent Times LitFest in Delhi by calling it a “sham”. The reason being “the over-indulgence and narcissist presentation of TV anchors-turned-authors”. Anchors and journalists, according to an article titled “Lit Fest or Litter Fest,” are the “new age authors”. The article has been attributed to “A nameless Indian”, implying an intent to hide behind anonymity. “Almost every anchor, whether he or she is from an English channel or Hindi, is a one-book wonder,” the article says, claiming that over 25 journalists, columnists and news anchors participated as “authors and moderators” in the festival and “blatantly” promoted their books. The only exceptions were Amitav Ghosh, Amit Chaudhari, Amish, Ashwin Sanghi, Kiran Nagarkar, Katherine Boo, Taslima Nasreen, etc.
A special article in Panchajanya, “Tolerance and Intolerance”, says a section of the media “wants to milk the debate completely”, although, in the process, it’s getting exposed too. The writer lists several instances for dubbing a section of the media partisan. To start with, it points at the Constitution-Day debate in Parliament during which an opposition member talked of a bloodshed, but it was “ignored” by the media. The Outlook magazine published a report which attributed the “first-ruler in 800 years-remark” to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and, it claimed, when a “CPM leader was caught on the wrong foot”, Outlook retracted, expressing regret. The article noted that Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi stated that the party of Hindi-speaking leaders would not be allowed to infiltrate into Assam, and claimed this found space in some regional papers but could not even make it to the ticker on TV channels or the social media accounts of editors “who pontificate day in and night out”. Similarly, it argued though Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat stated there was no place for beef-eaters in India, but “the secular lobby” saved the day. “Would any BJP chief minister get away with it?” asks Panchajanya.