Riots in retrospect
Ten years after the Gujarat riots,Rashtriya Sahara writes a full-page review on February 28: Ten years have passed since the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002,but Chief Minister Narendra Modi tries to talk about his electoral success in response to the bitter questions of his opponents. When asked about the riot culprits being unpunished,victims still being harassed and having received no compensation,Modi has often got up and moved away from the camera. In March 2010,a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was appointed by the Supreme Court to probe the Gujarat riots,which asked Modi to answer some questions,details of which are now in public domain. But many questions still remain unanswered.
In another,more positive piece of comment,it writes: Muslims do not want to talk much about the riots,ten years later. Some infer that the Gujarati Muslim is so afraid that he does not want to speak but that is not the case. Some may indeed be afraid,most Muslims are committed to rebuilding their lives,bit by bit,struggling against circumstance. They must be saluted for this. It quotes Iqbals famous line: Sitaron se aage jahan aur bhi hain (there are other worlds beyond the stars).
Describing Gujarat as Maadr-e-Hind ke rukhsar par thehra hua ansoo (a teardrop on the face of Mother India),the daily Inquilab,published from Mumbai,Delhi,Lucknow,Kanpur and Bareilly,compares the riots with the violence and destruction of Indias Partition.
Newly united front?
The strong opposition of several chief ministers to the now-deferred National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) has been much discussed in the Urdu press. Jamaat-e-Islamis biweekly,Daawat,writes on February 22: It has been confirmed that the entire exercise was undertaken by the Centre,keeping state governments in the dark,without any discussion or consultation. The objections raise fundamental questions of weakening federalism,which can lead to other problems.
The New Delhi-based weekly,Nai Duniya,edited by Samajwadi Party leader and former MP Shahid Siddiqui,however,calls it a rebellion by the chief ministers to snatch power from the Congress and BJP in 2014. In a piece of commentary (February 27),the paper writes: It is not just a disagreement with the Centres decision the objective is to forge a new united front against the Congress and the BJP… After the inclusion of a party like Telugu Desam,the way will be cleared for a strong political formation.
The Maharashtra check
Lucknow-based daily Aag writes in its February 18 editorial: The results of the Maharashtra municipal elections,particularly in Mumbai,amid the UP elections,have been an eye-opener for the Congress. It adds: The Congress-NCP alliance is now being described as a mistake. Some Congressmen say that the NCP succcesfully bargained for seats held by the Congress,and Congress could have kept those 25-odd seats that it lost.
Rashtriya Sahara,in its February 21 editorial,says that Raj Thackeray managed to snatch18 seats from the Shiv Sena. Dadar area was the most powerful stronghold of Bal Thackeray. Shiv Sena Bhawan,the symbol of the Thackeray clans power,is situated there. Now Raj Thackeray has captured Dadar,the paper says. It says that the Congress-NCP combine is still ahead of the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in smaller towns and rural areas,and that significantly, the entire election process was free of the Anna Hazare factor. However,the paper says,despite the fact that the election day was declared a holiday,55 per cent of Mumbais middle class chose to stay home with their family.
Music and words
According to a report in Delhi-based daily,Hamara Samaj (February 22),at the 143rd birth anniversary of legendary Urdu poet Ghalib in Delhis Ghalib Academy,Prof. Shamim Hanafi,a renowned Urdu scholar,said that Ghalib was very well-versed in the intricacies of Hindustani music: Ghalib had also chosen certain ragas for his ghazals and he has stated in one of his letters that a particular ghazal should be sung in Raag Jhinjhoti, Prof. Hanafi revealed.