Urdu papers, through their headlines, detailed coverage and editorials, have been concerned and candid about the frenzy that was whipped up about Ayodhya this fortnight.
Siasat’s editorial on November 24 notes that “when elections close in, the Sangh Parivar, the BJP, RSS and others, remember the mandir… just to spread hate”. It says the Centre, “far from acting on the threat to amity, does not even mildly rebuke the (Sangh Parivar’s) activities, making it clear that it wishes to mine the environment of hate for electoral gains.”
Rozanama Rashtriya Sahara, on November 25, speaks of “1992 jaise haalaat” (1992-like situation). It concludes that the Dharmam Sansad has been scheduled deliberately to terrorise and harass local people, especially the Muslims. It speaks of trainloads of Shiv Sainiks arriving for this purpose. But it also talks of the “local traders, the Vyapar Mandal, Faizabad, deciding to show black flags to Shiv Sainiks, and being unhappy about what is happening.” It writes that the locals are “feeling intimidated and hoarding rations”.
Munsif on November 26 has a headline that says “Dharam Sansad remains inconclusive”. Its editorial is titled, “Insaniyat ka dharam, kabootar hi jaanta hai” (Only pigeons understand the message of humanity). It cites poet Amit Ahad’s couplet about pigeons being the only creatures that frequent mandirs and masjids; hence they are the only ones who imbibe the true message of humanism. The editorial also argues that “all this is being whipped up for electoral and political gains and benefits”. But, it says; “despite the media (especially, the electronic media) singing paens to the Modi government, the youth are not willing to sacrifice their future.”
The political scenario in Jammu and Kashmir, with the sudden dissolution of the Assembly, has been viewed with interest.
Etemaad, the AIMIM mouthpiece from Hyderabad, has commented on the goings-on in the state in its editorial on November 23. The paper concludes that through the governor’s office, the BJP has thwarted the bid of the regional parties, the PDP and National Conference, to form a government with the support of the Congress. But, it concludes, “the fault is that of the PDP for aligning with the BJP in the first place and providing the zaafrani (saffron) party a foothold in the state “.The paper opines that “the party should have gone with National Conference and Congress right after the polls”.
Inquilab, in an editorial on the same day, emphasises what it sees as the “ray of light” from the NC, PDP and Congress appearing together. “It is not clear which way the dice will fall in 2019, but what is clear is that if the secular parties come together, then the BJP’s run to Delhi will be far from smooth.”
India and Pakistan
The Kartarpur corridor enabling Indian Sikhs to make an important pilgrimage to a shrine that falls in Pakistan is seen as a pathway to peace, but with some caution.
Etemaad, on November 28, speaks of how the Katarpur corridor, “on the most dangerous border in the world, offers an aman ka raasta, or a path of peace.” The paper writes in its editorial that it hopes both countries will try to use this opening for peace talks. It adds that the move is especially important as earlier, in September, a move for talks between India and Pakistan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly was scuppered because of militant attacks.
Roznama Rashtriya Sahara, in an editorial on November 29, expresses satisfaction at Imran Khan speaking of “all sections of the Pakistani state being one as regards peace with Pakistan”. The paper emphasises that “before elections, it was said that Imran Khan was the Army’s person, so we must recognise that now, when he speaks, it’s the Army speaking as well.” It says that the chasm between India and Pakistan got wider over the years, despite “India trying to normalise ties… whatever Imran Khan has said and done seemed unimaginable a few months ago. This thaw will be good for India too, though it is too early to say if relations will mend.”
The Prime Minister’s election rhetoric in the ongoing assembly polls has generated considerable anxiety.
Inquilab on November 29 reports the Sunday rally in Ajmer and speaks of PM’s silences on issues of “price-rise, joblessness, corruption and lack of governance”. The paper compares the rally to the large gathering addressed by Modi at the start of his pre-2014 campaign and says that the former fell short in terms of the “number of gates constructed at the venue, the carpets and the tents.” The Dharam Sansad meeting was on in UP on the day of the PM’s rally’ the paper berates him for not mentioning Pehlu Khan.
Inquilab speaks of the 48 minute long speech where PM mentioned Congress 48 times. It asks: “Kya Rajasthan ka maslaa, Congress hai?” (Is the Congress Party, the main issue in Rajasthan?) It writes that Vikas other than not happening on the ground, has “disappeared in the PM’s speeches too. It found mention just 11 times.”