Media Watch Narad
Intro: Modi has given his vision of a 10-point formula to each Minister. While preparing a clear road map for the first 100 days they are expected to focus on these points.
Narendra Modi continues to get support from the media though as time passes by, with a word of caution. It began, shall we say, around the third week of May when The Asian Age (May 22 ) said that the Prime Minister’s acceptance speech “was a reminder, if one was needed, that Mr Modi is in complete control of the
situation as far as his own party is
concerned. The paper took note of his “conciliatory speech” and said that the Prime Minister “has begun well as a whole” and has “expressed the confidence that he would do his utmost to fulfil the hopes of the country and his will be a government for all sections of the people”.
Bharatiya Pragna (June 2014) said that “as the dust settles down on the elections, the Cabinet has hit top gear from Day One” with women given 25 per cent representation – highest ever in the Central Cabinet till date”. The journal said that “the Prime Minister has also given his vision of a 10-point formula each Minister should focus on while preparing a clear road map for the first 100 days highlighting what needs to be done.” The new Government added the journal “has started off on full stream”. But criticism of a soft kind has begun to appear in the media which should not be taken lightly.
The Sentinel (June 24) of Guwahati for example, reminded the BJP to “do well to remember that it has risen to power only because it has given hopes to the people embracing all sections but with the thrust on activities like focusing on Hindi as the medium of language the prognosis of the BJP does not appear too healthy”. It said: “The BJP also in this context needs to note that the demographic dividend that has reposed its faith on Modi too would feel dejected if BJP adhered to such views… The BJP needs to exercise caution.” On the subject of ‘illegal influx’, the paper warned that Assam by now has 10 districts having ‘illegal migrants as the majority community and “if a no-visa regime is allowed, the implications will indeed be disastrous”.
Writing in The Telegraph (June 24 ) Mukul Kesavan was critical of BJP’s wish to make Hindi hegemonic, pointing out that “it is a dangerously simple idea for a complicated Republic” He added: “The cause of Hindi as India’s lingua franca is better served by political campaigning and popular cinema than it is by coercive bureaucratic directives. The linguistic identity of the Indian national is a hydra that was spelled into sleep by the early wizards of the republic – However much it wishes to undo Dumbledore doings, the BJP ought to let this sleeping servant lie.”
Writing in DNA (June 26 ) Harini Calamur, Head, Digital Content, Zee Media Corporation suggested that “when it comes to language, the Government of India needs to be language agnostic.” She said, “It shouldn’t be a Hindi-English binary. Rather, the government needs to put out their communication in all official state language in order to make it accessible to the maximum number of people.” English, Ms Calamur said, has become the de facto link language not just because it offers upward mobility, but also because it does not give any State or linguistic grouping within India an unfair advantage when it comes to competing for jobs. “Any attempt to adopt one language as being more important than any other will have repercussions at the State level.”
Writing in Hans India (June 22 ) BS Raghavan said Modi, “should focus on accelerating economic growth and social development” and not let his Ministers embark on “disruptive escapades”. He said: “The power-that be at new Delhi must realise that the very mention of anything that smacks of propping up Hindi by the Centre to the subordination of other Indian languages raises the hackles of even the enlightened sections in the south.” And he added: “The best way of promoting Hindi was for Hindi-speaking people to demonstrate their love for, shed their ignorance of the greatness of, and become well-versed in languages other than Hindi.” So far the only paper to defend Hindi’s promotion seems to be The Hitavada which said: “Political parties opposing promotion of Hindi in official work should realise that it is an effective tool to spur national integration. Therefore instead of opposing Hindi, they should accept it and encourage its usage”. Promoting Hindi, said the paper, “should not be construed as an insult to English or other Indian languages.”
(The writer is a senior columnist and former editor of Illustrated Weekly)