Omantribune
Oman Tribune
Omantribune
Omantribune Search News
Web Oman
    Google Search Button
      Tribune
- Oman
- Soccer World Cup
- Other Top Stories
- Middle East
- Business
- Sports
- India
- Pakistan
- Asia
- Europe
- Americas
- Columnists
- Editorial
- Oman Mirror
- Special Features
- Cinema
- PDF Pages
- Weather
- Travel
- Currency Rate
- Hospitals
- Pharmacies
- Services
- Flight Timings
- Museum Timings
Omantribune Home Omantribune About Us Omantribune Advertising Information Omantribune Archives Omantribune Subscribe-Form Omantribune Jobs Omantribune Contact Us
Saturday, October 25, 2014  
Grabbing headlines

by AJ Philip
Men like Karnad create a controversy and thrive on it

Headline-grabbing seems to have become the be-all and end-all of public life. Last week, veteran theatre person Girish Karnad was in the news not for any new production or performance but for his comments on Nobel laureate VS Naipaul. The forum was a literary festival, which almost every town from Kovalam in the south to Dehradun in the north now hosts, because there is big money in it.

Karnad was listed to speak on theatre at the Mumbai festival but he used the occasion to fire a fusillade at Naipaul, who was given a lifetime achievement award the previous day. The festival, which had not received much media attention, was suddenly on the front pages of newspapers with the television channels following up as usual.

He took the festival stage with some questionable quotations from Naipaul’s book India: A Wounded Civilization that many saw as “anti-Muslim”. Those references in his book had endeared Naipaul to the votaries of Hindutva, who even managed to organise a public reception to the author with then prime minister AB Vajpayee in the chair when he won the Nobel.

Without getting into the historical correctness or otherwise of Naipaul’s assessment of the Vijayanagaram empire as the last bastion of Hindu  civilisation brought down by the Muslims and the construction of a mosque by the first Moghul Emperor as “an act of hubris”, let it be said that much water has flowed under the Yamuna bridge since the book’s publication in 1977.

It is puerile to expect a writer to be consistent in his views when he has to respond to changing situations. Similarly, a person or object may not evoke the same response from everyone. However great the Taj is as an architectural wonder, I felt peeved when an acquaintance sent me its picture with the wishes that my new flat might be as beautiful as Shah Jahan’s creation. He, perhaps, did not realise that it was a tomb.

One can also see in such ancient works of art the sweat of thousands of labourers and artisans who spent their lives building them in slave-like conditions. But then, Naipaul is not a historian but a fiction and travel writer, who admits that he has no political views. Anyway, he has come a long way since writing that book.

His India: A Million Mutinies Now, published in 1990, is far more beautiful and sympathetic to India. It could even be considered as a correction of his earlier views, compared to Katherine Mayo’s on India, which Mahatma Gandhi described as no better than a drain inspector’s report.

Not many know that author and politician Arun Shourie, who earned the wrath of several communities by critiquing their holy texts, began his writing career by critiquing Hinduism. It’s a different matter that he no longer mentions it in his list of books, probably because his views on Hinduism have changed!

The charge of anti-Islam levelled against Naipaul has lost much of its sting after his marriage to Nadira, a Muslim, and adoption of her two children. In any case, a person should be judged by his whole body of work, not by his stray comments. Arthur Koestler’s The Lotus and the Robot failed to impress because he selectively quoted Mahatma Gandhi and the Paramacharya of Kanchi to show them in a bad light.

When it comes to headline-grabbing, no one can rival politicians, particularly Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. His vitriolic comment that Union minister Shashi Tharoor had a “Rs500 million girlfriend” in his wife Sunanda boomeranged on him when his own party colleagues took a dim view of it.

Tharoor, who once made the tactless mistake of describing economy class in the airlines as “cattle class”, thereby antagonising the millions who cannot afford to travel in first class, curtly but brilliantly shot back: “My wife is worth a lot more than your imaginary 500 millions. She is priceless. But you need to be able to love someone to understand that”. Needless to say, his riposte won the hearts of many a woman.

Smart one-liners are what every politician wants to make. Minister Jairam Ramesh recently made one such comment, “India had more temples than toilets”, which did not go down well with many people, who wished he had shown similar enthusiasm in actually constructing toilets.

Ramesh knew that it was far easier to make such statements than to initiate a toilet revolution in a country where over 50 per cent people did not have access to clean toilets. Similarly, Girish Karnad would have had to work very hard to produce a play that could grab headlines in the Press. It was infinitely easier to choose a literary Goliath, catapult some stones at him and get instant attention.

Oman Tribune

Other comment for AJ Philip

Modi’s gamble pays off

Tough task for MPs

Overhaul needed

In jail finally

No more a pariah

Equal rights

Wrong priority

Enable the disabled

Reaching out

Worthless laws

Magnificent obsession

Alarming acquittals

More confusion

Plight of nurses

Not a sweet start

Wrong approach

Knee-jerk response

A different kind of PM

No right to privacy

Sheer brilliance

No baggage

Taxing the patience

Neglected Sherpas

Failure of justice

Puppets of moneybags

Whipping boy

Face the truth

Whither ideology?

Green conflicts

Changing colours

No wave in India

Running into a wall

Telangana storm

Back in reckoning

India’s ugly reality

Minority obsession

Harsh reality

Tharoor’s tragedy

Not much joy

The dark horse

Rising hopes

Row over a maid

Kerala’s new icon

AAP wonder

Sheer ignorance

No more Tehelka

Icing on the cake

Pride of India

Sense and Sensex

Obama is wrong

Fool’s gold

Universality of law

Muzaffarnagar riots

The rise of Modi

One for statute book

Juvenile justice

Plus point

Onion puzzle

Sheer self-interest

Cause for elation

Education crucial

Midday disaster

Delhi magic

Pathetic state

Himalayan tragedy

Still a force?

Petty politics

Back in action

The threat within

Scandalous matches

Singh’s great fear

Dangerous trend

Nexus exposed

No fear of law

A charade

Not a general

Timely move

Misplaced sympathy

Modern-day Houdini

An all-women bank

Judicial confusion

Test of fire

Unmusical diktat

Cry for freedom

Awards circus

Son rises in Delhi

Long wait for justice

Misdirected anger

Rape of faith

Predators on prowl

Modi’s tall claims

Now or never

Terrible reality

Look within

Legacy of hate

The whole truth

Grabbing headlines

Challenge for Rahul

Flight into disaster

Reducing potency

Man in a hurry

As countdown begins

Wise use of wealth

Emerging Kerala?

Proof of the pudding…

Day of reckoning

Play by the rules

Ending the exodus

Silver lining

Tiwari’s mess

Worrying trends

Right to education

Secrecy in democracy

CBI in the dock

Self before nation

Great race tactics

Subsidising the rich

Bihar myths, truths

Party of differences

Might matters

Ties with Myanmar

Milking Air-India

Craze for civil service

The next president

Missile muscle

Chandy in trouble

Red fantasy

Fixing the corrupt

The reading habit

Free laptops in UP

Sonset and sonrise

Supreme folly

Nuclear logjam

Mystery of the sea

Sleazy shocker

Nightingales’ woes

Other side of the prize

Sticking to his guns

End of the scourge

Reintroducing reforms

The Lok Pal claptrap

Fighting corruption

The two musketeers

Singh must act

Baseless fears

Maya’s surprise

Disaster ahead

Islands of prosperity

An outsider

RTI Act is a deterrent

Closing digital divide

Ridiculing poverty

Driven to suicide

Cut oil consumption

Bihar sets an example

Temple and tradition

India’s new dawn

Judicial corruption

Creativity a crime

The great debate

Damiens needed

Looking back

A Kerala sans women

Holy treasure trove

Medical malady

Uniformed criminals

Precious tag

Baba’s shenanigans

Pointer to the future

Noose is for the poor

Unnecessary furore

Change necessary

Women on top

Judges unto death

End of endosulfan

Cancer incised

Liberal justice

Hazare’s hour of triumph

New challenges ahead

Cheap rice for votes

Double blow for Singh

Sad saga of Shanbaugh

The bare necessities

Voice of reason

Court-driven democracy

Health Mission’s giant task

Black money in tax havens

Celebrations of writing

Bomb for bomb no solution

Judiciary on backfoot

Kalady’s unique temple

Doctor in the dock

Something to hide

Philanthropic billionaires

Turbulence in the air

Radia and media

Vote for development

Release of Suu Kyi

Obama’s visit to India

When conscience bites cop

Is Supreme Court sexist?

Receiving encomiums

Coming of age in sports

Verdict on Ayodhya

Community spirit

The Ayodhya verdict

The burden of inertia

Sonia’s unfinished agenda

Privileged political class

Bye-bye to special features?

Countdown to Games

Unpaid toil of housewives

Roadside meetings

Capital city’s new pride

Film industry comes of age

New line for telecom sector

Whodunits in trial and justice

Chinks in Marxist armour

Honour killings a disgrace

Unrest vs corporate greed

The usual suspect

Turning the caste clock back

The taming of IPL

Lessons from Tharoor saga

Caught in the crossfire

Archives
- Back to columns -
NEWS UPDATES
Oman
Meeting recommends GCC centre for water treatment
Documentary on Oman screened in Paris
Oxy Oman signs deal to back SMEs
70 projects vie for HM e-governance award
Other Top Stories
US strikes hit militia in Kobani, Mosul dam
Canada House locked down, intruder shot dead
Sultanate, Abu Dhabi ink deal for first wind energy plant
Rowhani opposes bill to empower Islamic vigilantes
2 die after Ebola test sparks riot in Sierra Leone
Middle East
Four Blackwater guards guilty of ’07 Iraq killings
Unrest-hit Tunisian city sees no peace in sight as clock ticks on poll
Settlers grab land through shady deals
S. Arabia sentences 13 over plot to attack US soldiers
Iran lawyer up in arms over practice ban
Business
MSM surges 120 points on global cues, better earnings
Middle East equity issuance rises 43%
Oil could fall to $70 range in coming months: Moody’s
India may allow foreign firms in commercial coal mining
Wipro posts 8% rise in Q2 profit
Tainted firms feel heat of India ‘clean-up’ drive
DLF seeks relief from market ban
Beijing fears rate cut may fuel debt, property bubble
Japan hit by growing trade deficit
Total appoints new CEO after death of De Margerie
Apec to follow ‘flexible’ policies
Sports
Champions League throws up goal feast
Modest Guardiola says Bayern can do better
Ton-up Younis stands tall for Pakistan
Johnson not in Akram’s league yet, says Waqar
Utd job too big for Moyes: Alex
Scotland lifts Ghala Valley Open crown
Almouj gear up for NBO Golf Classic
AIBA suspends boxer Sarita and coaches

Sports


International

© 2013 Oman Tribune. All rights reserved. Best viewed in 800 X 600 resolution