Tuesday, April 28, 2009

India's election from across the border

After more than six decades of allowing institutions to develop to meet the demands of its citizenry, [India] has reached the stage where it appears that the political, legal and judicial systems have begun to work for the people. This cannot be said either for Bangladesh and Pakistan, countries that together with India constituted the British India empire.

Institutional and political progress in both Pakistan and Bangladesh has been patchy. Often the two countries have taken a step forward only to fall back by two steps.

... ...

Varun Gandhi, a grandson of Indira Gandhi, landed in jail after being caught on tape calling for the massacre of Muslims. The fact that he was punished by the aggressively independent Election Commission and sent to jail speaks volumes for the strength of India’s political institutions.

Outpourings of the usual Indian hack, self-indulgently congratulating himself (yes, it's mostly him) on India's 60 year old democracy? You would be surprised. These are extracts from an article by Shahid Javed Burki from the Dawn newspaper of Pakistan. In fact the Dawn has a regular running series on the Indian elections. Some of our news channels and newspapers would do well to take some tips on balanced reporting about the traditional 'enemy'. Of course even the Dawn occasionally cannot resist the slightly hysterical headline ' India votes in blood-stained election ' but overall the coverage is remarkable for its balance and non-partisan nature.

And I just love this report about an Advani speech which seems to have been overlooked by Indian newspapers..

‘Illicit monies are the dirty outcome of modern capitalism. But after the 9/11 terror (attacks), the US realised that, not just the buccaneers in business but even Obama Bin Laden could also hide his funds in secret havens and use them to bomb the world,’ he said.

But soon, an aide passed on a chit to the BJP leader, after which he corrected himself, saying ‘I have been told that I have just made a mistake’.

You bet your ... you did, man....

No comments: