On March 9, Munsif carried an editorial titled; "Is the Court Order a Vain Attempt?" The editorial makes some crucial points regarding the Supreme Court decision to appoint a three-member panel of mediators on the title dispute around the Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid complex. It notes, "We aren't saying that do not resolve matters by baat-cheet or dialogue, but all sides need to agree to whatever would be decided. But this seems to be a meaningless attempt when some of the sides who are original litigants do not even want to envisage the existence of a mosque close to the site."
Hamara Samaj's editorial on March 15 notes that any attempt to "resolve" the dispute must be marked with kasheeda kalbi or large-heartedness and must be well-intentioned. Stubborn attitudes, it opines; "have seldom yielded solutions..a humble and cheerful approach cannot hurt anyone. A battle and a fight too often end due to dialogue…But what use is it, if after a battle where we lose everything and only then end up exploring the sensible route?"
Siasat on March 9 notes that; "all those who are litigants need to now refrain from publicly airing or broadcasting their views or from unnecessary bayaanbaazi or offering statements. They need to say whatever they have to, before the mediators. Each litigant must be wise, sagacious and pay full attention to ensuring justice." It adds; "till the process is not judicious or wise, we cannot be hopeful. Political parties must separate their politics from this case. It must now be about those actually party to the case."
Polls and politics
Roznama Rashtriya Sahara's editorial on March 20 talks about the lack of visibility of Muslims in politics. The paper notes,"Politicians are scared of nominating Muslims as candidates" and they are even missing from political rallies. It also writes that this is not the first time that this has happened. "ND Tewari had blamed Dilip Kumar for his loss in elections, once!" However, the editorial raises a more fundamental question: "What has happened in this land of Ganga-Yamuna civilisation that Muslims have become outsiders?" They fought shoulder to shoulder against colonial rule, against oppression. "Is it just the Partition of a piece of land which can explain the repressed anger against Muslims?" The editorial concludes by asking Muslims to be "prepared for waging a struggle for further participation and better representation in politics."
Siasat's editorial on March 8 rues that the "country's politics seems to have got caught in the chowkidar and the chor binary. The leaders on both sides are engaged in a slugfest on twitter, and each side claims more support." The editorial elaborates that there are "so many problems in the country currently, with so many issues. But third-rate slogans have clouded the debate. It says voters must take stock of the claim being made by the BJP of being the chowkidar. "Where was the chowkidar when there was notebandi, GST and wrongdoing in defence matters?"
Munsif's editorial on March 15 asks; "Is Mayawati serious about beating BJP?" The paper believes that "if the Sangh Parivar returns to power, it would have a deleterious impact on democracy, Constitution and Secularism. It is not a single party's job to guard secularism and the Constitution. For a bigger cause, parties that call themselves secular must be able to sacrifice their immediate interests." From such a perspective, it examines Mayawati's vacillation on contesting the Lok Sabha elections and concludes that the Bahujan Samaj Party leader "does not appear serious" as she is "not serving the nation's interests by doing this, but just her own."
The mouthpiece of the Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslemeen, Etemaad in an editorial on March 12 talks about "social media and the model code of conduct". Praising the Election Commission for understanding the full nature of the impact of social media on voters, it also talks about "the fake videos put out after the attack at Pulwama". Many people believed in these videos, the editor points out.
The terror attacks on two mosques in new Zealand have drawn ire of sections of the Urdu press. The Urdu Times on March 17 writes of Islamophobia ka barhtaa Junoon (the growing threat of Islamophobia). Siasat on the same day writes of Dahshatgardi par Trump ka dogla rawaiyya (The double standards of Trump on terror).
Munsif on March 19, writes of Nafrat ke Saudagar (the dealers of hatred). The paper notes that "In India after the Babri Masjid was demolished and in the US after the attacks on September 11, a peculiar mentality has sprouted like a poisonous tree with branches everywhere. Insaniyat has given way to Nazariyat (humanity has yielded to ideology).
Inquilab on March 19 too rues on the rise of Islamophobia and White racism taking root in sections of the West. It notes that that Islamophobia will pose grave difficulties to the West, Europe and the US. It says that the time has come to face this challenge unitedly – much in the same way that 'terror' has been countered.
There is some mirth about the missing Rafale papers, after the Attorney General's admission in the Supreme Court that the documents were stolen from the Defence Ministry. Munsif on March 8, for instance, mocks the "safe hands" from which they were wrenched away.
(Compiled by Seema Chishti)