With Arnab Goswami, is there hope for Aman Ki Asha?

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ajtr, May 18, 2012.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    With Arnab, is there hope for Aman Ki Asha?


    By Ajaz Ashraf

    Aman Ki Asha is an incredible joint media initiative of The Times of India and the Jang Group to foster peace between India and Pakistan. Yet you begin to doubt the mission of Aman Ki Asha and wonder about the sincerity of its two media partners as you watch Arnab Goswami conduct TV debates on issues over which India and Pakistan regularly squabble. Arnab is no ordinary anchor – he is the editor-in-chief of Times Now, the TV channel which belongs to the formidable stable of The Times of India (TOI), arguably India’s most influential and biggest media group.

    Arnab’s style of anchoring is inimitable as well as grating. He snaps, snarls, and growls, mocking those who don’t subscribe to his views on Pakistan, and extremely encouraging of those who do. Stung by his abrasive style, Pakistani lawyer Anees Jillani wrote in an Indian magazine last year, “I have learnt over a period of time that the best course of action is, simply, to not go to Times Now.”

    I began to obsess about Arnab as I read the TOI’s extensive, over-the-top coverage of the 2nd Pakistan-India Economic Conference that was held in Lahore on May 7-8, under the banner of Aman Ki Asha. I downloaded from the TOI website, as also YouTube, many of the video recordings of the past debates Arnab had moderated on issues pertaining to India-Pakistan relations. Let me not prejudice you. You should read the text of one such debate and judge whether or not Arnab’s style – and beliefs – is antithetical to the spirit of Aman Ki Asha.

    I click the start icon on my computer to listen and transcribe the debate Arnab hosted the day after President Asif Ali Zardari visited India, where he had lunch in Delhi with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and paid obeisance at the mausoleum of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti. Because of the space constraint, I will have to edit the transcript severely. Should you doubt the veracity of the transcript below, please google – Arnab Goswami+debate+Zardari – to doublecheck my version.

    Arnab introduces the topic of the debate: Any gains for India from Zardari’s visit? The participants in the debate are journalist Swapan Dasgupta, former Indian diplomat MK Bhadrakumar and Fauzia Kasuri, president of the women’s wing of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf. He asks Swapan Dasgupta what he thinks of the expectations Zardari’s visit to India has generated. Position to the right on the Indian ideological spectrum, Swapan blames India for turning Zardari’s spiritual pilgrimage into a diplomatic one. He finds the bonhomie displayed on the visit has stoked expectations. Further, Swapan argues, to placate the domestic sentiments, the Indian foreign secretary issued a statement saying the prime minister had raised the issue of Hafiz Saeed with Zardari, which prompted the media to claim that India had taken a tough, robust stance on terrorism.

    The mood is now set for Arnab to indulge in his customary verbal jousting. He asks, “Who gained what, Mr Bhadrakumar? It is zero, a zero-sum game. Had lunch, gained nothing.”

    Bhadrakumar begins to explain the finer aspects of diplomacy to Arnab: “First of all, diplomacy is about engagement. I can’t understand why when we are in such a strong position? Why we are afraid of engagement...There is slowly, steadily a critical mass which is accruing and it is unfair... for any logical person to be oblivious of that, unless you are congenitally negative toward the whole process...”

    Arnab is sarcastic: “O.” (He actually means: O, really?)

    Not willing to engage in a duel, Bhadrakumar lists the gains of Indo-Pak relations over the last three years, and adds, “... several steps have been taken also in the most recent period by Pakistan actually, ironically, which are indicative of...”

    Arnab butts in: “Like what?”

    Bhadrakumar: “For example, the MFN status, now you take the MFN status...”

    Arnab repeats in a mocking tone: “MFN status, MFN status...”

    Bhadrakumar retorts: “What do we say, we don’t want the MFN status...”

    There’s no holding back Arnab, who speaks as he gesticulates agitatedly, “MFN status. How much are we going on the symbolism, Mr Bhadrakumar? My question is, why is South Block (which houses the Indian Foreign Office) emphasising that we have drawn this tremendous thing out of this visit. This beautiful relationship has now been struck, we have struck the right atmosphere, now we are about to do something tremendous. The fact is... you are talking to somebody who has no mandate. Mr Zardari has no political clout in the country. Why is the hype being created?”

    Bhadrakumar says they are not here to discuss Zardari’s political status. Claiming to have repeatedly read the transcript of the briefing of Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, the former diplomat says he found nothing in it that should have anyone agitated.

    Arnab: “It is over-interpretation. Isn’t it over-interpretation?”

    But Swapan has raised his hand, and Arnab promptly turns to him. Swapan may want India to pursue a hard-line against Pakistan, but he is also a columnist who isn’t going to risk his reputation on falsehoods. He agrees with Bhadrakumar that Mathai’s briefing was marked by a certain degree of restraint, but points out that this sentiment was not echoed in the media. He cautions against undue raising of expectations, fearing it could lead India to compromise more than it is necessary. His prescription: Delhi should wait until such time as Pakistan is comfortable with its domestic situation.

    Arnab asks the Pakistani guest, “I want to get a sense from Fauzia how the visit was covered in Pakistan. If it was a personal visit, he could have flown straight to Ajmer and back. He didn’t need to have lunch in Delhi.”

    Fauzia says her piece, the gist of which is that Zardari has become extremely unpopular in the country, and he could have cut a better picture staying behind at the time soldiers and civilians had been buried under the avalanche in Siachen mountains.

    It is just the opening Arnab needed to fire his next volley: “I worry, Mr Bhadrakumar, that maybe Mr Zardari in his last few months and weeks at the helm of affairs in Pakistan, is desperately trying to somehow go down into history to have done something. And... somebody has put a carrot in front of him, that something is moving an inch forward with India, without realising that neither people of India will accept such carrots nor will the people of Pakistan be swayed by it.” Arnab follows it with a jab that he possibly mistakes for a knockout punch, “Mr Bhadrakumar, you talked of MFN status. How can you compare MFN status with terrorism, terror-related issues, Hafiz Saeed?”

    Bhadrakumar sniggers as he replies: “Of course, I never compared terrorism with MFN issue... Having dealt with Pakistan as a diplomat... I have never seen this attitude on the part of Pakistan to have a genuine economic cooperation with India. Now this is actually a litmus test…“

    But Arnab isn’t willing to allow the former diplomat to stray away from the issue of terrorism. He keeps repeating: “Ansar Burney, Ansar Burney...” The reader is best advised to read aloud Bhadrakumar’s reply given below and holler, Ansar Burney, at every three-four words.

    Picking up from where he was interjected, you catch up with Bhadrakumar saying, “... the litmus test of a certain willingness on the part of Pakistan to move forward. This is exactly the approach to Indo-Pak relations Delhi has been historically advocating. When Pakistan adopts... why are we afraid? ... And now Pakistan is agreeing with what we have been advocating ever since the Simla Accord, why are we chickening out... Take them at their face value...”

    I count Arnab take Burney’s name six times. Finally, Arnab asks the Burney question: “... There are two cases. There is the case of Dr (Khaleel) Chishti, the Pakistani microbiologist. I think, since 1992, the case has been hanging on in Ajmer and he has been in jail. Ansar Burney has also put in a mercy petition for Sarabjit Singh to Asif Ali Zardari many years back, and he repeatedly keeps writing to Zardari. Why would we not pick up the Sarabjit issue? ... You don’t want to act on Hafiz Saeed, release Sarabjit, let the spirit of reciprocity hold... Chishti was discussed, why was Sarabjit not discussed?”

    The point Arnab is making through the question needs explaining. Hafiz Saeed is viewed in India to have masterminded the massacre in Mumbai, and despite New Delhi’s demands, he has not been imprisoned or handed over to India. Sarabjit, by contrast, is an Indian who was given the death sentence for killing 14 people in bomb blasts he allegedly engineered in Multan and Lahore. Indians believe he is innocent, largely because the principal witness in the case retracted his statement, saying it was given under police pressure. Presumably, Arnab is making the point that Pakistan can compensate for its inaction against Saeed through the release of Sarabjit. Chishti’s case is decidedly different from Sarabjit’s – the former became embroiled a bloody family feud on his visit more than 20 years ago and was jailed (released and sent to Pakistan this week) for killing a person.

    Back to the debate, you can see Bhadrakumar losing patience with Arnab. He remarks caustically, “I don’t know whether you were an insider and you know something that I don’t know. I don’t know whether they discussed at all, or whether they did not discuss at all...It is wrong on our part to jump to any conclusion...”

    But you lose track of Bhadrakumar as Arnab interjects, “The government of Pakistan has been openly lobbying for Chishti’s release.”

    Arnab repeats the question even as Bhadrakumar speaks. You get to hear the former diplomat as he raises his voice to say, “When the foreign secretary said that the issue of terrorism was discussed upfront with Pakistan - upfront is a very strong expression in the diplomatic medium...”

    You miss out a portion of Bhadrakumar’s submission as Arnab asks: “Was Sarabjit discussed?”

    But the former diplomat, battle hardened now, is not willing to relent: He tries to complete his piece: “... When the foreign secretary said that, I’d like to believe that terrorism was discussed certainly. But terrorism is not the be-all and end-all of the relationship also...”

    Arnab interjects: “It is the stumbling block.”

    You, once again, lose out on a portion of Bhadrakumar’s response, but, finally, hear him say, “Both are major regional powers. There is a regional context. There are many things happening in Pakistan, there are many things happening in India. We are both countries with national aspirations. We need to have a prospective view of how life is going to be in the medium and long term.”

    Arnab, in the manner of a schoolboy, quips, “We don’t want to be stuck in photo ops.”

    Bhadrakumar continues: “I can’t understand how you can just count the trees, and say this is the wood all about.”

    Arnab lists a series of meetings between the Pakistani and Indian leadership over the last three years: “2009 Russia, 2009, Sharm-el-Sheikh, 2010 Thimpu, 2011 Mohali, 2011 Maldives, 2012, Seoul... What have these photo ops got either the people of Pakistan or India?”

    Bhadrakumar is heard saying, “Of course...” But Arnab wants Swapan to answer the question, and Bhadrakumar keeps quiet, even though the anchor had taken a dig at him. Swapan, too, says there has been a discernible shift in Pakistan’s position regarding trade with India. But this shift hasn’t happened because India diluted its position on terrorism, but despite the fact that India “maintained that terrorism is the most important issue”. Swapan, therefore, says if progress in trade happens, it would be evidence that it “pays to stick to your position...”

    Arnab asks: “Can you move this relationship on the basis of trade talks? Isn’t that fooling yourself?”

    Perhaps Arnab hasn’t read the TOI’s website devoted to Aman Ki Asha. A joint statement issued by the editors of the Jang Group and the TOI editors has these lines, “We will need to reach out and pluck the low hanging fruit in the beginning before we aim higher. Issues of trade and commerce, of investments, of financial infrastructure... will be part of our initial agenda.” Give it time, Arnab, the TOI website suggests the better route to peace is to resolve less complicated issues before moving to those considered intractable.

    Sorry for the minor digression. Swapan says trade can’t be the basis for moving the relationship; that the basis has to be a political one. He points to the lack of consensus between India and Pakistan on Afghanistan, and wonders whether Pakistan’s political class is in a position to “control its support” to the Taliban. He refers to Imran Khan’s alleged softness to the Taliban, as also to the perception that he is popular among certain sections of the cantonment. This twist in the debates sees Fauzia wade in – she refutes the charges against Imran, says India and Pakistan need to clear the air on many issues, including Kashmir, and they should sit together to evolve consensus on these in a candid manner.

    Suitably armed, Arnab asks, “Why has it not moved, Mr Bhadrakumar... since Sharm al-Sheikh? Because of terror, because Pakistan has not acted on terror?”

    Bhadrakumar is biting: “I think we have to be exceptionally myopic to be unable to see what happened in all this period since Sharm al-Sheikh...”

    Arnab: “What has happened?”

    Bhadrakumar says that as a joint secretary who dealt with the Pakistan division, he did not have a single day in his tenure during which there wasn’t bloodshed on the border. This hasn’t been the case since Sharm al-Sheikh, he points out, reiterating that even the graph of cross-border terror has registered a dip. He says, “Alright... there is an infrastructure of terror...”

    But Arnab’s voice drowns out Bhadrakumar’s. He is citing Prime Minister Singh’s statement in Seoul in March, but you understand neither till Bhadrakumar gets the better of the anchor in the slanging match to say, “Why are you afraid if I want to say something? Give me as much time as you want to give others.”

    Arnab: “I want to ask you a counter-question...”

    Bhadrakumar: “What is your counter-question?”

    The counter-question isn’t really a question. Arnab cites the statement the Indian Prime Minister had made in Seoul following a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart on March 22. Singh had said he could think of visiting Pakistan if there was something “solid”, something India and Pakistan could celebrate. Bhadrakumar says he agrees with the prime minister’s position, but he also adds a caveat, arguing that he favours the European model of diplomacy – leaders there meet over the weekend even though they don’t have an agreement to sign.

    Bhadrakumar adds, “Why should there be a Siachen Agreement, why should there be a Sir Creek Agreement for our PM to meet Mr Gilani.”

    Arnab is now apoplectic: “I am not even talking about Siachen Agreement or Sir Creek. I am talking about Hafiz Saeed. If I mention Hafiz Saeed, you will say MFN. I mention Hafiz Saeed.”

    Bhadrakumar: “Hafiz Saeed has come up...”

    Arnab: “It is not good enough to come up.”

    They are now speaking simultaneously, and it becomes extremely difficult to decipher them in the din. As the decibel level goes down, you hear Bhadrakumar say that Saeed has become an issue because of the intervention of a third party, essentially referring to the bounty the United States had announced on him days before Zardari flew to India. Anyway, he says, “Saeed is not the be-all end-all of Indo-Pak relations... Since the India foreign secretary has said that the terror issue was raised upfront... and in that context they have discussed Hafiz Saeed, I don’t see the problem...”

    Arnab mocks, “Mr Bhadrakumar, come on, just before leaving Lahore, Zardari said, ‘My stance on Saeed is not different from my government’s. My visit is religious...” Bhadrakumar now sees an opportunity to make a sally and interjects, even as you hear Arnab say: “He (Zardari) is avoiding the issue.”

    Bhadrakumar: “Be sensible, you mean to say the president of the country should be having a difference of opinion with his government on certain issues in its relationship with India. Don’t be funny...”

    Arnab: “It is not about being funny. My question to you is that had the same incident happened, had 200 Pakistanis been killed in cold blood by terrorists sent from India, would an Indian president be able to go have lunch, call it a personal visit, shake a few hands, and fly back. That’s the fundamental question: What would have been the public discourse in Pakistan then?”

    Bhadrakumar wants to answer the question, but Arnab’s preference is Swapan. “Let us get another view,” Arnab says. But Bhadrakumar has taken to imitating Arnab’s style. He exploits a momentary pause in the debate to butt in, “We have a relationship here involving two countries which have killed each other over and over for six decades and you are talking about 200, it is 2000, it is 20,000 in all kind of situations.”

    Arnab: “You are playing down 26/11.”

    Bhadrakumar: “Does this mean you don’t try to normalise relationship?”

    Arnab: “Let us hear the other side. A lot of people think 26/11 can’t be brushed aside.”

    Swapan reiterates what has already been said – the timing of Zardari’s visit was inappropriate, that many Pakistanis don’t consider him to be fit to lead the country. But the debate has already lost its edge. Bhadrakumar is not going to speak, and Arnab readily agrees with Swapan when he says India and Pakistan need to discuss, in a frank and open manner, the fundamental issues dogging the two countries. Fauzia is the last to speak – she sees value in photo-ops because these inspire hope in people who desire peace. There are several private initiatives, she adds, mentioning Aman Ki Asha as one such example.

    Now that you have read Arnab, glance at some of these lines culled from the joint statement of the editors of the Jang Group and The Times of India. “In this perennial season of inertia and zero-sum calculations prejudices continue to fester, stereotypes are entrenched and myth replaces reality.”

    Try telling this to Arnab.

    Another paragraph says, “The media in India and Pakistan speaks directly to the hearts and minds and stomachs of the people. It can do so by shaping the discourse and steering it away from rancour and divisiveness.”

    Did I hear you say: Let Arnab sit at the steering wheel of Aman Ki Asha?

    The editors definitely didn’t have Arnab in mind at the time they wrote these lines in the joint statement: “The media can begin the conversation where a plurality of views and opinions are not drowned out by shrill voices. It can cleanse polluted mindsets and revive the generosity of spirits, which is a distinctive trait of the Subcontinent. It can help cool the temperature and wean away the guardians from fortified frontiers.”

    Oh, really? Obviously, the TOI bosses haven’t heard the Times Now editor-in-chief closely. The TOI-Jang statement further adds, “A surge of goodwill and flexibility on the part of civil society and the media will push these (external) forces back by denying them the raw material that manufactures hate.” We know Arnab is an amiable, well-meaning Indian who happens to head a TV channel entangled in the business of attracting eyeballs. Perhaps the media partners on the Aman Ki Asha bandwagon want to run with the hare and hunt with the hound, create a brand image and yet get the eyeballs of those who are votaries of muscular, demented nationalism.

    The writer is a Delhi-based journalist
     
  2.  
  3. Adux

    Adux Senior Member Senior Member

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    The writer can go jump of a well. He seems to be cowing down for Pakistan is a good thing, plus he lost in sort of credibility when he came in the defense of the oxygen theif Bhadrakumar
     
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  4. Adux

    Adux Senior Member Senior Member

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    is there any other sort, when it comes to the islamist terrorist of pakistan?
     
  5. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Huh - let me ask this question: "With the terrorist state of Pakistan, is there any hope for Aman Ki Asha"?

    LOL - as though one Arnab Gowsami can do so much harm between nations! These useless journalists who advocate silly pie-in-the-sky ideas like Aman Ki Asha are the biggest idiots.

    Next, we'll have some closet Paki asking, "With DFI and BR, is there any hope for Aman Ki Asha?"
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    and what other sort of saffronist of india and gujarat are?
     
  7. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    I never had any "Aman ki Asha", Arnab Goswami never influenced my opinion. Sentimental fools driven by their allegiance to a "Common Religion", "Common Culture" and the "Glorious 17th century" can go to hell.
     
  8. amitkriit

    amitkriit Senior Member Senior Member

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    They look like idiots in front of the Zahil Hamids the "Land of Pures" has managed to produce.
     
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  9. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    So without Arnab Goswami there would have been a Aman ki Asha ?

    If so, may Arnab da live for another 100 years.

    And its funny to see the Paki complaining as if the peace between India and Pak is obstructed only because of Arnab and not because of ISI, Syed Salahuddin, Zaki Lakhvi, Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Sayed, Maulana Masiid Azhar an all those assorted jihadi pigs.
     
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  10. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Wake me up when the BJP/RSS and other assorted "saffronists" send people into Porkistan to kill people.

    Seriously, this statement from Tom Friedman, made in the aftermath of 26/11, comes to mind:

    "After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets."

    The fact is, such a thing is never going to happen. In spite of all the Paki RAPE class trying their hardest to make an equal-equal through "useful liberal bitches", there is no equal-equal, there never will be.

    The pukes are barbarians and are usually born terrorists. Nothing comes as naturally to pukes as terrorism and fundamentalism/fanaticism.
     
  11. Adux

    Adux Senior Member Senior Member

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    If you think I am violent on chicoms, let me not start with you paki pigs. saffornist of India do not control India or its media, actually it is the other way around. Stop wailing about Gujarat, it was a riot, as simple as that, sorry your religious kin were on the loosing side, maybe they should have known better than to actually start the damn riot. With the riot, , Islamist started, Saffronist ended it. You just dont like the scoreline.

    In reality, humanity lost.

    But that has nothing to do with that is vile country that is Pakistan, the normal Indians, seculars has more than enough bone to pick up with you and your lot. The biggest threat to secularism is Islamist and Pakistan attitude.

    Gujarat might be termed as heaven in comparison to your treatment of minorites in Pakistan as well as the Pakistani muslims themselves when they are treated like shit in the islamic and the western world.


    Bend your foreheads, to your true God, India.. ---- Off.
     
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  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Arnabs sister concern ToI should learn something.
     
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  13. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    TOI proposes Arnab DISPOSES { Aman ki Asha }

    But really it is nice to see his aggressive and No nonsense demeanour

    Especially BEFORE Barkha Dutt can Sell out India at 10 PM Arnab DEMOLISHES Pakistan
    between 9 and 10 PM
     
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  14. pankaj nema

    pankaj nema Senior Member Senior Member

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    Arnab has a brilliant team of HAWKS

    Mahroof Raza ; Major General Bakshi ; Kanwal SIbal ;K C Singh ; LT General Shankar Prasad
    and a few BJP People thrown in

    They really chew up the Aman ki Asha IDEAS of the Indian Doves led by the PM Himself

    I am really Thankful to Arnab for SETTLING the Siachen Peace Offering
    by General Kayani on the VERY DAY General Kayani made that " Withdrawl and peace " offer

    His aggressive tone completely floored the Pakis who realised that the Public opinion
    in India is against trusting Pakistan on Siachen
     
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  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Aman is a nice word.

    It however requires both hands to clap.

    And not be a passive one!
     
  16. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    That said, Arnab is an idiot show since his IBN days developed his new style of anchoring and shouts and shouts for no reason.
     
  17. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Arnab Goswami is no idiot.

    He is highly articulate and researches his subjects well.

    His style, at times, is most irritating and at times, obnoxious!

    Others, in comparison, appear to be Govt agents!

    It is not that he does not appear to be one too!

    He has the fool Sharma who is the political editor of HT and a total Govt hack! Sharma maharaj has no respect for the truth. He is like a top spin man for the Govt and looks so silly with this one quarter, or one sixty-fourth mouth open showing piranha teeth!

    He had claimed that the Bhusah tapes were genuine and his source beyond doubt and so was his article. It turned out that the tapes were doctored!! Sharma maharaj lies through his teeth!


    If one wants to hear the Govt view, the DD does it well and they are very coherent and even right!

    In fact. DD at times seem to clear the clutter of the private channels!
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2012
  18. Adux

    Adux Senior Member Senior Member

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    I wouldnt say, there is only so much a person can take when people with certain view point is given more media space by all channels together, and therefore they hound on arnab, who decided to be different. Thank God.
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Yusuf,

    Believe in the Govt.

    :inr: has fallen.

    You, as an importer, should now make a killing! :rofl:

    While I, with a fixed income, will have to wonder what will come for the next meal!

    And sadly, I am left in a hanging situation where I can't claim to be BPL since I get more that :inr: 36!!
     
  20. hit&run

    hit&run Elite Member Elite Member

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    Arnab Goswami has single handedly screwed and exposed so many Pakistanis that now they are attacking him. I would like to know how many Pakistanis even give damn to this Aman ke Asha nonsense. Indians as usual here are busy fighting each other, throwing their over educating points but unable to see Pakistani discomfort of being humiliated for their con, lies and bigotry by this Indian.

    All the power to Aarnab Goswami, haters gonna hate.

    Please withhold your views about him for his views and conduct on India's internal matters, this thread is not about that.
     
  21. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    sir, as an importer Yusuf must be having sleepless nights. He will be comfortable when the Rs. starts to climb. Now his import costs are going up with every shipment while the Rs. cost of the product in India remains almost stagnant.
     

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