Ayodhya Verdict: An analysis of Hindi newspapers

By Mahtab Alam for TwoCircles.net,

Ranchi: The three judges of Allahabad High Court might be divided over the disputed land at Ayodhya but Hindi newspapers published from Ranchi are not. They have very clear and loud verdict (read message) to convey in their headlines.

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“Disputed land is Ram Janambhumi (Vivadit Asthal Ramjanambhumi)”, says Prabhat Khabar, once considered to be the most progressive newspaper and whose tagline is Revolution not Newspaper. Ranchi Express, proclaimed to be the oldest daily newspaper from Jharkhand is one step forward. “This is the Ram Janambhumi (Yahi hai Ramjanambhumi)” says its heading. Once the most popular Hindi daily, Aaj and self-proclaimed Hindi daily, Sanmarg ditto each others’ heading with a slight difference. While Aaj writes, “Land belongs to Ramlala (Ramlala ki zameen)”, Sanmarg says, “Janmbhumi of Ramlala (Janambhumi Ramlala ki)”. The self-claimed largest newspaper in the world, Dainik Jagran writes, “Ramlala will be there (Virajman rahenge Ramlala)” and small-time Daily, Jharkhand Jagran copies it with Ramlala in the beginning, “Ramlala rahenge virajman”. However, Dainik Hindustan writes, “Statues will not be removed; Land will be divided (Murtiyan nahi hategi, Zamieen Bategi”. But the most responsible and objective heading is by Dainik Bhaskar, run by the largest newspapers group in India and recently started from Ranchi. “Ayodhya Sabki (Ayodhya for all)”, says its heading. And that is what the essence of the judgments, I suppose, if one thinks positively.

All the papers are full of reportage, stories and statements. Prabhat Khabar, Dainik Hindustan, Dainik Bhaskar, Aaj and Dainik Jagran have published official editorial appeal to maintain peace and harmony. Sanmarg, Ranchi Express and Jharkhand Jagran have not published such editorial. But despite its appeal to maintain peace and communal harmony Dainik Jagran, on its editorial page has published three articles on the issue, which in a way or other endorse its biased headline.

The lead article is by BJP spokesperson and Hindu Mahasabha’s counsel Ravi Shanker Prasad with the heading- Aastha par adalati muhar (Judicial Stamp on the matter of faith)”. And writer considers the judgment along the lines of Hindu faith. The second article is by constitutional expert, Subhash Kashyap with a heading—“Mandir ki manyata ki pushti (Confirmation of belief of Temple)”. While considering it a historic judgment he asks, “when all evidences and reasoning are in favour of the temple then why Muslims are given one-third part”? Third but most astonishing article is by Congressmen Rashid Alvi with the heading—Masjid ki zid chhor (Forget the Masjid)”. In the article, Alvi instead of giving his opinion on legal side of the case tried to preach the Muslim community. “Muslims should understand that, no community can progress until it take lessons from past”, he writes. Dainik Hindustan has published a lead article on its editorial page written by one of its associate editors, Arun Kumar Tripathi. Tripathi says, “After six decades, the court has given a practical judgment keeping in mind the grass-root and political situation. In the light of this, harmony should be established”. Both Prabhat Khabar and Dainik Bhaskar have published many reports from outside Jharkhand apart from Lucknow and Ayodhya.

Again it can rightly said, if any paper has covered the issue most objectively and keeping the situation in mind, it is none but Dainik Bhaskar. However, efforts by Dainik Hindustan are also laudable.

[Pics are of Hindi newspapers published from Patna]