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ನೂರೆಂಟು ಸುಳ್ಳು (nUreMTu suLLu)

You may not be a "Dhrutharashtra", but we want to be the Sanjaya for you!

Friday, February 08, 2008

1 Vote Does Make A Difference...But, What About 4 Factual Errors?

In yesterday's (Feb 7, 2008) Vijaya Karnataka, there's an article with the title: "ಒಂದು ಮತ ಹಾಕದಿದ್ದರೂ ಒಳ್ಳೆ ಅಭ್ಯರ್ಥಿ ತಪ್ಪಿಯಾನು ಜೋಕೆ!"

The gist of the article:

ನಮ್ಮಲ್ಲಿ 'ನಾನೊಬ್ಬ ಮತ ನೀಡದಿದ್ದರೆ ದೇಶವೇನೂ ಮುಳುಗೋದಿಲ್ಲ' ಎನ್ನುವ ನಿರ್ಲಿಪ್ತವಾದಿಗಳಿಗೇನು ಕೊರತೆಯಿಲ್ಲ. ಒಂದು ರೂ.ನಿಂದ ನೂರು ರೂ ಆಗುವಂತೆ, ಒಂದು ಮತದಿಂದಲೇ ಸಾವಿರ ಮತಗಳಾಗುವುದು. ಹಾಗೆಯೇ, ಒಂದು ಮತದಿಂದಲೇ ಸೋಲು ಎರಗಬಹುದು. ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಅಭ್ಯರ್ಥಿ ಕೈ ತಪ್ಪಬಹುದು. ಒಂದು ಮತ ಏನೆಲ್ಲ ಮಾಡುತ್ತದೆ ನೋಡಿ.

Could a single vote make a difference? Sure it could.
To illustrate (or emphasize?) this point, the author of the article mentions the following historical events:

  • ಒಂದೇ ಮತದ ಅಂತರದಿಂದ ಸೈನಿಕನಾಗಿದ್ದ ಆಲಿವರ್ ಕ್ರಾಮ್‌ವೆಲ್(1645) ಎಂಬಾತ ಇಡೀ ಇಂಗ್ಲೆಂಡ್ ಮೇಲೆ ಹಿಡಿತ ಸಾಧಿಸಿಬಿಟ್ಟ.
  • ಒಂದನೇ ಚಾರ್ಲ್ಸ್ ದೊರೆಗೆ ಗಲ್ಲು ಶಿಕ್ಷೆಯಾಯಿತು. ಕೇವಲ ಒಂದು ಮತದ ಹೆಚ್ಚಳದಿಂದ!
  • ಅಮೆರಿಕ ದೇಶದಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರಭಾಷೆಯಾಗಿ ಜರ್ಮನ್ ಬದಲಿಗೆ ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷ್ ಅನುಷ್ಠಾನಕ್ಕೆ ಬಂದದ್ದು ಒಂದೇ ಮತದ ಮೇಲುಗೈ ಕೃಪೆಯಿಂದ!
  • ಜರ್ಮನಿಯ ಹಿಟ್ಲರ್‌ನನ್ನು ನಾಝಿ (1923) ಪಕ್ಷದ ಮುಖ್ಯಸ್ಥನನ್ನಾಗಿಸಲು ದೊರೆತ ಹೆಚ್ಚುವರಿ ಮತ ಎಷ್ಟು ಗೊತ್ತೆ? ಬರೀ ಒಂದು!

So, what's the problem?!
The problem is, none of them is really true.
All these are urban legends. (For details, you know what do here)

By the way, the author mentions about Vajpayee government's loss in parliament by one vote in 1998. This, as far as we know, is factually correct.

Tail Piece: We have sent an e-mail to VK's Correction Department. Let's see what happens..

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

So, What's The Answer?!

On Tuesday (Nov 27th, 2007) Mr.Shivanna, an M.P. from Karnataka asked the following question in Lok Sabha:

ದೇಶದ ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ ಬೆಳೆಗಾರರು ಈರುಳ್ಳಿಯ ದರ ಕುಸಿತದಿಂದ ಕಣ್ಣೀರು ಸುರಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಈರುಳ್ಳಿ ರಫ್ತು ಮೇಲೆ ನಿರ್ಬಂಧ ವಿಧಿಸಲಾಗಿದೆ. ರೈತರ ಕಷ್ಟ ನಿವಾರಿಸಲು ರಫ್ತು ನಿರ್ಬಂಧ ಸಡಿಲಿಸುವ ಆಲೋಚನೆ ಸರಕಾರಕ್ಕಿದೆಯೇ

How did we find out? It's there in a report published in today's (Nov 28, 2007) Vijaya Karnataka.

The report mentions that Mr.Shivanna asked the question in Kannada even after the Speaker requested him to use English. The report also mentions that Jairam Ramesh the concerned minister started his answer in Kannada but quickly switched over to English.

Dear readers, now tell us what's that you want to know.
The minister's answer?
Or, Mr.Shivanna's attire?

If it's the attire that you are interested, you will find what you want in the V.K. report. In fact, the report itself is more or less about Mr.Shivanna's attire. For the record, he was dressed in a full suit and a tie.

Now, if you really want to find out what the minister said about the onion exports, you will have to read another newspaper. You won't find it in Vijaya Karnataka.

So, what's the answer?

From the Economic Times:

Referring to the increase in onion prices a few months back, Ramesh said the government changed the policy on October 4, restricting exports. The policy was reverted on November 14 after the prices in the wholesale market in the country moderated, touching as low as Rs 7.5 to Rs 8.5 per kg, he said.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How About A Special Olympics For Factually-Challenged?

Dear Readers,

The entire staff -- exactly one person -- of 108 Sullu World H.Q. is in a fairly good mood. Our favorite actress Madhuri Dixit is back with a movie!

If she can come back after so many years of hiatus, shouldn't we do the same? After all our hiatus isn't even that long. Relatively speaking, that is. Let's see how long this mood lasts!

Ok. Enough about our mood.

In today's (Nov 27, 2007) Vijaya Karnataka, in his ""ಕ್ಷಣ ಹೊತ್ತು ಆಣಿಮುತ್ತು" column, Mr.S.Shadakshari writes about a Special Olympics held at Seattle.

It surely is a very touching story about mentally challenged kids. When one of the boys participating in the 100 Meters dash, stumbled, all the other 8 participants in the race, came to help him rather than dashing forward to victory. Eventually, all the 9 participants, linking their hands together crossed the finishing line. All at the same time!

He concludes the story thus (before getting into the rather simplistic and obvious moral lessons):

"ಆ ಬೌದ್ಧಿಕ ವಿಕಲಚೇತನರ ಹೃದಯವಂತಿಕೆ ಗೆದ್ದಿತ್ತು. ಅಂದು ಒಲಿಂಪಿಕ್ಸ್ ಪಾಳೆಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಇದರದ್ದೇ ಮಾತು! ಪತ್ರಿಕೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ, ದೂರದರ್ಶನಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಇದರದೇ ಸುದ್ದಿ!"

Touching, though the story is, the facts are a bit different. First, it did not happen in the place where Mr.Shadakshari claims it happened. Second, it also did not happen the way he claims it happened.

Mr.Shadakshari's this "ಆಣಿಮುತ್ತು" is really based on an urban legend.
Do you want to know the details?
You know what to do here.

Is there more to this story? You bet.

A similar story was once told by our beloved (then) President Kalam. At that time, it was claimed this story of "ಬೌದ್ಧಿಕ ವಿಕಲಚೇತನರ ಹೃದಯವಂತಿಕೆ" happened at our own Hyderabad instead of Seattle.

If it's a touching story, don't you think it should be retold? Of course.

It was retold in the ನೂರೆಂಟು ಮಾತು column. This time made even more touching with additional (made up) details!

[The lone person who makes up our entire staff of 108 Sullu World H.Q. actually wrote about this as part of a longer article about hoaxes. You can read it here.]

Since Mr.Shadakshari's column is about morality, and this story actually kind of shows mentally challenged people in a good light, you might ask what's wrong with that even if it's not factual.

There are a couple of problems.

One, Vijaya Karnataka is a newspaper and the story is published as a fact. It's not published as fiction.

Two, even as a morality story it's kind of unfair to mentally challenged people. Snopes puts it well -
"Our guilt over having more abilities than others have been blessed with is appeased by the belief that the mentally handicapped are better natured or in another way of a higher order. As long as we can believe the scales are being balanced in some inexplicable way, we can feel comfortable with our comparative good fortune.

Such stereotypes no matter how comforting they are to us are unfair and dehumanizing. They cast the mentally disabled as angels who smile benevolently from among us instead of as very real people who are every bit as capable of feeling and expressing the same emotions everyone else does. Just as the 19th century belief that woman was of a higher order than base, animalistic man and thus needed to be placed on a pedestal where she could be sheltered from contact with a brutal world kept her from being treated as a person in those times, so does the currently common characterization of the disabled as smiling cherubs who might not be able to talk to us all that clearly but who are constantly whispering in God's ear.

Special Olympians train long and hard for their events and are every bit as committed as athletes who compete in any other athletic endeavors. The Special Olympics are not a casual get-together organized to give less fortunate members of the community a day to socialize and perhaps run in a foot race or two they're highly organized sporting events taken very seriously by all involved, with each competitor striving to do his best. It's about trying. And succeeding."
Tail Piece: We sent a note to V.K. Corrections department about this. Let's see what happens.

Tip Of The Tail: We want to know what's the policy that the Kannada newspapers follow in giving credit to original sources and what's considered as plagiarism.

On 30th Sep. 2007, The New York Times published an article by John Schwartz on Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. Interested in reading it? You know what to do here.

Two days later, on 1st Oct. 2007, ಹಾಲ್ದೊಡ್ಡೇರಿ ಸುಧೀಂದ್ರ in his weekly column ('ನೆಟ್'ನೋಟ) essentially wrote about the same college. You can read it here. (
Hopefully! We had trouble linking to the article)

Pretty much most of the facts and quotes (of the students named) that are in Mr.Sudhindra's article actually come from Mr.Schwartz's article. However, no credit is given to either Mr.Schwartz or the Times.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Constructive Criticism!

It had to happen. And it looks like it's happening to us.

We really seem to be losing interest in the words that appear in our newspapers.
If the words are factual --- Good!
If they are not ---- Who Cares?!
At least, that seems to be current mood in our World H.Q.

Then again, pictures are not words. Are they?

On August 1st, Vijaya Karnataka had an op-ed article about student ragging.
If you are interested, here is the link.

No, we did not really read it.
What caught our eyes instead was the picture that accompanied the article.

It was vaguely familiar. And of course, not really relevant.

First, let's get to the familiar part.

On May 24th Vijaya Karnataka had another op-ed article about.. ragging.
Yeah..the same picture was there.
Again, if you are interested, here is the link.

Now to the relevant (or is it irrelevant?) part.

The picture appears to be that of a group of elderly ladies.
The question is -- Do they have anything to do with students ragging each other in India?
The answer is -- No. Not really.
Unless of course you mentally supply an additional "G" to the banner they are carrying!

You can get to know more about these Raging Grannies if you follow this link and this one too.

Since Vijaya Karnataka likes to publish the pictures of elderly American ladies along with their op-ed articles on student ragging, we have decided to provide here two additional pictures of the same grannies. Hopefully, next time around V.K. will use one of these rather than using the same old picture.

Now, don't tell us that we criticize without being constructive!

Tail piece: In June 2006, M.V. had this line - "ವರದಿಯ ಜೊತೆಗೆ ಪ್ರಕಟಿಸುವ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು ವರದಿಗೆ ಸಂಬಂಧ ಪಟ್ಟೇ ಇರಬೇಕೆಂಬ ಸಂಪಾದಕರ ನಿರ್ಣಯ ನಿಜಕ್ಕೂ ವಿಷಾದನೀಯ" More than a year later, we are glad to note that V.K. breaks that repressive rule!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Believe Ye... And Thou Shalt Be Saved!

Dear Reader,

It has been a while since we last wrote. Not that you really missed us. But, if you indeed did, we are very sorry.

Our usual excuses still hold good: Work, Travel and Net Connection Problems.
If you think that they are old excuses, here's a new one: It's Not Fun Anymore.

For some reason we are losing interest in pointing fingers.

Yes, we are still reading newspapers. Yes, we still notice factual errors. But, the pleasure -- vicarious -- that we earlier used to have in writing about them is slowly waning.

So, is this the end of our blog? We hope not.
But, more and more, it feels like that.

O.k. Enough about our blogging blues.

We Believe...!

Pratapa Simha writes (Vijaya Karnataka, June 30, 2007) about the need for a security fence that secures India from Bangladesh.

Vijaya Karnataka is a Kannada newspaper that's published in India. The fence is being built by India. But, we believe that there is really a very good reason why the cost of the fence must be quoted in dollars. ("೧.೨ ಶತಕೋಟಿ ಡಾಲರ್ ವೆಚ್ಚದ ಈ ಬೇಲಿ")

You have our word. If Dr.U.R.A. says it is actually a sign or evidence of a dark conspiracy of U.S. and its Hindu Capitalist Cohorts in India, we will believe that too.

We believe Mr.Simha when he writes:
"ಇನ್ನೊಂದೆಡೆ ಬಾಂಗ್ಲಾ ಗಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಅಸ್ಸಾಮ್‍ನ ಒಟ್ಟು ಜನಸಂಖ್ಯೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಶೇ.೪೦ರಷ್ಟು ಬಾಂಗ್ಲಾದೇಶಿ ಮುಸ್ಲಿಮರಾಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ"
In 2004, writing in The Indian Express, Arun Shourie wrote: "The present population ratio of Muslims is calculated to be 28 per cent in Assam and 25 per cent in West Bengal."

It is our firm belief that the facts are completely different now. We have no doubt that in less than 3 years, an additional 12% became not only Muslim, but they also became Bangladeshis!

We believe Mr.Simha when he writes:
"ಇತ್ತ ೨೦೦೧ರ ಜನಗಣತಿಯ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ದೇಶದ ೧೦ ಅತ್ಯಂತ ಜನಭರಿತ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ೫ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಗಳು ಪಶ್ಚಿಮ ಬಂಗಾಳದಲ್ಲಿವೆ. ಅವುಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಮೂರು ಜಿಲ್ಲೆಗಳಾದ '೨೪ ಪರಗಣ (ಉತ್ತರ)', '೨೪ ಪರಗಣ ದಕ್ಷಿಣ' ಹಾಗೂ ಮುರ್ಷಿದಾಬಾದ್‌ಗಳು ಬಾಂಗ್ಲಾದೇಶದ ಗಡಿಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದು ಇವು ಹೆಸರಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಭಾರತಕ್ಕೆ ಸೇರಿದ್ದರೂ, ಇಲ್ಲಿ ವಾಸಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವವರು ಯಾರೂ ಭಾರತೀಯರಲ್ಲ, ಬಾಂಗ್ಲಾದೇಶಿ ಮುಸ್ಲಿಮ್ ಅತಿಕ್ರಮಣಕಾರರು."

As per 2001 census, only 24.2, 33.2 and 63.7 per cent of the population of the above mentioned districts are Muslims. That may be so, but we fully believe in Mr.Simha when he says that all the people living in those districts are Bangladeshi Muslim intruders!

To be frank, we are a bit confused. Mr.Simha cites 2001 census and 2001 census seems to say something different. Confused we may be, but, our faith in Mr.Simha is staunch. We know sometimes the reality plays tricks on the faithful to test us!

More than anything we believe in Mr.Simha when he writes:
"ಆದರೆ ದೇಶದೊಳಗೆ ಇರುವ ದೇಶದ್ರೋಹಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಬೇಲಿ ಹಾಕುವುದು ಹೇಗೆ?

ಇಂದು ನಾವು ಗಡಿಯಾಚೆಗಿರುವ ಶತ್ರುಗಳ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ತಲೆಕೆಡಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕಾದ ಪರಿಸ್ಥಿತಿ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಕೇರಳದಿಂದ ದಂಡುದಂಡಾಗಿ ಬರುತ್ತಿರುವ ಮಾಪಿಳ್ಳೆಗಳಿಂದಾಗಿ ನಮ್ಮ ದಕ್ಷಿಣ ಕನ್ನಡ ಜಿಲ್ಲೆ ಮತ್ತೊಂದು ಅಸ್ಸಾಂ ಆಗುವ ಲಕ್ಷಣ ಕಂಡು ಬರುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಕಾಸರಗೋಡಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಮಿನಿ ಪಾಕಿಸ್ತಾನವನ್ನು ಕಾಣಬಹುದಾಗಿದ್ದರೆ, ಪುರ್ಬುಗಳಿಂದಾಗಿ ಕಡಬ, ಸುಳ್ಯಗಳು ಮಿನಿ ಕೇರಳಗಳಾಗಿವೆ. ಕಾಡು ಕಡಿದು ಗಾಂಜಾ ಬೆಳೆಯಲಾರಂಭಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಪರಿಣಾಮವಾಗಿ ಖೋಟಾನೋಟು ಜಾಲ, ನಕಲಿ ವಸ್ತುಗಳು, ಕಳ್ಳಸಾಗಣೆ, ಮಾಫಿಯಾ ಇವೆಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ದಕ್ಷಿಣ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಕಾಣಬಹುದಾಗಿದೆ."

We do not know what or who "ಪುರ್ಬು" are. But, we are very sure that they are dangerous. They are not only traitors, they might even be enemies.

Shouldn't we build a fence to separate Karnataka from Kerala?
As long as we can quote the cost in dollars, why not?!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

When I’m Gazing My Own Navel, Do Other Navels Exist?!

Dear Readers (if there are any still left!),

Off late we have not been able to update this blog. There are many reasons: We still do not have a reliable Internet connection at Noorentu Sullu World H.Q. More than that, the entire staff – all of one person – of our office has been busy with other things. We have been traveling out of the country and have not been able to read some of our favorite newspapers.

One thing that we never fail to do when we are traveling is, visiting the newsstands at the airports. Be they are at the Singapore airport, Frankfurt airport or the JFK in N.Y. It is almost a religion for us. We must have the "ದರ್ಶನ" of what is on display there. While we take a look at pretty much all that is on display, we pay special attention to some of our favorites like International Herald Tribune, The Economic Times and of course The Time & The Newsweek. When we do, we always wonder about the change in "ಅವತಾರ" of some of them. By the time we hop from one airport to the other, they would have taken a new a "ಅವತಾರ" leaving us to wonder whether these are instances of “ಅವರವರ ಭಾವಕ್ಕೆ, ಅವರವರ ಭಕುತಿಗೆ…”

Some of our readers know that we spent a considerable time of our life in the US of A. Like any other country, it has many things to like and many things to dislike. In fact, we – with a libertarian outlook – found a lot more to like than dislike. But, one thing that we sometimes found a bit disappointing was the inward-lookingness (We know that there is no such word!) of the American mainstream media. We wished (and still wish) they took a bit more look at the rest of the world. Provide a bit wider and deeper coverage to things that are happening around the globe. (BTW, this is in no way an endorsement of the Indian news media. In our experience, NY Times, Time and Newsweek have more coverage on global affairs than say Indian Express, The Hindu, Outlook or India Today.)

During one of our travels – last year in Buenos Aires to be precise – we met a gentleman at the airport. During our conversation, he had this question: “When the whole world is against the Iraq war, how come the American people think it’s a good thing?”

There are complex/many answers to this simple question.

If you know us, you know that we always prefer “simple/single” answer to “complex/many”. Call us lazy. Or, whatever.

Our simple answer is here (Thanks to Huffington Post):

The editors of Time and Newsweek think that while their non-American readers must learn about what's happeing in Afghanistan, they think that it is more important for American readers to know about Why Bible Should be Taught in Public Schools and Annie Leibowitz's Life in Pictures.

Tail piece: If you want to read a bit more about American media, you can find it here. BTW, it is written by one of our only one staff.

Friday, January 26, 2007

May Not Be Humor, But Still Unintended!

Today's (January 27, 2006) Vijaya Karnataka, "ಸುದ್ದಿಮನೆ ಕತೆ" column is about factual errors, inappropriate headlines, etc and the unintentional humor that's caused by them.
Writing on this topic "ಸುದ್ದೀಶ" mentions about a correction issued by the British newspaper The Guardian. Here is what he writes (the emphasis is ours):

ಅಮೆರಿಕದ ಪ್ರಸಿದ್ಧ ತತ್ವಜ್ಞಾನಿ ಡೇನಿಯಲ್ ಡೆನೆಟ್ ಎಂಬಾತ ನಿಧನನಾದಾಗ ಲಂಡನ್‌ನ ಪ್ರತಿಷ್ಠಿತ "ದಿ ಗಾರ್ಡಿಯನ್" ಪತ್ರಿಕೆ ನಿಧನವಾರ್ತೆಯನ್ನು ಪ್ರಕಟಿಸಿತು. ಅದರಲ್ಲಿ ಅವೆಷ್ಟು ತಪ್ಪುಗಳಿದ್ದವೆಂದರೆ ಮರುದಿನ ಪತ್ರಿಕೆ ಓದುಗರ ಕ್ಷಮೆಯಾಚಿಸಿತು. ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಅಲ್ಲ ಧೀರ್ಘ ಸ್ಪಷ್ಟನೆ ಸಹ ನೀಡಿತು. ಅದನ್ನು ಯಥಾವತ್ತಾಗಿಡಲಾಗಿದೆ.
The truth, shall we say, is, a little bit different.
  • Daniel C Dennett is very much alive. At least, as we write this. The report about his death is, as the saying goes, grossly exaggerated.
  • Again, as we write this, the Guardian has not published a report about Dennett's death. It was a profile of him that had the factual errors.
  • The correction was not issued the next day. The initial story was published on April 17, 2004 and the correction was issued on April 22, 2004.

Since these factual errors were about a correction about other factual errors, could we expect a correction in Vijaya Karnataka? Hopefully a humorous one?!

Update: There was a correction published yesterday (February 3, 2007). This week's "ಸುದ್ದಿಮನೆ ಕತೆ" column has the following bit at the end:
ತಿದ್ದುಪಡಿ: ಹಿಂದಿನವಾರ ಈ ಅಂಕಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಡೇನಿಯಲ್ ಡೆನೆಟ್ ನಿಧನರಾಗಿದ್ದಾರೆಂದು ತಿಳಿಸಲಾಗಿತ್ತು. ಸಂತಸದ ಸಂಗತಿಯೆಂದರೆ ಅವರು ಬದುಕಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಇರುವವರನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲವಾಗಿಸುವ ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ್ಯವಿರುವುದು ಪತ್ರಕರ್ತರಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ. ಉದ್ದೇಶರಹಿತವಾಗಿ ಅವರನ್ನು ಇಲ್ಲವಾಗಿಸಿದ್ದಕ್ಕೆ ವಿಷಾದ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಪಡಿಸುತ್ತೇವೆ.

/* */