While I’ve been in India, I have been attempting to follow the news through the media here.
I have become a regular reader of The Hindu, the paper we get at my homestay, and of course, the New Indian Express. When I arrived at the end of December, the story dominating the papers was the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. When her son became party leader, it caused much soul searching this side of the border with some wondering why parties in the subcontinent rely on dynastic succession.
Another big story soon after my arrival, was the molestation of two women in Mumbai by a group of drunken men on New Year’s Eve. It was estimated that they were witnessed by up to seventy bystanders. Some of the coverage criticised the apparent attitude that women should not be allowed out after dark. The women in question were of Indian origin, but were now living in the USA. Further incidents involving foreign women kept the issue in the media spotlight.
Another event on NYE was the collapseof a stage at a party, here in Chennai. A pool had been covered over to create a dancefloor at the Savera Hotel, but it could not bear the dancing hordes. One IT worker from Delhi died soon after, followed by more casualties a couple of weeks later. All the dead were very young.
Cricket – the national pass-time – never fails to dominate the headlines. So when an Indian bowler was punished for allegedly making racist comments about Australian all rounder Andrew Symonds, a huge row broke out. Generally, the Indian media has been critical of the punishment dished out to Harbhajan Singh and the behaviour of the Australian captain Ricky Ponting. However, the controversy was soon forgotten by the media after India won the third test prompting huge celebrations.
During my stay in India, there has been a lot written about notable overseas visitors. First up was Madonna, who visited Rajistan and Mumbai with her family. Earlier this week UK prime minister Gordon Brown landed in Delhi with a delegation of visitors from the business community, in an effort to improve Anglo-Indian links.
Finally, there was great excitement surrounding the unveiling of Tata’s Nano, or “the people’s car“, as some have dubbed it. Costing only around 2,000GBP, this car is expected to make car ownership more accessible to people. However, some have criticised Tata’s move for the effect it will have on the environment, though the company claims the car is very eco-friendly