Stepmotherly affection for Father of Constitution

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: For all the lip service it pays “dalits and the downtrodden”, for all the tokenism of a Dalit as speaker of Lok Sabha, and for all the buzz about a possible Dalit replacement for Manmohan Singh as prime minister, the Congress-led UPA government has issued a measly six pages of ads in 12 newspapers to mark the birth death anniversary of the father of the Indian Constitution—and the icon of Dalits—Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

In contrast, the State government of Uttar Pradesh, headed by Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party, has issued seven pages in the same 12 newspapers surveyed by sans serif.

The Centre’s six pages of ads for Ambedkar is in stark contrast to the 393 pages of ads issued by various ministries and departments of the Union government and Congress-run State governments to mark the three birth and three death anniversaries of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in 2011.

While various ministries were falling over each other to sing hosannas for the three ex-PMs, only the ministry of social justice and empowerment is in evidence for Dr Ambedkar. The only State government advertiser is the Delhi commission for safai karmacharis.

***

The breakup of the Ambedkar ads today are as under:

Hindustan Times: 24-page main issue; 2 Ambedkar ads amounting to 1½ broadsheet pages

The Times of India: 26-page issue; 1 ad amounting to 1 broadsheet page

Indian Express: 20-page issue; 1 ad amounting to 1 broadsheet page

Mail Today (compact): 36-page issue; 1 ad amounting to 1 compact page

The Hindu: 20-page issue; 1 ad amounting to 1 broadsheet page

The Pioneer: 16-page issue; 1 ad amounting to 1 broadsheet page

The Statesman: 16-page issue; 1 ad amounting to 1 broadsheet page

The Telegraph: 24-page issue; 0 ads amounting to 0 broadsheet pages

***

The Economic Times: 24-page main issue; 0 ads

Business Standard: 14-page issue; 0 ads

Financial Express: 18-page issue; 0 ads

Mint (Berliner): 24-page issue; 0 ads

***

Last year, on the 19th death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, the historian Ramachandra Guha wrote in an edit-page article in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that on May 21, 2010, perhaps Rs 60 or 70 crore were spent by the taxpayer — without his and her consent — on praising Rajiv Gandhi. Since the practice has been in place since 2005, the aggregate expenditure to date on this account is probably in excess of Rs 300 crore.”

Photograph: courtesy Sepia Mutiny

Also read: Nehru birthday: 58 ads amounting to 26¼ pages

Nehru death anniversary: 24 ads over 11 pages

Rajiv birthday: 108 ads across 48 pages

Rajiv death anniversary: 69 ads, 41 pages in 12 papers

Indira Gandhi birthday: 64 ads, 32 pages

Times, Express groups get most anniversary ads

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5 Responses to “Stepmotherly affection for Father of Constitution”

  1. Swanand Dabke Says:

    Its not the Birth Anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar, but it is the Death Anniversary of Dr.Ambedkar also known as “Mahaparinirvan Din”, Ambedkar’s Birth Anniversary is on April 14th.

    You are giving a step-motherly treatment to him by fudging the facts

  2. vaidya Says:

    “The Centre’s six pages of ads for Ambedkar is in stark contrast to the 393 pages of ads issued by various ministries and departments of the Union government and Congress-run State governments to mark the three birth and three death anniversaries of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in 2011.”

    Comparison is very wrong. 6 pages for death alone cannot be compared to 393 which includes both death and birth of 3 people. I would say a fair comparison would be 6 against 65 ads approx for one anniversary on average for a member of ‘the family’.

  3. subbulakshmi Says:

    u cant use phrases like ‘step motherly’

  4. Politically Incorrect Guy Says:

    Why should Ambedkar be given more coverage? Every thing should be based on the fear of the media? If I do not mention the name ‘Ambedkar’ Media will be angry, if I do not put his picture in my office media will be angry. Or I should keep chanting someone’s name just because his group will assemble on the streets and stage a protest? Every one says upper caste people used Dalits but I say no one is using them more than the leftists and the media.
    If I chant a name like Ambedkar will dalits become rich?

  5. Jayashree Says:

    Ambadker was one of the few who drafted the constitution. Why call him as the only father of the constitution? There were may who fathered this sad state of affairs!

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