Article 370: Headlines across media colour India’s history in their own hues

Broadly, Indian media today rejoiced at the 'Historic' decision; whereas Pakistan media parroted their perspective and western media added communal hues

Bhubaneswar: In sync with the popular saying of “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending,” the Modi Sarkar 2.0 painted a new Kashmir on the national canvas by scrapping the Article 370 in one stroke on Monday.

Unambiguously, the landmark political decision by the Government had a tectonic shift. And given the intensity, one was certain of the tremor striking big across the borders and their media, but unintendedly it has also triggered fissures in the country’s political landscape and the Indian fourth estate.

A sneak-peek at the reporting of this epoch-making event in independent India’s political history and constitutional realms by the fourth estate tells a different tales:

While the country’s leading English dailies like the Times of India, Indian Express, The Economic Times, The DNA, The Pioneer, The Tribune, The Statesman, The New Indian Express have captioned the big story in front page as ‘bold’ and ‘historic’, the lone dissenter has been the Kolkata based English daily The Telegraph, which has captioned the game-changer decision in all caps as ‘PARTITION’ of minds and a State.

It is worth mentioning here that The Telegraph has an ideological tilt towards left-centre. And given the vociferous decry of the Modi government’s move by Left parties and Congress, the newspaper’s headline sums up all. In the same vein, the Congress mouthpiece ‘The National Herald runs a headline ‘Rajya Sabha Clears a Bill to reduce J&K to a UT like Puduchery.’

While the Times of India calling the path-breaking decision as a historic move within 100 days of Modi-2, headlined the story as ‘Kashmir Is Now Union’s Territory, the Indian Express says it succinctly with a four-word headline ‘History, in One Stroke’.

When The DNA says so arithmetically with the headline ‘India – 370 = 9UTs and 28 States‘, the New Indian Express likens it to Iron Man Sardar Patel’s integration of princely states post Independence with a headline of IT’S PATEL 2.0.

Interestingly, the leading pink daily The Economic Times analysing the ‘grammar’ of this revolutionary decision captioned the big story as ‘In New Political Grammar: J&K Loses Two Articles’; whereas The Pioneer sums it up as ‘J&K no more ‘Special’, Art 370 goes.’

While the ET has given a subtitle like ‘India gets Special Status in the State’, the Tribune carried an inside-section captioned as ‘J&K Recast’.

Except Telegraph, edits of all the major dailies while using adjectives like ‘Change of Game in Kashmir’, ‘Bold & Historic’ ‘Rupture in History, Stitching a Future’ commended the decision, they also cautioned the Government to immediately initiate measures so as not to wedge the trust – deficit in the valley.   

In the fast-paced digital news platform, news portals like the Quint and the Print broke the avant-garde decision with a question tag: Scrapping of Article 370: Historic or Disastrous. Significantly, these news sites have been observed to have their editorials taking always a left-centre leaning.

Lets have a look at the take in Pakistani Fourth Estate?  While The Dawn captioned its front page top story as ‘New Delhi Sheds Fig Leaf, robs held Kashmir of Special Status’, the Daily Express put the major development as ‘Occupation Redux’. And The Nation summed the big initiative as ‘India forcibly revokes special status.’

Almost all the major dailies in Pakistan carried critical quotes of Indian politicians like former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti and Punjab CM Amarinder Singh in a box-out or the skylines just below the Masthead.

And the New York Times has given this mega development in the sub-continent a space on its front page with a provocative headline that read as ‘Hindu led India puts clamp on Muslim Kashmir.’  The story was written by its South Asia Bureau Chief Jeffery Gettleman and its reporters in Delhi – Suhasini Raj and Hari Kumar.

The clinical analysis of the fourth estate gives an impression that the interpretations of the epoch-making development reflects either the popular sentiments of the nation or the ideological moorings of the fourth estate.