Cricket and politics defined the coverage of the Urdu Press over the week as a blink of the Indian cricket team in the world cup final, following a long dream run, broke a billion hearts. The Urdu dailies vied with each other to capture all the sights and sounds of the cricketing fiesta.
The dailies have kept their gaze on the game of politics too, focusing now on the campaigning of the leading players in Rajasthan and Telangana, which are up for polls in the coming few days.
Roznama Rashtriya Sahara
Commenting on Australia’s win over India in the final of the ICC men’s cricket world cup, the multi-edition Roznama Rashtriya Sahara, in its leader titled, “Team India: match hara, dil jeeta (Team India: match lost, hearts won)”, writes that victory and loss are part of any game, which cannot be reduced to just the bare bones of results. It would not be fair to look at the performance of any sportsperson or team through the narrow prism of the outcome, because while taking to the field no one wants to put in less than their best efforts, the editorial says. “And this is also not necessary that the team which has been performing well consistently and appears invincible will never face a setback. In the cricket World Cup, for instance, the Indian team displayed excellent performance throughout the tournament, proving itself to be the world’s best team (before it was felled by the Aussies).”
The daily highlights the accomplishments of Virat Kohli, who notched up maximum runs while also breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s iconic record by scoring his 50th century, and Mohammed Shami, who emerged as the highest wicket-taker. “When Australia lost three wickets for 47 runs while chasing India’s modest total of 240, it seemed the latter had an edge, but Travis Head’s stellar knock of 137 backed by Marnus Labuschagne deprived India of its third World Cup title and gave Australia its sixth World Cup trophy,” it notes.
The editorial points out that this was the first time that India hosted the entire World Cup event. “This edition of the biggest cricketing tournament was a grand success. This sets the stage for India to host other major global sporting events in future, which will entail the development of new cities and promote various sports among their denizens,” it states. This would also break entrenched social stereotypes that still remain heavily tilted in favour of academic studies, the edit says. “But social trends are changing now and so are people’s priorities. Efforts are being made to popularise various sports. Indian players are earning laurels in several new sports, thereby signalling that the future is also bright for the country’s other sportspersons besides cricketers.”
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to media persons at the BJP’s “Diwali Milan” event at the party’s headquarters in Delhi, the Mumbai-based Urdu Times, in its editorial on November 18, writes that the PM expressed concern over the dangers of the deepfakes produced through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the crises they can pose. The PM cited his own example to say that he recently saw a video of him performing garba even though he has not done so since his school days, the edit states. “The PM’s statement has reignited a debate on the issue on social media.”
The daily says fake news is a huge problem in a country like India, which has set off several incidents of violence and even riots in which lives have been lost. “One of the common methodologies for spreading fake news on social media is the use of a wrong video for making a false claim. Deepfake is more dangerous since it is done through AI with such skill and precision that it can barely be recognised as morphed,” it says, adding that through such a hazardous technology any picture can be superimposed on any video to hit your target. The daily notes that actress Rashmika Mandanna recently became one of its victims. The AI will make the task of distinguishing truth from falsehood more challenging, with even genuine content running the risk of being dismissed as fake now, it notes.
The editorial points out that the Israel-Hamas war has spawned many videos which have polarised the world. It says many people do not have the fact-checking capabilities. In an oblique swipe at the BJP, the edit charges that its IT cell has been indulging in misinformation and that PM Modi should ask its head to curb it. “The concern flagged by PM Modi over AI-generated fake content is valid, which must be endorsed by proponents of social media.”
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Referring to the upcoming voting in the remaining two poll-bound states, Telangana and Rajasthan, the Hyderabad-based Siasat, in its editorial on November 20, notes that the campaigning by the leading contenders has reached a crescendo there. In Telangana, besides the top brass of the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) — including Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao or KCR, his son and minister K T Rama Rao, and minister T Harish Rao — senior leaders of the Congress and the BJP have been engaged in making their final push, it says. “The Congress has promised several guarantees and welfare schemes for people and has also issued a manifesto. The BRS has also made pledges on similar lines. However, it seems the BJP has set aside its development agenda, looking to garner poll dividends only through polarisation.”
The daily notes that PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have led the BJP’s campaign in Telangana. “Shah also released the BJP’s manifesto, but did not announce any development scheme or programme, raking up emotive issues instead. He promised that the party will arrange for free darshan of the Ram temple in Ayodhya if the BJP is voted to power,” it says, adding that followers of other religions are also residents of Telangana. “Besides, the BJP’s manifesto promises implementation of the Uniform Civil Code.”
The editorial points out that Telangana BJP chief G Kishan Reddy has been announcing that the BJP will form a “bulldozer government” if elected. “This is unfortunate that a party like the BJP which is ruling the country is resorting to the politics of fear and polarisation, instead of projecting its achievements, to garner votes in Telangana. The BJP does not seem to have any plan or programme to offer for the development of India’s newest state,” it says, calling the party’s Telangana strategy “negative politics”. “Is Telangana not facing various problems including price rise, unemployment and lack of basic amenities?” the edit asks, adding that using a divisive plank while steering clear of such basic public issues betrays a “cynical mindset”.