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Monday, October 04, 2010

Chp 319. Mistaken Identity at the CWG. TOI #FAIL

I usually do all my ranting on twitter these days. It’s short and effective. But sometimes… I guess 140 characters and a couple of retweets aren’t enough to contain one’s emotion.

Recently, Times of India, which has the largest circulation among all English-language newspapers in the world, across all formats [source] shocked many of us just three days ago with their brazen headline about the Ayodhya Verdict (2 parts to Hindus, 1 part to Muslims) which was condemned by a large part of the Nation and Twitteratis.

While most media houses behaved this time and tried not to sensationalize the verdict just to get higher TRP ratings or subscriptions, TOI did not apologize for their headline and later even said it is “clinically correct”.

Then yesterday, one of India’s proudest moments (after weeks of controversy) took place – the opening ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games!

It was absolutely beautiful. Made me proud to be an Indian. And then when the Indian contingent marched in, it was led by Abhinav Bindra proudly carrying our Indian flag. And before him, the signboard holder was wearing our Mizo tradition puanchei dress!!! Wooohooooooooo!

The whole of India and a large majority of worldwide viewer could see the girl dressed in our beautiful Mizo puanchei. Twitter was abuzz with people talking about the Mizo dress. Every Mizo who saw that event almost cried right there on the spot. Such a proud moment it was for us and truly grateful to the organizers for recognizing us at such a grand event.

And then this morning, I woke up, collected the newspaper from outside my door, and was immediately overcome with shock and paralysis when I read the TOI frontpage.

Mizo. Not Naga.

Under the photograph of the Indian contingent lead by Abhinav and the girl wearing the Mizo dress, was the caption: “All the teams were led out by girls wearing saris in different styles, except for the Indian team, which was heralded by a girl in a Naga dress.”

Naga?????????? WTF!!!

Or is this also “clinically correct”, dear editors at TOI?

After all, we look the same as Nagas, speak a language most people would assume are the same even though they are way different from each other, come from a part of the country that many people tend to stereotype and bunch together as one (the same way many of you think all south Indians are madrasis and speak the same language etc)?

To hear about such comments from the common man is one thing. We have grown used to it. But to see that the leading newspaper in the world doesn’t even know its own countrymen, is definitely one of the hardest punches to the groin. Imagine TOI’s millions of subscribers reading about this today.

I mean, how could a newspaper like TOI get it wrong?

In fact, Mizo Cheraw (bamboo dance) dancers were performing right there at the CWG opening ceremony and everybody was talking about it. Those dancers were wearing the same dress as the girl in the picture.

[Youtube video – one of the girls unfortunately fell down during the event! Ouch!]

See the above dear TOI. Same dress. Same freaking dress. Mizo. Not Naga.

I’ve got nothing against my Naga brothers. But this is about giving credit where it’s due. Or is it about ignorance from TOI’s part? The same ignorance we have faced each and every single day?

Had TOI given more footage to the World Record Cheraw dance event a few months ago, then they would have known what a Mizo dress looks like.

Yes. On March 12 this year, Mizoram held the World Record for the largest dance ensemble in the world. Read more about it with lots of photographs and videos here.

Adjudicators from Guinness Book of World Records came and officially declared about our achievement right there on the spot. Even BBC covered the event. More than 10,000 dancers performed for that event. It was a great moment, not just for Mizoram, but for the whole of India.

Yet, TOI didn’t even publish anything about this grand event.

If only they had at least spared a few precious space on their most widely read newspaper with maybe a photo or two of Cheraw dancers, then they would definitely know that the girl carrying the board yesterday was wearing a Mizo dress. Not Naga.

What can we do about this? As of now, all I can do is write to the editors about it. And blog and tweet about it. Yeah. This is how powerless and insignificant we feel sometimes. The one and only time we Mizos got to be recognized by the rest of our countrymen, and TOI blasted that opportunity to smithereens. Thank you very much TOI.

Here’s to the CWG event and hoping it will be a successful one.


Almostunreal said...

it's a shame, shame on TOI....they must apologize

Aduhi Chawngthu said...

TOI is my favourite newspaper, and seeing them commit such a grievous error as this is simply not acceptable. I hope the folks at TOI read this post. And I am going to write to them too and include this post.

Rka said...

sap tawng a ni nangin mizo tawngin comment teng...

arsenal an chak lo bawk nen tiro :D

odzer said...

I have sent the link of your blog to someone I know at the local TOI. Further about the headline. I do agree with it. The court gave 2 parts to Hindoos and 1 part to Muslims. Its just that there are 2 Hindoo sects involved.

As for the Mizo, Naga thing. Its a fantastic cockup. I do not know if we should laugh at their ignorance or cry at it.Then again all slitty eyed people look the same. Axis bank is even running an advertisement to prove it. I wrote them a rather nasty email about that one. If they do not pull it off I am hoping to get even nastier with them...

Hriatpuia Pa said...

Art & Culture Minister-in hma a la nghal a nih chu. TOI chuan tihdikna an siam em lo en ang..

Valpuia Sailo said...

saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Mizo minti bawrhbang lolzzzz @homophilic... i comments ho hi word verification a ngai zel a :(

Mizohican said...

@ odzer: Thanx bro. And about the Ayodhya verdict headline, yeah nobody's saying its wrong. Its correct of course, but as a responsible newspaper, there are so many other ways of framing the headline. Why did they have to use that particular sentence is what intrigues me. Anyway, I've discussed about this issue enough elsewhere, I wanna forget this for now :) Now what is this Axis Bank ad you're talking about? Can you please send me the link?

@ Zaia: Wow! That's wonderful news!!!! An tih ngei ngei chu a ngai bawk a lawm. A va lawmawm ve!

@ Aduhi: I have written to the editors too. And judging from the unbelievable amount of FB shares/likes this particular post got in just a few hours, I think many others too are writing to TOI.

@ Almost: They should. Otherwise I want you to go to their office, kick open their door and scream out, "MY TRAMMMM!" :)

@ RKa: heheheh... rawn sawi timing lo emawi. :P

@ gothica: lolz sallllaaaaaaa i colonholic a nih mai chu. hahaha :D

fanai ruata said...

They must make a correction for this serious mistake...Shaaaaalaaaaaa

Mimi said...

yes, I was apalled by the reporting and got down to write an email to TOI as soon as I got back from class

Unknown said...

what a stupid mistake - i mean i dont say that i knew the difference but the fact that it was a Naga dress stayed with me and i liked it hearts of hearts. Then thankfully I read this post and the fact it dawned upon me that it's Mizo !

TOI and its frontpage innuendos !

Eveline said...

It's shameful that's for sure. No matter how often TOI steps in horse shit, they insist that's it's chocolate cake. I can't take any more.

Jona said...

My Naga brothers- especially my housemate- please excuse me but I just can't stop myself from saying that this Times of India's Himalayan blunder is nauseating (can't even think how you'd feel if somebody says the Angami dress is Dimasa, or Assamese, or Kuki). I guess this is just one reason why most Civil Services aspirants pick The Hindu over 'the largest circulated daily English newspaper in India.'

By the way, bro, remember that 'Rambo dance of the Nagas,' (which, in fact, was our very own Cheraw dance) performed by students in Jabalpur I'd ranted about in my blog sometime back? Well, that was a small newspaper, but THIS is TOI!

I say we just can't afford to be silent in these types of matters anymore.

Anonymous said...

GOOD FOR YOU GUYS.....just tell me if bamboo dance was invented by mizo....HELL NO!!!! U GUYS DESERVE IT .... N THE BITCH TRIPPING WAS MY FAVORITE PART....SCREW U ALL BLOODY MIZOS

Mizohican said...

lolz. What would the World be without trolls? :D

@ dr angel: I know. And I seriously hope they do. People in my office actually asked me how I felt about the girl wearing the Naga dress at the opening ceremony. Grrr.

@ mimi: Way to go, gurl. And I can picture you writing down your thoughts infuriatingly. :)

@ me...jus' me: Thanx for visiting and commenting. And your comment is exactly the point I am trying to push forward. Many people don't know much about the NE because the media doesn't highlight us, so I don't blame you. But at least if the media is going to write about us, they should be factually correct in what they say. Otherwise, people who don't know about us are going to learn something about the NE that is not true.

@ Eveline: I just hope they don't pass this off as "clinically correct" too :(

@ Jona: Indeed. Like I mentioned, this has nothing to do with our Naga brothers. They too have a really rich culture and totally deserve to be highlighted on a National scale. The culprits here are the media people. How I wished they had cared to rectify their sources.

Anonymous said...

if the TOI stands true for the Indians,i think that there is no need of hesitation in making the correct statement to the latter news

Anonymous said...

WOW! TOI what have you done!!!
Let some other people make these kinda mistakes... not you! Degrading, simply degrading...

Anonymous said...

TOI have corrected their mistakes in today's paper! Yes, one gets hurt when one's identity is mistaken, especially by papers such as TOI!
- Maisek

odzer said...

@ Kima : Well there is a new Axis bank advertisement in which these "Indian" guys go out to an Asian country and get their pockets picked or their wallets stolen or sth (can't remember what exactly)

The police finally catch hold of the culprits but when the victims are brought to identify them at a police lineup they are unable to because all the men standing in the line up "look the same."

I found the advertisement quite insensitive and offensive. Sorry can't find a video of it online yet. Perhaps the Axis of Evil bank will finally take it down but I have written to them telling them I might take them to task for it.

Mizohican said...

@ odzer: Whoah!!! A couple of years or decades ago, that would have been perfectly alright even in the US, but now none of the developed and developing countries would dare make such an ad. Trust India to be unique. hehehe.

@ Anonymous 1 and 2: Yes TOI has published an apology and correction on today's paper!!! :)

@ Maisek: Yes!!! :)

Unknown said...

Anna Singh said they wanted India's placard holder to stand out- i wanted it to be that India has accepted & embraced the Mizo who fought for independence and was unequivocally punished for it 20 years ago. Blame me for always wanting a substantive political stance-:) and TOI could still have done better than 'bamboo dance costume'-no 'puanchei' or 'vakiria' but i did note the after-thought-like 'Clarification'

Anonymous said...

Hey Kima,
I am what you would call a mainland Indian.
So Call it my ignorance, i didn't know about the TOI error till i read your blog today. Thanks for the post and for enlightening us non Mizos about the error. I can imagine the hurt you guys must be feeling. Anyway,Will be writing to TOI people. TOI can be so stupid sometimes.

Cheers :)

VaiVa said...

I was at mid Arabian Sea when the event started. Came to know only when my ship docked at Mumbai Harbour yesterday! Checked may mail then only I realized what TOI had done. We're so busy that I could find only a few minutes to write a few lines to TOI not because I was angry but because the credit belongs to us.

When I saw the correction in today's TOI, I felt proud to be Indian again.

Anyway, in Ayodhyia Verdict TOI Bangalore Edition did not mention as such in the headlines but The Hindus.. correct me if I'm wrong

R said...

i think your frustration is a little like that twins might face. like each other love each other but hey...we are different!!!

lakshmikant desai said...

hey thanks Pal - well written, and especially your views on how the ayodhya verdict was presented. Hope there are more of us.

and the smarter folks in Mumbai switched to HT / DNA/ express a long time ago. TOI sells because of their aggressive marketing - cheaper promotions. Even Laxman's daily cartoon is no longer attraction enough to read that crap

Mizohican said...

@ Neha: Thanks for your comment. And yes TOI has corrected their statement the next day, though there is still a lot of mistake in their correction. Anyway, I wanna leave this behind for now, and focus on the CWG and cheer for our country. Hope you visit again.

@ Raam Pyari: Could be, I guess. :) Thanks for the comment.

@ lakshmikant: I am seriously thinking about it too. A lot of my friends too have already shifted to DNA and HT. The only reason why I am still sticking with TOI is that it comes with a Mumbai Mirror combo. MM gives the best local news IMHO.

@ tochh: I feeling you. Especially the part in their corrigendum where TOI stated that its a Mizo Bamboo dance costume! Ouch! :) And there are also lots of talks about their correction, like when Anna Singh stated that they had to get that costume all the way from Mizoram... well, there are reliable sources who said she got the costume from the Mizos in Delhi itself. This is going to become bigger... :(

@ VaiVa: hehehe... you Navy people are all the same... so out of touch with reality. lolz. just kidding... :D

KymBawi Khuptong said...

Oh! About that dress even I came across that freaking line in TOI and I was shocked. It was all so clear that it's Mizo's dress. I know Naga's got a colourful dress too, but that is not Naga traditional dress. Something must be done here.

Btw that ad your friend is talking about I have seen it and its funny.

jay-me said...

When things like this happen, its so easy to resolve breaking ties with "Our Mother India", I mean we try so hard, contributing in all our limited ways so that we can belong and sometimes I feel mainstreamers or whatever they are called tend to see us in blur, giving us that vague acknowledgement, they know acknowledgement is their due, I guess, what they dont know is that we are "who we are"...least they can do is to try and be familiar with what or who they are to publish...I was so proud that night and so frustrated the next day, there's a mass-marketed enclycopedia about India that commits the same mistake, I'll look it up and post it soon.

Mizohican said...

@ kym: funny hahaha or its so ridiculous that you got no other option but to go hahaha? :)

btw, I've started activating comment moderation, so you don't have to keep submitting the same comment again and again. Its on moderation queue, so don't worry, I received all your comments :)

@ jay-me: I feel you gurl. I totally understand what you mean. Sucks na.

Anonymous said...

I am not from North-East and I felt very proud to see the girl in Mizo dress. Infact, I saw the whole ceremony again and agin on youtube…to see that girl. n u know what…this dress was the best dress of all 71 girls. was.....n ya...I said it.

What this shows is that no matter how small a state is..or how small the community is…it does not matter. We all have equal rights..and equal say..and equal representation. n yes..we all have unique culture that we want to preserve because that is very very beautiful.

Somebody said that they could have chosen a Mizo girl. In this context, the main point is that a Delhi/Bombay girl was proudly wearing a Mizo dress. I guess…the opposite (mizo girl wearing a tamil dress) would have been good too.

I also thought that it was Naga dress..but you have to excuse me because I cant differentiate anything ….gujarati..marathi…tamil…bangla…mizo…naga…manipuri…dresses. OO well…India is diverse and complex. But thats where the beauty lies. But this stupid wonder I have stopped reading that all together. n have you seen its website recently? Those stupid full screen ads. Gosh...I cant wait for its editor to retire.

Anonymous said...

hi kima
i am one of d heartland indians, as u guys say, from kerala.I like ur blog. Its a shame on TOI to publish so.

The kerala sari is white but people call it a bengali I had a debate wid one hindi walla on that. The same one my mom wore for her wedding n we all hav i am arguing for my rights.huh May be the person thought a bolly actress wouldn't bother to have a mallu stuff on her personal wardrobe!!! kahan bengal? kahan kerala? it happens only in india.But we all know what a punjabi attire is? n wat the language sounds like?..thanks to bollywood

Once bollywood adopt our culture we will get our due!