(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
If you were a Rajdeep Sardesai or Shekhar Gupta or Barkha Dutt, you would wish for a return of pre-2014 days. You could write or broadcast what you wanted, unchallenged, unquestioned; behemoth of India’s media, sought by global media outlets; prime ministers and presidents, kings and queens, knocking at your door for interviews; film stars lining up as if for auditions. You were firmly in your ivory tower, never seen in grocery shops or bookstores, metros or airports, malls or traffic stops.
Then winds changed. India’s right-wingers took hold in Centre. Websites, such as OpIndia and Swarajyamag among others, began nicking the bubble. The lies were exposed, bigotry was unmasked, anti-Hindu stance was bared in public. History began breaking free from the narrative of glorious Mughals, valiant Tipu Sultan, soothing Amir Khusru and pacifist Ashoka. One began viewing a Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Audrey Truschke, Sheldon Pollock in the light they deserved. Amartya Sen and Raghuram Rajan lost their halo. The benign mask of neutrality dropped like shame around our film stars and directors. Writers and academicians were revealed to be peddlers. Jurists and legal luminaries were found to be men of straw.
An avalanche was thus set in motion. The ecosystem began drowning in the outrage of the masses. Narendra Modi won over the poor; the intelligent found the counter-narrative on social media. Eco-system upped the game, terming every threat as trolls or bhakts. Internet warriors, on their part, found new converts. Eco-system termed the rivals as fake news peddlers. Lutyens Media began organizing debates and seminars to save their turf. Anyone or anything which didn’t agree with them was “fake news”. The entire game was one of credibility – and they were losing it. The 2019 Elections confirmed their worst fears.
Now a new round of conflict has been set in motion. The eco-system has realized they have been outnumbered. Social Media platforms are rallying such mass to grow in size. The “fake news” narrative hasn’t helped. So they have now launched a new initiative. This initiative doesn’t just have newspapers and news agencies, it has also roped in biggies like the Google, Facebook and Twitter. “Fake News” has been given a new name of “misinformation.” What was seen as “local” divide in Indian context, now has acquired “global” dimension. We might just have stumbled upon the global network which feeds and breeds this “eco-system” to disrupt India.
The Hindu has a front-page anchor today where it has grandiosely announced that it is partnering BBC and other global media outlets to fight the “misinformation” in public domain. That it wants to protect its audience. That BBC set it in motion through a “Trusted News Summit” earlier this year. That those in it together include European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Facebook, Financial Times, Google, AFP, Microsoft, Reuters, Twitter, BBC and of course The Hindu. That,they would alert each other when a “misinformation” is to be fought.
It’s a new challenge to India’s internet warriors. So far, we knew the bias of, say Twitter, which suspended accounts (e.g of True Indology, Sonam Mahajan etc) made twitterati remove tweets (Paresh Rawal) while those with similar offence (Shehla Rashid etc) kept flourishing. Netizens were able to dig up the dirt on Raheel Khursheed, CEO of Twitter (2014-2018), on his pro-Pakistan bias. Parliamentarians were outraged enough to summon twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The clamour against Twitter’s alleged bias has only grown bigger in our times. Dorsey has admitted his staff could be overwhelmingly Left-leaning.
So how should internet warriors respond to this openly-aligned forces against them? First, it must leverage its numbers. Every sixth of twitter’s worldwide users is from India. Is has grown in leaps and bounds in last two years. This collective might must be leveraged by netizens, hopefully under the benevolent gaze of the government.
The time perhaps has also come for India to come up with their own micro-blogging platform such as one of Sina Weibo which China has. It’s a mix of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. India could thus also protect its own data. The internet giants would have no option but to fall in line.
Importantly, The eco-system is getting ready to bite you—what’s your response?
Yogendra Yadav has the cultivated voice of an actor who is dressed up in a kurta-pyjama, made distinctive by his non-use of politicians’ whites. He was part of the troika with Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal before the once-mufflerman got rid of them. He has since formed Swaraj India, so anonymous it could challenge an IAS-aspirant in its quiz test. News networks such as NDTV and India Today are the ones who keep him going. But for some elections, somewhere in India, at any time of the year, Yadav would go unnoticed on a busy street.
I do find him sometimes on The Wire and the Firstpost, slightly amused when he sings paeans in praise of Jignesh Mewani; and definitely irked when he distorts history to run down Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as he did in his edit-piece in the Hindu on Wednesday.
Yadav must be reading from the dubious books of Romila Thapar and Irfan Habib to suggest that since its inception in 1925, RSS has never been part of a national movement. Which national movement sir, the one where we didn’t seek complete independence from British but only sought dominion status? (truth to tell, India was still a dominion to British empire on August 15, 1947).
If Yadav remembers the year of RSS formation, he also ought to have told his readers that it came in the backdrop of Khilafat movement (1921-24) where Muslim leadership was appeased to the extent that Moplah rebellion occurred which butchered thousands of Hindus.
The slaughters were so macabre that this is what Madras High Court noted after the event: “…(these) murderous attack indicate something more than mere fanaticism…the only survivors were those who either got away or were left as dead.”
Yadav then does the cheap act of lampooning Veer Savarkar for seeking mercy from the British in the Cellular Jail of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and thereafter meekly follow the conditions imposed on him. Doesn’t Yadav know that only the most dangerous prisoners were kept in that “kaala paani” jail? That Savarkar, unlike Nehru who was given a bungalow with his choicest curtains and a garden in his jail-term, was a prisoner marked D (dangerous) and went through most unspeakable cruelties: flogged, manacled, made to eat gruel which was riddled with worms?
As for his mercy petitions, it is known to everyone but the fake history peddlers that Savarkar’s clemency pleas were a tactical ploy like Shivaji’s letter to Aurangzeb during his arrest in Agra as he didn’t want his life’s mission to end behind bars.
Yadav would like us to believe that Savarkar went quiet and obeyed British after he was released. In fact Savarkar spent 27 years in jail and under prison-restricts terms between 1910-1937. He helped found the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha and worked ceaselessly against caste discrimination and untouchability in the years which Yadav terms as “quiet.”
Yadav has a problem with Savarkar and his Hidutva philosophy but wouldn’t tell readers that one of India’s tallest freedom fighter was a self-avowed atheist! He would not mention how Savarkar was wrongly implicated in Mahatma Gandhi’s murder.
Yadav then tars Shyama Prasad Mookerjee for “collaborating” with Britsh during 1942 Quit India stir which he terms as the “biggest anti-colonial uprising.” A view has lately gained ground that “Quit India” was as phoney as “non-cooperation” and “civil disobedience” movement, meant only to vent out the frustration of Indians. Quit India stir was a desperate attempt of Congress which had committed the grave error of resigning from its’ provincial governments in 1939. Without a say in national politics, and with Muhammad Ali Jinnah and British in alliance, Congress whipped up Quit India just to stay relevant. As soon as it was launched, all of its leaders were put behind bars. Jinnah got a free field to pursue—and finally accomplish—his dream of a Pakistan.
As for RSS playing no role in 1942 Quit India movement, let Aruna Asaf Ali’s words debunk Yadav’s claim. Aruna Asaf Ali had revealed that RSS Delhi sangachalak Lala Hansraj Gupta had given her shelter in his own house during the 1942 Quit India. Prominent Congressmen like Achutrao Patwardhan, despite being a strong critic of RSS, and others were kept safe in swayamsewaks’ homes. Be it food, safety or in illness, RSS stood like a wall in safeguarding Congress leaders.
Yadav has no qualms in besmirching the reputation of Mookerjee who saved Hindus by championing the cause of Bengal partition after the Muslim League government of Bengal butchered and raped thousands of Hindus in the Great Calcutta Killings of 1946. Mookerjee was the man who set up 5000 relief kitchens during the 1943 Great Bengal Famine of 1943.
Yadav then trains his guns on Nathuram Godse-RSS connection. He would never tell the readers that Godse left RSS because it considered the latter to be a “coward.” As per the Justice Jeevanlal Kapur-headed 1969 Government-appointed Commission report, not only RSS was not involved in Gandhi’s murder but “in Delhi also there is no evidence that RSS as such was indulging in violent activities as against Mahatma Gandhi or top Congress leaders.”
And this man has the gall to call RSS an anti-national. What do you think we should call you Mr Yadav?
This is a reprint from NewsBred.
Nathuram Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi on 30th January 1948. We also know the provocation was Gandhi’s insistence to newly-formed Indian government that Pakistan be paid the obligated Rs.55 crores from the treasury.
My first instinct on reading this Times of India (29.1.2017) headline was that the likes of Romilla Thapar and Irfan Habib have been pressed into service by that bird of the same feather, the English Mainstream Media. The actual piece though relies on the evidence of two Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) historians and one from Delhi University.
First thing first. The reporter could’ve asked 10 different historians and would have arrived at a completely different conclusion if she had chosen so. That’s the first bias, the report is not balanced which is the first lesson a journalist is taught but probably this one was given a licence to be illiterate.
I need to dwell on Romilla Thapar and Irfan Habib as my reflex reaction for these two Left-Congress promoted, pampered and fattened historians for decades peddled the lie that Saraswati River never existed and that Aryans indeed drove the original inhabitants of our land into southern India on whom the title of “Dravidian” was affixed. The Aryans gave us Sanskrit language and Vedic literature which we ignorant believed to be indigenous. Both claims have been proved to be bogus. There has been no evidence of Aryan invasion in India, our genealogy has been shown to be unbroken for 8,000 years, Or for instance this matter of Ashoka’s remorse after Kalinga War is humbug. This is THE real history. But if you go to interpreters like Thapar and Habib, or for that matter these illiterate AMU scholars and DU professors, you surely would arrive at the bogus confirmation of your own agenda..
This brings us to the history bit. We all know history is written by the conquerors. You write what you want to be read. You hide what you want to hide. That’s the method every historian adopts. Surely, our despicable English mainstream media does. India treats its history not as “Itihasa.” It’s always people’s history, not kings. That’s why you don’t find any king’s burial in Mohanjodaro or Harappa or for that matter in Kalibangan, Rakhigarhi, Hanumangarh etc.
“Itihasa” as History is an affix West stamped on us in order to hijack and distort our cultural heritage. In India, Itihasa is never removed from oral traditions. It relies more on “smriti” (memory) and “shruti “(oral) traditions, not on written documents. It’s because our Rishis and Yogis understood that history will always be victim of misrepresentation. That’s why Hinduism has never relied on historical timelines which is central to Islam, Christianity and Judaism—all Abrahamic religions. Our Rishis and Yogis relied on smriti and shruti. India has always relied on oral traditions, not on written traditions which West employs less to document but more to twist and manipulate to their own ends. History is never for masses to understand in West. They are subjected to State control. That’s why you have so many historical societies in West. Trust me, the history that reaches us is mostly fraud.
History must never be treated in literal sense. Certainly not in written manner. Those tales which are passed on orally, through shruti, are far more reliable chronicles than the documents which paid historians and propagandists like English mainstream media indulges in. In such descriptions, 100 years from now on, the deaths of Akhlaq and Rohith would duly find mention in history but the deaths of BJP workers in Kerala, Karnataka or in West Bengal would go completely unreported. That’s history for you.
So in that sense, the reporter’s attempt to say Padmavati is not history is right. By another logic, those who say that Padmavati is real history are also right. It’s defenders could “historically” claim that Khilji’s lust for Hindu queens is an unassailable fact. Khilji fell for Queen Kamala Devi of Gujarat and the daughter of King Ramachandra of Devagiri. Even Amir Khusro, the court poet of Khilji, in his Khazain-ul-Fatuh, makes a covert allusion to Padmavati episode.
This illiterate reporter states that Allauddin Khilji was India’s most able administrator. She probably hasn’t read of the 20,000 boy-slaves Khilji kept in his harem. She probably hasn’t heard of Jazia Tax or thousands of temples Khilji destroyed. Or Khilji and Malik Kafur dalliance. She chose what good Khilji did. She ignored what was equally true but didn’t suit her agnda.That’s history for you. She says that the “Padmavati episode” was used to demonize Islamic empires. “Demonize” Islamic empire? So were they paragons of virtue? Isn’t this assertion scandalous?
Only one question to this reporter is enough to put her in spot: If Padmavati is a legend that Hindus have fostered how come they could do it as a subject race? Isn’t it possible that they relied on “smriti” and “shruti.” And hence no written records. Could it be that the chroniclers of Islamic rulers never allowed any written record of that period to survive? The fact that Padmavati has survived in the cultural memory of this land is enough to treat as “sacred” No need to affix it with the burden of “Itihasa” or history.