(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
The news from Bengaluru is disturbing. A facebook post on the Prophet Muhammad enraged a mob of Muslims; they went on a rampage; hundreds of vehicles were burnt; dozens of policemen injured; houses put to torch; people killed. Alongside are stories of how Muslims formed a human chain to protect a Hindu temple from being vandalized; how a Muslim father named his son as “Krishna” as he was born on Krishna Janmashtami.
Bear with me for a couple of minutes as I build the background for you to connect the dots. In the hope that you would become a careful consumer of news and not one who just swallows any vomit by our newspapers.
I not only consume but also create news so know where my objectivity ends and bias begins. It’s true for most. We won’t disagree too that Muslims by and large don’t favour BJP. Or that your Sikh cousins—intermarriages are common, my mom was a Sikhni—would greet you on Holi and Deepawali but try telling them that Sikhs have emerged from the Hindus. Or that Sikhs are required to this day to register their marriage as Hindus.
I also notice a practice which if you are not careful enough would pass you by. Whenever Muslims as a religious minority do something which alarms the nation, by causing riots, killing civilians or soldiers, stories would start doing rounds in newspapers about how a few Muslims are reaching out to Hindus and shielding them from arsonists, how a few Muslims are upholding the ganga-jamuni tehzeeb, how a few were exemplary citizens before the state turned them into monsters.
Barkha Dutt made sure that the nation never forgets Burhan Wani was the son of a school teacher even if he happened to be the poster boy of Hizbul Mujahideen; that another top Hizbul commander Riaz Naikoo was a math teacher; and so on and so on. Who would forget the Indian Express headline: “And they hanged Yakub Memon”? It’s a classic news report which should be a matter of eternal shame for the newspaper. Please read it.
If somebody was reading the story today, he wouldn’t have a clue what Memon did for which he was hanged. There is no mention at all of why the State deemed Memon to have done a crime grave enough to be hanged. NO MENTION AT ALL. All you have is a poignant report of a man preparing for his final moment; fresh white kurta pyjama, letters exchanged in English with his family etc. Oh, I must tell you Memon had been found guilty in 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts which had left 257 killed.
Why do you think this happens? Why the innocent killing of civilians, threat to national security, incalculable damage to assets fades into the background and the image of an innocent, lovable kid in the neighbourhood, one whose only affair was with books and academics, is kept in your face? Why no sooner Pulwama happens, which leaves 46 of our soldiers martyred, you find stories in our newspapers that Kashmiri students all over the country are being beaten in hostels, in streets, and that they are fleeing and railways stations are filling up? Why a sympathetic narrative is spun alongside a grave crime?
On matters of Kashmir Valley or Punjab insurgency, it’s simply to cast in stone the image of a carefree youngster who was alienated enough by the Indian state to turn into a terrorist. Remember, movie “Maachis”? The chief protagonist only loafs around with his friends when police frames them and puts them on the run, seeking revenge against the system.
Now let’s return to today. Let’s look closely at the Muslim man who has named his “Krishna” on Janmashtami. Aziz Khan belongs to Indore in Madhya Pradesh. India Abroad News Service (IANS) informs us that “the doctor Praveen Jadia asked for the baby’s name to be filled in for the form. I immediately named our boy as Krishna, as the day was Janmashtami.
“Although the doctors and other family members objected to it, but I told them that a father has the right to give any name to his child.”
The IANS further adds: Khan’s mother Yaniki had suggested another name “Kafir” but Aziz did not change it.
What say folks. Teary-eyed. Angry at right-wingers poking fingers at innocent, harried Indian muslims? The violence still on in Bengaluru already faded in your memory? The anger you felt at Muslims taking their reverence to their Prophet to murderous levels already diluted?
So let me disappoint you readers. This story is a dozen years old. This happened in 2008. Why this story is doing rounds now after 12 years? it’s commendable but what relevance it has to the present situation which would only polarize society, feed the islamist elements and is bad for all of us? Try googling this story and you would see every newspaper, magazine, website swooning over the exemplary Muslim.
That’s why I say folks connect dots. When your respected Tauji forwards a WhatsApp image moved by his proclivity for Narendra Modi or his undying faith in the Gandhi clan, THINK. When your aunt in Pondicherry has just forwarded a map which shows Chinese incursion in the Galwan Valley, PAUSE. I guess now there are more economists in our homes than we had ever suspected. Or the very next day, these economists are ready with their nuanced view on India’s latest defence purchase. If you, reader, are an evolved consumer of news, it would foil their sinister designs. India only breaks up when its citizens don’t connect what they consume as news.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Let me say this at the outset that the headline of this piece doesn’t quite convey the disgust I feel for the kind of journalism Indian Express indulges in with a straight face and yet call itself a “journalism of courage.”
This “journalism of courage” publishes family interviews of terrorists (like they have of Shakir Bashir of Pulwama attack today) but would never have time for tears of near and dear ones of a Ankit Sharma or Kamlesh Tewari.
In other stories on front page today, it has one on how Indonesia has called in Indian envoy on CAA as a headline. But Express won’t headline the fact that Jakarta has expressed “complete confidence in Indian government.”
It has one headline on front page which says “10 stabbed in Shillong, toll 2 in anti-CAA unrest in state.” The very first line in the text says the “violence believed to be related to Citizenship Act..” So the readers must treat it as a CAA-related violence even as the text only “believes” it to be so.
These examples I have quoted are of just one day, today. All on front page. Indian Express does it everyday. So bad is their track record that once I had offered Rs 50,000 in 2016 to anyone who could show me a favourable story on Hindus on their front pages. Needless to say, the offer remains unclaimed to this day.
This toxic newspaper does more or less the same thing every day: Twisting headlines, hiding texts which don’t suit their agenda, any positive story or comment by a BJP leader is inevitably deflated with the help of bytes of a Anand Sharma or Sitaram Yechury; Ghulam Nabi Azad or D. Raja; Shashi Tharoor or Mallikarajun Khadge, the usual rent-a-byte suspects. It’s editorial pages “breed” academicians and experts who peddle the Left-Liberal narrative, twisting history; Human Rights activists who can’t see Hindus being butchered, say, in Bengal and Kerala; former judges, election commissioners, police chiefs who were beholden to the toxic Congress rule in this country.
I would still have given Indian Express the benefit of doubt if once in a while they tried to present the other side of the narrative. How come farmers’ plight under the BJP regime is sung from the rooftop but the Madhya Pradesh government, which hasn’t honoured the farmers’ waiver promise of its manifesto, isn’t pulled up? They would use microscopic lens to highlight “lynching” of a particular community while the one of the other community is altogether ignored. How come a Congress government in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan doesn’t have one single story come out in its criticism. Are the readers being told that Arvind Kejriwal hasn’t done a single thing worthy of criticism in his three terms as chief minister of Delhi? A GST is criticized even though it came about with the consensus of all states and stakeholders.
To me eyes, Indian Express is bereft of any credibility today. It’s allowed to go scot-free because the inner mechanism which upholds truth and integrity of Indian media, the Press Council of India and Editors’ Guild, are so hopelessly out of shape. Dead men walking. Information and Broadcasting Ministry is wary of belling the cat for fear of its own kind. The judiciary is all sanguine for fixing the “hate-speech” makers and “sedition” cases. But it won’t take a call on media which polarizes the communities with fake news.
As for readers, they remind me of a famous saying: “A crook appeals to the straight; guilty to the innocent.”
So readers be vigilant. Watchful. Know your responsibility. If nothing then to see where your buying rupee is going. All responsible mechanisms in this country have given such newspapers a free run. They are looking the other way. You alone can bell the cat. If your newspaper doesn’t mend, stop buying those rags.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
A father turns out a son who tries to destabilize the family. A criminal is sanitized if his presence is a threat to a society. A terrorist is neutralized if he has common people in his gun’s range. Individuals or groups who are hazards are brought to book by those who have the assigned role to protect society or a nation.
Thus we are looking at two ends of the spectrum. One end has the authority which has a job to keep a home or a nation safe. At the other end are the suckers who won’t let it happen. At one end is the welfare of the millions. At the other end is the good of the few. It’s a no-brainer that individuals have constitutional rights only till they start imperilling a society.
Two such individuals are presently in public eye: One, a high-profile politician; the other a fringe player. Both face serious allegations. Both are under probe. Both claim vendetta. Both are relying on hidden support from within society.
Let’s presume that both P. Chidambaram and Shehla Rashid are not guilty. One has been named “kingpin” in massive financial scandals by no less than judiciary. The other has been refuted by Indian army and hauled to court for inciting communal discord. The next logical corollary is: Who would decide they are innocents? When a criminal has ever admitted to his crimes?
That’s why society sets a mechanism which can arbitrate, punish or pronounce not-guilty. This mechanism could be judiciary or law-enforcing agencies such as police, CBI or ED. Irrespective of how one or thousands or millions feel, it’s this mechanism which we have entrusted to carry out justice. Everything else is gasbag—including you or me.
But try telling this to our politicians and media. Both feed on each other. When it’s convenient, they hail judiciary like they did on pronouncements on Ahmed Patel’s Rajya Sabha elections or favouring HD Kumaraswamy in Karnataka’s unholy tie-up. When it doesn’t suit them, they don’ t bat an eyelid in trying to impeach even the chief justice. CBI is “caged parrot” when it pursues cases against Mamata Banerjee or P. Chidambaram. But when the agency was in hot pursuit of Amit Shah, for instance, it was hailed for setting high standards of probity.
Just follow the headlines and editorials in our newspapers on P. Chidambaram. Indian Express in its editorial finds it revolting that P. Chidambaram was pursued in the manner he was done by the investigating agencies. It doesn’t question Chidambaram once on his reprehensible conduct in not submitting himself to law and thus subverting the course of justice. No newspaper has given a headline that Chidambaram was deemed “kingpin” of grave financial misdeeds. Just look at this headline in Hindustan Times: “Please sit, judge asked Chidambaram…He declines.” (As standing is a conduct of a morally upright person!). Be it media or politicians, both are aghast that Chidambaram was not given urgent hearing by the Supreme Court. We even have a letter from a group of Supreme Court lawyers protesting against denial of urgent hearing to Chidambaram. Pray, god, when a matter is presented on Wednesday and the hearing is fixed on Friday, is it not urgent hearing?
Shehla Rashid has been hauled to court in a criminal complaint against her claim that torture and excessive force is being applied by Indian forces on Kashmiris. Indian Army was quick to make a strong rebuttal: “Allegations levelled by Shehla Rashid are baseless and rejected. Such unverified and fake news are spread by inimical elements and organizations to incite the unsuspecting population.”
Did you find anyone in Lutyens Media question Rashid to either provide evidence or shut up. When she was cornered by journalists in an Opposition protest drama in the Capital on Thursday, she, instead of offering evidence, threatened to call police.
Has Lutyens Media questioned Shehla Rashid on fake allegations? Has it questioned the politicians of CPI or CPM, SP or BSP, Congress or TMC etc on what a fake news peddler who spreads lies on our Indian Army was doing on their platform of protest? Are we wrong to presume that these politicians, political activists and Lutyens Media have no regard for institutions and integrity of the nation and instead, could be hand in gloves?
This of course is not the first instance of transgressions by Shehla Rashid. She posts old videos and pass them off as recent; an FIR was filed against her for spreading rumours after the Pulwama attack; she had once tweeted that Nitin Gadkari was plotting to assassinate PM Modi on which the former had threatened her with legal action; despite a video evidence of abusing the police, she termed Jignesh Mewani as victim; Delhi Police has filed a chargesheet against her in the infamous JNU sedition case; She wanted United Nations to intervene on EVM issue as Modi seemed set to return to power in 2019 polls; and she termed Modi a “mass murderer” after his first win in 2014 polls.
All of Rashid’s allegations of course are unsubstantiated. She is encouraged into vomiting more of such diatribe as Lutyens Media lends a helping hand and investigating agencies dither in view of the entrenched break-India forces within the system. As Chidambaram was encouraged to be allegedly more corrupt even as his bête noire Dr Subramanian Swamy asserted that former’s crimes are fit for a 500-year-long sentence. Why, Indian Express reserves top of his editorial page for Chidambaram every Sunday. Like Times of India is nonchalant about allegations of paid write-ups from across the border against one of its’ regulars, Shobhaa De.
All of this of course is unlikely to stop. Faced with an existential threat, these forces inimical to India’s interest would continue to spew venom in a concerted manner. You would have letters from films, legal and writers’ corners tearing into Modi government for its violations of “democratic” principles. We, the stunned citizenry, must take note of these virulent rats which are a plague to India’s sovereignty.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
An interesting sideshow calls for your attention. It’s serious too and has wider implications.
We have long wondered why a few of our journalists, politicians, film personalities, media houses, academicians and historians speak the language of Pakistan on matters of Kashmir and Indian Muslims. Why their concerns for refugees extend to Rohingyas but not to Kashmiri Pandits. Why they get worried about a demography change in Kashmir Valley but stand by the demographic distortion in Assam. Why Hindus lynched doesn’t even elicit a pause while a similar tragedy for a Muslim evokes a diatribe. Why animal-sacrifice is sacred for one while Jallikattu sport is animal-cruelty by others. Why Triple Talaq Bill is persecution of Muslim males but arrests under dowry act is justice. Why a Mamata Banerjee could openly appease the Muslims but the Prime Minister chanting “Jai Shri Ram” is communal. Why skullcaps knocked off a Muslim head is bigotry but a Durga Temple vandalized, idols broken in the heart of India’s Capital is passé
The irrepressible Dr. Subramanian Swamy has an interesting explanation on such Break-India forces. He says that most of such voices are funded by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan. Even if neutral, all these inimical forces route their ill-gotten money through hawala by Dubai black money channels which in fact is controlled by ISI. The deal of the game is simple: You be of use to us to cause distortion of facts and a general amnesia in Indian state and we won’t spill the beans on what we do for you. But if you don’t, one line in press and you are finished, Dr Swamy tells of ISI’s implicit threat.
One such line has finally appeared in press. Shobhaa De, a regular columnist in Times of India, has been called out by former Pak envoy to India, Abdul Basit, for writing a pre-separatist piece on Jammu and Kashmir at latter’s prompting. Ms De has denied the allegation but really what other options she had? Nobody neutral is believing her as outpouring of reactions on twitter show. Her journalistic career is over in disgrace. All this by a stray comment in an obscure blog.
This must have sets alarm-bells ringing in dozens of such Shobhaa De’’s hidden in plain sight amongst us. Twitteratis have composed their own list but we won’t fall for it, not yet. But an educated guess is that the “disclosure” on Shobhaa De wasn’t accidental. A small pawn in a Great Game has been sacrificed to warn other rogues embedded in India’s fabric to do some meaningful damage to a purposeful Modi government. (Or why would you get headlines of “Sober Eid” in Kashmir Valley when governor Satyapal Malik is inviting everybody to come and see the exact opposite happening on ground).
India’s stand on abrogation of Article 370 and 35A and dilution of Jammu and Kashmir from a state to a Union Territory has dropped the baby of pretence. You are either this or that side of the divide: the clever game of rearranging the narrative and peddle the Pak agenda won’t work. Pakistan would demand “compliance” from these journalists and academicians; lawyers or social activists; filmi-sets or politicians. What fun would it be when such names are stripped of the cover of immunity and laid bare amidst us, as Shobhaa De currently is.
One has long wondered why a socialite with little idea of complexities and nuances of our political, cultural, economical or historical perspective gets to write in edit pages of India’s premier newspaper. It’s not also if her language is electric—why even a Twinkle Khanna in comparison reads better. Her readers, if any, ought to be on Page 3 and certainly not on the hollowed edit pages where burning, larger issues are in focus.
This is the set which ensures that anger in India is managed whenever a terrible tragedy happens in Kashmir Valley or in rest of India. Whenever a major attack happens in Kashmir or elsewhere, the bogey of “dara hua musalman” comes into play. It happened in 26/11 which, if it was a Modi government, would’ve certainly caused a war with Pakistan. When Pulwama happened, an orchestrated campaign in Lutyens Media began about Kashmiri students fleeing from rest of the country. The same narrative is overwhelming the front pages of Lutyens Media about “subdued Eid”, “scared” Kashmiris and the Valley being turned into a new “Palestine.”
We all know this is not true. So far government has ensured no untoward incident happens in the wake of their sensational decision on the troublesome state. But we all know that Pakistan won’t keep silent. It would use all tricks in the game and one of it is the “sleeper-cells” it has woven into India’s fabric. They are not allowed to be neutral. A goat is fattened not for nothing, to use a typical Eid flavour of the season.
Sri Lanka, shook to the bone because of terror attacks of Easter Sunday, has asked its people to be without veils. It has upset Indian Express greatly. For two successive days now, it has front page and edits on how it has upset the local Muslim community and that it goes against the fundamental rights. “Why are women being asked to shoulder the burden (of terror attacks)?” the newspaper asks indignantly in its editorial today.
So being freed of veil is a burden for Muslim women. Look at umpteen photos of the 1970s in Baghdad, Tehran, Damascus, Kabul or Cairo (like in the image above and below) and you would see Muslim women in shorts and skirts. Barely anybody had her face covered on those streets. They did their hair, wore skirts above the knees, and often outdid their western sisters. They must be being envied by their daughters today for they had so much freedom.
So what changed? Pretty little. There are still 14 countries which have banned hijab or naqab. It’s not a law for women to veil themselves in Afghanistan. Turkey doesn’t allow it, nor does Syria or Tunisia. Lebanon doesn’t enforce it; Tajikstan is against it. Cameroon, Chad and Gabon etc ban it.
The focus of this article is not who does and who doesn’t wear veils. The idea is to pin down the narrative and zero on who could be behind these damage-control operations. Why as soon as Muslim jihadists cause violence our newspapers start portraying Muslim community as victims? Why headlines such as “son of a school teacher” start making rounds? (Remember the Pulwama attack: as soon as it happened Lutyens Media started spreading fake stories about Kashmiris in other parts of India being made to flee).
So in Sri Lanka, as soon as the terror strikes happened, our newspapers reported how it was Muslims only who pointed out the terror hideouts to police. How they were helping out the state apparatus. Now for two days the narrative is fixated on Muslim veils as if it is a religious assault. (It’s another matter our newspapers, fed by Communist and Saudi patronage, would never call out China for its ban on Muslim veils).
You wouldn’t be told that it’s a temporary measure in Sri Lanka. That the island nation is under Emergency which automatically means restricted freedom. There won’t be insightful discussions on what drives the ideology of Islamic State (IS) and thousands of rapes they justify in the name of their doctrine. Where are feminist icons? The flagbearers of freedom of choice and expression? Who ask women to fight for freedom and equality even as they tell Muslim women its’ okay to cover their shameful bodies?
You won’t be told of surveys which reveal 99 per cent of Egyptian women report being sexually harassed; that up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day. That in Iraq not too long ago there was a proposal to lower to nine the legal age of marriage for girls. That UNICEF estimates more than 125 million crimes of female genital mutilation have been reported from Africa and Arab nations. That immigrant communities to Europe and North America carry such practices with them.
The fact is nowhere in Quran women are asked to cover their bodies completely. While the Quran calls for modest clothing and for women to cover their hair, the holy book doesn’t ask for women to cover their faces.
However, cooked narratives serve up a totally different course on the table. We all have heard that devout Muslims go to paradise but what happens to women? Is there a mention that they too go to paradise?
To go back to my original question why our newspapers compete to replace “Violent Muslim” with “Victim Muslim” narrative? It’s not a one-off thing—there is a pattern. It’s an agenda. Who enforces this agenda? Such agenda could only run on the fuel of funds. Who supplies funds? Who gains by white-washing Islamists/Jihadists crimes? The logical corollary is the Wahabbi doctrinaires. Do they have Left as its accomplice? Or why our Leftists newspapers would peddle in such an agenda?
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
(Picture caption: IS has released the photo of Lanka suicide bombers with mastermind Zahran Hashim in the middle.)
Islamic State (IS) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has resurfaced and claimed that suicide-bombings in Sri Lanka which left over 250 dead was a revenge for being ousted in Baghouz, their last stronghold in Syria.
Now try to make sense. Lanka terror ring-leader Moulvi Zahram Hashim blows himself up. As does most in his family. Filthy rich young Ahmed Ibrahim (31) and Ilham Ibrahim (31) self-destruct themselves as does the wife of latter with her three children. I mean all this for a cause a world away? To give up everything you have for a place which has only 10,000 for population, no historical or holy value nor any family roots? I mean for what?
Why Islam is such a magnet for suicide-bombers?
Islam teaches its adherents that the present life is transitory and should only be a preparation for afterlife. Death is the goal, how you reach it leads to the prize of eternal life.
It’s one of the core teachings of the Quran. “Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of life): for the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception (3:185).”
And how do you reach this goal? Both the Quran and the hadith tells you that most glorious Muslims are those who are warriors to the cause of Allah. They not only must welcome the war but also death in war because it gives you the highest of the seven levels of paradise. All your sins are immediately forgiven. This afterlife is invoked five times a day during ritual prayers. Islam has the tradition of individual martyrs not only committing suicide but also killing others for religious reasons.
So don’t you believe that it all began with 9/11 when suicide bombers plunged into world trade towers in New York. In 1980 a 13-year-old Iranian kid blew himself up under an Iraqi tank during the Iran-Iraq War ( Ayotallah Khomeini declared the boy a national hero in its wake). In 1983, suicide bombing of the US marine corps in Lebanon left 241 American military personnel dead. For Shias and Sunnis this is the most common method to kill each other. Already this year we have grave suicide-bombing in Afghanistan and Pulwama, the latter with the embedded threat of a nuclear holocaust.
And don’t be mistaken that Muslim clerics call it “suicide.” For them this is shahada (martyrdom). Suicide is born out of a feeling of hopelessness. In case of martyrdom, it’s a fulfillment of a successful life. Streets and squares are named after them. Newspapers describe such funerals as “wedding” of their heroes. Mothers of suicide-bombers talk as if their sons had gone off to get married.
Mariam Farhat is known as “mother of martyrs” in Palestine. She encouraged three of her sons to attack Israel that cost them their lives. Listen to her words: “Sons are precious but for the sake of Allah, what is precious becomes cheap.” But does she condone her sons taking innocent lives? “Yes. Because I love my son. And I wanted to choose the best for him. And the best is not life in this world.” (That’s why you have the hadith: Paradise lies under the feet of the mothers.)
It’s true of most of Muslim world. On Egyptian TV, you have preachers exhorting kids “the love of martyrdom for the sake of Allah.” On Al Jazeera, 10-year-old kids are swearing to be martyrs. In Somalia, fathers are recruiting their kids to become suicide bombers and film their “martyrdom” feats. Same with leaders of Boko Haram who want their children to be martyrs.
In 2014, a British-born woman Umm Layth tweeted on her new life as wife of a Syrian IS fighter: “There’s no way to describe the feeling of sitting with the sisters and waiting on news of whose husband has attained shahada. She has thousands of followers on twitter.
Former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir captured this bewilderment perfectly: “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
In Islam, paradise is a goal, a destination infinitely more preferred to the one on earth. The most spectacular way to enter paradise is as a martyr, by the open embrace of an early death. Martyrdom is the most effective pathway to paradise.
And what’s this paradise?
The Quran has a very vivid description of it: “In them will be maidens, chaste, restraining their glances, whom no man or jinn before them has touched (55: 46-50).”
Al-Ghazzali, second only to Prophet Muhammad in terms of importance, narrates a hadith thus:
“These places (in paradise) are built of emeralds and jewels and in each buildings there will be 70 rooms of red colour and in each room seventy sub-rooms of green colour and in each sub-room there will be one throne and over each throne, seventy beds of varied colours and on each bed a girl having sweet black eyes..there will be seven girls in each room…each believer will be given such strength in the morning as he can cohabit with them.”
These virgins “do not sleep do not get pregnant, do not menstruate, spit, or blow their noses, and are never sick.”
In early 2013, more than 120 Muslim scholars from around the world signed a letter denouncing Islamic State as “un-Islamic.” Yet the letter doesn’t question the concept of martyrdom or challenges the primacy of afterlife.
It’s such half measures which don’t allow reform and put the world in perennial danger.