(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
(It’s an open letter to Deepika Padukone. Hopefully she would read it and respond. If for nothing, then for commercial success of her upcoming movie).
I looked at your twitter-line for the first time this morning. I wanted to know more about the woman whom everyone calls an actress but who walked into the “fire” of JNU last night. You took sides with Ms Aishe Ghosh, president of the JNUSU which is a Leftists’ hotbed. But that’s okay—each to his or her own.
I am told you are in Delhi for the promotion of your movie “Chhapaak” which is releasing in next 48 hours. It looks an inspirational movie on an acid-victim. Your critics claim your JNU visit was part of your promotion plan for the movie. That millions of dollars of marketing was saved by your 10-minute visit to JNU. Not many know though that you are not just an actress in the movie. You are also a co-producer along with Meghna Gulzar!!! Again, that’s okay –movie-making is an expensive, time-consuming business. You don’t put money in a venture to lose it.
One side of me hailed you as a brave woman standing up for what she believes in. The other side wanted to know if there was some truth in that your JNU appearance was all about movie promotion. Hence, I digged.
Twitter was the starting point. Of the dozens of tweets you have done since 2020 started, all of them were on your upcoming movie. Your profile picture is of the movie. You are tweeting your followers to book tickets for the movie, giving links on how to buy tickets, posing with the real-life victim, tagging everyone associated with the film, including Fox Star Studios.
But one name was missing: Prabhat Choudhary. It was a strange omission. After all he heads Spice PR which markets you since 2011. Prabhat is important enough to be invited in your closed-door marriage from a select, curated list. Still foggy? It is Spice PR which took credit for Aamir Khan’s “intolerance” comment. Have you looked at their website: It claims “we spy on society.”
Spice PR it was which released the picture of your visit to JNU to media outlets. Most media outlets hid the source but the BBC inadvertently published the picture with Spice PR printed on it. Surely his team from Spice PR had accompanied you. It was a planned visit. Choreographed. It wasn’t your passionate belief in the cause of Ms Ghosh and her accomplices. Or in democracy, secularism, human rights humbug. You are no Joan of Arc.
Ms Ghosh and her accomplices? You object to the word? So let’s assume you don’t know the background. The JNU administration filed two complaints with the police against Ms Ghosh on January 3 and 4. Both were before the violence on January 5 which moved your conscience.
The first complaint states:
“On January 1, around 1 pm, a group of students using masks on their faces forcibly entered the office of the Center for Information System (CIS) and switched off power supply, evicted technical staff and made the servers dysfunctional. They obstructed and stopped public servants from doing their duties.”
The FIR also states that the students threatened, abused and chased staff out of the office and server room. “Students locked the room, squatted at the door and didn’t let staff enter the room.”
This complaint clearly names Ms Ghosh and her accomplices.
The second complaint states:
“On January 3-4, CIS office was closed as registration process was halted due to lockdown…Ms Ghosh indulged in physical violence, pushed lady guards, verbally abused and threatened them with due consequences if they opened lock of CIS door. Few guards were beaten up.”
So Ms Ghosh victim? On the contrary you stood with vandalizers. Goons who beat up university staff from performing their duty. Caused revenue loss which is paid up by us taxpayers. You have no thought for the innocent neutral students who wanted admission or give tests of their semesters. You never reckoned that Pakistan military would hail you and cite your JNU visit to abuse your country for which your father shed his sweat and tears. The same Pakistan army which has waged four wars against your people, killed lakhs of Indian soldiers in these wars or in proxy terrorism in Kashmir. It never occurred to you that these nefarious forces made lakhs of your Kashmiri Hindu brothers to flee the Valley and suffer untold misery.
All this for ensuring you multiply your invested money and further you career.
If you really want to live down the shame of your conduct, do credit to your remarkable father who is idol to millions in this country. If you don’t want him to suffer the abuse and shame of fathering a brainless daughter, I suggest you stand up and apologize to the nation. If for nothing then for commercial reason itself as your film would see a record surge and those boycotting would show up in double the numbers. There is no shame in acknowledging your slip up. There is no shame in saying: I’m sorry.
And if I may add, you could ask your fellow filmi colleagues to stop being juveniles. Look at the twitter handles of Javed Akhtar, Swara Bhaskar and Anurag Kashyap. The last one even went to the extent of putting the prime minister and home minister of your country as masked goons. If they were fascists, could Kashyap have got away with such rank abuse? Is the fatso brave enough to put a sketch of a historical figure as his profile picture? Dare him to do it: He would know what’s fascism. And you too would grow up in turn.
Please do reply and clear the air. Both on the role of Prabhat Choudhary and Spice PR on your JNU visit. And correct me in case you differ.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
The vandalizing of a Hindu temple in the Walled City of the Capital on Sunday night is being watched closely, and not by the local police alone.
The site is teeming with iconic religious buildings, no better than Jama Masjid, built in 1650 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan though Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib is no less holy for the Sikhs, built in the memory of Guru Tegh Bahadur, their ninth guru, whose head was severed by Aurangzeb, a quarter century later.
With elections due in the Capital in over six months’ time, political mis-adventurism is as much feared as the simmering anger of local Hindus for the Durga temple vandalized was over 100 years old and a daily fixture for hundreds of devotees.
There is already evidence that emotions were fuelled by spreading the fake news of a Muslim’s death through mass WhatsApp forwards which led to the violence and broken idols in the vandalized temple. OpIndia has run a story where it has alleged that AAP MLA Imran Hussain had joined the mob which attacked the temple.
Indeed a trend has emerged where a Muslim mob gather within no time in the name of a stray incident and the violence spreads beyond the local limits.
The matter would not be helped by the mainstream media who would keep a lid on the incident as they usually do when Hindus are at the receiving end. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal would hold his silence as would Rajiv Gandhi or Mehbooba Mufti or Omar Abdullah and we haven’t come to Mamata Banerjee or Asaduddin Owaisi yet.
Cine celebrities – the husband-wife duo of Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi, Aamir Khan or Kamal Haasan, Swara Bhaskar or Prakash Raj, Naseeruddin Shah or Anurag Kashyap—would have their timelines in twitter under the gaze of millions who are convinced their heart beats only for Muslims.
Nobody expects a Romilla Thapar or a Nayantara Sehgal to educate us on the combustible historical confluence of religious identities of the area which is overlooked by the iconic Red Fort (Lal Qila). There is also little chance that the erudition of a William Dalrymple—who has written more than one book on Delhi—or sophistry of a Ramachandra Guha making even a passing reference.
Millions of Hindus are unlikely to hit the streets across the country since their faith is intensely a personal quest and outward symbols at best are worth reverence but never violence.
This claim is not made in a flourish, as writers are wont to do, but by the evidence of hundreds of such incidents which have happened in the country in the last 30 years.
Yes, Hindu temples have been vandalized or destroyed in varying degrees around the country and if it’s a news to you, you have to blame your newspapers.
No less than Jammu & Kashmir government, much before the imposition of President’s Rule, admitted in the state assembly that “of the 438 temples in the Valley, 208 have been damaged over the years.”
In the past, during its years under the yoke of Muslim rulers, many of the historic Hindu holy sites in Ayodhya, Kannauj, Mathura, Multan, Vrindavan, Varanasi, Thanesar and Prayag were destroyed. Somnath Temple in Gujarat was sacked many a times. Kashi Vishwanath Temple was demolished on Auragzeb’s orders in 1669 and a mosque built in its place.
The ruling dispensation at the Centre is unlikely to inflame the passion even though Union Minister and Chandni Chowk MP Dr. Harsh Vardhan has paid a visit to the venue. The law would take its’ course which could even secure life imprisonment for the guilty under the prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984. The accused could also be charged under Section 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for inciting communal violence.
Three have been arrested; more would soon be nabbed as the CCTV footage clearly establishes their profiles. But as said, the incident is extremely combustible and politicians, as we know, are unlikely to let go of such an opportunity.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Indian Express can’t expect its readers—and I am one—to be polite any longer. The newspaper is telling lies, promoting communal divide and Hinduphobia for years now. And it’s happening because they are unaccountable to readers, appeased by Press bodies and handled with kid gloves by the executive and judiciary of this country.
Indian Express has published a front page screamer today in which they inform the readers that the “dairy farmer” Pehlu Khan who was “lynched” by “gau rakshaks” in Alwar two years ago has been charge-sheeted by the Police as “cow-smuggler.”
First thing first. Pehlu Khan was a “cow-smuggler” first and a “dairy farmer” later. Dairy farmers don’t buy non-milch cows and move in pitched darkness through a forest. You don’t expect readers to believe you and not the Police that he was a cow-smuggler. It was convenient for you to paint Rajasthan Police as compromised since the BJP was in power in the state in 2017. Now Congress rules the state. The bias factor is flushed down the drain.
Your harping on “gau-rakshaks” too need a firm rebuttal. Alwar is the den of cow-smugglers who number in excess of 500. Cattles are picked from the streets and homes, stuffed into vehicles and mostly slaughtered in Mewat (Haryana) which comprises mostly Meo Muslims. “Gau-Rakshaks” are activists who, police acknowledges, tip them off against cow-smugglers. Indeed, police asks “gau-rakshaks” to accompany them in raids against the cow-smugglers.
Last year, police caught three women packing 60 kilos of beef in packets in Gobindgarh, Alwar. It allegedly was of a cow slaughtered in the jungle by the owner of the house, Sakeel. Police raided two more godowns in the same area: They were stocked with 221 cowhides, not more than a month old.
In the inside pages, Indian Express has another story which details the Pehlu Khan trial in progress. It mentions the accused who have been given “clean-chit” by the police and which has “resulted in widespread criticism for the then BJP government in Rajasthan.” It mentions the case has been transferred from “Behror” to “Alwar” since the witnesses alleged they had been “fired at.”
One of the witnesses was Pehlu Khan’s son Irshad. The police later found out that the “firing” episode was fake. “No firing on the witnesses took place and the complaint was fake. There was no circumstantial evidence of firing and no such vehicle, as described by the complainant is seen in CCTV footage,” said the police.
Yet the Indian Express is on its own trip. It quotes “fake” Irshad at length in its front page story, as outraged perhaps as Pehlu’s son is. “We lost our fathers in the attack by cow-vigilantes and now we have been charged as cow-smugglers. We had hoped that the new Congress government in Rajasthan will review and withdraw the case against us.” Could you believe it! A fake narrator is being given a platform, never put to searching questions by the “Journalism of Courage.” A crime is viewed from political lenses.
Indian Express has headlined its Front Page story: “Pehlu Khan was lynched; now charge-sheeted by Congress government.” It’s inside story also has “lynching” in the headlines. Clearly, the newspaper is loathe to let go on the word “lynching.”
So let’s look at this lynching bit. For over a decade now, Alwar residents are keeping vigil on their livestock in the night given the region being a beehive of cow-smugglers. Yet there are instances of farmers who had 10 cows once are now left with none, all stolen. Says son of one such robbed farmer: “We lost our cattle and learnt a new word—mob lynching. So if you resist a thief, they will say mob lynching happened.”
Cow-owners are terrorized, fired at, killed by cow-smugglers in Alwar. Yet, a Pehlu Khan is “awarded with a flat in Greater Noida and lakh of rupees.” Another (Rakbar) was given a grant of Rs 8 lakhs. What do those who lose their cattles and lives get in return, the activists ask? The tag of cow vigilantes/”gau-rakshaks and lynchers.
There is little doubt in my mind that Indian Express has written more on Pehlu Khan than the entire media put together in the last two years. It has beefed up the story on false, motivated reporting. There is also little doubt Pehlu Khan wouldn’t have merited such a sustained coverage if he was not a Muslim. This is treating crime along the religious lines: Gau-rakshaks killing Muslim dairy farmers. “Saffron terror” against helpless minority. Hindutva brigade brutalizing peaceful Muslims. A criminal’s son, who himself has been shown to be fake by the police, is being quoted at length. Nobody condones Pehlu’s killing but he was a cow-smuggler, not an innocent.
And just imagine the incalculable harm this biased, condemnable reporting does. An Asaduddin Owaisi builds on the narrative to whip up fears of millions of Muslims. Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti chime in rhyme. Shabana Azmi descends on streets with placards. A Naseeruddin Shah buys the lie without a question. Javed Akhar, Kamal Haasan, Aamir Khan, Swara Bhaskar, Prakash Raj all rustic to nuances of agenda, if not Hinduphobic, add their bit. It shapes the “Report of Religious Persecution” in India by the United States. New York Times, Time and other beacons of Western press have pieces on intolerance in Modi’s India. And yet, merrily chugs the Hinduphobic train on the steam of an agenda.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
Millions of Indians mourn such tragedies. But those vocal, be it on print, web or TV, view it from religious prisms: The divide is between Muslims-unsafe vs. Hindus- wronged. Politicians and media profit, not the nation.
The question today is: Can India afford to be divided along the communal lines? If it comes to pass, who should be held responsible? Could India as a nation then survive?
We have a prototype answer to all these questions. India was divided along the communal lines in 1947; Those who created divisions, in this case British, were responsible; India lost its’ eastern and western limbs in its quest for survival.
Do we want a repeat of it in the near future? If not, how this slide need be stopped? Should another round of Partition, at the cost of millions killed, raped and displaced, must happen again?
It all begins from those who set the narrative. British did it in decades leading to the independence: Assembly elections were held along the communal lines: Muslim candidate for Muslim constituency. Then began the chorus: what would happen to minority Muslims once we leave the Indian shores. Muslim League and Mohammad Ali Jinnah were thus armed to severe India of its limbs. The resultant tragedy of Partition has few parallels in human history.
India has survived another Partition thus far. But the same narrative is reappearing: Muslims are insecure; their culture, language and religion is in danger; majority Hindus would be the oppressors.
If it were the British who fed this narrative in pre-independence era, its media and break-India forces which is fanning the fire in our times. As oppressor Hindus was the theme before the Partition, so is the theme in our times.
Occasionally, the likes of Sadhvi Pragya and Giriraj Singh play into the hands of such forces. At times, “saffron terror” is cooked up like it nearly did in the tragic 26/11 in Mumbai. Lynchings become part of leitmotif to stoke fears of oppressive Hindu majority.
Celebrities and cinestars jump in to serve their eternal desire of being in news. Writers and scientists sign petitions in orchestrated campaigns. Data, like Lokniti-CSDN, survey how many Muslims and Christians have voted for BJP; Castes are divided into sub-castes and further sub-castes as Mayawatis, Akhilesh Yadavs and Lallu Prasads feed themselves fat on its harvests. Important magnets, like Western media and prized economists, all are part of the ecosystem which want India to go up in flames.
Hindus and Muslims do have different language and culture. But both are Indians. And a majority do see themselves as Indians. The minority are Asaduddin Owaisi who incites with the call of Karbala or Niranjan Jyoti who divides with “ramzada” vs “haramzada” quip. Hang them out to dry. As you do with the despicable dozen English journalists and at least two English national dailies who are at the beck and call of divisive forces (read casteist, Left and dynastic parties); and foreign-funded NGOs
Let this be a checklist for Muslims:
- We have always been made to feel insecure even as more people greet us on Eid than those who abuse us; (b) That there is no word as “minority” in Indian constitution, all are Indians; (c) That if “secularism” means denying a Muslim destitute woman (Shah Bano) her rights and reversing the judgment of Supreme Court, then such secularism must be exposed; (d) That if Hindu consolidation has happened around emotive Ram Temple issue, it was stoked by Congress and not BJP/RSS; (e) That for every Akhlaq, Pehlu and Junaid, there are tens and dozens of Hindu victims at the hands of Muslims which go unreported; (f) That if BJP doesn’t opt for a Muslim candidate, it doesn’t matter as long as the elected representative is fair to everyone in his constituency: be it roads, electricity, toilets, gas, health, education, all is available to Muslims as it is to Hindus; (g) That if Muslims are economically backward, it’s not because of Hindus but perhaps the reason lies in lack of scientific temper in Madarsa education; and less than fair freedom to women.
Let this be a checklist for Hindus:
- Indian constitution doesn’t favour Muslims; it allows them to run their institutions THEMSELVES not by the government; (b) If Muslims are subsidized for Haj, so are Hindu pilgrims provided for in magical Kumbh melas; (c) True, Indian history is distorted and neither Congress nor Left intellectuals have been fair to Hindus but it’s no excuse to substitute that anger against a common Muslim; (d) True, a dozen English journalists and at least two English national dailies only report crimes against Muslims, often hoax, but they have been left thoroughly exposed in the last five years; their credibility in tatters thanks to a vigorous social media; (e) Congress and Left, two parties who stoked fears in Muslims and Dalits, are today the outcasts of Indian political system; (f) That Hindu consolidation must not happen at the cost of Muslim alienation: that we don’t want new nations in Bengal or Kerala or Tamil Nadu and its’ attendant costs; (g) That for every Zakir Naik and Burhan Wani, there is also a Muslim boatman who gives up his life but saves tourists from drowning in Jhelum in Srinagar.
We have a choice to make if want to be Hindus or Muslims or Indians. We ought to ask ourselves if we don’t mind another Partition and its horrific cost. We ought to boycott a Naseeruddin Shah or a Kamal Haasan; A Javed Akhtar or a Shabana Azmi; A Swara Bhaskar or a Prakash Raj who are selective in their outrage. The same ought to happen to a Niranjan Jyoti or Asaduddin Owaisi. We ought to outcast a Shekhar Gupta or a Rajdeep Sardesai; a Sagarika Ghose or a Barkha Dutt if the only crime they see is against Muslims; We need to stop an Indian Express or The Hindu from entering into our drawing rooms if all they can see is crime against a Dalit or a Muslim.
These are small forces. Pygmies in front of a nation of 1.30 billion. Should these handful be allowed to decide if we stay together or apart? Would you blame them if tens and thousands of us are butchered and raped in Partition 2.0?
Muslims need be confident this is their India too. Before you blame others, you must ask if your education and matter of equality to women etc need a relook. As Maulana Azad once addressed them: You can’t be drowned and defeated by anyone else but yourself. Don’t hide behind the cloak of “minority” and “secularism”. Don’t seek privileges; you are no different than any other Indian. Rely on self. Those who speak for your safety and stoke your fears, couldn’t care less for you.
(It’s a reprint from NewsBred).
This is a poser for you, readers. Please tell us what’s common amongst Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu, Lalu Yadav, Rabri Devi, Tejaswi Yadav, Arvind Kejriwal, Ashutosh, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Barkha Dutt, Shekhar Gupta, Naseeruddin Shah, Aamir Khan, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhaskar, Pritish Nandy, Vir Sanghvi, Karan Thapar, Prashant Bhushan, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie, Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Raveesh Kumar, Rana Ayoob, Saba Naqvi, Ramachandra Guha, Harsh Mander, Apoorvanand, Faizan Mustafa, Siddharth Vardharajan, Sadanand Dhume, Christophe Jaffrelot etc. Stumped?
Ok, let me try to suggest a few alternatives to you: (a) They all are anti-Modi; (b) They all stand for “freedom of speech”; (c) They all are for democratic, secular values; (d) they all are against totalitarianism; (e) They all are for feminism and stand for equality and dignity of women; (f) for freedom of press; (g) they are all of the above.
One option which you all must have missed and I would name now is that they all are SILENT on arrest of BJP’s young leader Priyanka Sharma by the totalitarian government of Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. Like they were silent when CBI officers were held as hostages; police officers under probe being shielded; violence in elections; opposition candidates unable to file their nomination papers; TMC goons forcing voters favourably in polling booths; arrests on mere chants of “Jai Shri Ram”; scuttling of Ayushman Bharat only because it’s BJP’s scheme; Refusing to pick up Modi’s phone on Fani cyclone because she doesn’t consider PM a PM; refusing to let BJP land helicopters for scheduled rally; preferring Ramzan over Durga Puja; custom officials harassed only because they found 2kg gold in the bags of wife of Mamata’s nephew; number of alleged scams etc.
I cite these instances to show how fake are these forces and the ethical and moral cloak they use to hide their agenda. But at a more urgent level, this has probably encouraged Mamata Banerjee to go berserk. Look at the issue of Priyanka Sharma. She circulates a photo-shopped image of Mamata Banerjee, imposed over a latest picture of actress Priyanka Chopra. A complaint is filed and she is sent to 14-day judicial remedy. Mind you, Priyanka Sharma hasn’t created the image, only shared it. Yet amongst thousands of such shares, she alone has been made to bear the brunt of suppression. The clear corollary is that she is made to suffer because of her political affiliation which Mamata can’t stand.
Yet these forces are silent. Even as the hashtag #ISupportPriyankaSharma on twitter is building up a considerable steam. Twitteratis are so upset that they are changing profile picture with the one which has landed Priyanka Sharma in trouble. “Arrest me, if you must,” is an assertion by many twitter-users under the above hashtag. Yet none of these forces are taking note. A BJP worker is jailed for sharing photo yet it’s Modi who’s a “Hitler.”
Newspapers are wrongly defined as a bridge between people and the government. In Lutyens Media, people don’t matter. Or only a certain kind matter. A Modi is hauled for uttering “Bhrashtachari No.1” while a Mamata Banerjee can get away literally with murder. Remember, she recently said she would put pebbles in soil and present it as rasogoolas so it breaks Modi’s teeth? How did these forces react? Silence.
I remember an instance when RSS ideologue Prof. Rakesh Sinha had a non-bailable warrant issued against him by West Bengal police for posting a picture of his with his mother in Mahakal temple in Ujjain. The West Bengal police acted on the complaint of an individual who felt Sinha’s “provocative” picture spoilt the communal harmony in the state! An aghast Sinha didn’t know what hit him. “I haven’t even visited West Bengal in the last two years,” a baffled Prof. Sinha had said. Where was the outrage from these soldiers of “democracy”?
The sixth phase of 2019 General Elections would be over on Sunday. Election Commission, worried over history of violence in West Bengal during elections, spread the one in the state to all seven phases. Yet, even the cover of central armed forces haven’t been much of a help. In each of the six phases so far, violence has happened; cases of rigging have been reported. Yet the names mentioned above haven’t bat even an eyelid. Shekhar Gupta, head of Editors’ Guild, instead is drooling over Mamata “fighting fire with fire, venom with venom.” A Rajdeep Sardesai is gushing and asking Mamata Banerjee the secret of her energy. (Boost, of course, you terrible).
A real Mamata Banerjee is very different from the Mother Teresa-like sari she wears. Her autobiography conveys the image of a woman who likes to play the victim card. She is deeply insecure about losing control. She is also extremely star-struck. Just look at the number of MPs, MLAs and ministers who are stars and starlets in West Bengal. A whole lot of them were recruited in 2014 General Elections. Many more have been made candidates for the 2019 General Polls. Why, she even got a few from across the border to do her bidding.
This piece is just not about naming game. The most troubling is the intimidation which any Indian citizen in any state could be subjected to by the longest arm of law in West Bengal. Judiciary hasn’t been much of a help. Nor the Centre who many believe should’ve imposed President’s Rule in West Bengal seasons ago. Even Islamic State declaring they have an emir in West Bengal hasn’t brought home the horrible truth that West Bengal could be a beehive of Islamic/Jihadists designs today.
West Bengal is slipping out of Union. All the ideals enshrined in our holy book, the Constitution, are being butchered today. The worry is, we are all being reduced to spectators. Some by design, some by helplessness. Time for a saviour. Maybe, May 23 could throw up light.
The largest human gathering in human history began in Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj today (January 15, 2019) and our English mainstream media don’t like it.
Times of India does have a front page image but the rest were too worried about Alok Verma and Kanhaiya Kumar to bother about 150 million people visiting Kumbh Mela between January 15-March 4, 2019.
The Hindu ignored the news altogether giving rise to the speculation that its’ name is as misleading as Rahul Gandhi being a janaudhari. Indian Express and Hindustan Times have a token presence in inside pages, the kind you register when there is a death in the neighbourhood.
None of these English newspapers are enthused even though the human congregation is more than the population of 100 countries combined. It’s more heads than you can count in Germany, UK, France, South Africa or Australia. Give these journos a mombatti gang or 10 fat women hugging trees in South Delhi and it’s a completely different story.
They would give lectures on gender equality till Lord Ayappa regrets being a brahmachari and calls a press conference to say – I quit. But the sight of million s of men and women taking a holy dip together in the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers to wash away their sins is revolting to them.
The significance of thousands of years of belief and faith in Kumbh by millions of Hindus don’t matter to them. Though the coverage of Pope visiting Ecuador is front page anchor with picture to boot. The Yadgar-e-Ghalib in Majnu ka Tila is worthy of a special edition.
The biggest and most peaceful gathering of humanity for nearly two months is an awe-inspiring event. Sadhus come down from their caves in Himalayas, devotees brave cold weather and hardships, poor without money, feeble without strength still turn up at the banks of holy rivers because they believe in Samudra Manthan and their divinity. A thousand years under the calamity of Islam and Christianity, and loot, plunder and rape of a subjugated population couldn’t douse this flame of faith.
Our English newspapers would rather have us innocent readers NOT know about it all. I doubt if you know that Akshay Vat (Indestructible Tree) inside the Allahabad Fort has been thrown up to faithful millions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It’s not out of bounds as it was under the Congress regime where you needed to take a special permit for it’s “darshan.”
It might be a myth in the eyes of our English newspapers that sage Markandeya once asked Lord Narayana to prove his divine power. Narayana duly flooded the world for a fleeting moment—only this tree stood erect above the water level. The historical evidence is still not enough for these English pen-pushers. That Al Biruni mentioned it in 1030 AD. Mughal Emperor Mohammad Akbar’s contemporary historian Abd Al-Qadir Badauni refers about it. Akshay Vat finds a mention in Tulsidas’ Ramayana. There is historical evidence of this tree being burnt, cut and dug by Mughal Emperors, none more so than by Aurangzeb, but so unfathomable are its roots that it kept springing back to life. That it has made it to UNESCO’s list of “Cultural Heritage o Humanity” still leaves our English mainstream media cold.
These newspapers though would bring out those obscure history books and dubious historians to tell you why Prayagraj ought not to be the name of Allahabad. The Prashant Bhushan’s Book of PILs could leave somebody inspired. Like Ayodhya, 70 years would still not be enough to clear the muddle. You could be given a lesson in history by the redoubtable Shobha De and Twinkle Khanna. A Swara Bhaskar could feel violated. Javed Akhtar and Naseeruddin Shah would be your professors of secularism.
Let not the lack of information be a dampener. The Indian Railways has over 800 special trains to Prayagraj during the event. Air India has announced a few additional flights. UP State Tourism Development Corporation is providing a helicopter service. Have no worries on security, roads, toilets or health services. Over 50,000 security personnels are deployed. Toilet exists over 120,000 in numbers. Over 220 km of roads have been built. Doctors abound in thousands. There are stalls of virtual reality (VR). Over 4000 wi-fi spots. An App which even provides instant weather forecast.
If you are a Hindu and live in India then I urge you to be in spirit, if not in person, with Kumbh Mela 2019. Fight the virus of blackout by our English MSM. Keep these “asuras” in your sight—their only strength is your ignorance. Be the light to drive away this darkness of India-breaking forces.
If we were to be asked whether (a) mass media doesn’t speak for common citizens; (c) is not neutral; (c) is corrupt; (d) is caste divisive; (e) is politically controlled; (f) it’s independence is a myth; most of us would say yes.
If we were to be asked if journalists such as Rajdeep Sardesai, Shekhar Gupta, Sagarika Ghose, Barkha Dutt etc are “stars” (a) because of their prose; (b) intellect; (c) knowledge or; (d) impartiality, most of us would say no.
Yet, we follow media and the “star” hacks like the lemmings which jump off the cliff. We don’t question (a) why our daily public issues are not important to English media; (b) why a clinicially/morally/intellectually “dead” Congress is being kept alive by bigger and still bigger coverage on front pages; (c) Why Communists with just 11 MPs have a bigger discourse on edit pages; (d) why a Hindu life or an issue concerning Hindu majority never makes it to front pages; (e) why animal rights issue of Jallikattu doesn’t extend to Bakrid; (f) Why an apparent “feminist” Swara Bhaskar would keep mum on Triple Talaq; (g) who foreign refugees Rohingyas are important and refugees-in-own-land Kashmiri Pandits are not; (h) why political killings in Bengal and Kerala are never front-page news; (i) why the Kashmir narrative is always against Indian state and its army despite the unspeakable loss of lives of its brave men and women.
We don’t seem to question why anti-BJP voices such as a Ramachandra Guha or Pavan Varma or Christophe Jaffrelot have edit pages reserved for them while right-wing intellectual giants such as Rajiv Malhotra and Dr. Koenraad Elst are always ignored. Why third-rate journalists such as Saba Naqvi and Kumar Ketkar are presences in our living rooms while a Madhu Kishwar or Makrand Paranjape are rarely sought.
We don’t seem to question why the mass media is like the way it is. (a) What could be its motive in being so overtly hostile to Hindu opinion and its causes; (b) is their funding legitimate or an enterprise of left-liberal mafia; (c) Or the “support” in form of funds and grants is a modus operandi of say, a CIA or a Ford Foundation.
We don’t seem to question what could be the unyielding goal of Left-Liberals and imperialist forces in trying to break-up India? Why there is such a ruthless agenda to ensure nothing good is mentioned of Hindu culture and heritage? Why there is a missionary zeal to ensure that Hindus only remember their past with a sense of guilt and inferiority complex?
Social media is bringing about a balance to this false narrative of mainstream media. OpIndia.com and Swarajya Mag have been phenomenal is presenting a counter viewpoint. My endeavour in NewsBred has an avowed aim of exposing media lies. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have held mirror to mainstream media and its monstrous profile.
But more vigour—and certainly more vigilance—is required from all of India’s citizens. We need more counter-narratives than just a handful. We need mass dissemination of this antidote to mainstream media. Only when most grow wise to presstitutes, would they be aware of dangers imbedded within our socio-polity fabric. And our children could expect a better, safer future.
So never drop guard; never be lazy on what’s good for you, your children and your country. Question the prevalent narrative and you would be closer to truth.
And you would’ve passed on a better India to your next generation.