Taimur

Arnab’s arrest: And why it must concern us beyond BJP-Congress, Right-Left binaries

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

A case is filed on two deaths/suicides. The complaint is that the two deceased were driven to take the extreme step because some THREE didn’t pay up. After a while police gives up. Admits in court there is not enough evidence to incriminate the THREE. The case is closed.

A year later the case is reopened in May 2020 at state government’s behest. On November 4, 2020, that ONE is arrested. Manhandled and with policemen toting AK-47s in tow. A measure you and I would recommend for a dreaded terrorist.

But Arnab Goswami is no terrorist. He could be one in the TV news industry or for certain forces. He could have been an asset for the ruling dispensation in the Centre. You and I could be on one side or the other. But none of us would deny he is a media celebrity. Possibly the biggest name on our media firmament. It sends signals, right or wrong, across the country. It affects India’s millions and millions of citizens. If not now, then pretty soon.

I am for law to take its course. I am not here to argue Maharashtra government reopening the case. I am not too worried about Mumbai Police too. Arrests are made in India, there are courts who on the basis of evidence take a call. I am not worried too about missing Arnab Goswami in my evenings. I hardly watch him. But I have the option to go for remote. As everyone has. You want to watch him, watch him. You want to shut him out, do it.

I am not going hysterical on either of these two lines of arguments:

One says it’s a revenge for raking up Palghar, dogging the drugs-Bollywood connection, and pursuing the Sushant Singh Rajput case with relentless vigour. After months, Arnab didn’t let up on these themes. He also took Sonia’s original name with certain contempt which upset the Queen Dowager no end up. What more proof do we need against the fascist nature of present Maharashtra government when it beats up ex-soldiers, locks up ordinary citizens for social media posts and make a crane comfortable within the drawing room of a nationally acclaimed actress? And don’t we have multiple sting operations which reveal that “Arnab-would-have-no-option-but-to-commit-suicide”, such would be the ferocity from the state government? That you get Arnab and you take heat off Bollywood and Sushant Rajput?

The other side is driven to despair at Goswami not letting up on Palghar, Sushant Singh Rajput, Bollywood and Kangana Ranaut. They feel such attacks are motivated. That it’s Centre which is working overtime to sink the rather unholy alliance between Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress. They argue what’s so big about Arnab when journalists are being hauled up all around the country, including in a few BJP states.

You and I could differ. Hindus and Muslims could differ. Political parties could differ. Ideologies could differ. But there is something we must not differ. And that’s about the nature of our Republic. We won’t be a democracy if media is under a siege. There is no gain showing me International Press Index which shows India very poor in freedom of press. That India is turning fascist. If it was so, NDTV’s alleged financial scams would’ve been taken to logical conclusions. The Telegraph won’t be so openly abusive. If people were under fetters, there won’t be open threats to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, and more than just on their lives. Vilest language on social media goes unpunished.

A free media though doesn’t mean unfettered media. If Arnab is arrested or some journalist in Uttar Pradesh is, there are redressal mechanisms. One or the other would be shown up wrong. Law would take it’s call. But if you manhandle a media celebrity and bring in armed men toting Ak-47, this is more than justice pursued. This is criminal intimidation. The is State trying to send the message across: to media and to people. That even though we derive our power from you, our naked force is meant to terrify you. That if this could happen to arguably one of the 10 biggest names in the country, you could be the next.

There is no gainsaying that Mumbai Police has acted on its own accord. It’s answerable to State government who, by now, ought to have taken a public stand on the matter. I scanned the twitter-lines of Uddhav Thackeray (office), Sharad Pawar, Congress (Sonia Gandhi) and Rahul Gandhi. Blank. Shashi Tharoor? Blank. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra? Blank. Mamata, Pinarayi Vijayan, Ashok Gehlot? Blank. looked up for Shekhar Gupta and Rajdeep Sardesai. Bland. I could promise you they would be the next. And then you would go to town on the “fascism” of Modi government. And then you would be teased on your silence on Arnab Goswami. Be principled or drop the pretence.

In a jungle, might rules. Humanity was no better than jungle. But it was centuries ago. Since then, Magna Carta happened, Napoleon happened, Tocqueville happened, Voltaire happened. We all agreed to the way a society functioned. A cobbled-up state government today wants to tell us we were wrong. That a Genghis Khan or a Taimur still lives. No sir, they no longer do. Before long, your fate would be decided as its done every five years. You are too weak to fetter a billion voices. India would assert and show you your place.

Modi is an excuse: Real fear is Hindu awakening

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

I doubt there has been a more significant month in India’s independent history since The Partition.

There have been famines, riots, four brutalizing wars dotting our landscape since 1947 but nothing as calamitous as the present month.

The land we call as India is being wrenched apart from the guts as it was during the Partition. The Muslim Factor is a theme as it was in 1947. Then too Muslims wanted “azaadi”. Now too Muslims want “azaadi.” On both occasions, Hindus’ rise was perceived as inimical to Muslim interests.

So, the problem is rise of Hindus. In 1947, it was perceived Hindus were far too many in numbers. Today, they are viewed as “bigot” under a “fascist” regime. As evidence, “lynchings” are held up as proof. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has provided further fodder to the cannon. That there were far more “lynchings” and “communal riots” under Congress-led UPA is conveniently forgotten. Or the fact that CAA too was set in motion by them.

A Muslim sympathizer would tell us that it’s not against Hindus but Modi’s BJP which is polarizing India and damaging it’s “secular” and “democratic” traditions. How it’s “democratic” to cling on to Sharia Laws? How it’s “secular” to drive out Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley? Who’s getting you more freebies and state benefits?

Modi is just an excuse. The real fear is the awakening of Hindus. The original people of the land who suffered for over a millennia under the Muslim invaders—from Muhammad bin Qasim to Ghazni to Ghori to Taimur to Nadar Shah to Babar to Aurangzeb to Ahmed Shah Abdali. Who had their temples broken, their universities burnt, their men sold as slaves, their women tossed around as playthings in harems. For whom the freedom came with vivisection of its lands in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

It’s a fear which Islamists share with other monotheist religion, Christianity. Both don’t want Hindus to know of their persecution at the hands of Islamist and Christian forces. Same is the fear of Left which can only survive if Hindus are unmindful of their heritage. Liberals of course are the face of colonialists who eye your land, labour and resources. They have populated school-texts, academia and media of this country in their singular mission to keep Hindus drugged in indifference.

Given its centuries of persecution, it’s natural that people of the land are suspicious if Muslims are happy with the abrogation of Article 370, “triple talaq bill” or judgment on Ram Mandir. Muslim leaders in any case are unhappy. Did they raise their voice when Bengali Hindus in lakhs were being killed and raped in East Pakistan in 1971? How did they react to plight to Kashmiri Hindus?

It’s the majority who rise in support of Modi. They are patriotic and nationalist; keen for India to be strong and wealthy. It’s difficult to feed them a false narrative for very long. More so if you are as discredited as the old political regimes or propagandists serving as media.

This month has again brought Hindu-Muslim fissures to the fore. This is an abiding divide which is impossible to bridge. Gandhi too had failed. What is good for the nation must be done without fear. Media could write what they want. They could have ears of Western press. So-called “secularists” could cry till the cows come home. Violence could happen. Streets may burn. But the government must do its governance without giving it a damn. Citizens must know their limits; as should do the government and judiciary should play the arbiter. It’s a simple, unclouded method. Anything else is mischief. And the nation of 1.3 billion people is a good bulwark against it.