This was published today in the Pioneer. Comments and brickbats welcome as always.
Bogus secularists in media derive perverse pleasure
One occasion brings immense joy, deafening sound bytes, and bounteous monetary rewards to the establishment and the whole secular brigade. Not so much the occasion as much as just one personality who has been the subject of tremendous, sustained vilification and blind adoration depending on which side of the fence you are on. No other political figure has managed to command this extraordinary level of attention — for whatever reasons — and so consistently for about 10 years in recent memory.
Mr Narendra Modi has earned the wrath of not just his political opponents but of the entire class of self-proclaimed secularists in the media, academia, and the ‘intelligentsia’. Especially to the latter class, Mr Modi has become a money-spinner of sorts. Every op-ed, article, fiction, and film on the ‘dreaded Hindutva phenomenon’ prominently stars Mr Modi and generates enormous revenue in cash, kind and contracts. And all of this based merely on allegations that Mr Modi had a hand in the post-Godhra violence. As I had noted on this page last year (“A lie split wide open,” April 22, 2009), every new investigation into the Gujarat violence has only revealed his non-complicity! However, that hasn’t stopped these worthies. The so-called secular media is itself both a worthy and an outlet for like-minded worthies.
The secular media has faithfully followed Lenin’s advice of political deception of “stick(ing) the convict’s badge first” and then leaving the hapless opponent trying to get rid of the badge. Before the courts even got to the cases, our secular media stars had delivered their pronouncement that Mr Modi was guilty. What followed were merely repeated assertions of this ‘judgement’. But that’s the least of their crimes. The greatest crime is their barefaced lying. From Arundhati Roy who wrote in 2002 about ripped foetuses that were never ripped to the latest, open falsehood perpetrated by virtually most of the major media houses.
A couple of weeks ago, a prominent newspaper reported that Mr Modi was summoned by the SIT’s investigation team for questioning on March 21. This was promptly picked up by other news houses and was enough to ignite wild speculation about how Mr Modi “chose to defy the summons”. Which is when Mr Modi himself released a statement that nailed the canard thus: “The purveyors of untruth failed even to think that March 21 happens to be a Sunday and a public holiday… (and) did not once bother to check whether the key SIT officers, who are appointed by the Supreme Court, were present in Gujarat on March 21, 2010.” (http://www.narendramodi.com/post/Baseless-allegations-are-being-leveled-to-defame-Gujarat.aspx). What followed was a deafening silence by these media worthies except a few who retracted their original, misleading report. These worthies seemed to think it was okay to abandon even basic decency and dispensed with issuing an apology. But it didn’t end there.
After the SIT questioning, which actually took place on March 28, the media turned its guns on Amitabh Bachchan for agreeing to promote Gujarat Tourism. The media’s sights though were still firmly fixed on Mr Narendra Modi. Bachchan responded to this criticism with a longish blog post (http://bigb.bigadda.com/?p=4890) defending his stand.
The other side of the coin shows the same media game but with a different picture: The media completely mutes Gujarat’s stellar economic achievements, programmes for rural women, superb road connectivity, impressive infrastructure, and exemplary governance all under Mr Narendra Modi’s chief ministership. If it does condescend to mention these, it comes with the sickening rider: What about the riots of 2002, Mr Modi?
While all this may seem like an encomium to Mr Modi, it is really a call for fairness and balance in public discourse. Which is why it is pertinent to ask some uncomfortable questions to the secular media:
# Should Mr Modi keep indulging every whim of media kangaroo courts or govern the State?
# Is media’s hatred of Mr Modi makes it so so blind that it thinks it’s okay to resort to any vile trick to revile him time and again?
# Does the media even admit to the existence of judicial processes of investigation, trial, and judgement?
# Most importantly, does the media recognise that a Chief Minister is a constitutionally-appointed head of a State?
But given its record, it’s obvious that such questions pose no discomfort to the secular media, which believes that no device, no knavery is too low to bait Mr Modi.
Tags: Commentary, Daily Pioneer, Democracy, Gujarat, India, Indian Democracy, Indian Politics, Media Watch, Modi, Narendra Modi, Oped in Pioneer, Pioneer, Pseudosecularism, Pseudosecularism Hall of Shame, Published Articles