The latest news item to cause a fresh bout of uncontrollable loose motions in the Indian English media is seeing Narendra Modi’s picture on the cover of the Time magazine. Here’s the picture in question:
Being the long-time Congress-cultivated Pavlovian breed that they are, the media wasted no time in giving wide coverage to the Congress party’s trashing of Modi instead of actually examining what the piece says.
In a line, the Time piece authored by some Jyoti Thottam repeats the same lies about Modi’s involvement in the Gujarat riots, grudgingly admits his development work and record of governance, and says that he has the potential to lead India in 2014.
It’s very evident that Jyoti Thottam’s main sources for writing this piece again comes from the selfsame media that continues to bait him although with diminished vigour. And consequently, Jyoti repeats and rehashes these selfsame biases: here are a couple of representative lines:
It’s Modi in makeover mode: an act of self-purification, humility and bridge building in a state that is still traumatized by the Hindu-led anti-Muslim massacres of 10 years ago and the flawed investigations in their wake…This image of Modi — the triumphant technocrat — has overtaken that of Modi the Hindu ultra-nationalist….India has seen other leaders overcome scandal or bloodshed, but none has been recast as completely as Modi.
Now this would qualify as reasonable analysis except that it suffers from exactly one defect: it is completely false. It is a spurious concoction brewed with the ingredient of dishonesty. It is a stellar structure of deception built on the edifice of fraud. Equally, it is yet another desperate attempt to keep the flames of secular divisiveness alive.
The whole theory of Narendra Modi’s “image makeover” is a grand myth. This article will show you with precise facts and in detail how.
The word makeover is synonymous with refashion, renovate, restore, remake, recast, and remodel. Which means X has been remade as Y. If you look at this in yet another way, it means X is still X but it has been altered in some way(s) so it appears—or is made to appear—different now. This is exactly what is behind all those cunning but nice-sounding phrases such as, “This image of Modi — the triumphant technocrat — has overtaken that of Modi the Hindu ultra-nationalist” applied to Modi. What the media is still saying is: Modi is the man who hates Muslims, he’s the one who committed the “genocide (sic)” against Muslims in 2002, and assorted venom. Same toxin, different packaging, flavour, and aroma.
To understand how the media has presented a metamorphosed but yet the same deceptive picture of Modi, we need to revisit exactly two prominent and oft-repeated myths surrounding the mass-murder of Hindus on Sabarmati Express and the consequent riots.
Myth 1: 58 Hindus were killed in that train
Truth: 58 Hindus were roasted alive, murdered because they were Hindus and dared to proclaim that they worshipped Rama. Those roasted alive include women and children, babies even. That was a pre-planned, premeditated mass-murder, the perpetrators of which were motivated by religious bigotry. Various media outlets reporting this incident back then were more or less consistent: that it was a preplanned murder. And then something happened that caused the media to systematically obscure and then bury this grave provocation for the riots that followed. Myth 2 explains that something.
Myth 2: Post-Godhra riots were state and/or Modi-sponsored
Truth: This myth is the vile and the only foundation on which the fast-crumbling Gujarat Riots Cottage Industry stands. The truth however, is that the post-Godhra riots were a spontaneous backlash against the mass-murder of Hindus in Sabarmati Express. After much digging, I’ve created a site that showcases media reports filed back then about the riots. In the initial week or so since the riots began, almost every media outlet reported that the riots were a backlash. And then both the tone and script varied: the media quickly woke up to the fact that these riots were a God-sent opportunity to further tarnish the BJP, which was ruling at the Centre. Additionally, unlike all earlier riots, there had emerged a strong leader out of nowhere, who had managed to get the army in within 20 hours and had clamped down the entire state much to the media’s frustration. Until the Gujarat riots, every other communal riot had happened only under Congress governments at state and/or Centre. The final nail in the secular media’s spin-coffin was the fact that the Centre allowed Narendra Modi to continue as Chief Minister even when he had offered to resign at the BJP party meeting Goa. Even worse, he conclusively won the 2002 Gujarat state elections with a gargantuan number of seats and continued as Chief Minister. Suddenly things were not going according to the Secular Plan. The script had to be altered now and peddled aggressively, extensively and widely. What was even worse was the fact that Modi showed nary a care for the media: he didn’t treat them with the “respect” they were used to receiving. He called their bluff routinely. He ignored them.
And thus, the grand charade of deception that began more or less when the Human Rights vultures descended on Gujarat was greatly intensified. Every two-bit secular scavenger of human misery wanted a slice of the pie: from plunderer-filmmakers like Anand Patwardhan to two-bit feminists who wrote copious poetry about the state of “our Muslim sisters in Gujarat” to Inhuman Rights Champions like Teesta Setalvad to Bollywood-certified lunatics like Mahesh Bhatt to “Ripped Foetus” Genocide Suzie to insane psychiatrists like Ashis Nandy…everybody heartily gorged in that orgy of wealth that flowed from the pile of dead riot victims. The media loudly condemned the arrival of a new “saffron (sic) fundamentalist (sic) Hitler (sic)” and peddled it far and wide, adding all sorts of ugly hues to it everyday. Not everybody—even today—understands the importance of the role television played in the Gujarat riots. Gory images were repeatedly telecast resembling an eerie preface of the kind of mass brainwashing techniques described in dystopian novels. The Gujarat riots were the first riots to be telecast (sic) on near-live TV every single day, relentlessly for months. The image of Narendra Modi as the orchestrator of the Gujarat riots stuck in the minds of the public. And it stuck for quite a long time.
And this image was created by the media. At no point in all these years did Modi himself issue any clarification about his “image.” On the contrary, his behaviour and conduct has been consistent in all these 10 years: he has stuck to his stand that he has followed the law of the land and respects it.
And the tide began to slowly but certainly turn. And before the media could realize what was happening, the tide had completely bypassed the media, which didn’t know how to react to it let alone counter it. Gujarat’s success story was suddenly everywhere. People with serious money were talking about Modi with immense respect. They proclaimed that they were proud to do business with him. A panicked media tried to blank out all news of Gujarat’s development story but in today’s age, complete information suppression is near impossible. The Internet was teeming with large legions of selfless, genuine Modi admirers. Of late, Twitter has continued to heap misery on Modi-baiters of every hue. And so they began to look for excuses to say that Gujarat’s development was fake and it was no big deal but the ground reality told the opposite story. The poisonous mammaries of the Gujarat Cottage Industry were now dry while simultaneously Modi was scaling height after new height. The real wake up call came when his name began to be uttered in the same breath as “Prime Minister.” If that was not enough, India Today published its survey that sent devastating ripples across the stinky sea of the secular media. A fresh wave of media-sponsored attack on Modi began. It was free season again for hypocritical opportunists like Salil Tripathi to the regular Outlook scum to that pretender at Caravan among others.
And now Modi’s picture has made it to the cover page of the Time magazine.
The media has run out of tactics to bait him. To be sure, from day one, the secular media could never quite figure out exactly how to deal with Narendra Modi. They’ve pretty much tried everything from trial-by-media to baiting to cloak-and-dagger to open abuse. They’ve openly gloated in sadistic pleasure each time some misfortune befell him. Despite all this, nothing has worked. When every case, every attempt to implicate him failed, at last, the media, in an admission of defeat of sorts, called for him to “apologize” or “feel remorse” for 2002. As is characteristic of Modi, he responded by simply ignoring it. Narendra Modi is perhaps the only BJP leader who hasn’t acted according to the media’s script. Which is why every new piece on Modi tries to invent newer and more innovative variants of the same “Hindu fundamentalist/hardline leader” "image that they’ve created for him. The whole “image makeover” nonsense is just that: another attempt to bait him. And as is characteristic of Modi, he has simply ignored it. Again.
It is a great fortune of sorts that this country is not ruled by the media. We can’t trust people who spend a major part of their day suffering from and tending to perpetual loose bowels.