The Organiser, November 01, 2006 [Vol. LVIII.No. 15, October 22, 2006]
Stories are fabricated to whip Sangh Parivar
By Dina Nath Mishra
It was Dang wherein a small incident of burning a hut-cum-church in retaliation to the desecration of a Hanuman statue was picked up. There were minor incidents of violence but not a single person died. Still it became a global controversy.
As a media person and a media watcher I can say with certain degree of confidence that right from the first general election of 1952, media has been biased against Hindus but had always kept a fig-leaf on its agenda. But this fig-leaf was discarded in the late 1980s with the beginning of Ramjanmabhoomi issue and bashing of Sangh Parivar became its main agenda. But this bashing was taken to new heights once the NDA government, led by the BJP was sworn in.
Media’s anti-Hindutva bombardment scaled even further heights, most punctuated by brazen lies, manufactured news and happenings that never happened. No other government had even faced such a brazen onslaught of media, however worst, corrupt, incompetent or tyrannical they may have been. The so-called secular media and the secular pen-pushers could not reconcile with the fact that the government of India is being led by BJP and its Prime Minister is a Swayamsevak of RSS. No other Government has ever experienced such a degree of hostility from the media and the Opposition. Even at the peak of the anti-Congress climate it was not so. The so-called secular parties and pen-pushers could not digest the arrival of the BJP at the seat of power. ‘How can they be allowed to rule?’, was the mindset.
As a contrast Justice Wadhwa found that when in a village “23 houses of Hindus were burnt down by criminals belonging to the Christian community, the incident was largely unreported and totally ignored by the national and international media.”
In fact, the Marxist and the westernised media find nothing great or inspiring in the history of ancient past of the country. Anything related to Hinduism is an anathema to them. It is for this reason Smt Brinda Karat, a Member of the Politburo of the CPI(M) led a vicious campaign against Baba Ram Dev, whose popularity has reached sky high after he successfully demonstrated that Pranayama and Yoga, can cure many diseases. Yoga has already got universal acceptance. Such was the public out-cry against Smt Karat’s frivolous campaign that she had to beat a hasty retreat. Baba Ram Dev was never a Sangh Parivar man but a great nationalist and believer of ancient Indian tradition.
Now I come to another example of attack on the Hindu belief namely the revered sacredness of the mother cow. The secularists, the communists and a group of historians are never tired of advocating beef eating by Hindus in the past. Vir Sanghvi, a leading journalist, wrote a full two-page article on the beef eating and various dishes that can be prepared from the beef. He adds, “What is it about beef? Evidence suggests that Vedic Aryans had no reservation about its consumption (though this evidence has caused another controversy). And while I respect Hindu sentiments, the whole point of Indian secularism is that we don’t impose our religious beliefs on the nation. Muslims, Christians, Parsis and even many less orthodox Hindus are quite happy to eat beef. (Take my own case: I’m a Jain by birth so I shouldn’t even be eating onions or garlic.). Beef is easily available in at least two states that I frequently visit: West Bengal and Kerala. So, why do we get so hysterical about beef-eating in such cities, as Delhi?” (Brunch Supplement of Hindustan Times, dated November 20, 2005).
May be in India secularists get a little political propaganda advantage by falsification of these incidents. Indian media ignores national interest, to say the least.
It is difficult to believe that such people will ever dare to hurt the sentiments of people who constituted more than 80 per cent of the population of the country and regarded cow as sacred, a creature which was considered aghnya (not to be hurt or killed) by the Rig Veda, and the Atharva Veda prescribes death penalty or banishment from the kingdom to a person who kills or injures cow. But our ‘secular’ media hardly cares for the sentiments and beliefs of Hindus.
The present phase of the image war on the Sangh Parivar, including the BJP, is by far the most intense. In the last eight years, we have seen anti-Hindutva media bombardment on a dozen non-issues which lasted for quite some months, maybe over a year.
Mehta’s ‘Diary’ column in the Outlook dated May 23, 2005, is the best confession of a pseudo-secular journalist. “At what point does a ‘national treasure’ become a ‘national liability’? Pseudo-secularists like me have blindly defended and deified Lalu Yadav for his courageous, single-minded fight against communal forces.”
The Leftists have been the most perturbed after the rise of the BJP. Incidentally, they are the most unscrupulous propagandists too. These self-appointed guardians of secularism and the media have kept polity in combat mode. Every six months, there is an anti-BJP campaign. Image matters a lot. Image formation, good or bad, is an extremely intricate phenomenon. Image represents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time, though the final perception may not be more than three or four words long.
The Sangh Parivar has worked hard for the image of being disciplined, well organised, growing fast and patriotic. The BJP too has assiduously built-up an image of ‘a party with a difference’. Its opponents have been out to demolish this image and, let me admit, they have been successful in denting the image of the party and that of the Sangh Parivar as well. Unfortunately we too have contributed in their success.
When UPA government came to power pseudo-secular media celebrated the result in which BJP’s tally was just seven seats less than that of the Congress. BJP failed to come to power. Media not only rejoiced it but multiplied its impact.
Media went hysterical when the Ramjanmabhoomi issue sprung up in late 1980s and turned out to be the greatest movement of Independent India. Media, generally the English media, went against it and hardened the secular and communal divide which ultimately climaxed in the destruction of the structure of the so called mosque. Anti-Hindu bias of media attained top gear when BJP led government came to power.
First, it was Dang wherein a small incident of burning a hut-cum-church in retaliation to the desecration of a Hanuman statue was picked-up. There were minor incidents of violence but not a single person died. Still it became a global controversy wherein ministers from Germany, Canada, US and Australia showed their concern.
Indian media’s fabricated coverage of incidents tarnishes the national image of India in the world and brackets our situation with that of Pakistan. Pakistani press either ignores or nominally covers the real incidents of ‘War Against Christians’ whereas our English media fabricates, exaggerates and projects this type of incidents and gives credibility to them.
Then came the Jhabua nun-rape controversy based on totally wrong linkages with Hindutva. The propaganda implicated the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in this heinous crime. The church organised hundreds of protest marches throughout the country and outside. This rape case became an international media event. It acquired high voltage because a Sangh Parivar organisation was said to be involved. Ultimately the truth emerged in an I.G. enquiry report, of the Madhya Pradesh government. 24 alleged rapists were arrested. All of them belonged to the Bhil caste, 12 out of them were Christians. The court convicted them. This crime had no communal angle. When the list of rapists along with their caste and religion was provided to media persons by Press Information Bureau (PIB), no newspaper of the national media published it, as already they had written so much about the Parivar’s involvement. Even today some newspapers write and blame the Sangh Parivar. The mainline media in India and outside and the church have never allowed the truth to come out, let alone regretting for a totally wrong and fabricated campaign.
The burning of an Australian missionary, Graham Staines along with his two children, created a furore the world over. The Wadhwa Commission castigated the media for linking Hindu organisations with the incident. We received a whipping by the media and media trials were conducted for more than a year. However the Wadhwa Commission found that Dara Singh was not a member of the Bajrang Dal and was in no way connected with the RSS. The commission was very critical about the biased role played by the media and practically indicted it for its bias. But the impact of the media against the RSS regarding this case left a durable impression on the mind of the whole world, for it was prominently reported in the world media A number of similar stories of attacks on Christians, and its linkages invented by media, did the rounds.
The Wadhwa Commission appointed to inquire into the Staines murder and other cases, established that the rape, “Was a made up story”, that investigations had proved that Sister Mary’s FIR stating she had been raped, was false. Justice Wadhwa had noted that it was highlighted all over the world as an attack on Christians. But it was a deliberate fabrication by the church itself, with clear communal intent.
Then came screaming headlines in the national media “Jhabua repeated in Jhajjar”. The fact was that the villagers protested against two nuns for meddling in some local committee election, but it was depicted by church spokespersons as something similar to that of the nuns’ rape on pattern of Jhabua. Shri Balbir K. Punj, who was then editor of the Observer, sent a reporter and a photographer to verify the Jhajjar case and the mischief was nipped in the bud or else it could have been a major subject for onslaught on the Sangh Parivar.
By that time it became fashionable to paint any incident communal wherein Christians were involved to whip Sangh Parivar organisations. Take the report of foreign news agencies which said an American doctor was attacked at Allahabad and he had to take refuge in a Baptist Church. The doctor himself denied the incident. It was found to be totally fabricated.
It was reported with the six column screaming headlines in a major English daily that “The Christian nun was raped in a moving car in Baripada in Orissa”. The rest of the press also repeated it and dubbed it as being the handiwork of Hindu fundamentalists.
A young girl and a boy were murdered in Candhamal in Orissa in one of the remotest areas. The Indian and the foreign media cited it as a continuation of attacks against Christians by Hindu fundamentalists. After an elaborate survey of the media the Wadhwa Commission noted that “the incident was taken as an attack on the Christians” and said “ultimately investigations revealed the crime was committed by a relative of the victims, who was also a Christian”.
Some tribals attacked the Police station at Udaigiri, stormed and lynched two prisoners and later burnt some houses. The media immediately projected it as a clash between Christians and Hindus. The Wadhwa Commission found that it was a caste clash and had nothing to do with religion at all. As a contrast Justice Wadhwa found that when in a village “23 houses of Hindus were burnt down by criminals belonging to Christian community, the incident was largely unreported and totally ignored by the national and international media.” Imagine the reporting which would have followed if the 23 houses had belonged to Christians and the attackers were Hindus! What Justice Wadhwa indicated by this contrast was that while “attacks on Christians” were “made up”, factual attacks against the Hindus went unreported and unnoticed.
The media had reported that in a village of Orissa, Ranalai, Hindus, who were a minority, had sparked off a clash with Christians. The Wadhwa Commission found that actually the Christians had manhandled a police inspector, who later filed an FIR against them.
There are over a dozen or more similar incidents and it is needless to detail them, which are either total fabrications or a deliberate twist of communal colour was given to the incident. But let us realise the implication of this massive propaganda, the world over. Firstly the image of India has suffered a setback. India is being painted in a Pakistani colour, where Christians are deliberately being marginalised and their women are being raped. The Christians are falsely accused of blasphemy. They are regularly beaten to death. Their land is being grabbed by Muslims. There are 30 lakh Christians living in Pakistan in a nightmare. The Sunday Times Magazine (reprinted in Readers’ Digest, May 2000 as “Pakistan’s War Against Christians”) reporters Cathy Scott—Clark and Adrian Levy had written about systematic religious cleansing of a tiny minority.
Indian media’s fabricated coverage of incidents tarnishes the national image of India in the world and brackets our situation with that of Pakistan. Pakistani press either ignores or nominally covers the real incidents of ‘War Against Christians’ where as our English media fabricates, exaggerates and projects this type of the incidents and gives credibility to them. May be in India the secularists get a little political propaganda advantage by falsification of these incidents. Indian media ignores national interest to say the least. It goes to the extent of being not only unpatriotic, but anti-national. An important section of the media behaves as if they belong to the post nationalist era. On a societal plane they do not mind publishing anti-people and anti-society write ups. It is due to their exaggerated portrayal of Verrappan and similar anti heroes, at all levels, that society has to suffer. Practically the media never introspects or takes corrective measures. Even if in some quarters realisation dawns, it is too late. I quote Arvind Lavakare's article titled “The English Media’s Hostility Towards Hindus” from web site “Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express, displayed a rare ethical standard, combining as it did a fair degree of contrition with a healthy commitment to truthfulness, qualities which are difficult to find these days in our troubled land.
Let’s see the facts as outlined by the gracious Shekhar Gupta himself. His column stated that—“First of all in Jhabua, there has indeed been no evidence yet that anybody from the Sangh Parivar was involved in the rape of the nuns.”
“Then, despite all the commotion and outrage in the media and the world, not a single Christian has been killed in Gujarat yet. Also, Gujarat has a history of Hindu resentment against the missionaries dating back to Mahatma Gandhi’s time.”
“Similarly, Orissa… a state run by the Congress, has a history of indigenous violence against the missionaries. Six persons were killed only last year and since the state has a large tribal population, conversions have been going on there… There is no evidence yet that Dara Singh (the main suspect in the Staines incineration) was actively involved with any Sangh Parivar organization…”
Based on an examination of the above, Shekhar Gupta came to the conclusion that “On facts, therefore, it would seem that we in the English-language media have something to answer for.” Just a few paragraphs later, Shekhar Gupta’s column recanted even more by stating that “Surely, we in the media have much to answer for.”
Now it is precisely such irreverence for the vital difference between “something” and “much” that often exhibits itself in a lot of our newspaper copy and misleads millions of readers.”
At times one feels that the media has been derailed en route its objective destination. “News is sacred, comments are free” is no more valid. Everywhere in the media be it newspapers, periodicals, TV channels to electronic superhighway one can often hear comments galore on ‘newborn news’ whose facts are unconfirmed and details are unknown. The speculative flight of the reporter’s imagination becomes the real news.
Earlier we have talked about this type of admission on the issue of pseudo-secular propaganda. Now look at the secular admission of guilt by one among the top ten secular propagandists Shri Vinod Mehta, editor of The Outlook weekly: In matters relating to the Constitution, Supreme Court, not a TV journalist, is the highest authority. The latter can make themselves heard and the former has no megaphone.
Outlook editor Vinod Mehta is undoubtedly one of the ten tallest secular propagandists who are instrumental in widening the secular-communal divide in the polity. When opinion leaders turn propagandists and occupy the highest positions in the media, they become a power centre unto themselves of the Fourth Estate, which in turn impacts fortunes of political parties. The debate on the secular-communal divide has been continuing for two decades.
Vinod Mehta has gone much beyond in his magazine’s ‘Diary’ column than India Today’s editorial conclusion of December 30, 2002, which states: “In this country, secularism in practice meant romancing the minority and demonising the majority”.
Mehta’s ‘Diary’ column in the Outlook dated May 23, 2005, is the best confession of a pseudo-secular journalist. “At what point does a ‘national treasure’ become a ‘national liability’? Pseudo-secularists like me have blindly defended and deified Lalu Yadav for his courageous, single-minded fight against communal forces. We pretended that the havoc he has created in his home state was forgivable, if not understandable, given the caste antagonisms and social fabric of Bihar. His wit, buffoonery and rustic horseplay, we said, was a tribute to grassroots of Indian politics which had thrown up a genuine son of the soil. Torn, as he was between courts, Yadav consolidation and criminal MLAs/MPs, we overlooked his clear mendacity. When he made his simple-minded wife the chief minister, we said, ‘Poor man, who else can he trust?’ Meanwhile, Bihar fell off the map of India and its galloping anarchy did not merit discussion because, in a sense, Bihar was not part of India. Bihar was Bihar. I don’t absolve myself or Outlook from spreading the aforementioned logic. In the last 15 years, consequently, we have allowed Lalu a very easy ride.”
Through this great debate, the intelligentsia held the view on secularism similar to that of Supreme Court’s 12 judgments. But propagandists were busy demonising Hindus, Hinduism, cultural nationalism, Sanskrit and the Hindutva. Gujarat riots came as a Godsend opportunity for propagandists. However, despite all hostile propaganda, the BJP registered an emphatic victory in the Gujarat Assembly elections. There was soul-searching among journalists, as reflected in the India Today’s comments.
But how did Vinod Mehta reach this conclusion? Vinod Mehta says: “When Lalu was Chief Minister, his potential for mischief was limited. Bihar had reached the point of no return, so what could Lalu do to further aggravate its condition? We were insulated from his heavy hand. Sadly, he is now out of power in Bihar and a Cabinet Minister to boot. Thus, his imprint currently has national implications—and with Patna out of his grasp, he has time on his hands not to entertain us but to frighten us. There’s no rule he will not break, no institution he will not denigrate, no charge he will not fabricate to achieve his twin objectives: Win back the gaddi in Patna and mount onslaughts against the BJP. His behaviour at the railway crash site in Gujarat where the deceased were swiftly forgotten and all media attention diverted to publicise an exaggerated ‘death threat’, and last week’s shameful assault on one of India’s proudest constitutional bodies—the Election Commission—should make all of us who champion him think again. Of course, he has 24 MPs and could bring down the UPA, but he knows what will follow will ensure that he stays permanently in jail. Lalu has nowhere to go. It’s time we called his bluff.”
If one were to analyse the piece, it seems that Vinod Mehta is repenting media’s support to Lalu and not so much the secular-communal divide created by media. In his concluding part, Mehta wants somebody to mend Lalu’s ways.
When UPA government came to power pseudo-secular media celebtared the result in which BJP’s tally was just seven seats less than that of the Congress. BJP failed to come to power. Media not only rejoiced it but multiplied its impact. They indulged in an exercise of confusing and disrupting the Sangh Parivar. The first big exercise was conducted in the Walk and Talk programme of a T.V. Channel. Media advertised two small sentences totally out of context again and again over a number of days communicating as if the RSS Chief was denigrating the BJP stalwarts. If one really goes through the whole text, it would sound quite different but when only two lines from the whole text are picked up out of context it will sound differently. It created a hell of confusion. It was repeated numerous times before the broadcast of the full text. It was meant to disrupt the relations among parivar members. Then came Shri L.K. Advani’s visit to Pakistan. A section of the media instantly reported “Jinnah was secular : Advani”.
The fact is that Advani never said that Jinnah was secular. The gap between this reporting and his arrival in Karachi was enough in creating a full-fledged controversy and unsurmountable chain of reactions. The media is deeply involved in the same exercise till date. Hindus of the country had become an unhappy lot untill realisation dawned in the Sangh Parivar. The damage control system seems to be succeding. This is on the political front. At the national level Indian people in general and the Hindus in particular are most unhappy the way the UPA is tackling Mohd. Afzal’s death penalty and his family’s mercy petition. Human rights industry is working overtime advocating to condone even the worst terrorist, the key conspirator of attack on the Parliament. Media is giving them liberal coverage everyday. Those who were loudest in their condemnation of terrorist attack on the Parliament are today maintaining a deafening silence. This is because of nothing else but Muslim vote bank. And see the attitude of the media. On October 8, the leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani and party president Rajnath Singh led a deligation to meet the President of India pleading against any type of mercy to master mind of the attack on the Parliament. But many newspapers dismissed these stories in a paragraph or two. These are some the facts, why I say that the English media has a anti-Hindu mindset.
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