On 4th February, Editor at Buzzfeed India Ms Rega Jha departed from tweeting highly conscience stirring, intellectual posts with deep meaning, like “21 Irrational Fears About Love Bollywood Has Instilled In You” and “16 Struggles Every Spoilt Brat Will Understand Perfectly” and tried to raise some very pertinent questions on the “Idea of India”:
Shireen Dalvi in hiding, AIB under threat, “Bombay” bleeped out, cleavage blurred on TV. @narendramodi THIS is modern India? No thank you.
— Rega Jha (@RegaJha) February 4, 2015
It was well within her rights of Freedom of Expression to question Modi on such grave crimes committed by him and it is also welcome that people who thrived on Filmfare magazines and Zoom TV “news bulletins” for ages have now become serious about the real News in our country. But we felt the need to address some basic factual inaccuracies in her tweet, with this tweet, the text of which we reproduce below:
1. Shirin Dalvi, has gone into hiding because of the opposition and criticism she faced for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoons. This opposition is not from Narendra Modi or his bigotted army, as Rega implies, but is from journalists like Zubair Azmi who heads heads Urdu Markaz, an organisation that promotes the cause of Urdu literature and Izhar Ahmed, president of the Urdu Patrakar Sangh who considers himself a “Muslim first, a journalist second”. They have used the current Indian law, to file case and seek lawful punishment. We cannot verify whether Azmi and Ahmed are “BJP or Modi Agents” nor can we comment whether Dalvi should be afraid of fighting her case in the courts.
2. The only “threat” AIB is under as of now is having to drive through menacing traffic of Mumbai to go to a court to defend the FIRs filed by some people, again seeking lawful recourse to their grievances. We do hope they go to court and teach the idiots who filed FIRs a lesson. Also it is important to note what Modi’s representatives in Maharashtra have said: The CM has said he will act only if AIB has violated any laws, and Culture Minister Vinod Tawde has said he wont indulge in Moral Policing. Much Threats Very Scary.
3. “Bombay” was bleeped out by the Censor Board which Modi disbanded, so Modi has already answered Ms Jha. If only she had read our piece on this, she would have been better informed.
4. Blurring of cleavage on TV is a standard practice (however idiotic it may be) and has been in force for a long time. Way back in 2012, Vidya Balan’s cleavage was censored on TV and in May 2014, days before Modi took over, the same censor board which Modi fired, took a decision to ban cleavages in movies.
In response to our tweet, in which we pointed out logical fallacies in Ms Jha’s views, she posted this tweet:
LOL at the irony of getting trolled and threatened by Modi supporters for implying that Modi’s India isn’t ideal for freedom of expression.
— Rega Jha (@RegaJha) February 4, 20154
When we last checked we were well within our Right to Freedom of Expression, to express our amazement at Ms Jha not knowing some basic facts. We checked some replies to her, and found no “threats”, and knowing what “threats” mean to her, we will leave it at that. Isn’t it Ironical that a tweet which was supposed to show some “Irony” is actually Ironic itself because she doesn’t respect the Right to Freedom of Expression of people who have opposing views?
The biggest Irony in our opinion is that Ms Rega Jha regularly features spoofs, satires and jokes on Modi like this, this and this and doesn’t find the need to ever go into “hiding”, never gets “threatened” to take them down and never has to “bleep” or “blur” stuff, and yet has the gall to claim that “Modi’s India isn’t ideal for Freedom of Expression”. Also to be clear, we have no issues with Ms Jha’s jokes on Modi, because it is well within her Freedom of Expression. We just hope she realises that other people too enjoy the same Freedom.