Dear Rajdeep Sardesai,
Before I come to your latest blog post, I want to talk about your Facebook post from 14th October 2015. One of the issues you raised there was your problem with “labels“. You said: “it is so easy to label someone with a differing opinion” and that you “resent the use of labels“. Yet, your latest blog starts with the words “The pseudo-patriots“. Isn’t this a “label“, on “someone who has a differing opinion“? I, on the other hand, have no issues with labels and hence I call you a two-faced hypocrite.
Coming to today’s post, you have chosen a convenient straw-man of pitting Dadri against Moodbidri. Like a one-on-one encounter where one event has to win, and the other must suffer an ignominious defeat. In your highly bi-polar world, only one can exist and the other must perish. Unfortunately, the point was never that and it never will be.
What the ordinary man on the street is saying repeatedly (and why you had to write your apologetic and defensive blog) is: “Yes Dadri was an extremely heinous incident. We all condemn it. Now can we hear at least a part condemnation for Moodbidri?“. No-one is saying Moodbidri is the counterpart of Dadri in all “chhatees gun“, It is you who has purposely made the debate so, for your own convenience.
While Dadri was in the media spotlight right from day one, Moodbidri was relegated to regional media and in the back-pages of national media. It came into national media’s focus almost 10 days after the event, that too after consistent pressure from social media. This is the problem. The role of the media is to report news in an impartial manner. A business news outlet would, for example, report news about an Ambani and also news about a Wipro. The intensity and the focus would be proportionate to the respective news but yes, they would certainly report it. But no, our “secular” mainstream media finds zero value in reporting all news proportionately.
Instead self-appointed “thekedaars” of secular and liberal values like you, go on to play judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one. Sitting in your plush offices, you like to decide which news item was a ‘political war‘ and which news item was threatening the “Idea of India”. Which is why you have given elaborate justifications for ignoring Moodbidri and also the “context” of the murder of Prashant Poojary, as if to say, since this is the context, the murder is not important.
You start of by saying he’s a Bajrang Dal activist and Bajrang Dal has “self-admittedly used violence as a weapon against minorities“. You now invoke Babu Bajrangi. You are ready to sacrifice Prashant at the altar of secularism for the crimes of a Babu Bajrangi in Gujarat (who incidentally is already paying for his crimes by serving a life term, as prescribed by courts, not some kangaroo court in a TV studio). Why should Prashant be judged via the prism of Babu Bajrangi? Should I judge you from the prism of a Tarun Tejpal?
You then say Prashant is accused of intimidation and violence in the region while fighting the beef mafia. For your information Rajdeep, cow slaughter is banned in Karnataka and even bull slaughter is governed by strict rules. It is entirely possible that Prashant was helping in upholding the law, just as it is possible that he was doing so, using illegal means.
Importantly, when he was hacked to death, he was an accused. If he was eventually proven guilty he would have gotten his just desserts from the court. He did not deserve to be murdered on the street in any circumstance. To your credit, you echoed similar sentiments. Unfortunately, there was a “but”:.
He didn’t deserve to die under any circumstance but there is a political context to his death as there would be in Bengal when Trinamool workers clash with CPI M.
What does this “but” mean? Is being killed under a political context a lesser crime? Like @bhak_sala remarked on Twitter, it seems even a convicted terrorist like Yakub Memon got more sympathy and mileage than an accused (of much smaller crimes) like Prashant. You wouldn’t want to hear this “but” in other circumstances, yet you casually throw this “but” here. This inability to condemn Prashant’s death without a rider has exposed your hypocrisy even more. Thanks, the nation will remember this “but”.
And in all this glossing over, you chose very smartly to ignore another murder in Moodbidri. That of 60 year old Vaman Poojary, the key eyewitness in Prashant’s murder. And I know why your “moral compass” forced you to turn a blind “secular” eye to this gruesome murder. Because you couldn’t paint him with the same brush of Babu Bajrangi, drawing a false sense of complicity. There was no “context”, no “political war”, no scope for a “but” to butt in. You knew you would lose the game and hence you didn’t play it. And that also has exposed you once again.
And now I come to why you wrote your blog. Because you were stung, ashamed and exposed on social media and to an extent on National media, because Anupam Kher took you on. It was solely because of the relentless pressure of social media that your hand was forced and you had to speak about Moodbidri on your show. And you couldn’t tolerate that. You couldn’t tolerate the fact that lakhs of ordinary people had challenged you sitting in your ivory tower and forced you into talking about something which you considered only a “political war”.
I foresee more such blogs from you though. You have been thoroughly exposed on social media multiple times. You have lost your cool on New York streets, getting into fist fights with people who had a “differing opinion” (at least you did not label them then). The Supreme Court has chided your ilk (including you) for allowing a liar like Sanjiv Bhatt to play the “media card” (to be honest I do not know whether it was he who used you or vice versa).
You had learnt to push such public humiliation under the carpet of “abusive Bhakts” by playing the victim card every single time. But now the stage has moved on to your home, which is so aptly called the “idiot box”. Celebrities are now coming to your show and easily demolishing the carefully crafted façade of decades. Social media users are now pressurising you. You are no longer in total control, the control is slipping. And you don’t like it one bit.
The game is changing Rajdeep. And like the earlier game, which you did not play, its better you sit out this one too.