My favourite Nasreddin Hodja story goes like this:
One late evening Nasreddin was seen outside his home upset about something. Just then a young man comes along and sees the Mullah’s distress.
“Mullah, please tell me: What is wrong?”
“Ah, my friend, I seem to have lost my keys. Would you help me search them? I know I had them when I left the tea house.”
So, he helps Nasreddin with the search for the keys. For quite a while the man is searching here and there but no keys are to be found. He looks over to Nasreddin and finds him searching only a small area around a street lamp.
“Mullah, why are you only searching there?”
“Why would I search where there is no light?”
Some segments of our English language media are today behaving like Mullah Nasreddin. After staying silent during the 10 years of UPA plunder and exposes like Radia-gate, the chief protagonists of these segments are desperately trying to regain credibility. But they refuse to venture into the darkness where they lost their halo and instead have limited themselves to searching under the warm, familiar light of upholding the ‘values of a secular India’. Hence it isn’t surprising that instead of rebuilding their image, they have become the byword for incompetence, bias & unintentional comedy.
Let us assume for a moment that it is acceptable for journalists to be so ideologically rooted that reporting the truth becomes secondary to propagating a pre-determined agenda. Even with this overtly generous assumption, one is hard-pressed to appreciate the botched attempts by our English media elites to hurt their enemy number one – Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The media’s coverage of isolated and unrelated events has been so comically hysterical, boringly repetitive and depressingly fact-free that instead of the events, it is the media’s obvious bias which has now become the perpetual story. Even Don Quixote met with more success while battling the windmills compared to our star journalists’ attempts at creating a picture of a new fascist India under Modi.
The recent tragedy in Dadri was yet another symptom of the absence of any semblance of law in a state (mis)ruled by the Mulayam Singh Yadav family. However the media, which continues to remind us on a daily basis that Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002, pretended as if Akhilesh Yadav doesn’t even exist. Instead it made the incident all about ‘growing intolerance’ in India and then stretching it a step further, transformed it into a debate about beef consumption. It was odd because the facts of the case were still being established.
Mohammad Akhlaq’s death was widely discussed by pretentious media divas in their comfortable studios while accompanied by a free flow of insincere tears. The images reeked of exploitation as we all know that Akhlaq’s family members will never be inquired of ever again. They have served their purpose and the attention-seeking vultures will fly off to devour cadavers in other unfortunate tragedies. We know that because it isn’t the first time our media divas have used tragedies as crutches to further their agenda.
We remember how the Vyapam victims were discussed before they were dropped like hot potatoes as it began to emerge how Congress honchos were deeply embroiled in the scam. We remember how Lalit Modi hogged the headlines before the accusations started reaching Sonia Gandhi’s doorsteps. We remember how the raped nun from Bengal was the country’s biggest tragedy before facts emerged to show that the attacks was carried out by illegal Bangladeshis & not by non-existent local Hindutva forces.
A prime example of the media’s idiocy & intellectual laziness is its comical penchant of exclaiming how this is not the India they ‘grew up in’ while at the same time supporting the consumption of beef in the provinces they disparagingly term as the cow-belt. They need to stop pretending to know India because they obviously don’t understand something as fundamental as the importance of the cow in rural India. They also need to stop saying that India is changing for the worse because that betrays their ignorance of India’s violent history.
In their umpteenth lethargic attempt to paint the Modi Government as the epitome of intolerance, they have converted a case of murder into an informal referendum on the importance of the cow in a deeply religious and Hindu society. Instead of damaging the Prime Minister’s image, they gifted him and his party an issue which they can use to break down the bewildering caste arithmetic of Bihar and romp to an electoral victory which previously seemed difficult. No wonder the paragons of secularism like Laloo Yadav and Digvijay Singh are now tying themselves up in knots while trying to out-do each other on who loves cows more. If this is how the media is planning to take down Modi, the PM’s amused silence is not surprising. Such bungling by the media gives credence to the theory that the media’s incompetent hounding of the Prime Minister is second only to Rahul Gandhi’s stand-up comedy when it comes to factors which has helped cement Modi’s grip on power in India.
The Indian upper middle class- the main consumer of the English language media, may be a distracted, self-centered lot but its members are not lobotomized. When the media hollers only about ‘Hindu fascism’ in the same day when Christian bishops shut down the staging of plays, the obvious prejudice is not lost on the people. When media stars proudly tweet about eating beef, they should remember that the memory of them rationalizing Charlie Hebdo murders as somewhat justified are still fresh in the minds of their followers.
In their frantic efforts to tarnish the Prime Minister, these journalists have ended up being unambiguously anti-Hindu & in multiple issues, anti-India. The media has been so intensely hysterical while propagating falsehoods & half-truths that their hypocrisy has seared into the psyche of their viewers. The biggest tragedy resulting from such reckless behavior is that is when genuine hate crimes against minorities occur, and they do, Indians will struggle to differentiate them from the fake stories which the media has been thrusting into their faces. Thanks to its lazy, exploitative and cynical ‘journalism’, the media has not only manipulated victims of tragedies, it has also condemned the stories of future victims to being viewed with suspicion.
Inspite of the above, allow me to float a controversial idea by saying that it is important we encourage the media to continue to attack the PM. It is important because as citizens we want the government to be on its toes and not get complacent. But to improve the current state of affairs, we should help the media to understand how it should do its job. I would like to share some unsolicited advice with these insidious segments of India’s English language media.
Dear stars of the English media. Please stop embarrassing yourself. Instead of rushing to some inconsequential Sadhvi for lazy headlines, please work hard to build your case against the prime minister. That will only be possible when you stop pursuing this communal bogey and instead attack the gaps in the PM’s development and governance agenda.
Deride Arun Jaitley for failing to even manage the deadlines for IT returns.
Grill Suresh Prabhu about the multiple train accidents.
Ask Radhamohan Singh how he has responded to farmer suicides.
Follow up with Sushma Swaraj about how India is keeping the multiple promises the PM made to foreign countries.
Verify the statistics being put out by Nitin Gadkari & Piyush Goyal.
Question JP Nadda about what he has done to battle the dengue outbreak.
These stories hold the real potential to dent the Prime Ministers halo. But this also means you have to work hard, research and meet people outside your studios and away from your cameras. And in the end you will have to draw logically coherent conclusions. These are things which you may not be used to doing but if you really hate the Prime Minister from the bottom of your heart, this is the only way. Anything else you do will only increase the PM’s bench strength in the Rajya Sabha.