New York Times is very fond of portraying India as the ‘perpetually wrong’. Stemming part from the inherent colonialistic culture that never stops looking down at the “poor unwashed brown people” and part from the leftist elitism that holds every aspect of an indigenous civilisation as backward, the paper not only indulges in frequent ‘India shaming’ but also has a knack of pontificating when it comes to real-world problems. That is problematic because virtue signalling is not a good practice when one’s own backyard is on fire.
Now, it is a different issue altogether as to what the New York Times is being called in their own country, but the recent op-ed about the Kathua rape case and the so-called need for a ‘MeToo’ movement India is part of the usual campaign that these papers run. Campaigns to selective outrage, misquotation and false information that often adorn their articles about India.
The article by Nicholas Kristof titled ‘#MeToo goes global‘ starts by discussing the Kathua rape and murder case. It is published on May 2nd, but a quick reading will tell you that the author has not even bothered to read up the latest updates or even tried to dig a little deeper in his hurry to malign ‘Hindu extremists’. First of all, the article names the victim, which, according to Indian law is a punishable offence. Ignoring the numerous reports that stated that the ‘Hindu Lawyers and Hindu housewives’ that he blames with impunity were, in fact, demanding better and independent investigation into the case, the author goes on to blame the Prime Minister for ‘keeping silent for too long’. Nowhere in the article has he mentioned the demand for a CBI inquiry by locals, the reports of targetted persecution and torture that was making the poor Hindus of the village leave their homes or the opposition to the illegal Rohingya settlements the lawyers and local leaders demanded that got so brilliantly and magically painted as ‘shielding the rapists’.
The realities of the Kathua case are now unravelling before everyone to see. No one, no group, Hindu or otherwise has supported or shielded the perpetrators, ever. The killing of the eight-year-old was barbaric and it deserves the strictest punishment, but the way the majority of Indian media, the privileged elite and the opposition has branded a group of women and activists of the region as ‘rape apologists’ is shameful.
The NYT article is just an elaborate and sophisticated version of the placards the Bollywood opportunistic outragers like Swara Bhaskar, Sonam Kapoor and Kareena were holding. The fact that the charge sheet contains gaping holes in the investigation, the fact that the Indian ‘Hindu Nationalist’ government has now made amendments in the POCSO and rape laws that will ensure the strictest of punishment for the rapists, the fact that false blames and lies spread in the coverage of the case are now falling apart one by one all go conspicuously missing in the article. Mr Kristof should be asked one question, who does he think protected a rapist, locals demanding CBI inquiry or a state administration and media that is hell-bent on denying it? Indians did read it and react.
Lawyers and housewives protested against botched up investigation and demanded for enquiry by CBI. If you know about history of India, in grave crimes, people seek CBI enquiry, in this case vested interests wanted localised investigation. BTW, had shared rape figures in Ind vs US
— saket suryesh (@saket71) May 3, 2018
You should have researched better. Really disappointed to see this from you. They were asking for a CBI probe because they wanted justice for the child and Kashmir Branch has botched up the case with lies.Keep following. You will have to write an apology piece soon.
— Manu Khajuria (@KhajuriaManu) May 3, 2018
Coming to the MeToo movement that the article thinks the US should bestow upon the rest of the world, let us be practical, what exactly has the MeToo movement achieved so far, well, apart from celebrity endorsements and a lot of virtue signalling? Has it started an action plan for the 22.3% US girls in the 15-18 years age group that became mothers in 2017? Anything for the 22 thousand girls that died due to drug overdose alone in 2016 in the US? The article starts with discussing a rape case, so let us come to that, does he realise that the USA has one of the worst statistics on rape and sexual violence in the world? 1 in every 6 women in the country has faced either rape or attempted rape. Worse, 99% of the perpetrators have walked free. This is not to downplay the crime, it is only to show that India, which has significantly lower rates than the US, does not need virtue signalling from NYT. We have problems and we are dealing with them.
The article goes on to discuss the crimes against women that is plaguing the world. It states that 125 million women have faced genital mutilation in Asia and Africa. Well, the author should have done basic research on how many ‘Hindu Extremists’ have been involved with that. In an article that feels no shame in falsely blaming Hindus for protecting rapists, does not even bother to mention that Genital Mutilation is a problem Islamists are thrusting upon the world. Female Genital Mutilation happens in India, 75% of Bohra Muslim women go through it. Sadly, we don’t see any Bollywood celebrities holding placards to ban it or any NYT article calling out the Muslim Housewives who perform it. The article states mass rapes at Rohingya camps but conveniently forgets the mass molestations by Muslim immigrants in Germany or the decades-long mass child abuse that Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs have carried out in the UK. The article positions MeToo as a potential global rights movement but the sad reality is it will become a real movement only when it starts being honest. Calling out a community by name for demanding a genuine probe but keeping silent on naming the perpetrators that are the biggest offenders of women’s rights worldwide would only expose its misplaced priorities.
When it comes to India, it isn’t the crimes against humanity and greater issues of the real world NYT is usually after. When one looks at their past reports on India, a distinguished pattern emerges. Issues, data, facts notwithstanding, NYT only loves to malign India. A tax department raid on the promoters of NDTV and NYT comes up with an editorial titled ‘India’s Battered Free Press’. Does it bother about the fact that the raid was for the financial transgressions the promoters allegedly committed and the operations of the News channel were not interfered with at all? Nope, it goes on to scream with eloquent words and alarmist sentences on how India’s Modi government is intimidating India’s news media, what brilliant lies!
Then in November 2017, NYT hits another level, they run an op-ed on how the Saree, India’s widely popular female attire is in fact, a ‘Tool of Hindu Nationalist Campaign’. Indians naturally were not amused. The article drew a lot of flak from all sides, be it left or right but does NYT learn? Sadly, no. Mahindra and Mahindra opens a manufacturing plant in the US and NYT starts the same old condescension, totally ignoring the fact that Mahindra has a significant presence in their country already. The self-proclaimed criticism does not stop at India’s present either, their India and particularly Hindu hatred go back a long way, they have even criticised India’s freedom struggle. The hatred for Hindus and anything associated with it is the reason they are so vocal and PM Modi and al his policies, economic growth, facts, statistics do not matter at all when India has to be maligned. From insulting the victims of Godhra massacre to enabling the bogey of Hindu terror, NYT has done it all.
Crimes against women are a staggering issue in today’s world. We do need a mass movement, a mass movement that is not afraid to address the real issues, a movement that names and shames the perpetrators of these crimes with equal courage and voice regardless of their religion, a movement that does not discriminate between women by their race and colour, a movement that does not end up becoming a mere celebrity photo op. The MeToo movement is far away from that and NYT and the dozens of Indian media outlets that thrive on Hindu shaming should realise that real-world problems are not solved by placard activism and selective outrages.