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Saba Naqvi’s conduct in a recent TV debate is the real, makeup-less face of the quintessential ‘left liberal’

When the left constantly occupies spaces that call themselves “progressive”, “rationalist”, “humanist” and so on, one would expect genuine regard for a human life and dignity.

But when it comes to matters they cannot force fit into an agenda, the left has implicitly conveyed its indifference for the basic rights that every human deserves. And that is precisely what gets people wondering, on the relevance of such self-styling adjectives, that they associate themselves with.

Saba Naqvi, another left-leaning ‘independent journalist’, who unsurprisingly sees herself as a “liberal”, has made numerous appearances on television debates. It is important to understand her thoughts because, on many levels, the issues she takes up, her views, her expressions and the instances of her amplified outrage, epitomise the hypocrisy of left-leaning, ‘liberal’ journalists.

On Sunday, Republic TV aired a debate about the relevance of Lutyens’ media, where Saba Naqvi appeared as a panellist. She was essentially defending the position of the Lutyens’ Media and called them an “easy target” for the ‘right wing’.

The heart of the debate really, was when there were questions on the selective outrage, regarding incidents of violence. Arnab Goswami simply said to Saba:

“When Muslims were lynched, the Lutyens’ brigade said that ‘fabric of India is being torn apart’. But what happened to the fabric of India when a 7 year old Dalit girl was raped by a 30 year old Muslim man, in Barmer? In the same place, a 22 year old man was lynched by 8 Muslims, for liking a Muslim woman. You of course knew about this, but why didn’t you say a thing?”

Upon listening to all this, she admitted the fact that she knew about it: “Yes, I knew about it. But you must understand that there is a pattern…”

As Kanchan Gupta, another panellist, intervened, reminding of the fact that the mentioned killers were Muslims, which is why she did not say much, Saba found the perfect opportunity:

“How dare you say that those rapists are Muslims? Should I call the others who raped people Hindus? The way muslims are being targeted and lynched, there is a clear pattern. But there is no such pattern when Muslims rape or lynch Hindus.”

Let us take one argument at a time while addressing Naqvi. When Saba flaunts her misplaced outrage, regarding  ‘how dare people call them Muslims’, I am sure she understands that all these people who were mentioned, identified themselves as Muslims and for that reason alone, those accused in the specific incidents of rape and murder, were Muslims, and can legitimately be addressed as that.

It is also, rather amusing when she poses absurd threats like “shall I call those rapists and murderers Hindu too?”, especially when that is all she does regardless of what others say to her. After all, terms like ‘Saffron Terror’ do not pop out of thin air, and that vague outburst means nothing, when she claims within the next 30 seconds in that very debate, that the “Alwar incident was because of religion only.” 

But the crux of her point comes when she speaks of a “pattern when Muslims are being lynched”. When questioned further, she revealed that this pattern was that of cow “cow terrorism”.

Once again, her shallowness becomes apparent when she is ready to mention the rise in incidents of “cow terrorism”, but likes us to ignore the other indisputable “pattern” of a rise in incidents of cattle smuggling- most often unreported in the mainstream media- which threatens the lives and livelihood of small farmers. 

It is very naive to suggest that the concept of mob vigilantism before ‘the law takes its course’ was inexistent before the BJP regime, or that a mere implementation of the directive principle of disallowing cow meat has led to “communal hatred” considering the ban on cow slaughter was implemented in most states way before BJP came to power, in fact, way before BJP was even born as a political party. 

However, If Saba Naqvi indeed likes spotting ‘patterns’ so much, she surely must have noticed how BJP and RSS workers are being killed all over the nation, just for being affiliated with their respective organisations. And when M.R. Venkatesh, asked about the exact same question, all that he got was an insensitive, apathetic response:

The celebrated “left-liberal” journalist, will not utter a single word about the death of young boys who are killed just because they joined an organisation. She will instead ask, “Why should I? It’s not my job”, and as alleged by M.R. Venkatesh, that she “doesn’t care”. The unidimensional question I ask is, when it was not “your job” to get upset about Alwar, you did it because of whatever little compassion you had towards the victims; are the RSS workers unworthy of it? Or is the subtext of “it not being your job”, that the RSS workers deserve to die?

As is evident, Saba Naqvi only observes certain patterns, if they suit her political motives. It is obviously not related to caste- because there is no activism in the cases of violence towards Dalits in Barmer, despite Saba admittedly ‘knowing about it’. It is not even religion- because there is nothing when a Muslim BJP worker gets murdered for his allegiance to the BJP or when a Muslim youth gets abused in Uttar Pradesh after a “secular party” wins.

Such patterns are only observed when it can be remotely twisted to suit a communal agenda, out of deep hatred for a specific religious ideology. And Saba’s nonchalance towards people of selective ideologies or religions or castes is perfectly reflective of the left’s approach to activism.

When people like Barkha Dutt, Ravish Kumar and Rana Ayyub received death threats, they were unequivocally condemned and written about by the liberals, and quite rightly so. But when a fellow journalist, Rohit Sardana was threatened, along with his family, where was all the anger? All the moral policing that the nation was provided with, when Gauri Lankesh was killed, went out of the window just months later, in Sardana’s case. The slates OpIndia gave all these journalists, remain blank till date.

Whenever the pettiest of threats are made by any Hindu on social media towards a leftist ‘intellectual’, they come out with allegations on Hindu fundamentalism and the reality of “Hindu terror”, to call it the biggest existential threat to society and the ‘fabric of India’, even though there is no authenticity to those accounts most of the times. Yet when the Prime Minister is being plotted against, that too with plans for an assassination, the ‘liberal’ media continues to downplay its seriousness.

When issues of Naxalism enter the biggest cities of this country, as proven by a number of documents, letters and people, they continue to deny its presence.

What explains this nonchalance, other than bias, insincerity and a deep sense of hatred for people holding other views?

Saba Naqvi did nothing unique when she told the nation that it was not “her job” to raise questions when RSS members get killed. The way she laughed and smiled when she said something as heartless as that, exemplifies the callous attitude with which liberals view the tragedies of dissenting views. The scariest fact about them is that they undertake the duty of moral policing in our society, to make minorities fear the majority and the majority to fear themselves. But before we allow these hypocrites to become our guardians as a society, we need to question the agenda that drives such grave indifference.

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