Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee breathed his last on Thursday, 16 August leaving behind a legacy that gave India the much-needed economic boost along with a mini cultural renaissance. And this is the very legacy that makes many people – who funnily call themselves ‘liberals’ – hate him to the core. This hatred couldn’t hide behind phony tributes that many paid after his death.
While the less sophisticated trolls started celebrating death and badmouthing Vajpayee even as he was admitted in the hospital in critical condition, the more sophisticated trolls like Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of the leftist propaganda website The Wire, waited for Vajpayee to breathe his last before launching his calumny.
Varadarajan’s website The Wire published a ‘controversial’ speech by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which he had supposedly delivered on April 12, 2002 in Goa. The title of the article on The Wire started with ‘Wherever Muslims Live…’: indicating that Vajpayee said something that painted Muslims with a broad brush.
The Wire claimed that Vajpayee had said the following during his speech:
“Wherever Muslims live, they don’t like to live in co-existence with others, they don’t like to mingle with others; and instead of propagating their ideas in a peaceful manner, they want to spread their faith by resorting to terror and threats. The world has become alert to this danger.”
Clearly a controversial paragraph that tries to paint every Muslim – not just those influenced by radical Islamist ideology – as violent exclusivists.
But did Vajpayee really paint every Muslim as a potential terrorist?
Truth is that Siddharth Varadarajan has maliciously edited what Vajpayee actually said, to paint Vajpayee a bigot. This malicious edit of Vajpayee’s speech to spread a lie was done back in 2002 itself by likes of Siddharth Varadarajan, who now ironically cry about ‘fake news’.
As a result, immediately in April 2002, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had to call out this fake news. In a press release that can still be accessed in PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) archives, Vajpayee had said:
“When I said in my speech that some people ‘tend not to live in co-existence with others, not to mingle with others, and instead of propagating their ideas in a peaceful manner, resort to terror and threats,’ my reference was clearly to followers of militant Islam, and not to ordinary Muslims in general.”
The fact that Vajpayee was talking about followers of militant Islam, is clear from another paragraph from The Wire article itself, which quotes Vajpayee as saying:
“Islam has two facets. One is that which tolerate others, which teaches its adherents to follow the path of truth, which preaches compassion and sensitivity. But these days, militancy in the name of Islam leaves no room for tolerance. It has raised the slogan of Jehad. It is dreaming of recasting the entire world in its mould.”
Therefore, it’s clear that Vajpayee was talking about militant Islam when he talked about intolerance and terror. He acknowledged, in the same speech, that a branch of Islam was tolerant. So how can he then suddenly go on to tar every Muslim with the same brush?
Despite this context and the later clarification by Vajpayee, that maliciously edited paragraph – which was made the headline and declared ‘controversial’ – was recirculated to show that Vajpayee was talking about Muslims in general.
The misleading transcript of the supposedly ‘controversial’ speech by Vajpayee was part of a book titled ‘Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy’, which has been authored by Siddharth Varadarajan himself – a fact that was not clarified in The Wire article. Perhaps it would have alerted the readers that if Varadarajan has written something, it had to be a lie?
So in essence, Siddharth Varadarajan and The Wire, despite knowing that the paragraph was maliciously edited and did not reflect truly what Vajpayee had said, published the lie hours after Vajpayee’s death.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee is no more to repeat and clarify again that he didn’t stereotype every Muslim as intolerant and violent individual. Lie has been spread, again. By the time this article at OpIndia was published, the lie on The Wire was nearing 4000 shares on social media. Our ‘liberals’ are the greatest followers of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels who had suggested to repeat a lie often enough to make people believe that it was the truth.
This is the second lie being repeated about Vajpayee after his death, despite him having clarified about both of them when he was alive. The so-called journalists are not willing to give even the dead his dignity.