Home Media Shekhar Gupta is the most pusillanimous and unimaginative master of propaganda India has ever seen

Shekhar Gupta is the most pusillanimous and unimaginative master of propaganda India has ever seen

We had earlier discussed how Shekhar Gupta’s multiple rants have displayed his repelling hatred towards Prime Minister Modi. So I wasn’t very surprised when the headline for his latest rant read as follows – “The Modi government is the most faceless, nameless & talent-averse India has seen.”

While trying to decipher what is it that was bothering him so much, I stumbled upon another of his vacuous pieces– “Rafale deal is no scam. It’s just a glaring example of the BJP government’s pusillanimous, unimaginative, over-cautious and unsuccessful handling of defence purchases”

Pusillanimous. Unimaginative. Over-Cautious. Unsuccessful. Faceless. Nameless. Talent averse. Impatient.

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That’s quite an exhaustive list of adjectives he has pulled out from his dictionary. Tucked away in his tirade, was a crucial line that perhaps explains Shekhar Gupta’s incoherent rants – “I do not believe I have seen a cabinet minister admonish and tick off journalists as this defence minister routinely does”.

One is forced to wonder whether this is the root cause of his anger. Now, if the Defence Minister of India is “routinely” admonishing journalists, shouldn’t Shekhar Gupta (who doubles up as Chairman of Editors Guilt, oops Editors Guild) intercede “routinely” on behalf of journalists and seek clarifications from the Defense Minister? Or is he merely content with making sweeping generalizations and passing the buck to nameless and faceless journalists?

One might be tempted to ask if that is the only basis for his splendid assertion of the nature of this cabinet. No, he has more serious reasons. Apparently when he goes to “public speaking interactions”, he asks his audience to name India’s ministers for Agriculture, Health, Chemicals and Fertilizers, Heavy Industries, Science and Technology, and MSME. And nobody from the audience can name any of them, and voila!

By this same yardstick, every previous government was as “faceless, nameless and talent-averse” as this one. But then Shekhar Gupta has a solution for that logic too – bring in the appointment of Dr C. Subramaniam as Agriculture minister by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Well, as is his wont, he goes on to credit Indira Gandhi also for appointments Lal Bahadur Shastri had made, but let’s give that a pass.

After being able to recollect the only “talent” from nearly 50 years ago, he is now left wondering who will lead India’s march towards Green Revolution 2.0? No one in government has spoken about Green Revolution 2.0. Shekhar Gupta is coining that term equating it to the PM’s goal of doubling farm income by 2022. Does Shekhar Gupta suggest an alternative name to Radha Mohan Singh? No, he doesn’t. Instead tell us this – “Indira Gandhi too ran her government from her office, but think of the talent she collected around her.”

Going by Shekhar Gupta’s yardstick, you would assume that his “diverse audience” would be able to name all “the talent she collected around her”. Unfortunately, he provides no such insights on this list and it is left to the reader’s imagination.

His article on the “pusillanimous, unimaginative, over-cautious and unsuccessful handling of defence purchases” is another treat to read and gives great insights into the hatred that seems to be building up within him.

Irked with the government not disclosing the exact price of Rafale jets, he tells us that “Today’s arms bazaar carries almost no secrets about platforms, weapons and accessories.” Then, isn’t Shekhar Gupta’s job very easy? He just has to go to the arms bazaar and get us an exclusive? Ok, let’s assume he is too busy to go the bazaar and needs to get the information from someone else. He tells us who that someone is –

“If you are buying the Meteor missile to go with the Rafale, not just the Pakistani and Chinese air forces, but any teenaged defence nerd with a smartphone can give you a tutorial on it.”

All you need is a “teenaged defence nerd” or a trip to “arms bazaar”. Shekhar Gupta does neither, because he doesn’t tell us what the actual price is. But he also tells that “What you can, and must, keep secret in this is sensitive electronics and tactics.”. Come on, Shekhar Gupta! That’s what the Government of India has been saying too – an itemized billing cannot be provided. It only sounds like he is very upset that Rahul Gandhi’s demands are not being met by this “pusillanimous” government.

Shekhar Gupta recently tweeted that the “deification of HAL” is the “worst damage” caused by this Rafale storm. In his article though, he tells us “Any reasonable person would know that HAL would still be better equipped for licenced production than any other company…” Now is Shekhar Gupta calling himself unreasonable? He goes on to say that HAL had a monopoly and has not done things “particularly efficiently”.

If your argument is that HAL is “not efficient”, then why would you call a government “pusillanimous” for not awarding a hypothetical contract? If in your belief, “HAL is an opaque, profiteering, license-production PSU monopoly”, then why would you call a government as “unimaginative” for not awarding a hypothetical contract? Because in Shekhar Gupta’s own words – “But nobody would diss a defence PSU”. So HAL is very bad but Modi is “stupid” to have ignored HAL, according to Gupta.

All of Shekhar Gupta’s rants are riddled with such contradictions. All of his rants cite an example here, an example there to make rank generalizations. And all of his rants contain so many lies that it is just difficult to keep track of them. Sample this for example – “Surely the prime minister is brilliant, has travelled through every district of the country as he says,”. The Prime Minister has never claimed this. In an interview with Zee News, he has claimed that he has spent at least one night in 80% of districts in the country before he even became the Prime Minister. Shekhar Gupta conveniently twists this fact to make sarcastic comments against Modi. Elsewhere, he blames the Modi government for the “cease and desist” notice that Anil Ambani has sent. Surely, we all must ponder who is being “unimaginative” here!

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