Many media organisations who claim to religiously follow the principle of ‘secularism’ are often found indulging in blatant Hinduphobia and bashing of Hindu festivals while gushing over the festivals of other religions. These media outlets have a dubious distinction in maligning Hindu festivals while glossing over the uncomfortable truths about the festivals of other religions.
The modus operandi espoused by such media outlets entails pontificating Hindus about the vices purportedly associated with their festivals and holding the festivals responsible for the perpetuation of those vices. This procedure is exclusive only for the Hindu festivals and for non-Hindu festivals, lofty ideals of brotherhood, peace, inclusiveness etc. are attached while glaring vices are intentionally concealed.
Here are some of the media outlets for whom Hindu festival bashing is one of the means to uphold their secularism:-
In an attempt to malign the Hindu festival of colours-Holi, the Quint had proceeded to brand the Holi festival as an occasion used by kids to unleash terror on the streets. On Diwali, the Quint published an article claiming that firecrackers should be done away with as there’s nothing religious about them. On Navratri, the fasting became an unhealthy practice for the Quint while during Ramzan and Eid, the scientific effects of fasting came out as very prominent that one should make it part of his/her daily life.
Another notorious media outlet known for its anti-Hindu inclinations fretted over pollution caused by bursting of crackers that accompany the Hindu festival of Diwali. It also published a post sending those celebrating the festival of Holi on a guilt trip by pointing out the terrible water crisis gripping the country. On the other hand, during the Muslim festival of Eid-Al-Adha(Bakrid), when millions of goats are sacrificed, which has a terrifying impact on the ecology, the Quint shared an effusive post on how the goat market in Mumbai was celebrating the festival.
Perhaps the most repugnant theories to vilify Holi after the semen filled balloons theory was run by the Wire which carried a post that said: “The festival of Holi perpetuates rape culture”. It even advanced to disparage Tamil culture by reducing Jallikattu to animal abuse and machismo. However, the Wire maintained a pin-drop silence on the display of ‘masochism’ on Muharram, when men roam the streets slashing, whipping themselves and even mutilating children. Even Diwali wasn’t spared, attempts were made to tarnish the festival of light-Diwali by calling its tradition of firecrackers as the chokehold of tradition.
The Huffington Post
Huffington Post published an article slamming the Hindu tradition of Karva Chauth by calling it a medieval festival that upholds and promotes patriarchy. However, on the Christian festival of Easter, Huffington Post felt that the festivity should herald a bond of brotherhood between Christians and Muslims. The centuries-old Tamil tradition of Jallikattu was termed as ‘cruel practice’ but the Huffington Post found the merciless killing of millions of goats on the occasion of Bakrid as a compassionate deed.
The media articles on festivals have a distinct pattern. If one notices the headlines and the body of the articles, one would easily notice that the words associated with Hindu festivals are rape, sexual harassment, violation, water scarcity, smoke, pollution, choking, animal abuse, patriarchy, regressive culture and such. But with Eid, Easter and Christmas, the words that are perpetuated are peace, love, blessings, brotherhood and joy. This is a deliberate attempt to paint Hindu festivals with negativity and hate, a subtle message of Hinduphobia.
A pattern emerges from the manner in which these so-called ‘secular’ media outfits portray the Hindu festivals in a bad light while conveniently ignoring the transgressions caused by celebrations of festivals of other religions. A concerted attempt is being made to make Hindus feel guilty about their age-old cultural traditions and practices so that instead of taking pride in their cultural mores, Hindus feel ashamed of continuing with them.