Monday, September 28, 2020
Home Opinions India’s Functioning Systems Seen through Cracks in NYT Propagandist-in-Chief Basharat Peer’s narrative

India’s Functioning Systems Seen through Cracks in NYT Propagandist-in-Chief Basharat Peer’s narrative

Deeply moved by the great friendship of Amrit and Saiyub, Basharat Peer takes it onto himself to visit Devari and talk to Saiyub about the entire episode.

When the truth is sacrificed for propaganda, all we see is lopsided stories and victim narrative with a hidden political message. Basharat Peer, in his latest piece in New York Times, precisely tried that. But he probably didn’t realize the flaws in his own writing.

Peer picks up a tragic incident of two migrant friends Amrit and Saiyub who travelled from Surat to Devari in Uttar Pradesh due to lockdown. Amrit died en route unfortunately and Saiyub helped him all through. Doesn’t it sound like a perfect Hindu-Muslim harmony against a “Hindu nationalist” Narendra Modi? Well, we thought the article focuses on the sad death. But it turns out the article stoops low enough to use a tragic death as a political tool.

Peer Only Sees Politics Everywhere

Deeply moved by the great friendship of Amrit and Saiyub, Basharat Peer takes it onto himself to visit Devari and talk to Saiyub about the entire episode. Peer now reaches Ayodhya enroute to Devari. Of course, Ayodhya had to feature, right?

As the highway crossed a massive bridge over the Sarayu River and past the paddy-green fields and stacks of dried dung cakes, I could see the outlines of the temple town of Ayodhya, where in 1992 a Hindu mob destroyed a 16th-century mosque because they believed it had been built on the exact birthplace of Rama, the Hindu deity.”

No mention of the fact that there is clear evidence of a temple at the disputed site, based on which the Supreme Court decided the case. Obviously, if he mentioned that, India wouldn’t look ‘majoritarian’, would it?

On The Tragic Death

Basharat Peer now starts illustrating the story of the unfortunate death of Amrit. But while doing that, there are some things that balanced reader can easily glean. After the lockdown on 25th March, the workers in Surat including Amrit and Saiyub were told work won’t resume till lockdown lifts. It was a challenging situation. But what did the factory owners in Surat do?

“Saiyub’s boss gave everyone rice and lentils and about 1,500 rupees. Amrit’s boss offered his workers rice and lentils, but no cash.” 

In his address to the nation on 23rd March while announcing the lockdown, PM Modi had specifically asked employers to help their employees in this tough time.

Almost a month and a half after the lockdown was announced, Amrit and Saiyub decided to travel back to Devari in May 2020. Since railway tickets were overbooked, they finally managed a truck which would take them back to Devari. But when truck was in Kolaras in Madhya Pradesh, Amrit felt sick. He got cold and fever. This made other passengers fearful that Amrit had coronavirus and he would transmit it to others. They made both of them alight in the middle of the road.

A poor Muslim and a poor Dalit, stranded in the middle of a backward region. In the typical NYT liberal’s worldview, no help should have arrived at all. But here’s what happened. Peer’s own article ends up telling what actually happened:

  • As they were lying on the road “A politician arrived with a few cars and distributed food and water.” 
  • Saiyub requested for an ambulance for Amrit. “An ambulance arrived and drove them to a small hospital in Kolaras. A doctor found that Amrit had low blood sugar and a high temperature and feared he had suffered a heat stroke”
  • Amrit got primary treatment at the local hospital. “(doctor) tried oral rehydration therapy to revive Amrit, whose consciousness was fading. A few hours later, Amrit was transferred to a better-equipped hospital in Shivpuri, a town about 15 miles away, where doctors diagnosed severe dehydration and moved him into the intensive care unit.”

Kolaras and Shivpuri are backward regions. Still, an ambulance arrived and shifted them to a better hospital in Shivpuri which had ICU facilities. Amrit despite being in hospital was critical. Yet Peer himself tells us about the kind of treatment that was available in a backward region. “The doctors tested the two friends for coronavirus, sent their samples to a laboratory and put Amrit on a ventilator”.

Tragically, Amrit died, despite the efforts that were put into treating him as Peer’s own piece says. His coronavirus test was negative. He died due to dehydration. The fact is that had it not been government hospitals and the help, Amrit would have been even more critical lying on the highway. Peer doesn’t feel it necessary to highlight that.

Government Help during Lockdown

Now started the daunting task of taking Amrit’s body back to Devari from Shivpuri. Basharat Peer says, “He (Saiyub) received several calls from officials who administered Shivpuri, the district where the hospital was located.” How can this show government apathy when officials contacted Saiyub? Isn’t it an indication of the dynamic nature of handling of the pandemic?

“In the evening, after a few hours of paperwork, Saiyub was allowed to return home with Amrit’s body. An ambulance was ready”, says Basharat Peer. In the middle of a lockdown, an ambulance was readied to take Amrit’s body home for last respects.

Impact of Economic Relief Package Seen

Peer finally reaches Devari where he meets Saiyub and the family of Amrit. He hears how Amrit was buried and how Amrit’s family was devastated by his death. Saiyub and many others were jobless in their village.

Talking to Amrit’s father, Peer gets to know that “Since the pandemic began, (Amrit’s poor father) has found three days of work overseeing laborers cleaning an irrigation canal in the village, making 202 rupees, or about $2.70, a day” 

Peer probably doesn’t realize he is talking of MGNREGA. In the declaration of PM Garib Kalyan Package and the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Package, the government laid focus on MGNREGA as a provider of employment in rural areas for migrants who went back. It increased the daily wage from Rs 182 to Rs 202.

Talking to Saiyub, Peer asks him about his job in Surat. “The factory owner in Surat had called the day before. Some of the workers were already back. He wanted Saiyub to return”  Unlock 1 and 2 were at work as economic activity resumed and factory owners are keen on having workers back.

Peer, aiming at misery tourism, ends up portraying how government programmes are reaching intended beneficiaries and things are slowly creeping back to normal.

Political Rants In, Facts Out

Peer starts his rant by first invoking the caste and religious identities. Identifying Amrit as a Dalit and Saiyub as a Muslim, Peer tries to convince the reader how Dalit-Muslim unity is great, only to hide the fact that Dalits have suffered the worst of Islamist violence.

Not stopping there, Peer feels the need to tell the reader who the Dalits are. “…Dalit, a term for those once known as “untouchables,” people who have suffered the greatest violence and discrimination under the centuries-old Hindu caste system.”

What Peer does not mention is that India has taken steps like reservation and Atrocities Act to make efforts to substantially reduce the injustice against Dalits. Of course, not everything is perfect, but shouldn’t these be mentioned?

Drifting away from the main issue of death of the worker, Peer forced in Ayodhya and now also forces in a biased portrayal of Gujarat. After all, Saiyub used to work in Surat with his friend Amrit, how can Peer stop from writing a word or two about Gujarat?

On his arrival in Surat, Saiyub had some apprehensions about being Muslim and working in Gujarat, Mr. Modi’s home state and the strongest bastion of Hindu nationalism.” 

But Peer’s propaganda flops when he hears the reply of Saiyub. “Nobody bothered me,” he said. “I did my job. I got paid.” What does this tell us about the ‘strongest bastion of Hindu nationalism’?

While speaking about India’s healthcare, Peer claims “Treatment costs because of an illness push more than 63 million Indians into poverty every year.” He even claims health treatment is linked to domicile of the individual. And what is the source of this information? Peer uses Draft National Health Policy of 2015! Perhaps Peer forgets that in 2018, India launched Ayushman Bharat, world’s largest healthcare program progressively looking to cover about 50 crore people, mostly poor and vulnerable. It has enabled free healthcare for India’s poor, stopping their lapse into abject poverty.

But who cares about facts when propaganda reigns? The New York Times has been famous for such hateful coverage of India. It is the same newspaper that mocked India’s space achievements with the infamously racist ‘cow cartoon’. However, even the concerted propaganda of Peer and NYT fall flat as, through the cracks of their story, the India that Peer and NYT seek to hide is seen.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Searched termsnew york times lies
Ashutosh Kulkarni
Ashutosh Kulkarni is a New Delhi based public policy analyst. He tweets @PrachinVaani.

Related Articles

Trending now

Torched a bus on 16th Dec, on 17th, pelted stones at Hindus: Explosive new details in Tahir Hussain’s supplementary disclosure statement

Delhi police, in the chargesheet pertaining to FIR number 59, has filed another disclosure statement made by Tahir Hussain that gives a glimpse into just how well organised the Delhi riots were

Mathura: Court admits Krishna Janmabhoomi petition, to hear maintainability on 30th

Mathura court to decide maintainability of Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi petition on 30th September

Bombay High Court plays the audio clip of Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut wherein he called Kangana Ranaut, ‘Haramkhor’. Read details

Sanjay Raut's lawyer, Pradeep J Torat, countered the allegations by claiming that Sanjay Raut did not name Kangana Ranaut in his statement.

Andhra Pradesh: A list of Hindu temples that have been attacked in the recent months

Several Hindu temples have been attacked in Andhra Pradesh in recent months.

Dear WebMD, this hideous decoction is neither chai nor latte. As an Indian, I am offended

WebMD tries to pass off spiced decoction of coconut milk and maple syrup as tea and my Indian sensibilities are offended.

Clashes erupt between Azerbaijan and Armenia over breakaway region Nagorno-Karabakh, world leaders concerned

The historical conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over breakaway region Nagorno-Karabakh region dates back to 1921 when the Soviet Union forcibly merged the predominantly ethnic Armenian region with Azerbaijan.

Recently Popular

AajTak ke camera se nahi bach payegi Deepika Padukone: As the actor makes her way to NCB, IndiaToday does everything they criticise Republic for

The Aaj Tak reporter added several non-essential information about Deepika Padukone to claim that the coverage was exclusive

Argentina: Legislator kisses bare breast of his girlfriend during online parliament session, resigns after the video goes viral

Juan Emilio Ameri claimed that he assumed that the camera was off and wanted to check out his girlfriend's new breast implants

“Your time of death has come”, radical Islamists attack actress-politician Nusrat Jahan on social media after she poses as Goddess Durga

An Instagram user, Sagar Hossain, questioned Nusrat Jahan, "Why do you support Hindus despite being a Muslim?"

Hours after expressing displeasure over new BJP team, Subramanian Swamy retweets report that hails Priyanka Gandhi

Snubbing the demand of Subramanian Swamy to remove BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya, BJP had retained in the new party team

India Today editors’ tussle with Republic TV is ruining their own credibility, one tweet at a time: Read how

Rahul Kanwal and Rajdeep's sly, targeted tweets against Republic TV are only helping to take their own credibilities further down, and exposing their own hypocrisy.

Economics of Higher Education in India: Tamil Nadu as a sample state

There is a need to derive an economic solution for the issue of NEET protests that we see in Tamil Nadu and the seeming unfairness.

‘Maal is cigarette and hash are its different brands’, Deepika Padukone makes bizarre claims when confronted with ‘drug’ chats: Report

Deepika Padukone and others were apprised in advance as to what needed to be said during the interrogation, claimed NCB

From Left to Congress to SDPI: How political party workers doubled up as ‘farmers’ to protest against agriculture Bills

The farm bills have inspired numerous political parties to hit the streets in protest doubling up as disgruntled farmers.

Ye Bollywood wali nautanki band kar, case wapas le warna thok denge: Manjinder Singh Sirsa gets death threat from Pakistan

Following the complaint filed by Manjinder Singh Sirsa, NCB started investigating and unearthed a massive drug case in Bollywood

Tractor set on fire by Congress workers at India Gate was already burnt eight days ago at Ambala during farmer protests. Read Details

The tractor was brought to Delhi by members of the Punjab Youth Congress and kept overnight at the residence of a Congress leader.

Is anchoring while wearing saffron clothes and sporting a tilak anti-Muslim? Sudarshan News responds to centre’s show-cause notice

Sudarshan News channel today responded to the show-cause issued to the channel against the content of its programme ‘Bindas Bol’, which accuses Zakat Foundation of helping Muslims to infiltrate the civil services

Pakistan: Supreme Court stays the release of terrorist Ahmed Sheikh, the murderer of WSJ journalist Daniel Pearl. Read details

Earlier, the Sindh High Court had acquitted the terrorist of the charges of murder and kidnapping for ransom.

Kerala ISIS terrorist who had received battle training to wage Jihad gets life term, had tried to get explosive chemicals based on ISIS instructions:...

The Special NIA court also imposed a fine of Rs 2,10,000 on the Kerala ISIS terrorist who was arrested by the NIA in 2016

Sanatana Dharma vs Bollywood on Republic Bharat: Arnab Goswami goes to war

Arnab Goswami has been at the forefront of the campaign against the drag racket in Bollywood and has not pulled any punches.

Lust for property, forced conversion to Islam and brutality: More details emerge in Sonbhadra beheading case

The Sonbhadra murder did not happen in the heat of the moment but was well thought of, calculated and a cold-blooded one, says VHP leader.

Torched a bus on 16th Dec, on 17th, pelted stones at Hindus: Explosive new details in Tahir Hussain’s supplementary disclosure statement

Delhi police, in the chargesheet pertaining to FIR number 59, has filed another disclosure statement made by Tahir Hussain that gives a glimpse into just how well organised the Delhi riots were

Connect with us

244,181FansLike
456,609FollowersFollow
17,300SubscribersSubscribe