In the last few days, a large section of India’s liberal commentators have revealed themselves to be great fans of the US based think tank Freedom House. Somebody out there has downgraded India from “free” to “partly free.” The andolanjeevis came out in full force for this one.
Who are these people, by the way? As Freedom House notes:
“External analysts assess 210 countries and territories, using a combination of on-the-ground research, consultations with local contacts, and information from news articles, nongovernmental organizations, governments, and a variety of other sources. Expert advisers and regional specialists then vet the analysts’ conclusions. “
That paragraph is written as if it conveys some information. But does it really?
Why did Freedom House use only “external analysts,” “expert advisers” and “regional specialists?” Why not ask “local consultants” and “global thinkers” too?
That’s when you realize none of those job descriptions actually mean anything specific. Freedom House is just using random words to fill up space. They think that if the sentence is long enough, you will assume they know what they are talking about.
Don’t fall for this. Ask why they are using a long sentence to hide the names and credentials. As it is, the idea of an oligarchy of “experts” supposedly upgrading and downgrading democracies leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Of course the problems go much further. Even if we saw the names and (supposed) credentials, why should we assume the best about the intentions of these people? Could they pass the most basic sanity tests?
Now, I really hate to compare India and Pakistan on any metric, except for comic effect. In all other cases, even discussing such matters belittles India. It gives the appearance that our democracy is somehow comparable to whatever mess they have over there in Pakistan. But, I had to ask. If the high minded experts feel that minorities in India are under threat, what do these global humanitarians have to say about atrocities on Hindus in Pakistan?
You would be surprised (or perhaps not).
Right off the bat, don’t miss the respective maps they created for India and Pakistan.
They conceded all of PoK to Pakistan! For India? They couldn’t even leave us with the portions on our side of the Line of Control. Instead, they went all the way and cut off the whole of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh from India. You would think this is some B-grade movie in Pakistan, looking for cheap applause from its audience. But no, this report is now a bestseller in India. This is what Indian liberals are cheering. Seriously.
Anyway, one good thing about the Freedom House report about Pakistan is that they began with a joke. Here is the first line from their overview on the country.
“Pakistan holds regular elections under a competitive multiparty political system.“
I appreciate this. Humor is always a good ice-breaker. By the way, I wondered what is the first line from their overview on India. Turns out it is fairly similar, with one small difference.
“India maintains a robust electoral democracy with a competitive multiparty system at the federal and state levels, though politics are marred by corruption.“
They wasted no time in showing their prejudice, did they?
You may object here. How can you say that they have a bias against India? After all, they scored India at 67/100 and Pakistan at a paltry 37/100. So, if they are being unkind to India, they are being extremely severe with Pakistan.
Yes, they are being severe with Pakistan. The question is : for what reason? Will they blame Pakistan for how they treat Hindus? Absolutely not. A simple Ctrl+F search through the Freedom House report on Pakistan reveals just 2 instances of the word “Hindu.” In contrast, the word “Muslim” appears 16 times in the report on India. Again, I absolutely hate putting the two numbers side by side, but doing so is necessary to reveal the bias.
The report on India features sentences such as:
“Two developments in 2019 undermined the political rights of certain minorities, and Muslims in particular…“
” In August 2019, a Rajasthan court acquitted six suspects in the 2017 killing of a Muslim man, despite eyewitness accounts and video evidence of their complicity“
Wait till I show you what they said about Hindus in Pakistan, because it is a masterpiece in propaganda writing. As it is, there were only 2 instances of the word Hindu in the report on Pakistan.
“Hindus have complained of vulnerability to kidnapping and forced conversions, and some continue to migrate to India.“
Did you catch that? Read the sentence carefully. They didn’t acknowledge the atrocities committed on Hindus in Pakistan! They only said Hindus have complained of atrocities, thus in no way endorsing the claim!
You must have seen other instances of this trick in operation. We all know the difference between a headline that says “Scam in XYZ procurement” and a headline that says “ABC alleges scam in XYZ procurement.” In the second case, the media takes no responsibility for the allegation. Just what Freedom House did with Hindus of Pakistan.
This will become even more obvious when you notice the startling turn of phrase in the paragraph the sentence is taken from.
“Hindus have complained of vulnerability to kidnapping and forced conversions, and some continue to migrate to India. Members of the Christian and other religious minorities remain at risk of blasphemy accusations that can arise from trivial disputes and escalate to criminal prosecution and mob violence. The blasphemy laws and their exploitation by religious vigilantes have also curtailed freedom of expression by Muslims.“
Three sentences, back to back. Christians are at risk of blasphemy accusations. Muslims face the threat of religious vigilantes too. Two straight assertions, with no qualifiers. But Hindus? They have only complained. Freedom House will not say if they believe there is any truth in these complaints made by Hindus.
This is straight up dehumanization of Hindus. The suffering of Hindus does not matter to them. The reason they think Pakistan sucks is because Muslims and Christians have a hard time there. Not because Hindus face atrocities. In fact, you can read the entire report on Pakistan. Not at a single place do they acknowledge by name that any crime was committed against Hindus.
In fact, such language tricks appear all through their report. Consider the following sentences they wrote about freedom in India:
“Muslim personal status laws and traditional Hindu practices discriminate against women in terms of property rights and inheritance.“
“Muslim personal status laws and traditional Hindu practices feature gender discrimination on matters such as marriage, divorce, and child custody.”
The exact same phrase “Muslim personal status laws and traditional Hindu practices” appears twice in the same report! Looks like someone had a template ready. And more interestingly, was trying hard to make sure you don’t notice the difference between laws in one community and practices in another. A lot of bad things happen in society. But when injustice is officially given legal sanction, it is a whole other level of unfairness.
But if Freedom House admitted that one community is just more open minded than the other, what would happen to their agenda?
In reading the reports from Freedom House, what stood out is how similar it is to the now familiar secular whitewashing style of mainstream media here in India. We all know the template: a Hindu victim becomes “Delhi man” while a Muslim victim is clearly identified as such. If a crime happens in a madrassa, you can’t just say that a crime happened in madrassa. You must say that the incident has put the spotlight on crimes in “madrassas and Vedic pathashalas.” You can’t just say that a Hindu was a victim. You can only say that that they are alleging it.
In other words, be strictly factual and super skeptical when reporting on Hindu victims. When a Muslim alleges victimhood, take all claims at face value, suspend all skeptical questioning and disseminate it widely. And above all, try to avoid mentioning Hindus as much as possible. If you don’t even mention Hindus, it becomes easier for the world to pretend like they don’t exist. Thanks Freedom House for showing us that this writing style has now gone fully international. Whether as a majority in India or as a tiny persecuted minority in Pakistan, global liberals have made it clear that we Hindus deserve no place at all.
One last thing. The cover of the Freedom House report is an apparent tribute to a group of protesters, their fists in the air, carrying signs that say “We want justice.” Who is on that cover?
I don’t know. I cannot tell by their clothes.