On April 1, Karan Thapar, who is a news presenter with The Wire had, attended Islamabad Security Dialogue via video conferencing as a speaker on day one of the events. The discussion titled ‘Navigating disinformation and discourse in the information age’ was an attempt to discuss the impact of disinformation and fake news on the current political structure of South Asia. During the discussion, which was attended by members of several think tanks from Pakistan, Thapar ranted against the Modi government and referred to the Hindu God Hanuman as ‘Humayun’, the second emperor of the Mughal dynasty.
Interestingly, a speaker from India spoke against Narendra Modi-led (Hindu) government while addressing members of several think tanks from Pakistan, where Hindus face atrocities almost on an everyday basis.
Thapar shared a platform with Shane Harris from Washington Post, Liu Xin from Chinese state media China Global Television Network (CGTN) and several Pakistani and international media personalities. It is notable that though only the part of the clip where he addressed Bajrang Bali not as another name of Bhagwan Hanuman but Lord Humayun is being circulated on the social media platforms, the overall 7-minute address of Karan Thapar was full of misinformation and highly biased opinion towards Hindus at large.
Mosharraf Zaidi, the founder of think tank Tabadlab, moderated the session. He asked Thapar about his views on how the people of India are being misled by the politicians, particularly Hindutva leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the RSS and the BJP. He pointed out that such leaders being in power is, in a sense, a collective failure of ‘secular, enlightened, progressive India’.
Agreeing with his thoughts, Thapar said that since PM Modi came to power, the “problem” was on the rise and the alleged crisis is at its peak today. He said, “I’m not saying that it’s all going to go higher but compared to the situation of 2014, the situation today is considerably worse than most people imagine.” He alleged that BJP is deliberately instigating Hindus, that comprise 80% of the population, in the name of religion. “People are very religious. Religions pervades their life, their thinking, their relationship, their psychology is very close to them, and that tends to be the case in countries where economic development is limited. And religion is, I won’t use that phrase opium of the masses because it is deliberately pejorative, but it is soul of the soulless world,” he added.
He further alleged that BJP knows where to scratch and open old wounds, such as the partition that happened in 1947. In that process, they demonized another religion. To put things in perspective, the partition happened because the Muslim leaders wanted a country for Muslims. Unlike what the Congress party and Left-oriented ‘historians’ would have us believed, it was first promulgated by Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University. That 14th August last year was announced as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day had irked so-called liberals for this very reason.
The foundation of Indian Secularism is built atop the corpses of Hindus who were raped, massacred and butchered during the Independence Era. In order for their political careers to succeed, the Congress tried extremely hard to create an ‘alternative history’ for the citizens of India where the horrors of partition were relegated to the dustbins of history. A tragedy of that scale should not be washed away. After all, those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.
To prove his point, Thapar gave the example of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s speech, where he had said the UP Assembly elections were a fight of 80% vs 20%. He claimed in UP, that 80% are Hindus, and 20% are Muslims, so it was obvious what he was referring to. Which is amusing because Yogi Adityanath had made it categorically clear that he did not talk about Hindus and Muslims.
He had said he was talking about 80% of those who were in favour of the BJP irrespective of their religion and 20% of those who were against the BJP. There are millions of Hindus in UP who voted for the Samajwadi Party and lakhs of Muslims, especially women, who voted for the BJP. While CM Yogi did not and had no intentions to divide the population on religious grounds, the media houses, including that of Thapar, presented it wrongly and misled the public.
Thapar then claimed BJP leaders ask those to go to Pakistan who oppose them. He added, “When politicians talk about Ali and Bajaranga Bali. Bajarang Bali is another name for the Lord Humayun, it becomes obvious what is happening, and it is sad to know that it is happening.” Whether it was Freudian slip or slip of tongue, one may never know, but Bajrang Bali is Lord Hanuman, not Humayun. Humayun was the second Mughal emperor, son of Babar. One cannot say about Thapar, but he is certainly not our lord.
Thapar tried to make a point that a conscious Hindu who speaks for himself in India is possibly against the secular structure of the country. He said, “I am not going to pretend and say this, but we were always aware that there were some things that were beyond a line, and you didn’t cross it. That line has been breached. It hardly exists today, and that is the saddest part of it. It’s been done deliberately. It’s yielded enormous political results, and undoubtedly it will keep happening.”
He added, “And as a result, this is becoming a different country once this devil has been let out of the bottle. I’m not saying genie. It is impossible to try and put it back. And I’m not saying Westernized Indians. There are a lot of very deeply Hindu people who also feel that this deliberate exploitation, this deliberate use of their religion for political purpose is wrong.”
He further claimed that Hinduism is a different kind of faith. It is accepting, and the politicians are trying to convert it to something else. He alleged those leaders are “horribly misunderstanding the very nature and character of Hinduism.”
Quite rich coming from someone who mistakes Bhagwan Hanuman for Mughal emperor.
Essentially, Thapar was speaking at a stage provided by Pakistan. The same Pakistan where Hindus face atrocities every other day. Hindu girls are kidnapped and converted to Islam. The number of Hindus in Pakistan has come to the point of extinction. Sadly, the likes of Thapar have opposed laws like CAA. Instead of speaking up for those Hindus living in hell-like-situation in Pakistan, they are working extensively to stop the government from opening doors for the persecuted Hindus to enable them to come and make India their homeland.