Indian Express today wrote a bottom spread on its front page which mocked a (now retired) judge in its headline and went on to term his recent claims on medicinal benefits of cow as “vague and outlandish.”
The headline “A little fact-check of Honourable Judge’s cow order in Rajasthan” was full of sneer and contempt. It’s as close to abusive as it gets. It’s like a reader telling the Indian Express editor: “So Mr Editor, how much monthly bill you save by using your distinguished newspaper in place of a toilet roll?” If my quip stinks, it’s meant to drive home the point.
The entire 945-words wordathon is meant to counter Justice (retd) Mahesh Chandra Sharma of Rajasthan High Court who, while declaring his wish that cow be made the national animal on Thursday, quoted several sources, mostly foreign, to highlight the animal’s medicinal benefits.
The reporter set about dismantling the judge. From rattail combs to chisel and hammer, the writer used every weapon at his command to deliver a thousand cuts. It was akin to how a deranged psychopath chops off every limb, bone, muscle, sinews of a hated victim, plucking the eyes from the socket; gulping down the bursting blood in both hands. The violence in the pen of the reporter, and that of the newspaper, is unmistakable.
Sadly, this hatred and venom isn’t backed by the report itself. Let me take readers through the Indian Express rebuttal point by point; and challenge the newspaper to either prove me wrong or make a public apology (don’t worry, both things won’t happen. For mainstream media in this country are supreme artistes of hit-and-run stories).
CLAIM 1: German scientist Rudie Steiner: “Cow uses its horns to acquire cosmic energy.”
Indian Express rebuttal: It’s not Rudie Steiner but Rudolf Steiner. (Phew!)
CLAIM 2: Cornell University’s Ronald Goreite: “Cow milk boosts memory and the MDGI protein prevents cancer from entering blood cells.”
Indian Express rebuttal: It’s Ronald C. Gorewit. The MDGI (mammary-derived growth inhibitor) thing is inconclusive. (Bravo!)
CLAIM 3: Dr Vijayaakshmi of the Centre for Indian Knowledge System: “Women’s milk is getting poisonous everyday from using chemical fertilizers instead of cow dung.”
Indian Express rebuttal: Dr. Vijayalakhsmi was travelling (so couldn’t be contacted).
CLAIM 4: Mumbai’s Dr. Kanti Sen Saraf: “Spraying cow dung on urban waste removes all foul smell and converts waste to fetilisers.”
Indian Express rebuttal: Dr. Saraf’s work has been backed by some studies. (Would you believe it! It’s like “you are right but you said you were right.”)
By now, the reporter has unlocked his kalashnikov and is spraying bullets everywhere. He now claims the Judge was outlandish in his report on several counts. He quotes a little-known scientist who in turn claims the references the Judge has made are not in the mainstream academic space.” (Does this irony makes sense to you? It didn’t to me).
The reporter then quotes the Judge’s stance as ‘deliberately misleading’ as said by a few of his sources who refused to go on record! (Could it really get more absurd?)
CLAIM 5: Famous Russian scientist Shirovich: Houses plastered with cow dung are safe from radio waves.Using 10gms of cow ghee for yajna generates a tonne of oxygen.”
Indian Express rebuttal: The only famous scientist with a similar sounding name is Lawrence Sirovich. Further, how can people talk on cellphones and watch TV in a room plastered with cow dung?
CLAIM 6: Agriculture scientists Dr. Julius and Dr. Book German: “Cow is the only animal that exhales oxygen.”
Indian Express rebuttal: Animals exhale the unused part of oxygen (and by inference, not cows alone).
CLAIM 7: Dr. King, famous scientist of Madras: “Cow dung can destroy cholera germs.”
Indian Express rebuttal: Websites such as Surabhi Goshalas of Andhra Pradesh cite Dr. King’s work but it attributes it to cow milk and not dung.
CLAIM 8: Britain’s Dr. Hamilton: “Cow urine cures heart disease.”
Indian Express rebuttal: An unspecific and unverifiable claim found on websites.
So what’s the fuss about? What’s vague and outlandish about the Judge’s claims? I couldn’t spot one in Express rebuttal. Typically, the newspaper believes most readers only read headlines and wouldn’t bother to look at the text. But such is their compulsion they are prepared to lose the shirt and hit at the present dispensation.
The Express rebuttal had no valid criticism, none so whatsoever. It takes some ingenuity to write 1000 words on nothing. Express, sadly, does it every day, deriding the majority of this country, and of course the Modi government.
An Indian newspaper treats its own country’s magnificent heritage as a piece of garbage which makes one wonder with whom its’ loyalty rests. Or at whose behest it abandons every single norm of honest journalism. Such venom and hostility would persist every single day for the next two year. But it would be with a caveat. The newspaper should be mindful they are being watched closely. Very closely. Eggs on the face would be routine too.