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Hypocrisy of Indian civil society and their Western sponsors: A rejoinder

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Bimal Prasad Mohapatra
Bimal Prasad Mohapatrahttp://www.trident.ac.in
Columnist is a Senior Research Fellow in Defense Research and Studies (DRaS), Faculty of Management Studies in Trident Group of Institutions, Bhubaneswar, and author of novel "Travails of LOVE" and "Bimal's ANAND MATH". He writes column on Geopolitics, Indian Politics and Media for MyVoice.OpIndia, DRaS, The Kootneeti, The Diplomatists, The Avenue Mail, Delhi Post, Orissa Post, Outlook Afghanista, The Manila Times, etc. And also Moderated Panel Discussion on Geopolitics, Politics and Media

On 13 April 2021, I read a column in Prague, Czech Republic based Project Syndicate site titled “Modi’s war on the press” authored by Shashi Tharoor, writer, columnist, sitting MP in Indian Parliament and former Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India. Prior to the above, he was Deputy Secretary General in UNO and had a failed bid in 2006 for UN Secretary General. In a nutshell, one can comfortably claim, Shashi Tharoor is a leading who’s who in Indian Civil Society.

In the intro, in the said column, the author writes and I quote, “Freedom of the press is the mortar that binds together a free society. If Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to de-institutionalize what used to be a dynamic and independent Fourth Estate persists, public confidence in the media will steadily decline, along with confidence in Indian democracy.”

While Shashi says, “Freedom of the press is the mortar that binds together a free society”, a statement which no sensible person carrying slightest democratic value in his mind can dispute, going further, he writes in the column, “In late January, police filed criminal charges – including sedition, which carries a life sentence – against eight journalists who covered a protest in Delhi that turned violent. Their crime: reporting the claims of a dead protester’s family that he had been shot and killed by the police. I (Shashi) face the same charges for having tweeted their claim when it was reported.”

Here, my question to Shashi: Were you present at the site of shooting along with family of dead farmer so that they claimed ‘on your ear instantly’ that their family member -a protesting farmer- killed in police firing which you instantly tweeted? Certainly, as per reports available, you and family member of dead farmer were not present at the site of farmer’s (whether the death occurred due to accident/police firing that court will adjudicate after reviewing the visuals and post mortem report) death. Where were you at that time? Where were the family members at that time? What is the time of your tweet and when the family member of killed farmer ‘claimed’ that you have quoted in your column I refer here? The court will certainly raise this issue. Truth is: You along with some other senior journalists tweeted ‘Protesting farmer killed in police firing’ as soon as you heard ‘farmer died in accident’ from your sources or though media with malicious intention to provoke agitating misguided farmers to be further violent leading to blood bath on sacred Republic Day to satisfy your vested political interest hoping since you are who’s who in Indian politics and civil society having close association internationally, nobody could touch you.

But when police dared to file the FIR, you innovated an excuse, and I quote “Their crime: reporting the claims of a dead protester’s family that their family member had been shot and killed by the police. I face the same charges for having tweeted their claim when it was reported” assuming that you can remain untouched with assumed logic that if late Rajiv Gandhi after slaughtering 3000 Sikhs in broad daylight in national capital in 1984 using his party goondas could get title of Bharat Ratna (Diamond of India) and his Samadhi (resting place) be branded Vir Bhumi (place of brave), why not you for this misinformation campaign? Is it that India’s who’s who are free to do whatever they like?

In the meanwhile, time has changed, but you are not. Note: now, Lutyen power mafia, who were ruling India since 1947 for consecutive several decades using a corrupt and brutal dynasty at the helms of the affairs, are no more calling the shots.

What you (Shash Tharoor) were expecting from Modi Government? Should he allow misinformation campaign to thrive unchecked? Do misinformation campaigns act like ‘mortar to bind together a free society’ and enrich democracy? You have got decade’s long international exposures as a senior diplomat in UNO. What those experiences say? Please tell….

In 2019, Vinod K Jose, Executive Editor – The Caravan and a co-accused in the above said case, stated during a session on ‘Religion and the Media’ at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London in 2019, and I quote, “the RSS (an NGO working for national rejuvenation) engineered the pogrom against the Sikhs in 1984”. Has the world forgotten that villainous statement of Congress Party owner Rajiv Gandhi “When big banyan tree falls, earth shakes” when his party goondas H. K. L. Bhagat, Jadish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar, etc. (Rajiv Gandhi after coming to power -elected post-riot- had rewarded Bhagat and Tytler with ministerial berths in his government) leading slaughtering of innocent Sikhs in broad daylight on the street of national capital? Does Jose in this case behave like a journalist? Lie-peddling is not journalism.

Even if for you and Project Syndicate think blatant lie-peddling is journalism and media dynamism, you people are curse to democracy and shame of liberal society, and your act will not bind society like mortar but destroy the lie-peddlers as truth like fire cannot be hidden. And this is the reason why once a leading periodical The Caravan, which I was reading regularly during my student days as student of media studies and after as suggested by professor, has lost its shine in the recent past. Regarding other co-accused in the farmer’s death case, there are plenty of above kind’s lie-peddling allegations against them. One of them, a senior Consulting Editor, in a leading media house was suspended from anchoring for weeks and lost his one month salary as punishment for fake news circulation in farmer’s death case.

During the reign of Covid19, Indian journalists working for foreign media -particularly Western- mostly show sensitive part of tragedy. Per example: Crematorium and shortage of oxygen are highlighted, and Shashi branded this kind of journalism in his tweeter handle as ‘Patriotic Journalism’. These journalists have ignored to highlight positive side of effort done to address the tragedy, which has engulfed the entire world without discrimination, apart from Western betrayal to India over the issue.

My question to them: Is that those who born in India are immortals? Per day normal deaths in India pre-Covid are roughly 28,000. During last three to four days when this alleged reporting happened, India’s total Covid related death is below 2,800. Means ten bodies gone to crematorium, one body is Covid related. But the picture showed in foreign media as if all the bodies were Covid deaths. Next question: What is the number of deaths taken place in US/Europe due to Covid, and what is the percentage of the same to average normal deaths in those countries?

Wish Shashi and Project Syndicate will do little labour to get the data as link provided here? Has Indian media highlighted this aspect that is what is happening in US, Britain, etc. where comparatively better health care facilities are available? Should Indians forget Shashi’s quoting that Britain has looted $45 trillion from India which was used to build her several infrastructures including health? Has Indian journalists highlighted India’s Vaccine Maitri? How could George Soros’ derogatorily branded Hindu nationalist Government of Narendra Modi went ahead distributing vaccine to poor countries so far neglected by rich countries which went ahead blocking 9/7/3 times more requirement of their people saying ‘America First’, etc. despite electoral risk in a country (India) where every year there is this or that cut-throat election. Though abused, Modi went ahead distributing vaccine simultaneously vaccinating his own people through WHO appreciated mechanism. 

Has Western media which has been champion of liberal democratic politics, human rights, etc. questioned Biden Administration when it went ahead blocking vaccine raw materials invoking war time laws and saying ‘If US is safe, world is safe’? Has Western media, their collaborator, Shashi Tharoor and Project Syndicate asked President Biden ‘How could he blocked raw materials to India despite it was known fact that it was India which rescued US in 2020 providing life-saving drugs during brutal reign of Covid in 2020 and then US President promised that moment US got the vaccine India would get preferential supply as reciprocal measure? 

Now, if Shashi thinks public confidence in the media will be built up in the presence of the above kind of journalism, Indian democracy will be another mobocracy (anarchy) in no time. Sorry Shashi, we unknown, who are often branded as Tom-Dick-Harish, troll army and bhakt (blind worshippers) by leading journalists having privilege to publish their columns in leading newspapers and anchoring in leading TV channels using Queen’s language, will not allow such blatant loss of Indian democratic value even if insider-trading accused George Soros funded Project Syndicate provide platform to you.

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Bimal Prasad Mohapatra
Bimal Prasad Mohapatrahttp://www.trident.ac.in
Columnist is a Senior Research Fellow in Defense Research and Studies (DRaS), Faculty of Management Studies in Trident Group of Institutions, Bhubaneswar, and author of novel "Travails of LOVE" and "Bimal's ANAND MATH". He writes column on Geopolitics, Indian Politics and Media for MyVoice.OpIndia, DRaS, The Kootneeti, The Diplomatists, The Avenue Mail, Delhi Post, Orissa Post, Outlook Afghanista, The Manila Times, etc. And also Moderated Panel Discussion on Geopolitics, Politics and Media
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