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Is The Indian Media Secular?
<b>Ed Murphy And Political Ccs</b>

One of Ed Murphy’s witty aphorisms spoofing the lives of corporate citizens says that sometimes the only important things in an inter office memo are the ‘<i>cc</i>s’.

A popular pastime of Secular Feminists and sundry intellectuals is to bash the Hindu scriptures, like the Ramayana. Bashing Hindu scriptures is a safe pastime, as it does not entail in raiding newspaper offices or issuing Fatwas.

Ramayana may be quoted as an example of male chauvinism or as the story of a King who upheld the noblest principles of democracy; a King who valued the word of a lumpen citizen as more estimable than familial ties.

The story of Satyabahma who fought a battle alongside her Consort may be quoted as an example of gender equality.

During a philosophical debate between Adi Sankara and the scholar Mandanamishra, the latter’s wife acted as a referee.

Gargi and Maitreyi were held in as high esteem as sages Vasishta and Viswamitra for the profundity of their philosophical knowledge.

Take your pick.

An axiomatic question that we should ask ourselves is - should we view the scriptures through the prism of twenty-first century values.

If yes, why are not scriptures of all faiths subjected to such tests?

Or should we venerate them as repositories of ancient wisdom and draw such lessons that are congruous to our times.

If the objective of <i>Wonderings </i>is a ‘cc’ to the new Catholic boss…

After all neo-converts are expected to be more loyal than the King (or should we say the Queen)!

<b>A correspondent for the majority…</b>

Traditionally, the media has correspondents specializing in business, finance, sports, science and politics. Did you hear of special correspondents for minorities in Gujarat and the majority in Kashmir – no, not minorities in Kashmir because the Kashmiri Pundits do not deserve human rights let alone minority rights?

But this ultra-secular news channel has both: a correspondent for minorities in Gujarat and a correspondent for the majority in Kashmir.

The correspondent for the majority in Kashmir holds court on Sundays, where a select audience is treated to acceptance of her pet theory about a political process in Kashmir. Her theory, like the Gujral doctrine, all but allows Kashmir to become an independent nation - if Pakistan allows it - that is.

She nimbly leads the captive audience up the garden path, manipulating, filtering and swatting opinions inimical to her theory. Forget the directive principles of state policy enshrined in the Constitution. Ironically, the programme flaunts the frontispiece of the same constitution as its banner.

<b>…And another for the minorities!</b>

The correspondent for the minorities has been busy for over ten months reporting about the atrocities committed by the majority community in Gujarat, in sentences liberally sprinkled with phrases like ‘…in a sense’, ‘…at one level ’ and ‘…at the end of the day’

For him communal riots have suddenly become ‘<i>pogroms</i>’, and ‘<i>genocide</i>’. He and the rest of the secular intelligentsia forbade any allusion to the initial incident that triggered it all Godhra -. They would rather bury the dead of Godhra quietly and praise the Indian citizen for his unwavering commitment to secularism and for not being provoked by such incidents, unfortunate though they were.

The incident would then merit a mention if the channel had time after all the ‘<i>secularism is under threat’ </i>stories.

The aftermath of Godhra was condemnable but to say that the Karsevaks asked for what they got – gruesome death – is secularism, Indian brand.

<b>Objectivity a matter of principle…</b>

Why should we object when the media was just doing its duty, viz. reporting? No, we should not – but should we not know when reporting ends and where comment begins? News formats are cleverly constructed making the dividing line between news and comment as porous as the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Our correspondent for the minorities advances on Mamata Banerjee, thrusts his mike into her face and asks if she would now withdraw support to the central government. The channel built up a frenzy over the VHP march to Ayodhya, and, captured it ‘exclusively’ on camera. VHP’s foolhardy venture caused it to score a self-goal when the Supreme Court reversed its earlier decision about the undisputed site in Ayodhya.

The ultra-secular news channel put out a report about the VHP getting millions of dollars of foreign aid that was used for sectarian purposes. They found a Dr. Matthew; about as credible as the other ‘Doctor’, who saw the Ansal Plaza encounter, who compiled a report about it.

<b>…Or an optical illusion?</b>

While the ultra-secular news channel was showering encomiums on the CEC for the conduct of a peaceful election with a turnout of 42%-43% in Kashmir, the BBC correspondent in Srinagar denounced it as an exaggerated Indian government figure and the voter turnout would not exceed 15%. Do we dismiss this as a difference in perspective between Indian (even if they are <i>ultra-secular </i>) and <i>foreign</i> meida with their biases and <i>pet axes to grind</i>. The <i>Beeb</i>, in the past, did show clips from <i>Chechnya</i> in a programme on <i>Kashmir</i>!

When did these champions of secularism visit the camps outside Jammu or Delhi in which Kashmiri Pundits reside and report about the living conditions there, in the last fourteen years?

<b>Of a Court Martial…</b>

By the by, while the secular parties and the secular media were pillorying Narendra Modi and the BJP for criticizing the august office of the CEC, our secular CEC himself found it necessary to appear on SAB TV and explain his conduct. Calling a senior IAS officer a ‘Joker’, was an <i>Americanism</i>. The admonition to the officer ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’ was not for public consumption, but eavesdropped by the media. Had they, in the secular media, known this, they would not have reported it.

<b>…And Secular Marshals!</b>

One of the panelists that ‘<i>court-martialed’ </i>the CEC in the programme writes two thousand word articles about ‘<i>secularism under seize’</i>. Her first paragraph has an innuendo that becomes suspicion in the second and by the logic of the first two becomes fact in the third. The rest of the article flows from the first three sequentially and logically. The last paragraph of the article leaves the reader in no doubt as to where he should look for, for recruiting demons and other evil spirits when he needed them. They are, according to her, without a doubt, in the membership of the Bhajrang Dal, the RSS and the VHP, a.k.a. the Sangh Parivar, in the lexicon of the secular media. Prosecutor, Judge and Jury all rolled into one and the judgement delivered in a jiffy! Another distinguished columnist wrote a dissertation (no less) in one of the more secular newspapers, about Narendra Modi’s culpability for violation of international human rights laws and his liability for instant arrest if he set foot on Belgian soil. Again, Prosecutor, Judge and Jury all rolled into one and the judgement delivered in a jiffy!

Killings in Kashmir, Amarnadh, Aksharadham, Kaluchuk and other places are merely to be toted on the tickers as statistics. They do not merit dissertations and application of human rights laws.

Thousands of Hindus were killed in the last twelve years. Eight hundred million were killed in five centuries from the ninth to the thirteenth centuries.

‘Shush…’ do not talk about such lore - the secular intellectuals arraign you for invoking the dead past.

The dead did not complain; the living do not object. That is Hindu passivity, the Hindu’s eternal belief in the infallibility of his fate.

The Jews came to India when they were driven out of Palestine in 70 A. D. Hindus welcomed them with open arms.

Jesuit priests came to India in the seventh century to propagate their religion. Hindus did not resist them – they were welcomed!

The Zoroastrians, original inhabitants of Persia, like the Jews, were persecuted. They sought asylum in India and have been living here, in peace and tranquility.

Do the Hindus need lessons in secularism?

<b>This article was written two years ago but has not lost its topicality as bashing <i>Hindu</i> scriptures and meida biases continue.</b>

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