Friday, 21 February 2020

Unmasking the Media

Updated: March 22, 2017 12:16 pm

The “left liberals”,having found their match in and having realised that their “intellectual terrorism” has lost out to a resurgent Indian thought process, have, after the advent of the BJP government. in 2014, engineered and manufactured “debates” aided by more than a willing media to somehow delay the process of complete decimation. Towards the end of 2014, some stray stone pelting on churches was portrayed as “intolerance” that continued onto the year 2015 culminating  in what came to be known as “award wapsi” where many unknown rather than known awardees of various central and state literary awards “returned” their awards. In addition, the hanging of a terrorist after exhausting all legal remedies, including one when the Supreme Court held hearings into the wee hours, was dubbed “judicial killing”, which was also a “high point” for these “liberals” to proclaim the loss of “idea of India”. The year 2016 witnessed an attempt to redefine freedom of expression when slogans like “bharat tere tukde honge”, “Kashmir mange azadi” were raised in JNU and was emulated in other varsities and were justified as true acts of freedom of expression. This led to the “left liberals” taking position ranging from “undeclared emergency” to India having turned “fascist”. The common thread that ran in all these issues was that these were “manufactured” just before crucial state elections in Delhi, Bihar etc. making it clear that  the intent behind such actions was anything but bona fide.

With this track record, it was but expected that 2017 would also witness an “outpouring” sooner rather than later. It didn’t take long for this to happen and the month of February witnessed the fracas created by them again invoking freedom of expression as the tool to justify their position. By now the dust of the happening in DU’s Ramjas college towards the end of February has almost settled and one has the advantage of hindsight to analyse as to what was all about.

A seminar organised with an accused in a criminal case of sedition as one of the speaker along with a former leader of the JNUSU saw protest by the ABVP, who was opposed to the said accused being invited. This in turn led to instigation of unprovoked fights by the “left liberals” where even the women activists of ABVP were not spared. To add fuel to fire, it was reported that certain teachers also were complicit in the entire episode supporting the “left” student wings ranging from AISA, to SFI to DSU and raised slogans like “Kashmir mange azadi”, bastar mange azadi” which was protested to by the ABVP. In the entire episode, the role of the media was anything but impartial as it left no stone unturned to level a nationalist students organization like ABVP as “goonda” and even one TV channel aired visuals of the SFI Delhi state president roughing of students as an ABVP member. So much for impartiality…

In no time, the entire media ganged up against an organisation that has 40 lakh members and has rendered valuable services in almost seven decades of its existence all across the country in the field of education, internal security, Bangladeshi infiltration, free coaching classes for needy students,  to name a few. It was also forgotten that the ABVP was at the forefront of the “second freedom struggle” during the Emergency when all liberties were supressed by the leader of the parent organisation of the NSUI, another student group that came out, ironically,  in support of these “azadi brigade”. What is more ironical is the parent organisation of the student wings like AISA, DSU & SFI and in many cases these very student organisations have acted in brazen violation of the law of the land and have ensured that no other organisation is given any breather in all the campuses controlled by them — JNU being a prime example of their (mis)deeds where for years together ABVP activists were ostracized, victimised and discriminated by these very organisation with active support from many faculty members. Talking about their parent organisation suffice would be to say that they believe in a different kind of justice delivery system “kangaroo courts” where verdict is rendered at the whims and fancies of the Maosit/Communists. So the moot question which the media has shied away from asking these groups is that what is the basis of their crying hoarse in the street of Delhi about freedom of expression and human rights when their own cadre has unleashed violence of all kinds in the Indian hinterland, indulged in killing, maiming and raping people who do not agree to their point of view? However, the self-content media has avoided these pertinent questions and has targeted the ABVP with the sole intent to besmirch a student organisation that has presence not only within but also outside India.

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The larger issues that need to be addressed are whether these incidences are part of a larger design where the student community is perceived to be easy fodder for fomenting unrest in campuses all across the country. Whether there is a larger connect that is being missed by the media in particular and we the citizens of India.

Whether the flag- bearers of “freedom of expression” and “azadi” are being funded by agencies that want to destabilise the country.

At first glance, these issues may seem “loud thinking”, “off the mark” etc, but if we look deeper, there would be no gainsaying, to use a popular adage, that there is a method to this madness or if one may paraphrase a methodical manner of spreading untruth. Given that the Maoist/ Communist  have lost ground to a considerable extent in the last three years, there are intelligence reports to suggest that their next targets are going to be urban centres where it is easier to catch media attention by conjuring up “violation” of any kind and thereby creating an atmosphere where the ruling dispensation is portrayed in bad light. The protests by various “NGO” groups against any and all kinds of developmental activities have found to have links to foreign agencies, who have used such protest to further their cause–be it the Koodankulam nuclear power project  in Tamilnadu or the protest against Vedanta in Odisha or numerous such “protests” all across the country. The conviction of a DU Professor along with a former student of JNU and a journalist by a court of law in Maharashtra does indicate that the Maoists are seeking to spread their tentacles in urban centres and use them as their recruiting grounds to further their cause. Looked from another perspective, the whole drama of painting ABVP in poor light is nothing but an alibi to gain legitimacy in campuses all across the country and this is the real issue that has been sadly missed by the mainstream  TRP-hungry media, for whom the well being of the country is subservient to their vested interest.

Therefore, the question that bags our attention is whether, in doing all this, the media is giving credence to a thought process that believes “power flows from the barrel of the gun”.

(The writer is former President, JNUSU)

By Sandeep Mahapatra

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