Two op-eds one by Sagarika Ghosh in the Hindustan Times and another by Pamela Philipose in the Indian Express are great examples of how the psuedo-intellectuals in the mainstream media take you for a ride, especially if the object of moral grandstanding is Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP Leader Narendra Modi.

Offstumped has sifted through these two articles with a fine tooth comb to expose the half-truths and flights of fiction that an unsuspecting mind would have otherwise taken for granted.

First the piece by Pamela in the Indian Express titled “Is Gujarat the new India ?”

Flight of fiction #1

 Can the politics of communal polarisation practised successfully in Gujarat be replicated in the country?

Fact – There is no evidence of any campaign of communal polarisation in the run up to the assembly polls as pointed out by Offstumped. If discussing Sohrabuddin, a known criminal and Afzal Guru, a terrorist on the death row, is communal polraisation then the question must be flipped back on the media

if the propoganda of communal fiction concocted successfully by the media in Gujarat can be replicated in the country ?

Flight of fiction #2

Gujarat, with its ‘winning’ combination of muscular cultural nationalism and unstoppable China-like economic growth, offers the citizens of New India a passport out of Old India

Fact – Every political persuasion in India has its akharas and its think tanks so what the hell is “muscular cultural nationalism” ?

Flight of fiction #3

This combination of a higher upper caste/lower Muslim presence (9.1%) makes Gujarat unique (in UP, for instance a higher upper caste presence is accompanied by a significant Muslim presence), and makes it easier for Gujarati politicians across party lines to practise the politics of communal polarisation, something that is considerably more difficult to do at the national level

Fact – Vote bank politics have nothing to do with muslim presence and have a history from much before the BJP came into the picture. The only successful muslim party that swears by Islamist issues consistently is the MIM in Andhra Pradesh. The AUDF in Assam campaigned succesfuly and won 10 seats in Assam on the plank of Muslim vote consolidation. The Kerala Assembly cutting across party lines passed a resolution demanding the release of Madani a known Islamist touted by the CP

I-M as a terrorist. The CPI-M in West Bengal has consistently toed the Islamist line on Taslima Nasreen. So the politics of communal polarisation is all pervasive and there is nothing unique about Gujarat.

Flight of fiction #4

 At the national level today, the Congress appears far more convincing as a political force than it had in the second half of the nineties

Fact – The Congress has lost every single election of consequence during 2007 and barely managed to scrape through in inconsequential Goa and Assam. As Offstumped had shown earlier this year, brand Sonia and brand Manmohand were more myth than reality and the only polls with any good news for the Congress were manufactured opinion polls.

 Flight of fiction #5

Modi, who has never lost an opportunity to brandish his Hindutva credentials — as he did on Wednesday at the National Development Council by attacking the PM’s plan for minorities

Fact – As the Acorn has highlighted yesterday Mr. Modi only questioned Dr. Manmohan Singh’s patently anti-secular policies by asking what did religion have to do with socio-economic policy making. Only in the absurd alternate reality that the likes of Pamela dwell in would one term tough questions challenging Muslim Appeasement as “brandishing” hindutva credentials.

Now over to the Hindustan Times for more fiction this time from Sagarika Ghosh in her op-ed titled “Seeing is believing

Flight of fiction #6

for the national media, a continued focus on the 2002 riots is seen as evidence of a commitment to the rule of law and to secularism

Fact – Offstumped had extensively analyzed CNN-IBN’s reportage which had little to do with “rule of law” and “secularism” and was unapologetically a political campaign.

Half Truth # 7

There was no TV screen to show us the ‘necklacing’ of the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. We did not see how young Sikh men had their hair untied, how tyres were placed around their necks and how those tyres were then set on fire. We did not see how the ‘subliminal moment’ was reached in 1984, as we saw in 2002. Or how it may have been reached in Meerut, Maliana and Hashimpura in 1987, Bhagalpur in 1989, or even Mumbai in 1993. There was no 24-hour TV then and so India did not ‘see’. But India did ‘see’ Gujarat, and Gujarat is, therefore, sui generis. ‘Seeing’ has meant doing. Media images of the riots have spurred a courageous activist movement, which has systematically followed cases and provided legal aid.

Fact – Well Sagarika how disingenuous, let us see here the one word that never crossed your lips in this entire piece – Nandigram where the media “sees no evil” and “believes no evil”.

The only truth #8

the danger is that in Gujarat, media activism is becoming political activism

but then Ms. Ghosh is in so much self denial with her own channel’s polarised coverage in stark contrast to NDTV’s it is anybody’s guess who this piece was aimed at – Barkha Dutt 🙂

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