India: The surgical strike has damaged us more than you, Pakistan

Published: October 12, 2016

India says it conducted an operation beyond the Line of Control. (LoC) PHOTO: AFP

We don’t know the truth behind the surgical operation. Pakistan denies any kind of extraordinary military intervention in its territory. On the other hand, India says it conducted an operation beyond the Line of Control (LoC). International media, however, takes a nuanced view of the whole affair, distancing itself from the passion that grips domestic media in India and Pakistan.

Not long ago, in June 2015, India claimed to have conducted a surgical operation in Myanmar against the insurgent groups that allegedly killed 18 Indians soldiers in the North Eastern state of Manipur. Myanmar denied any such military strike inside its territory. Indian media went by the government’s narrative and indulged into a great deal of chest thumping. It failed to question the government’s version. On the contrary, the media played along the official line by publishing unconfirmed and unverifiable stories substantiating New Delhi’s claim.

A senior journalist and writer from Manipur, Pradip Phanjoubam, in a scathing article, titled, India’s War Against Itself, in Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), exposes the “chest thumping journalists”, who he says, have become “mere stenographer” of the government. Questioning the claims of the government and its journalist minders, Phanjoubam writes that the Modi regime has provided “no clinching evidence of the two strikes” in Myanmar. Therefore, the whole story is to satisfy the Indian sentiment.

When questions were raised about the Myanmar operations last year, the media, along with the ruling party members in particular, ignored them and did not brand doubting thomases as anti-national.

But now, when the same questions are being raised about the ‘surgical strike’ in Pakistan, the chest thumping journalists are terming such scepticism as an unpatriotic act. The questioning of the government is taken as an act of treason. And any kind of dissent is construed as a question on the ability of the Indian army, hence a highly unpatriotic act. The ruling Hindu right wing government led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not allowing any debate to take place on this matter, with the media playing as its willing ally, hence the country is now completely polarised.

That being said, the ‘surgical strike’ has not damaged Pakistan, it has actually affected us more. Indians have become the victim of politics that thrive on polarisation and hyper nationalism. This is the kind of politics that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi built his career on.

A man who came to power in 2014 with the promise of economic development has now gone back to doing what he knows best. For the BJP, the image of Modi is its USP. With two and half years in power, the BJP government does not have much to show in terms of achievement – discontentment has, therefore, started brewing amongst a cross section of the society about its overall performance.

Intolerance has reached a new height now. Dissent and questioning the two basic normative behaviour in any democracy are being curbed in the name of nationalism. This is a dangerous trend and pushes India towards the majoritarian path. An atmosphere is being created where common people are being radicalised in the name of nationalism. Masses are led to believe that those questioning the government’s surgical strikes are traitors.

Electronic media has become a willing ally of the government in turning the country into a majoritarian den. We are witness to innumerable instances of the Hindu right wing cadres indulging into bullying to teach a lesson to those who defy their politics. The media sector in India is a bully now, and threatens those who express a liberal instance, opting for peace. They promote bigotry and present jingoism as journalism.

They claim they are doing this to protect the national interest. Is it in the national interest to curb liberal and secular voices? Is it in the national interest to create war hysteria in the subcontinent? Is it in the national interest to have media which promotes intolerance, radicalism, paranoia and creates herd mentality?

Surgical strike in the real sense is aimed at India, not Pakistan. It is a war against liberal and secular India, it is an attack on the voices of sanity, it is a very well calculated attempt to silence the voices of dissent against the government. Moreover, it is a political gimmick to divert the attention of the people from the pressing social, economic and cultural problems that beset the nation today.

There are certain crucial regional elections due next year, the BJP has a lot at stake. The states, like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Punjab had supported Modi back in 2014. The fear is that these states might turn their back on the man when the next elections are held. With Modi’s image at stake, it suits the ruling party to come up with the hype and hoopla about the surgical strike.

sanjay.kumar

Sanjay Kumar

A New Delhi based broadcast journalist who reports on national and international affairs. He is a contributor to the Asia Pacific based magazine, The Diplomat. He tweets as @destinydefier (twitter.com/destinydefier)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • vinsin

    So did debate took place in US about OBL strike?Recommend

  • wb

    Let’s look at things logically. Being a software engineer and having done my engineering from a premiere institute in Electronics and Communications, I’m much much much better with logic and mathematics than somebody who did his M A in journalism.

    Now, allow me to destroy your two face and bigotry.

    S Varadharajan is the guy who exposed Indian navy’s lies that Pakistani terror boat blew itself on 2014 December 31st night. It was later proved that the boat belonged to smugglers, and was blown to bits by Indian coast guards, and this was reported by Dawn itself.

    The same S Varadharajan today independently confirmed after talking to the people across LoC that surgical strikes indeed happened. And it was also proved by CNN IBN expose by talking to Mirpur SP who accepted at least 8 casualties on Pakistani side.

    Now on one hand you hail Varadharajan for exposing the boat lies. But on the other hand you ignore his independent report on surgical strikes.

    This is called bigotry. This is what two-faced people do. In plain words, this is dishonesty.

    Thank you for giving me this opportunity to expose anti-Indian bigots and destroy one of them on his own blog.Recommend

  • Test Test

    Hey Sanjay Kumar, Why dont you go to Pakistan? They may welcome you with open arms. Anyhow we have had enough of you pseudo leftists. As long as we had idiots like you leading the media brigade for so long, you guys were all right. Now that we have much better journalism, you are so worried. Anyhow it seems for you Pakistan is a good role model. Maybe you should go there. Afterall they are the paragon of virtue and equality. They have the model religion that tolerates diversity as well. India from your perspective has never done so, so maybe you should actually shift base.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Right on time. Shows his face. Paid hindu cyber warrior.
    Really! Will write anything dictated by RSS to make his
    Rs. 12.50 for his daily idli and dosa.Recommend

  • Bingo

    So did debate took place in Burma’s surgical strikes?Recommend

  • Bob Chan

    No, the topic is about India. Trying to change the subject usually means your hiding something? I guess even you don’t believe your government?Recommend

  • Rahul

    I think the damage was to your brain!Recommend

  • Dheeraj

    Really, what is so IMPOSSIBLE about Indian Army sneaking across the border? Why is Pakistan so insistent to prove that the strike never happened? Recommend

  • Awais Kaleem
  • wb

    I know because I heard the interview. Go to youtube and listen to the interview. Then you’ll stop asking so many redundant questions.Recommend

  • wb

    We are behind in the world because we carry 15% Muslims on our shoulder. Think.Recommend

  • wb

    Do ctrl+F and type in the word “expert”. And then press enter. You’ll find that the highlight never lands on my previous post.

    Do you understand what this means? Let me spell it out for you. I never used the word expert in my comment, let alone calling myself one.

    I only said, I’m more logical and rational.Recommend

  • wb

    Who cares what she says?!! Not Indians.Recommend

  • Rabia Amjad Bajwah

    “Now that we have much better journalism”. No sir you don’t. the world knows it. you can say whatever about pak or these journalist but your journalism is a joke.Recommend

  • Imran

    And Why India is so insistent to prove that the strike did happen?Recommend

  • wb

    No problem. Then, let the man be brave enough to acknowledge the two points I’ve mentioned. Recommend

  • Parvez

    This was less a military operation……and more a media circus. The Indian media got carried away ….it was a case of making a mountain out of a mole hill.Recommend

  • Boro

    Haha, logical.Recommend

  • Boro

    logical? Recommend

  • R.K

    Yes, so your argument doesn’t have any value then? What was the point of posting then? Doesn’t seem logical nor rational.Recommend

  • Normo

    I think reality states otherwise.Recommend

  • R.K

    Only Indians who have an invested interest, matter? How logical and rational.Recommend

  • Niresh

    Key is “when”, if ever.Recommend

  • Niresh

    Education board would disagree.Recommend

  • R.K

    Using dubious sources like Youtube. Not rational.Recommend

  • Norman Castings

    No that would be biased, you can’t force people to agree. Not very logical or rational are you? Yet alone, software engineer having relevance to politics with illogical sweeping statementRecommend

  • Norman Castings

    Many would over a self-made software engineer.Recommend

  • wb

    Not in India.Recommend

  • wb

    Those are your thoughts. I would never say such a thing.Recommend

  • wb

    Absolutely.Recommend

  • wb

    Youtube is more trustworthyRecommend

  • wb

    I didn’t mention education board. I mentioned Mushahid Hussain. Read my comment Recommend

  • wb

    Thank you.Recommend

  • Sane

    You don’t care anyone saying truth. You are a lair and believe in lies. This is all election winning stunt of Modi. He is making fool all you Indians. Why Govt. of India could not issue an official statement.Recommend

  • Sane

    Because it did not happen. No need to prove. Onus of proof is with India. Internationally also no one could buy the propaganda of ‘Surgical Strike’.Recommend

  • Sane

    ……..full of cheers for the truth you said and mirror shown to Indians.Recommend

  • Norman Castings

    Proves India’s intelligence.Recommend

  • Niresh

    But I did, education board would disagree.Recommend

  • Boro

    Fishing for complements with useless degree?Recommend

  • R.K

    Not really.Recommend

  • R.K

    Who knows, you have trust youtube.Recommend

  • Boro

    Nope.Recommend

  • Normo

    Not really, you just pay for it like most countries do which India has done, using western countries. It’s still weird for a country waited until decades to launch satellites if it was good at maths while so many country easily have. Still doesn’t answer my point. Try again.Recommend

  • Normo

    Probably is, still didn’t answer my question.Recommend

  • wb

    haha, Indians should knowRecommend

  • Jyotirmay Nandy

    Yes, yes, we know they were guarding in 1971. They were also guarding when USA conducted a raid inside 500 kms of your country.Recommend

  • farhan

    they surveyed the areaRecommend

  • R.K

    Makes no sense, learn English.Recommend

  • R.K

    Can’t answer my point?Recommend

  • Sunel

    Speak for yourself.Recommend

  • Norman Castings

    I haven’t built that yet, wish I did. Many countries built satellites to Mars. A water car is the most unique invention and serve quiet a lot of countries. I’m not sure what your point was.Recommend

  • wb

    Shame? Really? coming from you using my pseudonym.Recommend

  • wb

    You make no sense, not logical.Recommend

  • Niresh

    Seldom in thought?Recommend

  • Swadesh

    Well didn’t India lose to China? It’s funny how Indians forget this when they criticize China. Talk about dishonest.Recommend

  • Boring

    This is relevant today because? India lost to China more than once.Recommend

  • Swadesh

    Says the patriot.Recommend

  • Sane

    Before we lost 50%, you lost 40% in 1947. What you believed in? Just a bystander!Recommend

  • Sane

    And you do not have any proof. Your choice, be in that state.Recommend

  • Sane

    Fore yours and abhi comments, I can laugh only.Recommend

  • Normo

    You just can’t read.Recommend

  • wb

    Nobody cares whether citizens of failed states believe it or not.Recommend

  • wb

    Pathological lying is your lifeblood.Recommend

  • wb

    Lying is not questioning.Recommend

  • wb

    Sometimes, only sometimes an Indian post articles like above.Recommend

  • Anil Bahu

    Remember Akai Shin?Recommend

  • wb

    Yes. And same Muslims are ruled by non Muslims everywhere they live today.Recommend

  • wb

    One can only answer questions. Not points. Too dull?Recommend

  • wb

    Always and first in thought.Recommend

  • wb

    Yes you did built water cars and the world gives you middle fingers for that.Recommend

  • wb

    Shows the reality of Pakistan.Recommend

  • wb

    Go ask Cyril Almeida. And stop using fake names.Recommend

  • wb

    Ask Cyril Almeida.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Often Indian brain can’t write coherent argument without stooping to intellectual fantasies.Recommend

  • Matthew

    And so is the UN who also claimed it was fake. Is that stupid to lie to the UN for operation they are sooo proud of? I don’t think so.Recommend

  • abhi

    really do Pak Army allow them to freely conduct the survey? Or they take them to a guided tour?Recommend

  • Jyotirmay Nandy

    Wow great, a special session only for ‘atrocities’ in the next day of ‘cross border firing’, as if the cross border firing and so called ‘atrocities’ happened that day only.Recommend

  • abhi’s mom

    Are you honestly suggesting the UN is going to lie about that? This isn’t Indian government where you can play games.Recommend

  • Bobin

    You read again. You can read Surgical Strikes?Recommend

  • Sid Dch

    Really? You tell us this? Oh god.Recommend

  • Swadesh

    So surgical strikes are a lie, thanks for proving you don’t point. Recommend

  • wb

    Go ask Modi. And stop using fake names.Recommend

  • wb

    Ask Modi.Recommend

  • Boring

    So you lost to India, and you’re telling others about losing. How hypocritical.Recommend

  • Normo

    Really? You should know of all people.Recommend

  • R.K

    Hindus rule nothing.Recommend

  • Norman Castings

    Conversation with yourselfRecommend

  • R.K

    And? Your point. Talking to yourself?Recommend

  • Niresh

    Not really.Recommend

  • Sunel

    lol, what?Recommend

  • Norman Castings

    Erm, I haven’t. What a weirdo. Indians are really funny.Recommend

  • wb

    Shows the reality of IndiaRecommend

  • Norman Castings

    Post something sane and stop using fake names like SwaadhinRecommend

  • Normo

    What? so someone with name S is the same? How is this even logic?Recommend

  • Normo

    Instead of changing the subject. Focus on the topic we’re talking about surgical strikes. Come prove it?Recommend

  • abhi

    can you just dig the report and read the statement issued by UN? They didn’t say what you are trying to prove.Recommend

  • abhi’s rundi mom

    Asking your mom to do it, google it. Recommend

  • Normo

    Surgical strikes, evidence? Gosh.Recommend

  • Swaadhin – Hindu Idol w-hore

    Weird, it doesn’t hurt when others to do other, just yours. OKRecommend

  • Swadesh

    Yes, ouch. I’m dying here. No, not really. So anything relevant on topic?Recommend