Is Modi’s pride more important than Kashmiri lives?

Published: September 23, 2016
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The larger media is more concerned about protecting Modi rather than the hapless victims of Kashmir and the country. PHOTO: AFP

It’s not a good sign for democracy when the government and media start speaking the same language and begin complimenting each other. The media has never been as compromised and irresponsible as it is today. It has forgotten its role as a fifth pillar of democracy, which plays a pivotal role in nation building. Today, the larger media in India is a polarised institution, accentuating the existing social and religious fault lines rather than cementing it.

The larger blame falls on televised media. In its desperate attempts to attract attention and increase ratings, the media literally plays to the gallery appealing to the baser sense of masses. No doubt the result is the mass hysteria. Prime time shows in the evening have become a sheer demonstration of hysteria and war mongering.

At a time when we bare witness to the consequences of the everlasting war in the Middle East, instead of advocating restraint and enlightening the masses, the media has unleashed a war mania in the subcontinent. It has used a very crude nationalistic tone, thereby, aligning itself with the Hindu right wing ruling party, which has been trying to polarise the whole nation under the banner of nationalism.

It suits Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to keep the political pot boiling on the Pakistan issue. The media should not shy away from questioning the government’s methods and tactics in dealing with its neighbour and the larger issue of Kashmir.

It is a very disturbing time for the sane minded – especially for peace loving citizens. The problem is that a large section of the media has become the voice of the government, which is divisive, paranoid and rationally challenged.

The media had embedded the present regime much before BJP came to power in Delhi. Ever since Modi became the prime ministerial candidate for the right wing party in 2013, the corporate media embedded itself with the BJP bandwagon. It played a great role in promoting a man who had been shunned as a political pariah for a long time because of the role he played in the Gujarat riots of 2002. The media drove to make the masses accept this great divisive figure. The corporate world, which owns a majority of the media houses across the nation, invested their capital and politics into Modi’s campaign and presented him as a panacea to all economic and political problems the country faced.

Two and a half years into power, the BJP leader is struggling to honour the tall promises he made. The falling graph of Modi is not acceptable to his corporate patrons or the media houses that vehemently campaigned for him.

Therefore, to keep the myth of Modi alive, all kinds of false and hysterical reporting is taking place. To justify the maximalist position that the BJP government has taken after the Uri attack, the media is concocting different narratives to sustain Modi’s image as a strong man.

According to an article on QuintExclusive: Uri Avenged As Spl Forces Cross LoC, Kill 20 Terrorists, the Indian troops crossed the border and destroyed a terrorist camp. The story has been denied by the army and the government. This whole attempt is to establish that the Hindu right wing government is decisive and prompt in taking action, unlike its predecessor, Dr Manmohan Singh.

Some news channels are running uncorroborated stories that the prime minister held a meeting in the war room and discussed all the possibilities with the military chiefs. The hyperactive social media cells are also busy in circulating fabricated stories on WhatsApp and other networks about Modi’s bravery.

If you watch Times Now, Zee News, News X, ABP news – you will encounter a situation where the anchors are deliberately indulging in provocation and incitement, as well as prodding the government to attack Pakistan. They clearly lack reason and a sense of responsibility towards the audience.

One can understand such one sided, polarised debate being conducted on a channel that is run by the BJP – but such mindless jingoism being played by the liberal media tends to be quite disturbing.

They have been trying to create a situation in the country where any kind of question regarding the government is termed as anti-national. TV debates are radicalising the masses and pushing them to think in one dimension.

Through the Huffington Post, Shivam Vij questions,

“Who is putting out such big claims in the media, which no officials are willing to back? What is such disinformation campaign achieving?”

He further argues that there is a deliberate attempt by Modi’s supporters to keep the myth of Modi alive.

If the media is trying to save Modi, it is harming the larger cause of democracy in India. The one sided story that the media is presenting is not able to hide the grave human rights violation that is taking place in Kashmir.

How does India benefit from raising the issue of Balochistan? How is it relevant for peace in Kashmir? Can Pakistan’s atrocities in Balochistan compensate India’s repression in Kashmir?

Instead of questioning the Delhi regime about its failure in the Kashmir valley, the media is now preoccupied with the asylum being granted to Baloch leaders in India. The media is supposed to be a mouth for the voiceless people, but unfortunately it’s now in collusion with the government in suppressing the voice of dissent in the valley.

People like us feel suffocated in this kind of atmosphere. We cannot argue or question the State’s decisions without being labelled as anti-national.

In this country, the larger media is more concerned about protecting Modi rather than the hapless victims of Kashmir and the country. This is undoubtedly a very alarming situation.

Recently, we are witnessing mindless jingoism that is being used by some radical Hindu groups as they’re harassing Pakistani artists. They have given the artists an ultimatum to leave India or else they will take matters in their own hands.

Can media escape the blame for inciting people to adopt the majoritarian mannerism?

In our zeal to teach Pakistan a lesson, we are turning inward, paranoid and fanatic – not a good sign for a liberal democracy or a country that aspires for a preeminent position in the world.

The collusion between the media and the right wing Hindu government is turning the nation into a breeding ground for radicalism. The so called liberal media only promotes irrational voices for the masses to endure. This is the tragedy of new India and its democracy – many reporters speak the language of fanatic right wing supporters.

On the other hand, there is hardly any debate on the matter of isolating Pakistan on the international front.

Can it be achieved?

If yes, then is it feasible to create tension in South Asia – where the majority still live below the poverty line on both sides of the border?

We’re all aware that India has been surviving in its diversity – which is its leitmotif as a nation. And now there are forces that are hell bent on destroying this heritage. They want to convert pluralism into majoritarianism, with the media now hand in glove with such regressive forces.

India is under siege today; not by external forces, but by internal agents who are against the idea of India.

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.

  • Test Test

    This author is probably another pseudo leftist. What radicalism is he talking about? India has had enough of these pseudo leftist liberals dominating media for over 60 years. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH of these people who have done nothing except propogated a negative view of Hinduism or Buddhism in India. I am glad that people like him are feeling suffocated. Ofcourse India should talk about Balochistan and in fact provide moral and political support to them as Pakistan is virtually ethnically cleansing them. Do these authors talk about Kashmiri Pandits who were ethnically cleansed of the valley, close to 1/2 a million of them? Recommend

  • Abhijeet

    Indian media is going overboard with war mongering and jingoism. They need to stick to reporting and avoid high decibel debates which accomplish nothing other than raising the BP of the viewers.Recommend

  • omarsadiq

    Apparently Yes! The majority of the people on both sides of the border do not want any sort of war or enmity but the politicians like Modi with the RSS ideology are hell bent on waging war. They are not realizing that what they are wishing on others will befall their nationals too.
    A simple analysis to make the indians understand;
    – For every Karachi & Baluchi terrorism from your side, will be countered by Kalistan, Assam, Kashmir, etc from the other side.
    – For every staged encounter or a false flag conducted from your side, will eventually result in real scenarios from the other side.
    – All the hard work done by the Congress and the BJP during the last 15 years to make India a $1 Trillion or more economy, any misadventure to suit the RSS or Modi’s ego, will destroy all the hard work for the Indians.Recommend

  • Allah Baksh

    i gave vote to modi…my pride is important…if you are ashamed..its your view…Daily there are bomb blast in pakistan and lots of innocent are killed…pakistan never cared about them and they are caring about kashmiris…is it a joke,..are kashmiri of some other breeds…Recommend

  • vinsin

    Even before Modi, Indian media was like this. Kashmir valley has its own constitution, Delhi cannot be questioned regarding this. Even before Modi, people cannot question government, nothing new. Nobody questioned congress ever. There has never been a liberal media in India, you yourself have highly illiberal views. Your always suggestions ends in demanding partition of India. What is your solution about rise in Muslim population and decrease in diversity of India, other that partitioning India? What is the idea of India other than becoming an Islamic state? You are question the decrease in diversity but at the same time suggesting India to become an Islamic state or a Pluralistic state. You are supporting and opposing human rights in the same article. India never had freedom of speech so why you have problem now?Recommend

  • disqus_b5EP58VIZv

    Pakistan was born after Modi became PM and started terrorist activity only in the last 3 years.as per the author . Fact — Pakistan was lucky that they had congress PM till now which kept PK alive – now the future vision of this country does not believe in terrorist attacks on its citizens so Pk has to break – very simpleRecommend

  • Akhilesh Technobrat

    Heading and article got no co-relation. Initial lines were well written about the partial roles of televised media but later article itself preferred to look one-sided and blamed everything on BJP and Modi. Hence the author of the article himself becomes the part of the stride which he is trying to oppose in the article i.e. trying to be impartial and politically neutral .!!Recommend

  • prasad

    Not sure Sanjay… what you are really trying to say… you are mixing the national pride with your anti modi’s view… if certain channel are to be blamed for pro modi campaign you are equally to be blamed for writing such an article at this point of time.. where country is at a crucial junction… The biggest threat India facing within is… Pseudo Secularism….we are okay to accept 18 soldiers to die but not a single Muslim should be hurt in Kashmir…. Some points in your article are really thoughtful such as prime time shows run by media houses.. they are trying to write the strategy for military action and putting undue pressure on govt to act…. Once Mahatma Gandhi said to maintain a peaceful relations with neighbors first we should have a strong muscle… There is absolutely no need for you to point 2002 riots of Gujarat in the column which will only makes you week… Thank god you did not praise Congress in your article and say RG would have solved Pakistan issue forever if had he been elected as PM… Jai ho Pseudo Secularists in this country……Recommend

  • SB

    Not Sure but integrity of India more important than anything else including lives of separatistRecommend

  • AshD

    This whole article doesn’t make any sense, the headline of the article has nothing to do with the content. Anyways, please have some facts ready if you are writing such statements. How does crossing LOC and attacking “terrorist camps” should be viewed as a bad thing to do? What are you even talking about, does this makes sense to anyone? Nationalism is not a bad thing, look at the most successful countries in the world today, do you even how many wars they had to fight, and how much they had to sacrifice? Peace is what everyone wants, but from strength, not weakness.Recommend

  • wb

    The right question is : Is the author’s arrogance more important than humanity?Recommend

  • Thomas

    What happened ? No one publishes your rant except the pakistanis?Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    “How does India benefit from raising the issue of Balochistan? ”

    Google it and there are enough articles written on it, I would have answered your question but the fact is you do not want an answer.Recommend

  • Bana Post

    Oh man this author is a complete entertainer for Pak reader.””People like us feel suffocated in this kind of atmosphere. We cannot argue or question the State’s decisions without being labelled as anti-national.”” because are a pseudo secularist ,liberal,national and deserved to be deported to PakistanRecommend

  • Bana Post

    Wish to meet the author once in my lifeRecommend

  • Patwari

    An excellent, class A -1 article. May the author’s tribe increase.
    May his flocks flourish. May the Land of the Great Mahatma
    survive this despotic, despicable, hindu Hitler, who was an
    international pariah,until very recently. Very well known by his other
    name, Butcher of Gujrat.Recommend

  • Dinkan, the true god

    50 rupee clown, cheaper than 500 rupee stone pelters in kashmirRecommend

  • sunilsm

    is Indian pride is more important that Kashmir lives?Recommend

  • Chandresh Shah

    watch and learn it is all the act to take article 370 out and soon you will see the migration of our Bihar, MP Zaarkhand and all Indian brothers to Kashmir and once and for all settle the issue with Progress 8 lane highways and beautifying the state and iradicate terror

    Look at the history when he was CM in Gujrat prior to him being CM there were always riots in Ahmedabad and baroda and Surat etcc between Hindus and Muslims have you heard any after Godhara incedent. Most Muslim in Gujrat love him all live in piece make money and economically better off
    This is what will come to Kasmir watch and learnRecommend

  • Londonwala

    So the ONLY Self proclaimed Enlightened author: surely we understand none of ur family killed in Mumbai Pathankot Uri attack etc…And so do u have a solution to how to stop these attacks and Pakistan’s fomenting of religious hatred in the valley?? And its killing of Baloch and driving out the leaders to make way for China to devour resources in Balochistan…10 years of Congress got only corruption…let the current government do their job as per majority mandate.Recommend

  • msaeed

    Should be any eye opener for my indian friends, myth of modi..Recommend

  • zoro

    Seems you are hitting above your weight category …
    Please google and find out the world reactions … :-)
    Refrain from reading Madrassa sponsored op-eds… and newspapers..
    You will be surprised to know the truth and will feel educatedRecommend

  • Bana Post

    good one. Thomas.Recommend

  • Bana Post

    Journalism at its worst.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nothing wrong in calling for the media especially the visual one, to behave responsibly. Recommend

  • golnath

    Try writing under your true Hindu name.Recommend

  • Sane

    These 500 Rupee Stone Pelters are successfully fighting with your ‘trained’ and ‘brave’ 800,000 army personnel since years.Recommend

  • Sane

    If he is entertainer for Pak Readers, why you get entertained?Recommend

  • hp kumar

    pakistan has very wrong notion that Indians r oblivious about Balochistan.Its the right time we should play our card.Pakistan has lot to answer about atrocities committed on balochis.Just watched their media show…pak media calls them black dirty people.Recommend

  • kartikey

    Too crazy !!!…people of the country have to speak in one voice as the nationalisation of India should be first priority of any govt.this is the idea of india. we have done lots of bad things in the past and paying the price for it like one is not accepting Permanent UN seat after independence and given it to the China because at that time our politicians had inspired by non- alliance movement. This policy as only watch like spectacular and do nothing has done so much damage to india. We had never thought and acted like a big country that we are today.but its not too late. India has to think and do like big country. This feeling of nationlism is very important if we want become really a good and powerful country.
    I am disagree with the writer its imagination and assumption nothing else..Recommend

  • Pratibha Patel

    Perhaps you are speaking for the 10000 Hindus massacred on the 19th of Jan 1990 in pIndian Kashmir.
    The total ethnic cleansing amounted to 350000 Kashmiri Hindus.
    Look it up in Wikipedia Recommend

  • Pratibha Patel

    Omar
    Your threats are not realistic. You have not thought them through . Every move by Pakistan, including the terrorism moves are costly for Pakistan
    Keep goingRecommend

  • abhi

    Good that you have touched on issue of Balochistan. What is your point of view on that issue. As you have told in multiple articles that nationalism is not very important to you, so you should be able to rise above the petty lines drawn by politicians and raise the humanity related issues happening in your neighbourhood. Why are you so silent on Pak army killing the dissenters on daily basis. That would be more appropriate in a Pakistani news site.Recommend

  • Bibloo

    The reaction of the hindus, their comments on this article
    tell the real story. A nation of hate mongers, living under a
    hindu Hitler….also known by his other name…Butcher of Gujrat,Recommend

  • Sane

    Modi is a crying baby and has made whole Indian nation like himself.Recommend

  • Aman K. Chandran

    Not a word on Uri. Spoken like a true PakistaniRecommend

  • Sane

    The word pride does not fit for Modi, as there is nothing any. He is an established terrorist and love terrorism, as he confesses himself. He is also among top criminals of the world. He is the person don’t know how to act and speak like prime minister. On the other hand he is compelled to appease his terrorist aides, otherwise shall be ousted. In his premiership India has become a terrorism exporting country.

    India has badly exposed about planning and executing terrorism by the state itself.Recommend

  • Sane

    Very correct.Recommend

  • Partha Majumder

    I am asking you how population of Hindu gone down to 2 percent now.
    Pakis are rapists. Why the whole world hate you. Except China and n Korea you have no friend.
    Have you heard of Dalai lama. Is he a terrorist like dawood?
    Your friend China treat him like an extremist.
    And you people come here to comment like innocent. Recommend

  • Rakesh Singh

    What is criteria for write anything in tribune, Is there any test. Self proclaimed author.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Then how come both countries fought wars during congress. Modi is from BJP also. Let the Indians decide about themselves.Recommend

  • vinsin

    You are right India need to get partition again.Recommend