Media bias in South Asia

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Once they had occupied academic bodies, once they had captured universities and thereby determined what will be taught, which books will be prescribed, what questions would be asked, what answers will be acceptable, these historians came to decide what history had actually been! ... Thus, they suppress facts, they concoct others, they suppress what an author has said on one matter even as they insist that what he has said on another be taken as gospel truth. And when anyone attempts to point out what had in fact happened, they rise in chorus: a conspiracy to rewrite history, they shout, a plot to distort history, they scream. But they are the ones who have been distorting it in the first place – by suppressing the truth, by planting falsehoods. - Arun Shourie
The press is a ready example of their efforts, and of the skills they have acquired in this field. They have taken care to steer their members and sympathizers into journalism.... You have only to scan the books pages of newspapers and magazines over the past fifty years to see what a decisive effect even this simple stratagem has had.... So, their books are selected for publication. They review each other’s books. Reputations are thereby built. Posts are thereby garnered. A new generation of students is weaned wearing the same pair of spectacles – and that means yet another generation of persons in the media, yet another generation of civil servants, of teachers in universities…. - Arun Shourie
Negationism and history-distortion require a large-scale effort and a very strong grip on the media of information and education. As soon as the grip loosens, at least the most blatant of the negationist concoctions are bound to be exposed, and its propounders lose all credibility. In 1988, the schools in the Soviet Union decided to suspend the history exams because "the history books are full of lies anyway". The great lies and distortions of Soviet historiography are now items in the gallery of ridicule. - Koenraad Elst

Claims of Media bias in South Asia attract constant attention. The question of bias in South Asian media is also of great interest to people living outside South Asia. Some accusations of media bias are motivated by a disinterested desire for truth, some are politically motivated. Media bias occurs in television, newspapers, school books and other media.

Quotes[edit]

  • The President of the Congress , Dr . Sitaramayya , said in a public speech : “ The Press must become a unit of the government . "
    • Congress President Pattabhi Sitaramayya in a public speech delivered in late 1948. Betrayal in India, Dosoo Framjee Karaka, 1950. Quoted from [1]
  • I am refusing admission to such people to organizations like the All-India Editors’ Conference… I will not give any protection against any government action or proceedings against such papers or periodicals. In my official capacity and as a member of various Press advisory committees, I shall always press for action against papers of this kind.
    • Devdas Gandhi, son of Mohandas Gandhi and editor of the Hindustan Times, head of the All-India Editors’ Conference. January 1949. Betrayal in India, Dosoo Framjee Karaka, 1950. also in : The Hindustan Times Versus Blitz, 1956. Quoted from [2]
  • We have moved from nationalization to liberalization to globalization but our narrative remains stuck in the 1960s-70s. They hide their regressive ideology behind a fake humanitarian concern in the name of art or indie cinema. All film festivals are their properties. If you are not part of the club, you’ll never be invited to these festivals. David Dhawan, Rohit Shetty, Feroz Nadiadwala and other commercial filmmakers, whose one film makes more money than the films of all the filmmakers of this club put together, are never seen in such festivals. The media loves this club because it helps the media’s agenda. The media gets intellectual support and in return, they get good reviews. They have become the voice of Bollywood. When I started questioning this unfair equation, they started unfollowing me. Then they started blocking me on Twitter. And, slowly, from their lives. ... In Bollywood, stars don't support small, meaningful cinema. They are more inclined to support a leave-your-brains-at-home kind of cinema, if only it can be called cinema. ... There is a mindset in Bollywood that doesn't let Indic ideas flourish. ....Sadly, Bollywood doesn’t invest in R&D. That’s why most of our films have no insights to offer. As a result, small, independent films have become the R&D lab for the Indian film industry. These films have to do an extraordinary research, for their only strength is transporting the audience to another universe, where they can feel and relate with the characters, their concerns, and their behaviour. In the mainstream films, the world is unreal, devoid of any real human concern, and the characters are like caricatures. Hence, this kind of cinema ends up becoming ‘Escapist Cinema’. Like a circus.
    • Vivek Agnihotri - Urban Naxals The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam (2018, Garuda Prakashan)
  • India under Indira Gandhi was also probably the arena for more KGB active measures than anywhere else in the world, though their significance appears to have been considerably exaggerated by the Centre, which overestimated its ability to manipulate Indian opinion. According to KGB files, by 1973 it had ten Indian newspapers on its payroll (which cannot be identified for legal reasons) as well as a press agency under its ‘control’. During 1972, the KGB claimed to have planted 3,789 articles in Indian newspapers – probably more than in any other country in the non-Communist world. According to its files, the number fell to 2,760 in 1973 but rose to 4,486 in 1974 and 5,510 in 1975.66 In some major NATO countries, despite active-measures campaigns, the KGB was able to plant little more than 1 per cent of the articles which it placed in the Indian press.
    • Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin - The Mitrokhin Archive II - The KGB in the World-Penguin (2018)
  • Among the KGB’s leading confidential contacts in the press was one of India’s most influential journalists, codenamed NOK. Recruited as a confidential contact in 1976 by A. A. Arkhipov, NOK was subsequently handled by two Line PR officers operating under journalistic cover: first A. I. Khachaturian, officially a Trud correspondent, then V. N. Cherepakhin of the Novosti news agency. NOK’s file records that he published material favourable to the Soviet Union and provided information on the entourage of Indira Gandhi. Contact with him ceased in 1980 as a result of his deteriorating health. Though not apparently aware of the KGB’s involvement in the active-measures campaign, P. N. Dhar believed that the left was ‘manipulating the press … to keep Mrs Gandhi committed to their ideological line’.
    • Christopher Andrew, Vasili Mitrokhin - The Mitrokhin Archive II - The KGB in the World-Penguin (2018)
  • Dr Koenraad Elst, in his two-volume book titled The Saffron Swastika, marshals an incontrovertible array of facts to debunk slanderous attacks on the BJP by a section of the media. About the Rath Yatra, he writes: ‘But what about Advani’s bloody Rath Yatra (car procession) from Somnath to Ayodhya in October 1990? Very simple: it is not at all that the Rath Yatra was a bloody affair. (...) It is a measure of the quality of the Indian English-language media that they have managed to turn an entirely peaceful procession, an island of orderliness in a riot-torn country, into a proverbial bloody event (“Advani’s blood yatra”)....
  • The message is clear and loud. The fortunes of the persons who rule the country and the contents of the textbooks run in tandem. When Ayub Khan was in power in 1969 and the Urdu book was published it was right and proper that the bulk of it should be in praise of him. When, in 1970, he was no longer on the scene and this English translation was published it was meet that the book should ignore him. All the books published during Zia's years of power followed this practice. The conclusion is inescapable: the students are not taught contemporary history but an anthology of tributes to current rulers. The authors are not scholars or writers but courtiers.
  • In the major newspapers and periodicals of India, the situation today is: write whatever trash you like castigating Hindu Dharma, Hindu culture and Hindu society, let it even be utterly baseless and outright abusive, your piece will be published like a shot. But write a piece on Mohammed or Islam, let it be a factual, logical, truthful article written in decent language and based on impeccable sources, you would not be able to find space for it in any newspaper or periodical. It is as if a policy of strict Islamic censorship is operating in the country.
    • A. Chatterjee: Hindu Nation, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 575
  • The misperception of Hindus as bullies and minorities as their victims in turn conditions a distortion of the information flow concerning new instances of communal violence. Thus, when a series of bombs damaged churches in Goa, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh between 21 May and 9 July 2000, Christian and secularist fingers were immediately pointed at the RSS.... simply because everybody "knew" that the RSS is that big bad wolf... But then on 9 July, two of the real perpetrators made a technical mistake, killing themselves and exposing their identitites and the Pakistani origin of their equipment... If I hadn't been a reader of the Indian press for professional reasons, I would not have known that the whole bomb campaign had been the handiwork of a Muslim outfit. For, the Christian and secular press worldwide continued to refer to "Hindu bomb attacks on churches", obviously relaying the stories fed to them by Indian Church sources. A full two months later, Church spokesman John Dayal went before an American Congressional hearing... to reiterate the same old allegations of Hindu bomb attacks. The point here is not the dishonesty of Church spokesmen, but the fact that they correctly expected to get away with repeating their calumny against the RSS... A climate has been created in which every allegation against Hindu activists enjoys a priori credibility while every complaint of Hindu victims is shrugged off or even maligned as hate propaganda... A similar case is the rape of four nuns in Jhabua, also in 1998: in spite of Christian allegations, it turned out that Hindu militancy had nothing to do with the crime and that half of the gang of perpetrators were tribal Christians themselves, yet this "rape of nuns by Hindu fanatics" keeps reappearing in press stories about "Hindu atrocities on Christians".
    • Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 508-511
  • Internationally influential media like the Washington Post copied from an Islamist website rumors about Hindu provocations behind the Godhra carnage, falsely claiming a Gujarati journalist as source, and never publishing a correction when the journalist in question denied ever having put out such a story. With such media, who needs rumors? ...
  • But the negationists are not satisfied with seeing their own version of the facts being repeated in more and more books and papers. They also want to prevent other versions from reaching the public. Therefore, in 1982 the National Council of Educational Research and Training issued a directive for the rewriting of schoolbooks. Among other things, it stipulated that: "Characterization of the medieval period as a time of conflict between Hindus and Muslims is forbidden." Under Marxist pressure, negationism has become India's official policy. (...) India has its own full-fledged brand of negationism: a movement to deny the large-scale and long-term crimes against humanity committed by Islam. This movement is led by Islamic apologists and Marxist academics, and followed by all the politicians, journalists and intellectuals who call themselves secularists. In contrast to the European negationism regarding the Nazi acts of genocide, but similar to the Turkish negationism regarding the Armenian genocide, the Indian negationism regarding the terrible record of Islam is fully supported by the establishment. It has nearly full control of the media and dictates all state and government parlance concerning the communal problem. ... *Negationism and history-distortion require a large-scale effort and a very strong grip on the media of information and education. As soon as the grip loosens, at least the most blatant of the negationist concoctions are bound to be exposed, and its propounders lose all credibility. In 1988, the schools in the Soviet Union decided to suspend the history exams because "the history books are full of lies anyway". The great lies and distortions of Soviet historiography are now items in the gallery of ridicule.... Just like the Russians have thrown Soviet historiography into the dustbin, Indian negationism will also be thrown out in the near future.
    • Koenraad Elst. Negationism in India: Concealing the Record of Islam, 2002.
  • In particular, all manner of small incidents within the Christian community were at once blamed on the evil hand of Hindu nationalism. In Kandhamal, Orissa, a Christian man murdered a girl and her little brother. At once, a cry went up in the secularist and Christian media that Hindu nationalists had perpetrated the crime. When the official investigation revealed the true story, it was reported only marginally in Indian papers and not at all in the international media, which had eagerly carried the initial allegations. Likewise, in the Central-Indian town of Jhabua, a quarrel among mostly christianized tribals led to the rape of four nuns. With no Hindu nationalists in sight, the media decided nonetheless that this was an act of Hindu nationalist cruelty against the poor hapless Christian minority. Though the official investigation confirmed the total innocence of the Hindu nationalists in this affair..., their guilt has been consecrated by endless repetition in the media. While the media in India couldn't prevent the truth from quietly making itself known, the international media have never published a correction, and the story of "four nuns in Jhabua raped by Hindu nationalists now keeps on reappearing as an evergreen of anti-Hindu hate propaganda.
    • Ayodhya, the Finale - Science versus Secularism the Excavations Debate, by Koenraad Elst. 2003; and in : The Problem with Secularism (2007) by K. Elst
  • An intellectual culture cannot grow in an atmosphere where the media is controlled by purveyors of palpable falsehoods or bullied into abject surrender by the thought police of Nehruvian Secularism.
    • S.R. Goel, History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • It may be noted that some of the Christian correspondents objected to Ram Swarup’s article being published in The Times of India. The plea sounds strange, to say the least. The Christians in this country own and control a large-sized press which includes several daily newspapers and many periodicals. The language which is used in this media vis-a-vis Hinduism is not always decorous; quite often, it is intemperate. Besides, the Christians get ample space in the press which is supposed to be owned and controlled by the Hindus. It is only once in a while that an article critical, of Christian dogmas and/or missions, gets through. That, too, when the editor concerned finds that the facts cited and the conclusions drawn deserve the attention of his countrymen. The Christians who object to such articles being published at all have to think calmly and coolly whether their attitude reflects tolerance or otherwise. They have been telling us for many years now that they want and are prepared for a dialogue. We hope that the word “dialogue” in their current dictionary does not mean a monologue, as it did in past.
    • S.R. Goel, History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • After the Babri structure came down, Shri N. Ram thundered at a conference in Delhi that the print media owed it to the nation as much as to itself to black out fully statements and activities of the Hindutva brigade.
    • Hemant Hemmady: Intolerance of the champions of freedom of speech, 1997, quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 79.
  • Unfortunately, in the coverage of Gujarat riots, The Hindustan Times and most other newspapers dutifully allowed the Congress Party bias to creep in all their reporting. Consequently, very few are aware that the Nanavati Commission and courts found Godhra violence to be the handiwork of mischievous elements within the Congress Party who also allegedly had links with Pakistani outfits.
    • Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. p.209
  • But to say a word in appreciation of governance reforms in Gujarat, or to credit Modi for having given Gujarat its first ever riot-free 12 years since independence, is to commit political hara-kiri – one is forever tainted with the colours of fascism. .... Maulana Vastanvi was forced to resign as vice chancellor of Deoband University simply because he shared the thought that Gujarati Muslims had benefited from the inclusive development policies of Modi’s government. Shahid Siddiqui, the editor of the Urdu daily, Nai Duniya, faced severe attack and abuse and was expelled from the Samajwadi Party for simply doing an interview with Modi in which Modi defends himself against various charges, [even though the questioning was] in no way soft.
    • Madhu Purnima Kishwar: Modi, Muslims and Media. Voices from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, Manushi Publications, Delhi 2014. p 13-16
  • And yet the entire spectrum of national media, both print and television, put their services at the disposal of the Congress and the Left parties to launch a tsunami of misinformation peddled by NGOs against Modi and made him into such a hate-object that no one, including the BJP, dared defend Modi firmly. All his good deeds were systematically brushed under mounds of lies they fabricated. No one wanted to give him a hearing.... With eminent academics becoming part of the demonisation campaign, even young scholars kept away from the state.... That is how the web of deceit constructed by NGOs under the guise of defending minorities became not just the dominant but also the only acceptable narrative on Modi and the 2002 riots.
    • Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat. 96-97
  • Generally, the death of a judge, in what seem to be mysterious circumstances, while presiding over a case against the second most powerful person in the country, and the closest associate of the head of the government, would be make prime-time television in a democracy. Similarly, the allegations of corruption against the family of the same person would have garnered media attention. But recent events in India prove otherwise. [...] Despite the explosive nature of the story and its potentially unprecedented implications for Indian democracy (in independent India's history, to my knowledge, there is no instance of a judge being assassinated) there was a stunned silence in the mainstream and big media, especially, the English-language television channels that have a disproportionate influence in the setting of the political agenda.
  • Every word that Modi uttered following the Godhra incident was twisted and distorted by the well-oiled misinformation machinery set up by the Congress and the Left This statement was made to go viral by anti-Modi lobbies with active help of the national media despite repeated protests by Modi that he was being misquoted. What the country’s premier newspaper The Times of India did with this statement was a new low in the history of Indian journalism. On March 3, 2002, The Times of India splashed on its front page in question-answer form, certain fabricated statements attributed to Modi including the same “action-reaction” statement to build a case that Modi had justified anti-Muslim riots. When this news item misquoting Modi appeared in The Times of India, the state government immediately sent a protest letter to the editor of the paper stating that the CM had not been interviewed by TOI nor had he justified the violence in the words attributed to him. When the TOI did not publish the correction issued by the CM’s office, a BJP leader went to meet the TOI editor who asked them to send the facts in writing, which was done promptly. But the TOI still didn’t publish the clarification issued by Modi. It was brought to the notice of the editor twice in writing before Modi’s clarification was published on March 23, a good 20 days after the original story was published on March 3, 2002. What is worse, while the inflammatory misquote attributed to Modi was splashed on the front page of TOI in both the national as well as in the Ahmedabad editions, the clarification by Modi’s office was published in a remote corner in the inside pages of the newspaper. In the meantime, the quote attributed to Modi had been spiced up with gory add-ons and sinister interpretations. It was circulated all over the world with such fierce speed that it acquired a life of its own. Even the clean chit given to Modi by the Supreme Court appointed and monitored Special Investigate Team (SIT) in 2010-11 has not halted its viral spread and endless repetition.... Narendra Modi told the SIT that The Times of India had published a news item on March 3, 2002, pretending as though he had given an interview to them whereas nobody from the newspaper had met him for an interview. The TOI reporter had cooked up the story on the basis of his own surmises and was prominently splashed on the front page of the newspaper.
    • Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi's Gujarat.
  • The determined bid for power from the Left of the Congress Party in which sections of the CPI leadership also played a role. ... It started after the 1969 split of the Congress after which Indira Gandhi had to depend on communist support for survival. ... a number of former card-carrying members of the Communist Party made their way into the Congress with the hope of penetrating its core both in the government and in the party.... They did make a major effort at influencing not just the polity but also a number of scientific and educational institutions, .... a considerable cross-section of the mass media as well as important journals which they came to control. After all, in the Stalinist view of things the intellectual-scientific domain is extremely important.... Meanwhile, the country also drifted more and more into the Soviet dragnet which .... gradually forced many intellectuals and bureaucrats to fall in line.
    • Rajni Kothari: Dangers to democracy. The challenges from within, 1995. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2001). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 67
  • As a dispassionate observer, and after a year of detailed research, it is clear to me at least that, from the beginning, the narrative of 2002 has lacked balance and objectivity. Facts were the first victim. The initial bulletins almost all declined to describe the mob as Muslim (even in 2011 Patrick French would use the modifier ‘reportedly’, despite the conspirators and many of their accomplices already being convicted). It was well known that Godhra was a densely Muslim area, and a pretty volatile one at that. Nonetheless, reports of the Godhra atrocity mostly failed to detail the bare but indisputable facts. The Asian Age wrote of a mob ‘reportedly belonging to a minority community’ attacking the train, with the result that ‘several’ – rather than fifty-nine – passengers died. The Times of India also mentioned a strangely anonymous mob, but in The Hindu it was only ‘a group of people’ and on NDTV the reportage described the attackers as ‘unidentified persons’. Even though the attackers were a mystery the reporters still seemed to know accurately the identity of the passengers aboard the train. Justice Tewatia’s report concluded: ‘Most of the national newspapers and news channels played down the intensity of the Godhra carnage and projected it as a result of provocation by pilgrims.’ ... Like so many false witness statements surrounding the events in February 2002 – including thoselater coerced, tutored and paid for by egregious human rights activists – Sofiabanu’s statement has gone down in history as part of the tapestry of demonstrable untruths that have vitiated a sensible, objective and balanced debate on the tragic events of those days.
    • Marino, Andy (2014). Narendra Modi: A political biography. Ch. 7.
  • What they narrated to me showed that the media, particularly, English-language media were lapping up one-sided news portraying Modi as the Demon and all his opponents angels. They told us about the earlier riots in which the Hindus were mostly at the receiving end. There were several instances of stone-throwing on Hindus passing through Muslim dominated areas of Ahmedabad. The governments of the day kept a blind eye to all this.
  • As the State has been successfully bent by Sikh and Muslim communalists over the last decade, double-standards, I would say in some cases duplicity have been the hallmark of the media's treatment of events and issues.
    • Arun Shourie, Indian controversies: Essays on religion in politics
  • The press is a ready example of their efforts, and of the skills they have acquired in this field. They have taken care to steer their members and sympathizers into journalism. And within journalism, they have paid attention to even marginal niches. Consider books. A book by one of them has but to reach a paper, and suggestions of names of persons who would be specially suitable for reviewing it follow. As I mentioned, the editor who demurs, and is inclined to send the book to a person of a different hue is made to feel guilty, to feel that he is deliberately ensuring a biased, negative review. That selecting a person from their list may be ensuring a biased acclamation is talked out. The pressures of prevailing opinion are such, and editors so eager to evade avoidable trouble, that they swiftly select one of the recommended names...
    You have only to scan the books pages of newspapers and magazines over the past fifty years to see what a decisive effect even this simple stratagem has had. Their persons were in vital positions in the publishing houses: and so their kind of books were the ones that got published. They then reviewed, and prescribed each other’s books. On the basis of these publications and reviews they were able to get each other positions in universities and the like…. Even positions in institutions which most of us would not even suspect exist were put to intense use. How many among us would know of an agency of government which determines bulk purchases of books for government and other libraries. But they do! So that if you scan the kinds of books this organization has been ordering over the years, you will find them to be almost exclusively the shades of red and pink....
    So, their books are selected for publication. They review each other’s books. Reputations are thereby built. Posts are thereby garnered. A new generation of students is weaned wearing the same pair of spectacles – and that means yet another generation of persons in the media, yet another generation of civil servants, of teachers in universities….
    • Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.
  • As we have seen, the explicit part of the circular issued by the West Bengal government in 1989 in effect was that there must be no negative reference to Islamic rule in India. Although these were the very things which contemporary Islamic writers had celebrated, there must be no reference to the destruction of the temples by Muslim rulers, to the forcible conversion of Hindus, to the numerous other disabilities which were placed on the Hindu population. Along with the circular, the passages which had to be removed were listed and substitute passages were specified. The passages which were ordered to be deleted contained, if anything, a gross understatement of the facts. On the other hand, passages which were sought to be inserted contained total falsehoods: that by paying jizyah Hindus could lead ‘normal lives’ under an Islamic ruler like Alauddin Khalji! A closer study of the textbooks which are today being used under the authority of the West Bengal government shows a much more comprehensive, a much deeper design than that of merely erasing the cruelties of Islamic rule.
    • Arun Shourie - Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud
  • The position of these ‘academics’ in Bengal has, of course, been helped by the fact that the CPI(M) has been in power there for so long. But their sway has not been confined to the teaching and ‘research’ institutions of that state. It is no surprise, therefore, to see the same ‘line’ being poured down the throats of students at the national level. And so strong is the tug of intellectual fashion, so lethal can the controlling mafia be to the career of an academic that often, even though the academic may not quite subscribe to their propositions and ‘theses’, he will end up reciting those propositions. Else his manuscript will not be accepted as a textbook by the NCERT, for instance, it will not be reviewed….
    • Arun Shourie - Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud
  • If there is a book by a leftist, editors will be loath to give it to a person of a different point of view: ‘They will say, I have deliberately given it to a rightist,’ the editors are liable to explain. On the other hand, if it is a book by a person they have decided is a rightist, they will be loath to give it to a reviewer who also has been branded a rightist: ‘They will denounce me for deliberately giving the book to a person who is bound to praise it,’ they will bleat. Therefore, in such cases they deliberately give the book to a person who ‘is bound to condemn it’!
    • Arun Shourie - Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud
  • Once they had occupied academic bodies, once they had captured universities and thereby determined what will be taught, which books will be prescribed, what questions would be asked, what answers will be acceptable, these historians came to decide what history had actually been!... Thus, they suppress facts, they concoct others, they suppress what an author has said on one matter even as they insist that what he has said on another be taken as gospel truth. And when anyone attempts to point out what had in fact happened, they rise in chorus: a conspiracy to rewrite history, they shout, a plot to distort history, they scream. But they are the ones who have been distorting it in the first place – by suppressing the truth, by planting falsehoods.
    • Arun Shourie - Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud
  • I hope the reader will not just read through the examples but will also ask why it is that such material is not placed before our students. After all it is not difficult to come by, and, as the reader will agree after going through it, it has the most direct bearing on our denationalization. Yet, even though he may have considerable interest in our current problems, even though he may have been following closely the public discourse on such problems, in all probability the reader would not have come across the material. Why is this so?
    • Shourie, Arun. Missionaries in India
  • In spite of a very aggressive campaign of lies by a few spearheads of “secularism”, the broad outline of the true story was in the public domain for anyone with the curiosity to find out. Yet, the international media’s reporting on the interim report consisted exclusively in copying the most mendacious version. ... Another striking aspect of this particular instance of distorted reporting is that much of it is purely deductive: from a small core of primary information, all manner of seemingly logical assumptions are added to put flesh on the bones of the poorly understood Indian situation, and these speculations are presented as fact. ... Distorted or even totally false reporting on communally sensitive issues is a well-entrenched feature of Indian journalism. There is no self-corrective mechanism in place to remedy this endemic culture of disinformation. No reporter or columnist or editor ever gets fired or formally reprimanded or even just criticized by his peers for smearing Hindu nationalists. This way, a partisan economy with the truth has become a habit hard to relinquish. And foreign correspondents used to trusting their Indian secularist sources have likewise developed a habit of swallowing and relaying highly distorted news stories. ... The BBC correspondent and most Western media claim that the issue remains unresolved. But if you read on, you find that this only means that some of the long-standing evidence deniers merely keep on denying the evidence. So yes, there are still two positions: those who stand by the evidence and those who deny it or explain it away with contrived stories. But no fair reporter would treat those two positions, science and anti-science, as being of equal validity or equal seriousness in any other controversy. ... By the way, note how our BBC correspondent reserves the qualification “hard-line” for the Hindu side and withholds it from the Muslim side. It’s always useful when a medium is so candid about its partisan predilections.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2003). Ayodhya: The finale ; science versus secularism in the excavations debate.
  • The foreign press has not added any extra facts or perspective to the reporting on Ayodhya. It has mostly copied the bias of the Indian press.... This time, Newsweek gave an unbelievably biased report. It simply did not mention the shot-out against unarmed Kar Sevaks on November 2, following the Indian secularists' line that you should grant the Hindus nothing, not even their martyrs. But it did mention a selected part of the Gonda carnage, a colorful description of the murder of Muslims in Kanje Mau (Gonda), concealing the fact that this carnage had started with an attack on a Hindu procession.... About the dispute itself, the foreign press has not relayed the Hindu viewpoint at all. Most papers and weeklies have at no point informed their readers that the disputed place is functionally not a mosque but a flourishing Ram temple.. In fact, it is the BMAC and BMMCC who want to snatch a sacred place from the Hindus, but hardly any foreign reader has been informed of this.. On the whole, the foreign press has taken exactly the same attitude (distortions and concealment and all) as the secularist press in India. I have never seen before that all the papers for weeks on end reported something that was so diametrically the opposite of what was really happening.. When seven local U.P. dailies published realistic estimates of the death toll on November 2, instead of Mulayam's "sixteen", all issues were rounded up from the bookstalls, and a number of scribes and editors were arrested. Moreover, during the Kar Seva week, journalists in U.P. were continually harassed and prevented from doing their job. The Press Council, the Delhi Journalists' Association,.. have strongly protested against this attack on the press.
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society. Chapter 7.
  • The problem of book-banning and censorship on Islam criticism is compounded by the related problem of self- censorship. Thus, when in late 1992, the famous columnist Arun Shourie wanted to publish a collection of his columns on Islamic fundamentalism, esp. the Rushdie and Ayodhya affairs (Indian Controversies), the publisher withdrew at the last moment, afraid of administrative or physical reprisals, and the printer also backed out. Earlier, Shourie had been lucky to find one paper willing to publish these columns, for most Indian newspapers strictly keep the lid on Islam criticism. Hindu society is a terrorized society.
    • Elst, Koenraad. Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam. Voice of India. 1992
  • In writing about India, it is all too common to starkly ignore the Hindu voice. .... The only Hinduism which they like is museum Hinduism; any Hinduism that displays a will to survive is treated with the same horror that would be aroused if a mummy were to show signs of life. (p. 73-74)
    • Elst, K. Decolonizing the Hindu Mind (2001)
  • They themselves of course can get away with blatant lies, because they are shielded by a politically motivated press against any criticism that would threaten their eminence. But real scientists do not count on such exemptions.... Intellectually, these Nehruvian historians and pressmen stand thoroughly discredited. But they have power positions in the media and in the education and research establishments, so they still manage to black out criticism and alternative opinions.... They know they have been beaten at the intellectual level, but they use their power over the public arena to ensure that these challengers remain in the margins. ... Once the support of the Nehruvian historians to such utter falsifications of history is tackled and exposed, they have no chance of saving their reputations or even the hold of their theories over the public arena. They have gone too far in their distortions of history, so they are very vulnerable. If they have held out in the role of oft-quoted "eminent historians" for so long, it is only due to the slackness and timidity of the Hindu intellectuals. Only because of a configuration of forces peculiar to India have the anti-Hindu historians been able to completely dominate the scene. In most free countries, they would have been exposed long ago. ... In a world where the wind of free inquiry blows, Marxist dogmas cannot hold out for long. They have been abandoned, except in those places where an artificial authority is attached to them by a partisan intelligentsia... So, in my opinion, the dominance of these Nehruvian and other Hindu-baiters need not last much longer. Their eminence will go down as soon as the debunking of their central myths has come centre-stage in the intellectual arena (which means that an issue-centered critique will suffice to do most of the job). And that can go unexpectedly fast, there are plenty of occasions at which the readers are interested enough to pick up an alternative thesis, if only it gets competently presented to them. ... From his high pedestal, Prof. Sharma could afford to disregard [his critics], and he "appears to have been in no mood to take heed of criticism levelled at his work". This disregarding and ignoring of counter-evidence is tactically the best way to prolong your dominant position (which is why this tactic was adopted by most secularists in the Ayodhya debate): it denies publicity and respectability to the critic's alternative thesis. But to the progress of science, this upholding of dogma and suppression of debate is detrimental.
    • Elst, K. Ayodhya and After: Issues Before Hindu Society (1991)
  • When it comes to contemporary religious conflict, the same refusal to face facts is in evidence. Distortive or even totally false reporting on communally sensitive issues is a well-entrenched feature of Indian journalism. There is no self-corrective mechanism in place to remedy this endemic culture of disinformation. No reporter or columnist or editor ever gets fired or formally reprimanded or even just criticized by his peers for smearing Hindus. This way, a partisan economy with the truth has become a habit hard to relinquish. And foreign correspondents used to trusting their Indian secularist sources have likewise developed a habit of swallowing and relaying highly distorted news stories. Usually, the creation of a false impression of the Indian communal situation is achieved without outright lies, relying rather on the silent treatment for inconvenient facts and a screaming overemphasis on convenient ones. (...) So, moral of the story: feel free to write lies about the Hindus. Even if you are found out, most of the public will never hear of it, and you will not be made to bear any consequences.(...) These days, noisy secularists lie in waiting for communal riots and elatedly jump at them when and where they erupt. They exploit the anti-Hindu propaganda value of riots to the hilt, making up fictional stories as they go along to compensate for any defects in the true account. John Dayal is welcomed to Congressional committees in Washington DC as a crown witness to canards such as how Hindus are raping Catholic nuns in Jhabua, an allegation long refuted in a report by the Congress state government of Madhya Pradesh and more recently in the court verdict on the matter. Arundhati Roy goes lyrical about the torture of a Muslim politician's two daughters by Hindus during the Gujarat riots of 2002, even when the man had only one daughter, who came forward to clarify that she happened to be in the US at the time of the “facts”. Harsh Mander has already been condemned by the Press Council of India for spreading false rumours about alleged Hindu atrocities in his famous column Hindustan Hamara. Teesta Setalwad has reportedly pressured eyewitnesses to give the desired incriminating testimony against Hindus in the Gujarat riots.
    • K. Elst: Religious Cleansing of Hindus, 2004, Agni conference in The Hague, in The Problem with Secularism (2007)
  • One sweet is delicious, but a bagful of them is just nauseating. Fifteen minutes of this communal harmony mantra was just insupportable, at least in a news bulletin. In no free democratic country is the news ever so blacked out by streamlined propaganda. Although the message drilled into the viewers' heads was a rather harmless one, the news programme was formally a purely Stalinist show. This replacement of news by government advice to maintain communal harmony was of course for the viewers' own good... Now the scandal is that some newspapers, which normally champion the right to information, actually supported this round of censorship. In a column titled Responsible Censorship, Rajdeep Sardesai called the Doordarshan version, including the statement by V.P. Singh,"blatant untruth". What a stern condemnation, you think. But then he continues and starts justifying this lie for the people's own good, "to shield viewers from the increasing potency of Hindu nationalism". Those people who had "expected [Doordarshan] to telecast Kar Sevaks climbing the walls of the Babri Masjid" and who "expect Doordarshan to be just a dispassionate observer of events", have understood nothing of despotic secularism. "They insist that the viewer's right to know should not be interfered with in any way. Such a line of thought is a victim of some diffused libertarian doctrine where the right to know survives only in unvarnished, absolutist form. However, transporting and adapting such western concepts to the Indian scenario is unrealistic..." This twisting of concepts to justify despotism, concludes by claiming that censorship was necessary to "prevent our right to information from spreading mayhem in the country", because "on an emotive temple-masjid issue that threatens to polarize the nation the electronic medium cannot allow the people to live through symbols and inflammatory images". So this censorship has prevented riots? One wouldn't say so, judging from mr. Sardesai's own remark: "That the possibility of communal violence erupting was great has been proved by subsequent events."
    • Rajdeep Sardesai Times of India, 14/11/1990. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1991). Ayodhya and after: Issues before Hindu society.
  • Now you cannot frighten us with the veil of media. Newspapers were a kind of satyagraha at the time of freedom struggle. Those people running newspapers faced several troubles because of it. The media’s legacy is born out of that struggle. Earlier when I used to pick up The Indian Express, it wouldn’t matter to me whether a report is by Ravish or Rahul or someone else. Because all that mattered was The Indian Express. But with the advent of social media, I can look at 50 tweets of Ravish and make an impression. Today the masks are off all journalists... Your personal views are visible on social media. People now analyse that… the personal views being reflected in the media are not the neutrality of the media. That is why, if your reputation is on the line, it is because of that... You will have to observe restraint to protect your pratishtha. The entire fraternity will have to do. Earlier, when editors would present their views in some seminars, it was not taken otherwise. Today, it is not the case. The crisis of credibility is not of the media but the person who is working there. ... There are definitions of hate speech based on the Khan Market consensus as to who should be allowed to speak and who shouldn’t. If the Khan Market consensus approves, you can speak anything and be applauded for it. But if the Khan Market consensus does not like you, then whatever you say is called hate speech. Today, sharing one’s experience of custodial torture (or just saying ‘I am not a terrorist’) is considered hate speech. But when someone calls Hindus terrorists, that is not hate speech... One person cries and narrates her torture, of being (stripped) naked and ill-treatment, you call that hate speech. And an entire jamaat (community) was called terrorist, called Hindu terrorism, is not hate speech? My quarrel is with the different scales of neutrality.
    • Narendra Modi. PM Narendra Modi Interview to Indian Express: ‘Khan Market gang hasn’t created my image, 45 years of tapasya has… you cannot dismantle it’ May 12, 2019 [3]
  • Historical writing and political purposes are usually inseparable, but a measure of institutional plurality can allow some genuine space for alternative perspectives. Unfortunately, post-independence Indian historical writing came to be dominated by a monolithic political project of progressivism that eventually lost sight of verifiable basic truths. This genre of Indian history and the social sciences more generally reached a nadir, when even its own leftist protagonists ceased to believe in their own apparent goal of promoting social and economic justice. It descended into a crass, self-serving political activism and determination to censor dissenting views challenging their own institutional privileges and intellectual exclusivity.
    • Gautam Sen, quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Understanding Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • A global coalition has unleashed a campaign to overthrow the elected government of Narendra Modi and prominent academics privately hint at the need for his removal, along with Home Minister, Amit Shah, by any means. These luminaries include some of the most celebrated Indian-origin academics in the world’s leading institutions, one of whom once proposed the ceding of J&K to Pakistan in the presence of the bureaucrat who went on to become India’s Prime Minister. The same academic advised the government of Tony Blair in London to refuse engagement with the Vajpayee administration after the 1998 nuclear tests. Some of these individuals are indubitably engaged with foreign security services of hostile countries and conspire with their arms-length intelligence operations through media assets in New York, Washington and London. Unfortunately, the narrative on India is completely beyond the sway of the Indian authorities and their official and unofficial spokespersons. The latter apparently have neither the intellectual skills to prevail in the deadly contest of fabricated insinuation nor the political will or means to gain access to major media outlets abroad. There can be no starker instance of the dismal situation than their total inability to refute the outrageous portrayal of India’s humane CAA legislation as discriminatory and unjust. The shocking intellectual nullity and illiteracy of the putative nationalist agents deputed abroad, many of them, it is suspected, compromised with foreign governments as well, is a cause for utter dismay.
  • Gautam Sen Jun 13 2020 Faltering India
  • The 2014 general election marked the beginning of the end of India’s ruling elite. The election whose results came last week marked the end. As someone born and bred in this group of privileged Indians, I speak as an insider. So believe me when I tell you that we controlled everything. Politics, government, business, foreign policy, the police, the military and the media. All this was possible because we were to some degree all courtiers in the court of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty since the British left. We knew that their ‘socialism’ and ‘secularism’ were as fake as their ‘idea of India’.... If they have spent the past five years targeting Modi, often wrongly, for what they perceive as attempts to crush democracy, it is possibly because they know how easily this can be done. The truth is that the traditional ruling elite believes in an idea of India in which there are privileges and not rights. This was always a bad idea. Now it is dead.
    • Tavleen Singh. May 26, 2019. No revival of that old order: The idea of India in which there are privileges and not rights is dead [4]
  • The reason I quote this sycophantic comment is because it reflects perfectly the consensus in smoke-filled newspaper offices and in Delhi’s television studios. And Sonia, reserved to the point of being uneasy with conversation of any kind, used this to her advantage when it came to handling the media. She evolved a policy whereby she refused to talk to journalists except those who were carefully vetted as supportive and obedient. The kind that may have asked her questions about India’s stand on important international issues or big political and economic problems were never allowed near her. The media was most helpful in this exercise. In newsrooms and TV studios I seemed always to run into some editor or columnist who had just come from 10 Janpath. You could tell that they had almost before they said anything in her support. No sooner did they get that invitation to tea in 10 Janpath than hard-boiled reporters would acquire so changed an expression on their faces that jokes began to be made about how ‘one cup of tea with Sonia Gandhi could change the DNA of a journalist’. ... The English-language media is a powerful pillar in the structure that makes up that most privileged enclave called Lutyens’ Delhi. Like the bureaucrats who constitute a much more powerful pillar, most journalists had traditionally been from English-speaking, upper class India. They saw the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty as representing their class interests as much as it represented the colonized officials who inherited India from the British. The very idea of Modi was terrifying because what language would they interview him in? Would he give them interviews at all or choose Hindi journalists instead? Would the cosy relationship they had with power remain? Would their ‘idea of India’ remain intact?
    • Singh, T. (2016). India's broken tryst. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers India, 2016.
  • The mechanics of the presence or absence of status is as follows: the Indian Left jealously guards its power position in academe and decides who gets status within the Humanities, or who is blacklisted and kept out. Then the politicians select their sources of authority or their interlocutors by the status they “have” (i.e. which the Left has conferred on them), which is turn enhances their status. And then the India-watching circles abroad go by the status which individuals turn out to have acquired in India, and further increase their “eminence”... The focus on status is a long-standing practice of the Indian Left, and for a good reason. As Sita Ram Goel already remarked in his anti-Communist days, the Indian Communists made sure to create status for those loyal to them.... Indeed, the fabled Hindu moneybags will rather sponsor an enemy with status than a friend without it. The BJP will rather nominate a “secularist” with status than a proven Hindu loyalist without it. So, in the case of our Communist writer, they will honour him for his status, not realizing that this status has purposely been created for him by their declared enemies. And they will shun a pro-Hindu writer because he has no status, ignoring or disregarding the fact that he has been denied any avenue that might have led to status. The last thing they think of is to make an effort and create status for people who are perceived as belonging to the Hindu camp... This was but an extreme case of a general phenomenon: papers get easy acceptance from peers if they support the dominant view, but are held to far more demanding standards if they are at odds with it. In India, just imagine what it would take for a history paper with “communal” conclusions to be accepted by a Leftist-controlled review panel...
    • Koenraad Elst, On Modi Time : Merits And Flaws of Hindu Activism In Its Day Of Incumbency – 2015 Ch 19
  • The United Minorities are waging a no-holds-barred campaign against Narendra Modi or against whomever is or can be pictured as a pro-Hindu power-wielder. One of their lines of attack is the blackening of the ruling party, the BJP, in the eyes of public opinion and of the world. An impression is being created that the Hindu activists are out to oppress the minorities ruthlessly, and are already doing so to some extent. Thus, though the frequent rapes of Hindu women in Pakistan and Bangladesh are never worth a single line, I learned of the recent rape of a Catholic nun in the news programme of state television in distant Belgium. While a newspaper may contain hundreds of news items, the TV news has only a few, so they select what is truly important. Journalists normally use the “dead man per mile” rule: they treat an item as more newsworthy if it is closer to home or if the victimization is more dramatic. That means a “mere” rape in distant India only makes headlines if some circumstance makes the event extremely important. So, it seems that the anti-Hindu forces in India are strong enough to position their poster girl for “resistance against oppressive majoritarianism” as exceedingly important. The missionaries and secularists exploited the rape all they could to accuse the Hindus of terrorizing the minorities and demonize the Modi government across the world. Yet, from the beginning, the rape was known to be an extension of a burglary, suspicions of a “hate crime” were doubtful and nothing indicated the involvement of Hindu activism. When the investigation progressed and led to the arrest of some Bangladeshi illegal immigrants “belonging to a particular community”, most commentators fell silent. When pressed, they suddenly insisted that this was a common human crime with no connection to religion. It was but one example in a long line of false accusations levelled against Hindu nationalism, and this poisonous disinformation in turn is only one battlefield in a multi-pronged war.
    • Koenraad Elst, On Modi Time : Merits And Flaws of Hindu Activism In Its Day Of Incumbency – 2015 Ch 32
  • Foreign correspondents in Delhi should realize that the Indian media and academia are entirely untrustworthy when it comes to reporting on the Hindu-Muslim conflict. When you report the truth about the democratic opposition in China or Tibet, you don't copy the People's Daily.. So, when you want to understand the Hindu backlash, you don't believe strictly partisan sources like the Times of India, or party-line historians like those from JNU or AMU.
    • Elst, Koenraad. Negationism in India: concealing the record of Islam. 1992
  • Moreover, their money and media power and their alliance with "secularist" and Islamic forces allows them to trump any reference to Christian misbehaviour with impressions of far worse sins on the Hindutva side. When over a thousand Hindus are killed and a quarter million Hindus ethnically cleansed in Kashmir, the world media doesn't even notice, but watch the worldwide hue and cry when a few local riots take place and a few missionaries are killed by unidentified tribal miscreants. Christian Naga terrorists have been killing non-Christians for decades on end, and this has never been an issue with the world media, except to bewail the "oppression" of the Nagas by "Hindu India". The clumsy Sangh people cannot hope to outdo the Christian lobby at the blame game when you consider how well-crafted the recent Christian media blitz has been, how aptly designed to satisfy the needs of the world media. The India-watchers abroad were standing shamefaced because the predicted "fascism" of the BJP government had failed to materialize, yielding instead a year of communal cease-fire with the lowest number of riot victims in decades. So they welcomed the "persecution" of Christians as a gift from heaven. ... Obviously, the Hindus do not enjoy the moral ascendancy. Destroying Hindu idols is a standard ingredient of the conversion process in tribal villages, yet it is only when a Christian church is damaged for once that the incident is even registered. There has been plenty of violence by Christian converts against their Pagan neighbours, but they have been getting away with it, their crimes go unreported and remain unpunished. Already in the 1950s, anthropologists like Verrier Elwin and Christoph von Fuehrer-Haimendorf described how conversions destroy communal life in tribal villages, yet even mentioning this widespread phenomenon is denounced as "anti‑Christian hate propaganda". Christian clerics subverting tribal culture are "rendering selfless service", Hindu sadhus encouraging tribals to stand by their own traditions are "communal hate‑mongers". Clearly, it is the missionaries who have the moral ascendancy, and consequently, it is they who will reap the moral and political harvest of any physical conflict between Hindus and Christians.
    • Elst, K. The Problem of Christian Missionaries , 1999. [5]
  • I also intend to restore objectivity. This is an urgent necessity in view of two challenges. (...) This means in practice that once you have identified an author as representative of the wrong interest group, his arguments are ipso facto wrong or vitiated. In a large part of the academic publications, this position is implicit in their way of foregoing any serious evaluation of arguments formulated by Hindu revivalists, as if the identification of the propounder of the argument as a “Hindu fundamentalist” were sufficient to put it beyond the pale of rational discourse. Thus, the Hindu litany of grievances against the inequalities imposed on Hinduism by the Indian state (which makes up a very large part of this literature) is commonly only mentioned as an object of ridicule, never of proper investigation. The second problem is that many India-watchers who have ordinary notions of objectivity (...) have none the less published books and papers on the present topic which suffer serious lapses from the normal scholarly standards. The exacting standards of objectivity are obviously a permanent challenge to scholars in any field, but this field, or at least its present-day state of the art, presents some peculiar problems. In some cases, the bias may be in the mind of the India-watcher, but the overriding problem is that even scholars and journalist who do try to be objective are handicapped in this endeavour by their reliance on Indian sources which have considerable standing but are none the less far from objective.
    • (Elst 2001, Decolonizing the Hindu Mind, p.8)
  • [High-profile India-watching academics] “need to indulge America’s saviour complex if they need a share of the shrinking funding. The objective of the research needs to alleviate the misery of some victim and challenge a villain. And so, Doniger will provide evidence of how Puranic tales reinforce Brahmin hegemony, while Pollock will begin his essays on Ramayana with reference to Babri Masjid demolition, reminding readers that his paper has a political, not merely a theoretical, purpose. .. European and American academicians have been on the defensive to ensure they do not ‘other’ the East. So now, there is a need to universalise the ‘othering’ process – and show that it happens even in the East, and is not just a Western disease. And so their writings are at pains to constantly point how privileged Hindus have been ‘othering’ the Dalits, Muslims and women, using Sanskrit, Ramayana, Mimamsa, Dharmashastras, and Manusmriti... After having been at the receiving end of Orientalist and Marxist criticism since the 19th century, privileged Hindus have not developed requisite skills in the field of humanities to launch a worthwhile defence.... Being placed on a high pedestal is central to both strategies. Criticism also evokes a similar reaction in both sides – they quickly declare themselves as misunderstood heroes and martyrs, and stir up their legion of followers. Doniger and Pollock have inspired an army of activist-academicians who sign petitions to keep ‘dangerous’ Indian leaders and intellectuals out of American universities and even American soil... No dissent is tolerated. If you agree with either side, you become rational scientists for them. If you disagree with them, you become fascists – or racists.... Being placed on a high pedestal is central to both strategies. Criticism also evokes a similar reaction in both sides – they quickly declare themselves as misunderstood heroes and martyrs, and stir up their legion of followers. Doniger and Pollock have inspired an army of activist-academicians who sign petitions to keep ‘dangerous’ Indian leaders and intellectuals out of American universities and even American soil”: Subramanian Swamy, Narendra Modi, and in similar controversies Rajiv Malhotra, the Dharma Civilization Foundation and others. Indeed, the Indological community’s touching (occasional) concern for freedom of speech is not erga omnes. ... Thus, practically all the Western press correspondents in Delhi are safely in the pocket of the secularists and cherish a vicarious hatred of assertive Hinduism. This yields what I have called a “circular argument of authority”: Indian secularists feed their Western contacts their own view of the Indian religio-political landscape, and when their Western dupes then go public with these same views, the secularists hold them up as independent confirmation of their views by the scientific West.
    • Devdutt Pattanaik, Elst, K. quoted from Elst, Koenraad. Hindu dharma and the culture wars. (2019). New Delhi : Rupa. (quoting D. Pattanaik)
  • To create a negative image, to manufacture stereotypes and biases against the minorities, a large network of trained people, owing allegiance to Hindu nationalism have spread far and wide, deep into the vitals of society. [...] The outcome was ghettoisation or seclusion of the minorities, among whom insecurity grew and threw its members further into the arms of maulanas with their rigid pronouncements about Islam. These maulanas and their teachings is what a section of the media uses to characterise the whole community. The moderate Muslims, the ones trying to articulate humane values, have been pushed to the margin.
  • There is one question we need to ask ourselves: have we become such prisoners of our own rhetoric that even a horrific massacre becomes nothing more than occasion for Sangh Parivar-bashing?... The answer, I suspect, is that we are programmed to see Hindu-Muslim relations in simplistic terms: Hindus provoke, Muslims suffer. When this formula does not work -- it is clear now that a well-armed Muslim mob murdered unarmed Hindus - we simply do not know how to cope. We shy away from the truth - that some Muslims committed an act that is indefensible - and resort to blaming the victims.
    I know the arguments well because—like most journalists—I have used them myself. And I still argue that they are often valid and necessary. But there comes a time when this kind of rigidly ‘secularist’ construct not only goes too far; it also becomes counter-productive.
    Any media - indeed, any secular establishment - that fails to take into account the genuine concerns of people risks losing its own credibility.
    • Vir Sanghvi “One-Way Ticket” in The Hindustan Times of Feb. 28, 2002. Also quoted in The Godhra Riots: Sifting Fact from Fiction by Nicole Elfi (2013) [8] A column for the Hindustan Times in 2002 critical of the media reporting on Godhra train attack.

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