Bharat Mata Ki Jai!

By Sunil Kumar

If there’s something to be said about the world; it’s the remarkable pretense that all of us exhibit. The power media seem to be uncrowned czars of the nation; and social media has given the wisdom of many a collective voice; albeit skewed in its individual isolation.

Self-righteousness and passing the buck is also a singular trait; which seems to be exhibited in full measure. As Ram Jethmalani; the Shikarpuri Sindhi and maverick lawyer; better known for defending the shadier side of life got up to lambast Shekhar Gupta and the media in general for being bought; I was struck by the irony of it all.

There may be a kernel of truth in whatever is said; or it may be bang on; but I believe that sometimes(very often) it’s the pot calling the kettle black.

The current Prime Minister and the ones before him are not above scrutiny; and so is our party-elected President; who also knows how to milk the system with his own memoirs. But; I’ve also heard about the art and the library; so good going there; Mr. Commander-in-Chief. But, I’m going to touch on Rajdeep Sardesai’s book; “2014: The Elections That Changed India”.

One of the strengths of democracy is that practically everybody has the freedom of expression; but some of us have assumed the self-made mantle of arbiters of public opinion. A lot of criticism of Sardesai on the social media space revolves around him being a crony secularist; a charge that can be levelled on practically everybody who attempts to shape opinion.

It is clear from his narrative that Sardesai attempts to balance both sides; but comes up leaning towards the b.s paradigm of Gunga-Jamuni tehzeeb; when both Ganga and Jamuna are dirty these days; and quite seperate. I could get that you found Priyanka pretty; and wanted to make the Congress a more credible opposition. Some of the observations made by Rajdeep Sardesai are insightful; the data on Modi’s consummate media planning; and his unbounded ambition; both of which are quite true.

But the book gets interesting when he focuses on the even more lackadaisical other side. Vinod Rai with “Not Just An Accountant” told me about Mulayam Singh and abuse of Etawah power; and his  Batman-like defence of India’s constitutional integrity. Sardesai talks about the Mamatas and the Ammas; both of whom wield absolute power; using MPs to do tasks such as picking up a few gifts for Sardesai’s children.

Modi has stopped a few perks like plying the media with free booze and gifts on “Air India One”; and Sardesai laments the fact that interaction with our soundbite a day 24×7 frivolous media is limited. Doordarshan days are here again; only for Modi to share his aspirations. The country may benefit if we curtailed live TV; as Sardesai tells us that India has the largest number of news channels anywhere in the world. All of ye faithful fans of Americana; ; learn from their self-censorship in national interest.

The cardinal rule of journalism(according to India’s forever esteemed “phoren” sources) may be balance. But; in independent India; with an Anglicized majority; they seem to be skewed towards the other side.

Most of them shudder in exasperation as Sadhvis and other ministers make seemingly innocuous “foot-in-the-mouth” statements; but are curiously silent when an avowedly fanatical organization such as Owaisi’s “MIM” declare war on the majority community in different public forums.

People like Yadav, Mayawati and Jaya are no champions of “social justice”; and Schisms abound; so tropes like “Internet Hindus” are singularly derogatory of citizens who have no other means of expression at justified anguish. I say they are downright demeaning; probably coined by a sycophantic Indian Hindu who coined the equally dastardly principle of the “Hindu rate of growth”.

To; be born an upper-caste Hindu in India is something similar to a curse; as most reservations are now meant for a particular community or a sect. Yesterday; 7 army jawans lose their lives in the vale of Kashmir; where we have witnessed ethnic cleansing of the majority community on an unparalleled scale. This is a place where unspeakable horrors have been perpetrated on the Hindus; so pray do not turn away your eyes and continue on the gravy trail of pompous arrogance; the media nazis; Mani Shankar Aiyar and especially Arundhati Roy.

I want money too; mates; but it seems the loudest; seasoned and established of the lot get heard in the cacophony of existence.

Yet; few people even dare to call a book by its cover; and truth seems to be lost somewhere in the periphery of consciousness; obfuscated by the love of advertising and the quick laugh; where we sweep things under the closet; lest they do not aggravate the traditional order of nonsense that pervades the national newsbyte.

English; the ridiculous language that a racist Macaulay foisted on India has become more or less a “desi” tongue; and an international disease; but only in the subcontinent; the boorish tongue of semi-civilized Anglo Saxons has assumed supreme sanctity in becoming the “first among equals”. The National Readership Survey tells us that a lot of us still get news from the regional avatars; but then that’s nothing to beat aspiration.

Most of our columnists and diplomats including the Punjabis; the Sindhi fashionista; the Gujaratis and the Parsis; the Maharashtrian chronicler of “Starry lives”; the Bengali “abhadralok”; the Gunga-Jamuni tehzeeb “UP-Bihar” coterie; the Goan fado sorpotel concoction; and the seemingly insightful South Indian intellectual will pay a visit to arch-nemesis Pakistan at taxpayer’s expense; and come up with gems such as the delightful Biryani; then shriek about the assault on Indian values.

In national interest; I want change; liberty; justice for all and good governance for all. Citizens of this country; it’s a challenge for all us.


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