Rakesh Sinha

Why India can’t ignore Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has had her way since the “rath yatra” planned by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is struck down by the Supreme Court.

Predictably there is no outrage in Lutyens’ Media which is par for course since they had similarly ignored Ms. Banerjee postponing the Vijay Dashmi celebrations after Muharram fell on the same day.

Media never devoted columns and editorials when Supreme Court had to step in even for nominations in Panchayat elections last year. There was no outrage in newspapers when 13 people were killed on the voting day itself; in all 50 lives were lost.

All too often Ms. Banerjee cites law and order problem to throw up her hands in despair and media sees no oddity in it since law and order is state subject and TMC owns West Bengal in its iron fist, having won 211 of the 295-seat assembly in 2016.

Media, which cries itself hoarse on the autonomy of Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) being under threat sees nothing wrong in Ms. Banerjee barring the central agency from operating in her state. They have no problem when Ms. Banerjee pulls out of the Ayushman Health insurance scheme only because all the credit was going to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ms. Banerjee could raise the demons of a “civil war” (on the issue of settlers in Assam) and still be spared a critique. An FIR to arrest RSS’ Rakesh Sinha on his social media posts is nothing alarming in the prejudiced eyes of the media who swear by the freedom of speech as its gospel.

So deathly is the silence of media on affairs in West Bengal that you wouldn’t even remember Jihadi forces rained violence in Bashirat district against Hindus last year. That BJP leaders fled the state by dozens in the wake of the violence.

Media sees nothing communal when “ramdhenu” is replaced with “rongdhenu” in school text books in West Bengal; when a fatwa-issuing Islamic cleric (Maulana Nurur Barkati) against Narendra Modi is emboldened enough to use “lal-batti” atop his car even as the practice is banned; when Rs 2500 and Rs 1000 is given as monthly stipend to 56,000 imams and muezzins of the state (no such windfall to Hindu priests).

Ms Banerjee seems to provoke Hindus no end up like when she appointed Firhad Hakim — a TMC MLA who once referred to Kolkata’s Garden Reach area as “mini-Pakistan”– the chief of the famous 300-years-old Tarakeshwar Temple. One of TMC’s Rajya Sabha member (Ahmed Hussain) is a founding member of the banned outfit, Students Islamic Movement of India; There is Rs. 1.5 lakh worth of state scholarship to those Muslim students who get less than 50 per cent marks at the school level (even as other students, including Hindus, can only secure it at over 50 per cent overall marks). “Those dead during Haj are compensated with Rs 10 lakhs while the Hindu families of those killed in riots get Rs 35,000,” said Tapan Ghosh, then a leader of the Hindu Samhiti.

Even as media has criminally turned its back on these dangerous trends, Hindus seem to be getting their act together in the state. Presently there are 1500 odd RSS shakhas in the state—as against 800 in 2013. BJP is now the main opposition party in West Bengal. A true glimpse of this renaissance would be visible over next couple of weeks when BJP/RSS plan to hold multiple rallies in Bengal.

Hindus, pushed against the wall, might strike back against the present dispensation in Bengal. They are 70 per cent in numbers to 27 per cent Muslims. However, an entitled Muslim population—also bloated by illegal Bangladeshi Muslims in the sate—won’t concede the acquired ground readily. Bengal is sitting on a volcano about to burst even as media wouldn’t let you know.

 

What Hindus are missing in fight vs. Lutyens Media

Hindus need to look at how they address the forces against them in India.

It’s alright to be outraged that a Kathua has politicians, actors and presstitutes creating a sustained surround sound while reducing a similar rape in a madarsa akin to a weather bulletin.

You see a Shekhar Gupta plaster his twitter’s wall page with the image of Kathua lawyer; Bollywood bimbos hold placards in protest; Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghose convulse through dozens of tweets on Kathua but the Madarsa rape doesn’t interest these clergies of morality.

The same on Biplab Das. The cabal has woken up to Tripura and are hounding a young politician who was central to a tectonic shift in North East in a truly historic election of independent India. Das is used as an excuse to parody the Hindu gods; there is a silent acquiescing to a profane Western historian calling Rama a “pig”. Neither “Janeudhari” Rahul Gandhi nor “Why-I-Am-A-Hindu” Shashi Tharoor are offended.

This cabal would hammer away at a Biplab Das but the constant blabbering and lies of a Rahul Gandhi is met with “his-speech-is-improving” innuendo.

There is a forceful counterpoint—I would term them as “Lone Rangers” henceforth–from OpIndia and SwarajyaMag; Postcard News and PGurus; a few TV news networks stand up to the shameless; erudite voices such as David Frawley, Rakesh Sinha and firebrand Shefali Vaidya rip open this Zanus-faced cabal. Yet it all appears a mine-blast compared to the guided munitions which rain from the sky.

What’s the trick outraged Hindus are missing?

Social Media: The Left-Liberal cabal has only 8-10 voices which it has created and promoted into brands (It has to be a “creation” for they never ever take a critical look as Christo-Islamic forces). The “nexus” works with everyone promoting and shielding each other. Those voices are picked by a similar network abroad. Stray voices, similar themes and a lie is easily brushed into a truth.

Our “Lone Rangers” on the other hand rarely form a formation. At the most a retweet and a shelf-life of a few hours. Mostly, each to his own. There is no method. There is no understanding that a sum is bigger than the parts.

Television: Most of us remember a harebrained Saba Naqvi; a mangy John Dayal or a scruffy Kumar Ketkar from TV debates on Prime Time. Could you name any independent neutral voice you remember? There are dime-a-dozen forceful presences on twitter (What the heck, let me bite my own bullet and name my favourite Dirty Dozen: @mediacrooks, @nesenag, @shefvaidya @unsubtledesi @rahulroushan, @rajivmessage, @davidfrawleyved, @madhukishwar, @mvmeet, @SreeIyer1 @thejaggi and @ARanganathan72). Not all are right-wing voices; some could be overtly critical too of NDA government (like @mediacrooks, @ARanganathan and @thejaggi). Yet, either they shy away or TV networks keep them out. This must change. TV news are very stale and badly needs fresh voices. Social Media must bring out a sustained pressure on them to “open up” TV studios.

Print media: This is the difficult part. Mainstream media, especially English, is already controlled by Left-Liberal cabal. Regional media have a huge role as a counteracting force. They must seek out above independent voices and give them space.

A tactics which we could learn from Lutyens Media is how they create a narrative and then sustain it. They pick up a subject, sustain it with old and new information, new angles, helpful interviews, columns in edits and even anniversaries! And what “Lone Rangers” have done with Madarsa Rape? A customary objection and little else. Haven’t we shifted our focus away from Audrey Truschke too soon? (And don’t give me the BS that it would only make her a star).

It’s all about rallying to a cause. It alone sustains passion and reverses the narrative.

Bollywood: It has long been controlled by dubious funds and Muslim-centric ethos. A “pujari” is always shown lecherous (e.g Kanhaiya Lal or a Shakti Kapoor) while a “Muslim” character is invariably depicted as paanch-time namazi (viz a A.K. Hangal). All the right-minded Indians could do is to expose their duplicity–regularly.

The above four forces–to go with the fifth of school texts and academia–control the narrative. “Lone Rangers” need to grow muscles to counter it. Own ivory towers won’t help. As long as heart is in the right place, differences in IQs, fan-following, language quality, status must not matter. IT MUST NOT MATTER.

“Lone Rangers” clearly suffer from resources. But for their toil and time, sweat and passion, there is little in support. Most of them sacrifice their working hours or leisure time with family to do what they feel is necessary for India’s future. They need be supported, not judged through prejudicial, hierarchical lenses.

These voices need be sustained; be called over to seminars and panel discussions; be invited to educational institutions for lectures; be part of alternative litfests. I have been a journalist all my life and trust me, voices mentioned about talk more sense than my own discredited professional community.

Lack of time ought not to be any excuse. Hit the road in protests on your temples, education and religion. Don’t back off. Only those who assert their identity, retain their identity.

A call must go out to corporate houses. Look at how The Wire gets its funds. They are given funds by a foundation which has trustees such as Aamir Khan, Azim Premji, Ms Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, TN Ninan. If you can’t spare time to write or debate, at least spare change from your pockets, big or small, and make a difference. Or remain deluded with the story that a hard-working tortoise wins race in the end.