Media War On TV Channels
One of the most distressing features of the current standoff between India and Pakistan is the way the TV channels have been behaving on both sides.
Whereas on the Pakistani side, the control of the media is too obvious and one can always know what will transpire, the behaviour and conduct of the Indian TV channels is no less deplorable. Some Indian anchors continue to openly express dissent, but the overall thrust is chauvinistic and jingoistic.
The RSS’s Good Muslim Bad Muslim Propaganda
Historically, the RSS represented right-wing Hindu nationalism and as far I know, and once checked with a leading Sindhi RSS leader in Delhi, a non-Hindu cannot be a member of the RSS.
Let me add that the All-India Muslim League had the same communal approach, but because it was dominated by conservative landowners and pro-British professionals, lawyers by training, its overall impression was that of a moderate Muslim party.
The RSS, like the Jamaat-e-Islami, appealed to the intelligentsia which had passed the matric exam but often not the BA exam. I am referring to the earlier phases.
Later, in a notable quirk and twist of historical evolution, highly educated doctors, engineers and people with degrees in maths and natural sciences were also attracted to them.
Anyhow, for several days now, what happens on some despicable Indian channels involves panel discussions in which an assortment of speakers are invited, but the whole farce is about the good versus the bad Muslim.
The discussions bring out the vilest nature and training of the RSS while the BJP representative is usually some soft-spoken but essentially RSS supporter.
From Babur to Aurangzeb, each one is projected as a barbarian and only Dara Shikoh is identified as a good Muslim, who was never given a chance to rule India.
The Muslims begin by pointing out the great deeds of Muslim rulers, but since they are pushed against the wall, they end up describing Aurangzeb as Rehmatullah Ilehah and thus ends the show.
I wonder what purpose such discussions serve; they are of course orchestrated in terms of support or opposition to the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35a.
The good part of the daily round up is that the Indian Supreme Court has instructed the government to restore normality at the earliest, but without compromising security.
Congress leader from Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad, has been permitted to visit four districts including Srinagar and Jammu and report to the Apex Court about the situation prevailing in Kashmir.
India is still a liberal democracy with an open society, though the trends are increasingly towards majoritarian democracy, compelling people to toe the government’s line on Kashmir and on minority issues.
I don’t remember if comparable visits have been ordered by the Pakistan Supreme Court to opposition politicians to visit and report about the situation in Balochistan or Waziristan.
Arch imperialist Winston Churchill once said that Indians – Hindus, Muslims and others – were incapable of ruling with wisdom and foresight. He was at least partially right.
The writer is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University; Visiting Professor Government College University; and, Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He has written a number of books and won many awards, he can be reached on [email protected]