ARINDAM CHAUDHURY | New Delhi,
I had too busy a schedule and was not planning to watch television when the Gujarat election results were supposed to be declared. But my colleagues insisted that I must watch at least some news channel, even if just for entertainment! So I sat in front of the TV; and while surfing channels, I saw a lot of important journalists and analysts on Times Now and decided to stay there for a while.
Honestly, I could not but help a Bangla expletive escape my mouth when I heard what some experts were saying. One was saying that Narendra Modi and his electoral victory was against the Constitution of India. Another was saying how the Gujarat verdict goes against the spirit of India and how the Idea of India is in danger. I always thought free and fair elections were a celebration of the Constitution, democracy and the Idea of India. So what was all this nonsense talk all about? The more I watched and the more I followed analysts in other news channels, I realized something simple: these individuals were very unhappy that Modi had won and they clearly would have preferred his loss. I also realized they hate him in a very irrational manner. For example, one person went on and on about how Modi is bad because he encourages a personality cult that revolves around Modi. Interestingly, nobody in that particular news panel found time to mention how more than 60 welfare schemes of the government are named after the Gandhi family. If that is not personality cult, what is? Someone else in some channel said that Modi is dictatorial and doesn’t allow any leader or voice to prosper under him. Then I thought, what is Congress if not dictatorial? Can any chief minister of any Congress-ruled state defy the central leadership the way Modi has repeatedly done? What will be the Congress minister’s fate if that happens? For that matter, I honestly think that at least some of the young Congress leaders – ranging from Sachin Pilot to Jyotiraditya Scindia to Milind Deora and some others – are better equipped to handle India than Rahul Gandhi. But not a single panelist in any TV channel was saying any of this.
So let us sum up something: the first thing is that most English media types absolutely hate Narendra Modi. That is all right. Even journalists have every right to hate someone. But I wondered how Modi’s victory could destroy India, the way so many senior journalists were complaining. So I asked my colleagues to note down the reasons why the English journalists hate Modi. The results were interesting. The first reason was that Modi is anti-Muslim and communal. The related reason was that Modi has apparently never apologized for the 2002 riots. The second reason was that he is interested only in projecting himself. The third reason was that he is supposedly a dictator and a fascist. And the fourth reason was that his claims of a developed Gujarat are, the journalists claim, hollow.
Just look at the irony of it. If Modi campaigns on the basis of identity, he is immediately branded a fascist cum communal monster. If he campaigns on the basis of his track record of development, a mountain of data is immediately forwarded that says that either other states are better performers than Gujarat or that Gujarat performs very badly on social indicators. Just figure this out. I do not recall any major journalist or media outlet pointing out the so-called poor indicators of social development in Gujarat till some time ago. But the moment Modi announced that his entire election campaign will be based on his track record of good governance and development, there were hundreds of stories about how Gujarat is not as developed as he claims. My colleague Sutanu forwarded me an article written by Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express. I read that and realized I am not alone in wondering why the English media is irrationally hating Modi.
The fact is: it is a fight between India and Bharat. Narendra Modi for me represents Bharat while the English media represents India. Why am I saying it? The simple reason is that I am convinced that the English media is now a voice of the old feudal India where just a few people claim to know what is best for both India and Indians. On the other hand, Modi represents the other India – Bharat, if you will – which is deeply frustrated by the monopoly that the English media and its secular warriors exercise over information and messaging. The difference is stark: The English media absolutely blasts Modi when he talks about Sunanda Pushkar being a girlfriend of Shashi Tharoor. But even women journalists do not protest when Sanjay Nirupam behaves in the most despicable manner with Smriti Irani on live TV. The kind of people that Modi represents understand this hypocrisy and this brazen double-standard. And if you go by election results, they are not impressed. But this is a genuine divide and there is already a war between Bharat and India over what India is.
What is India? If you go by my definition of English media, India is an artificial country that should not have happened. India is, for them and their cheerleaders like Arundhati Roy, a country so ridden with a million mutinies that it has no hope of survival. Most of the English media seems resigned to India being an ungovernable country where religion, caste and ethnic identity matter more than humanity. Besides, most people who subscribe to the English media world-view have a 67-year-old Nehruvian Network to fall back upon if required. In stark contrast, the people who genuinely support Modi – I am not talking about his new converts who are the educated middle class – are people who would be uncomfortable speaking in English even though they are enormously successful in their own lives. You can see them easily dismissed in English TV channel debates when more articulate English-speaking types take over the floor.
I mentioned something called a Nehruvian Network just a while ago. What do I mean by it? I think the Nehruvian Network is something that has been working in India since before 1947. It is basically a set of ideas and people who, deep down, think that the system set up by the British was the best. They are the ultimate Brown Sahebs. They will write or propagate anything that comes out in the media in the West. They love to bash India through novels and books. They are absolutely convinced that Indians need a bit of civilization. They snort and snigger when a politician like Uma Bharti or Mayawati or Modi rises up from nowhere, proudly displays his or her lack of English communication skills and yet manages to persuade voters to do the right thing. The Nehruvian Network cannot simply understand why such low-class types become powerful. You see, things were so much better when only children of politicians and bureaucrats who spoke impeccable English were there to dictate the agenda for the nation.
My colleague Sutanu forwarded me a tweet in which some journalist, just before Diwali, had actually abused Ram in the most offensive and disgraceful manner. Sutanu told me that nothing will happen due to that tweet and no riots will occur. For me, that kind of abuse of a deity whom Hindus revere as a God is extremely provocative. Actually, nothing happened. But then I realized, irrespective of all this, Modi will forever be held guilty for 2002, even if the Supreme Court says he is not culpable.
That is because the gulf between India and Bharat will never cease. I attend parties where my friends talk derisively about ‘those low-class people’. They have absolutely no sense of guilt that they are describing fellow Indians. For them, India is where and how they live. But the problem is, people like Narendra Modi are actually threatening this feudal cartel of the privileged. You see, no, not even Atal Bihari Vajpayee threatened this cozy equation. No wonder, the English media hates Modi so intensely.
This battle between India and Bharat started in the 1980s. It has thrown up many heroes and heroines who fight for India. Modi is the first person who is fighting aggressively on behalf of Bharat and he seems to be winning. Imagine an India where Congress chamchas, JNU intellectuals and their fellow travelers won’t have access to power in Delhi! No wonder, the secular English media hates Namo so passionately.
I think this will be the most interesting political battle in India since the days of Mahatma Gandhi. He settled that one in favor of Nehru… and Vallabhbhai Patel, a Gujarati, died a second fiddle. There is no Mahatma Gandhi now; only voters. So Rahul Gandhi or Modi? We were the first to do a survey between the Rahul versus Modi possibility and Modi came out to be the sure-shot winner! If you have doubts, keep watching the big fight!!! Bharat is destined to win this time!
(The views expressed in the blog are that of the author, Arindam chaudhary, and originally posted in The Sunday Indian)