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See, what they talk about us!

See, what they talk about us!

Author: Ram Madhav
Date: September 12, 2002

(The writer is the Joint Spokesman of the RSS.)

N. Ram and Sekhar Gupta are undoubtedly the two big names in the Indian media. The entire country looks up to them with awe and some kind of an admiration for what their papers, The Hindu and The Indian Express respectively, are trying to do to Indian society. They are in a way the torchbearers of our public opinion, at least many feel so. The Indian Express these days has a slogan too on its front page "Journalism of Courage".

Naturally the country expects a lot from them. A few weeks ago they were in Pakistan, along with the Booker winner Ms. Arundhati Roy of God of Small Things and Narmada Andolan fame. They were on a lecture tour. The topic was also very relevant and timely, "Peace and Freedom in South Asia". With such eminent journalists as star speakers and with Arundhati Roy adding a little more star value to the events that were held in Islamabad and Karachi, there is nothing unusual to expect brilliant speeches.

They were brilliant speeches indeed, as Pakistanis had reportedly given them standing ovation every time they had risen to speak. Hold on please. Don't conclude that Pakistanis have suddenly become obsessed with peace and freedom! It was for reasons that had nothing to do with peace or freedom that they were clapping. Let me introduce you to some of those enlightening quotes of our revered journalists that enthralled the Pakistanis to no end.

First Mr. N. Ram, the suave editor of The Frontline of The Hindu group:

"India should not have taken advantage of the 1971 situation. Similarly, you can't threaten war under the cover of December 13th. Then this foolish talk of 'limited strikes' - a new doctrine after the Kargil by our very dubious defence minister - a man with a very dubious outlook and approach, highly opportunistic, capable of chauvinism - George Fernandes"

".. our present Government is a party of national chauvinism, which represents a danger to India, domestically and in the neighbourhood."

"Vajpayee Government is following some unwise policies. People like myself would say: 'Give the people of J&K maximum autonomy as guaranteed by our constitution on paper'. You have to deliver on this promise. The present Government - the BJP - officially wants to do away with this particular status, i.e. Art 370 of the Constitution."

Now, don't ask Mr. Ram what did he mean by "India should not have taken advantage of the 1971 situation". That statement was for the consumption of the Pakistanis. So were all the other innuendoes against George, against the BJP and against the Government of India. Nobody was there to protest, as the only crowd present was the Pakistanis who were naturally delighted to see his neighbour, the archrival, speaking their language.

And Mr. Ram wouldn't disappoint them at all. He would tell them that it was India, which had forced them to go nuclear. Otherwise Pakistan would have been the paragon of peace. "The first act of the BJP-led coalition after coming to power was to hijack India's nuclear policy, obliging Pakistan to follow suit", fumes Mr. Ram.

Mr. Sekhar Gupta perhaps felt that he shouldn't look too 'soft and sheepish'. So he decided to outdo Mr. Ram. He didn't fail. In the process if you feel he had failed the country, that is your problem, not his. See his golden words:

"India is an imperfect democracy, and Pakistan is an imperfect dictatorship. India has not been able to achieve the level of prosperity a genuine democracy would have acquired. Similarly, Pakistan has not sunk into the depth of chaos a genuine dictatorship would have got a country into". No search for logic please.

"After Kargil episode the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders looked like fools. They were rescued by Sonia Gandhi". Pulling your hairs?

According to Pakistani daily Jung, Mr. Gupta had blamed India for the escalation of tension recently and said, "We began to look like stupid in the world".

The BJP is like a mafia according to Mr. Sekhar. He was commenting on the communal riots in India and thus goes the insinuation: "In fact people used to say that, give mafia the key to the city and nothing will happen. That was partly true because in the BJP days riots don't happen" .

It is the media that is saving Indian Muslims, Mr. Sekhar wants Pakistanis to understand. "In Gujarat if the media was not present all the time, instead of one thousand people getting killed, may be ten thousand would have been killed. Media saved a lot of lives and forced the BJP Government to moderate its approach, and Vajpayee had to go to Ahmadabad and call it a national shame". But for the media, Vajpayee wouldn't have bothered to go to Ahmadabad or call it a national shame!

He also wants the Pakistanis to understand the power of Indian media in controlling the BJP. "We will take care of them", he would declare haughtily.

And finally, here is his quote of the tour: "If Muslims in India are happy that is the best certificate that our secularism works". VHP is not allowed to scream that this is pseudo-secularism. It is genuine Indian secularism, because Mr. Sekhar Gupta had pronounced it in Islamabad and Karachi.

And there is some comic relief too, provided by Gupta.

"Countries that have McDonalds do not go to war with each other" - Any takers for Sekhar's theory please!

Tailpiece: Arundhati Roy had announced: "if I had prior information that India was going to send nuclear missiles (into Pakistan), I would be here (in Pakistan) to receive them". No. The VHP is not allowed to chuckle 'two birds at one shot'.

(All the quotes in this article are taken from the Pakistani media)

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