Merchants of Doom

January 18, 2015

Modi ji always said that he will promote industrial growth and especially manufacturing, under his Make in India campaign. True to form. there is a new small-scale industry in town. The industry of outrage. The industry of fear-mongering. The industry of spreading so many lies that it all starts appearing to be true. Because he who shouts loudest is the one who is right, in this modern world.

I picked up the newspaper today morning and went to the editorial page, hoping for another exciting Chetan Bhagat piece on what young Indian men or women want. Unfortunately that wasn’t to be. Instead, i read three other columns, all by famous writers or opinion makers.


First was by Shobha De. This one had her comparing the horrible attack on the French satire publication that resulted in a dozen dead people with the protest against writer Perumal Murugan, whose book has offended some Hindu people. Whether that outrage is justifiable or not is debatable as always, but i would think his mentioning a real temple and a real community and implying that childless woman from said community engage in a religious ritual where they can mate with strangers might actually be grounds for defamation, unless it is fact. Anyway, Shobha ji is not happy that our Prime Minister has not spoken against this attack on democracy and is wondering why he is silent when such grave offences are being committed.

“In Perumal’s case, the attackers had the temerity to enter his home. How different was this attack from the one in Paris? Both involved perceived offences to religious beliefs. And the victims in both instances wielded nothing more ‘dangerous’ than pens and pencils”

How was Perumal’s case different from the Paris attack? How about, he wasn’t shot dead point-blank, for one?

She signs off with “Be afraid. Be very afraid” — is that the unambiguous message being sent out?” For yes, a book gaining notoriety and instantly climbing on top of the bestseller charts on Amazon is making me wet my pants in fear.

The next one i read was by Aakar Patel, another distinguished gentleman whose articles seem to have a viral nature, for he has a distinctive writing style intended to be strongly offensive, if also insightful. This one was a call to the Congress to revive itself before the evil right-wingers destroy this country.

“This is being washed away by the mainstreaming of a nasty and angry ideology that is replacing the receding Congress. It is represented in Parliament by assorted sadhus and sadhvis whose venom is explained away by the Prime Minister as their rustic innocence.”

His column almost implied that the BJP didn’t win the elections, or is going on winning state after state, but that it is all the fault of a passive Congress that is letting them win. Yes, way to discredit the intelligence of the Indian voter.

I was in for more. The next one i read was from a man i greatly respect, Swaminathan S Aiyar, whose column Swaminomics is among the few places where one can find sanity. This week he wrote about the 25 year ‘anniversary’ of the Kashmiri Pandits being viciously chased away from their homes in Kashmir. Incidentally, i recently read Rahul Pandita’s excellent book ‘Our Moon Has Blood Clots’ which was a first-person account of what all transpired during that time, and beyond. Excellent read, if a bit gut-wrenching.

Sir had a different take this year. That even though Kashmiri Pandits were chased away and killed in hundreds (or thousands), THAT wasn’t the real tragedy. The bigger tragedy  was that Muslims were chased away from Jammu.

I nearly slammed my head into the table as i read this.

“The ethnic cleansing of Pandits from the valley was more one-sided than that of Jammu Muslims in 1947. Yet in sheer numbers and horrors, the Jammu episode was much worse. We have forgotten what happened then because it is politically and morally inconvenient.”

Why now are we comparing 1947 with 1990? In 1947 millions died on both sides as they fled their homes from India to Pakistan and vice-versa. Why bring it up to try to lessen the impact of what was done to Kashmiri Pandits in the 90s, with countless people butchered like animals, their women raped, their children orphaned, the ones who got away left to struggle in pathetic ‘refugee’ settlements setup for them. Refugees in their own country, after having lost their life’s possessions.

My fingers shake as i write this. Not sure if it is because of the cold or the deep sense of dismay i feel.

What has become of modern India? Why is everybody suddenly a troll? Why must one side’s misery be downplayed by saying that the ‘other’ side suffered more? Why must any good work being done by this clearly popular government (landslide victory and all that) be tried to silenced in meaningless controversies and lame attempts at creating outrage?

What hope does progress have if the so-called opinion makers are so hell-bent on keeping us ill-informed and perennially outraged?

[Image courtesy: CNN]

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4 Responses to “ Merchants of Doom ”

  1. Shai on January 18, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Perfectly said…. it is annoying to read their comments and coming from established trolls like Shobha De whose columns have descended to insanity a long while ago or a Aakar Patel whose hatred for Modi is well established and I am sure well paid for - the only sensible thing to do is ignore but it is not the right thing to do… we need to speak up and you put it in words perfectly!!

  2. NarendraVikramSing on January 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Congress may be tottering but its retainers have yet to learn or rather with only 44 in Parliament Congress is using Print Media to defame Modi Govt as congress also knows the extent Print Media can corrupt readers mind as well as the mess created by Congress is such that it will take few years to correct the same.
    Congress realised Voters brought Modi with exceedingly high hope and they have very little patience so defame Modi fast

  3. Merchants of Doom on January 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    […] by Amreekan Desi (First published in Amreekan Desi Blog) [Image courtesy: […]

  4. Poonam Sharma on January 18, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Hey AD, I doubt Perumal’s book does have any defamation grounds. First, it is set as fiction and second, well, frankly there is time lapse of centuries between ‘historical accounts’ and yes, there are such accounts in our history. It is almost akin to denying devdasis existed. I’ve frankly no sympathy for saffron brigade on issues like these. They are ill-informed, rowdy folks who really make your life hell, as they did Perumal’s. They banned wonderful essay ‘300 Ramayanas’ and there was nothing offensive about it. You can’t decide when they will turn upon your books and my right to read those. No matter what Perumal wrote, rightists have no grounds. They should have no leeway. I wish for once these cases be tried in court so we can sort these legally and for once government does stamp these down.

    yes, Mrs De is indeed far-fetched when she compared it to Charlie Hebdo. Same as 2002 being termed as holocaust. Having said that, rightists scare me too.

    Kashmir, it is so hard to talk about this, without causing any outrage. That expulsion of Pandits was truly a story of Sunni dominion even folks like Basharat Peer in their famed Kashmir books choose to ignore. All he said in ‘The Curfewed Night’ on the subject was, one by one all Pandit classmates disappeared. You know, how I found, Pandita’s book, Kashmiri Sunni groups on Twitter were dissing it, there are lot of underground Kashmiri blogs saying how pandits edited their accounts of expulsion.

    Much as we must recognise Kashmiris’ plight with army, and we don’t deny Kunnan-Posphora happened, then why do Kashmiris deny exodus of Kashmiri Pandits?

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