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Media suffer from "dhimmi" disorder
By Shankar Sharan, New Delhi, India 

A B Vajpayee, 14 Apr. 2002:

"It is indeed strange that I am praised as a secular leader when I condemn, as I recently did, intolerance and other negative features exhibited by certain self-styled champions of Hindutva, but criticised as a "communal leader" when I point out the negative aspects of militant Islam. Such double standards do no good to a healthy debate on what is true secularism and what is in the interest of our nation and the world"

The Outlook weekly put an online opinion poll asking: "What do you think should be done in the aftermath of Godhra and ‘retaliatory killings’ in Gujarat?" And gave the following six options: "(1) Narendra Modi and his minisiters should be removed, arrested and prosecuted along with the killers of Godhra. (2) VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders should be arrested and prosecuted for their role in Gujarat and Ayodhya. (3) BJP government at the centre should resign. (4.) All of the above -- 1, 2 & 3. (5) None of the above, they're not to blame for "Newton's third law applies and only so much can be done by the administration". (6) Do not know." The poll began on 5th March 2002, that is, within three days of the Godhra carnage the magazine was sure that the answer lies within these options.

And what ingenious options! In the garb of six there is but one choice. All the differently worded options just condemn Hindus and Hindutvawadies. Even the last one leaves no opportunity to say different – it says shut up, if you want to blame anyone else. Please think over this poll design. It is on the line of Stalinist Russia or Musharraf’s Pakistan where electorates had only one candidate to ‘choose’. The Outlook poll structure exposes the mindset of our mainstream especially English media.

This poll is also an example of dhimmi mentality (the Arabic word means ‘the non-Muslims tolerated by Islam on conditions’, one being that dhimmis are always required to show subservience and acknowledge the supremacy of Islam and the Muslims). The weekly comprises an overwhelming majority of the Hindus as staff. Yet it refuses any option to blame Muslims in a visibly communal conflict. Which is a manifestation of dhimmi state of mind. Explaining all its facets is a separate task. The interested should read a book entitled "Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide" written by Bat Ye'or, a British scholar. She has really opened a new field in sociology. Dhimmi mentality is a very significant concept. Meaning a voluntary acceptance of Islamic superiority by non-Muslims with a sense of dread from Islamic vehemence. Acceptance by people who lived under Islamic rule for ages as inferior subjects. These subjects, the dhimmis, were allowed to live, but granted only a second grade existence. Now the subjects have so internalized this inferior mindset that even being free they continue to revere Islam at the cost of other faiths, traditions and egalitarian theories. This, in short, is dhimmi mentality. To understand it, however, one must have at least some gray cells left uncorrupted by the Marxist-secularist dogmas.

Dhimmi mentality in India is reflected everywhere in the society. Including the media. Kashmir is the hottest news spot in the country. Yet it is difficult to find regular correspondents of the mainstream media. Usually the stringers do. What they report, whom they quote and which version they narrate are interesting to watch. They seldom report about local terrorist networks – though at times they know about it. Understandable. Who wants to become a Daniel Pearl? But Kashmir reporting is not an exception. Same dread is felt anywhere in the country when it comes to report affairs Muslim. It is NOT about respecting Muslim feelings. Though some scribes genuinely believe doing so by, say, being silent on Satanic Verses, shariat codes, the contents of Madarsa education etc. Yet respecting feelings is not the whole truth. Large section of the media keep mum because they know the reprisal would be violent. Each time a Muslim mob resort to violence upon newspaper offices, saying ‘sorry’ is the media custom. Just think – victims say sorry to the lawbreakers! In Bangalore, for instance, all leading English dailies in turn tendered apologies whenever something – anything: a headline, a cartoon or a report - angered certain Muslims. There is no case when a newspaper stood in the name of freedom of expression or constitutional rights. One rarely finds a harsh adjective used by scribes against Muslim offenders – from Kashmir to Mumbai to Hyderabad to Kolkata to Dubai.

Now, please contrast this timid attitude with the manner adopted in the abovementioned Outlook options. What boldness when it comes to disparage Hindu leaders and masses! Here is the key to understand regular Hindu-bashing. Our media - columnists, anchors and reporters - feel free to call Hindus names. Hindutvawadies are repeatedly called fascists, killers, beasts, hate-mongers etc. Everyday in some write up or analysis these adjectives can be found. Because, the dorks know too well what these ‘fascists’ really are. The ‘Hindu fascists’ are anything but dreadful. Hence no fear of violent reprisals while abusing Modis, Sudershans, Vajpayees, Advanis, Joshis, Togadias et al. Why, even Hindu gods and goddesses can be abused freely! Our brave and beautiful - from media to academia – take all liberties when talking matters Hindu. They can openly defend insulting Hindu deities; liberally offer suggestions about making playgrounds or libraries on sites of Hindu faith. Painting nude goddess Saraswati, Durga was stubbornly supported as an act of artistic expression by these brave and beautiful. Most recently a senior Hindi editor, Rajendra Yadav, called the deity Hanuman as ‘the first terrorist’. By no stretch of courage he can call Prophet Muhammad so, who had wreaked havoc on so many cities to clear it from idols and idol-worshippers. Such feats are properly recorded history, and always highly praised in Islamic discourses. But no Yadav (or Jha, Pannikar, Thapar, Habib, Chandra, Sarkar, Roy et al , who are permanently sahmat with every kind of Hindu-abusing) would point to it in the manner he did to Hanuman. They are all reverence before an Islamic figure. THIS is dhimmi mentality. Islamic feelings, figures, arguments are superior; but those of Hindus inferior – so reckons a dhimmi by habit. This mindset is here for centuries now. And duly internalised by the terrorized Hindus. Rajendra Yadav is not an isolated case, he is just a good specimen of this attitude.

Another contrast is the attitude of the US media to that of ours while covering national disasters or crises. Take, for instance, their 9/11 and our 12/13. Our brave and beautiful copy the Americans in food, suit, lingo, fashion, slang and everything (mostly useless things); but not in how to keep the national moral, image and strength. Especially when the chips are down. At such times watch the Time, Newsweek, CNN, BBC etc. at work. They never talk about ‘govt failure’ until the disaster is overcome. Here every disaster is a godsend to tarnish the govt of the day, be it Kargil, Orissa or Gujarat. Given the contrast, are we to boast that our scribes are more dutiful, intelligent, responsible and wise in contributing to national strength and honour? No, just the opposite! Francois Goutier (the most senior foreign journalist, except Mark Tully, in India) rightly observed that Indian media behave like an enemy to its own government and people. Because, among other things, it suffer from the dhimmi disorder. So eager to show – at the cost of one’s own brethrens – ‘see, how secular, objective etc. I am’. It is a disorder needed to be exposed and remedied. Just think: how the very lot who always steer clear from dangerous individuals and organisations, become so vociferous when it comes to abuse ‘Hindu fascists’ or the ‘fascist govt’? Simple: these fascists are anything but fascist! Hence the valor. As Ghalib had expressed so beautifully: hamara bhi jor chalta hai gariban par.

Such feverish and routine Hindu-bashing has done immense harm to the nation, society, economy and polity. By scrupulously avoiding any hard talk about Islamic problems - for instance, effects of shariat laws on Muslim women or the anti-national use of scores of madarsas - our media perform its ‘social responsibility’. Only bravery it shows in harming the Hindutvawadis. Even by resorting to lies, or refusing to report plain truths. A lot of scribes won’t report an event or publish a comment if that is likely to benefit, in the dorks’ view, the Sangh Parivar. They unwittingly follow the Leftist, anti-Hindu, anti-national political agenda. But do the people living all over country feel like them? Do the countrymen see only what the fanatic secularists want them to see? No. [For example, to the opinion poll mentioned above 60% readers (that is, even secular ones; as Outlook patrons must be different from the Organiser’s) favoured the fifth option, while only 2% and 1% supported the options one and two respectively. Thus the Outlook judgement on Modi, VHP, etc. was rejected decisively by its readers as well.] Hence the reactions. We have to recognize, sooner or later, that a Hindu mob violence is always an expression of cumulative frustration resulting from injustice done. This is the end result of fanatic secularism. What the secularists do is mostly raksha men hatya.

That, at least partially, explains the difference between US public reaction to 9/11 and Indian (in this case Gujarati Hindu) public reaction to Godhra. The commoners, watching for years the farce going on about Kashmir, secularism, terrorism, human rights and all, understood perfectly well, without effort, that there would nothing come by way of a justice (what happened to the Bombay blasts culprits, SIMI bombers, terrorists of all kind?). The burnt Ram bhakts of Sabarmati Express would be forgotten in due time (indeed they were forgotten the same day! as the dhimmis in all trades, including the edit-writing, blamed the VHP for the train carnage). There was no justice in sight. Hence the law in Gujaratis’ own hands - unlike the Americans. Americans took their reprisal through their Govt, to teach a lesson, without caring for morality and justice theories. There was nothing despicable in US action in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, was it? After all, big settlements always come by way of a war. Always. Colonialism, communism, fascism, terrorism – in every case the warring sides fought for finish. Godhra, too, raised the stakes too high. The moot question appeared on horizon: would you accept the carnage meekly? No one asked this aloud, but the question was in every mind. Answer yes, and you will perish. No? Then do something. So they decided, the hapless common people of Gujarat decided. Not some organizations, some leaders, few communalists – as brazenly publicized by secularist media. If that was so, why they opposed assembly elections on the first mention of it? Because they knew that Hindus in general either committed or supported the reprisal, not ‘some communalists’. True, the reprisal was horrendous. But please accept: it was also a mad expression of a keen desire to defend Hindus from further killings and repeated humiliations. It can be criticized, rightly, but one should not deny that it was the people who did so.

Godhra and aftermath is a complex phenomenon. Dhimmi secularism cannot explain it, much less find a solution. For solution, getting rid of the dhimmi attitude is the first prerequisite. Face the hard truth first. Then try to find out the best way. There is no other option. In any case, Hindu bashing is certainly no option. Not any more.




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