Writer Nirad C. Chaudhuri wrote that, Indians are by nature too emotive, rather com-motive in their expressions – And Indian journalists are the best example of that!
He tried to put an example – Suppose, there was big fire in some London locality, the London newspapers would report it objectively and put the facts in appropriate order. But to an Indian journalist it’s a story and it need to be added with superlatives and emotive use of adjectives and expressions.
An Indian journalist will make it a sensational happening and put words like conflagration, virtual inferno, bursting into wild flames, even invoke the name of the fire god!
The loudness is visible in Indian Journalism. More so, in recent years when the TV Channels are vying with each other, shouting louder and brassier than the other in a wearisome and repetitious way.
In the fashion of once mushroomed crime mags from the cow belt, they just want to make everything ‘Sansanikhez’, i.e., Sensational!
The recent episode of Indian media’s coverage of Hafiz Saeed-Ved Pratap Vaidik meet reminded me the words of Chaudhuri, the diminutive writer with a bigger brain.
The best kind of emotive Indian journalism!
Much Ado About Nothing
The week long tirade by the media against Vaidik was not just obsessive, it was overtly opinionated.
Its quite simple-as a journalist, Vaidik, or anyone big or small, has every right to meet anyone who fits into his or her journalistic obligation.
After all, he was not advocating LeT’s cause or never been a part of any such group.
During the violent days, for many years, many British journalists met and interviewed Garry Adams and other IRA activists regularly.
Not just Harry Reasoner of CBS News, Mark Tully of BBC, or AP’s Brahma Chellaney ,scores of Indian journalists regularly met and interviewed Bhindrawale on many occasions, till ‘Operation Bluestar’.
Sheela Bhatt, the Editorial Director of rediff.com, earlier with Gujarati, ‘India Today’, as a veteran of Mumbai Underworld beat, interviewed Dawood Ibrahim on several occasions.
On July 17, Shekhar Gupta wrote in ‘India Today: I met Dawood Ibrahim, and I am not a terrorist. (Gupta said, he met Dawood with reference from Bhatt).
Shekhar Gupta Continued: I met Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale dozen-and-a-half times, Laldenga, Thuingaleng Muivah, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar…. And, since we are confessing, I met Velupillai Prabhakaran, conversed with two serving ISI chiefs…Given how “patriotic” the discourse is these days, how would I have explained all these misdemeanours?
Peter Bergen the American Journalist, who met and interviewed Osama Bin Laden, back in 1997, was not being outcasted, nor suspected by collective conscience of that country and the Media, rather he became a much deserved authority on that subject.
Daniel Pearl, the South Asia Bureau Chief of ‘The Wall Street Journal’, was in an investigation mission in Pakistan, when he was abducted and murdered by Al-Qaida, suspecting as a spy!
We don’t know, any Indian journalist, ever took such risk! Pearl was last based in Mumbai.
Calling All The Names , Indian TV Journalism has just reduced to farcical debating sessions, which they are dispensing as serious news! The Guest Coordinators of these Channels invite all those overrated Party Spokespersons, University Teachers, Retired Army Personnel, NGO Runners and the likes and the Top Anchor of the Channel holds a kind of “News Dangal” routinely, at the prime time slots.
Over a cup of tea in the Channel office, these ‘panels’ create storm in tea cups, day in and day out.
Indian journalists will never report to its viewers on the prolonged SyrianWar , the cause and results of Conflict in Ukraine, those major happenings in neighbouring Bangladesh or the ethnic strife and violence in Nigeria.
They will rather dwell over some Baba’s misdeeds with juicy details, break their heads on some Tweeter comment or quip from by some politician at an unknown venue, or on some Mobile Clippings running on social networks!
On Vaidik, one of self-proclaimed ‘Topmost Channel’ begins with the quip: “You’ve been caught red-handed meeting Hafiz Saeed,” accusing Vaidik.
Others unnecessarily tried to show him a woolly headed, vernacular journalist type, and asked him repeatedly: “ Kahan chapa hai aapke lekh”! (Where you get your scribbles published?)
It’s a fact that the fact that Vaidik is a well-known Hindi Journalist for many years, now. His columns are published in many mainstream Hindi Newspapers and he has several books on Politics and Global Affairs, to his credit.
He has a PhD in International Relations. Studied at New York. Researched extensively on Afghan Politics, visited the country several times, and knows many Afghan Politicians personally.
Headed PTI’s Hindi News Service for long 10 years and had been a Senior Editor with ‘Navbharat Times’, a major Hindi Newspaper.
Of course, this man is a megalomaniac and names dropper, like Khushwant Singh or Dom Moreas, but undoubtedly he is a much knowledgeable person, than many of today’s media mavericks…and pursued independently so long. Calling it a ‘freelancer’s fifteen minutes of fame’, Is nothing but kind of Freudian slip of these hacks ensconced in different Bania stables!
There is a basic hypocrisy in media manoeuvring, here, which is obvious.
Take for example the case of Iftiker Gilani, a Delhi based journalist for Kashmir and Pakistani publications, who incidentally is the son-in-law of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was arrested under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). From “People’s Democracy’ to CPI(M) inclined Chennai Newspaper ‘Hindu’ to ‘Milli Gazette’ and many of the Journalist community stood behind him, shouting from the rooftop his innocence…before the case was investigated properly or decided in the court!
A campaign was orchestred: ‘Kashmiri Journalist Arrested by Indian Police’!
After his release, a book was promptly got published from ‘Penguin India’, Covertly Congress funded magazine “Tehelka’ welcomed him, with open arms. His usually stringent write ups ultimately found their way in the website of ‘Indian American Muslim Council’ of USA.
Mumbai based national daily ‘DNA’ appointed him their Delhi Correspondent, despite his slanted views, and that’s not all: In the last year, the once hyper active Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju had sought immediate charge-sheeting of the Delhi Police personnel involved in his arrest, besides initiating a formal case and compensation to the journalist.
We don’t know the complete truth…because Gilani was released solely based on the statement of the officer from Military Intelligence that documents were not classified…Home Ministry was not convinced however, and had other views on him!
But the way the media works in some cases with tonnes of sob reporting just become obvious. The same thing happened in the case of SAR Geelani.
The same media apparently planted a story based on an unsupported “confession” of Swami Aseemananda…and circulated the idea of ‘Saffron Terrorism’, to gratify and help the Congress politically!
Majority of media painted Vaidik, as a RSS ideologue, based on pure hearsay.
Rahul Gandhi, who enjoys nice sleep inside the Parliament during important debate, suddenly woke up and described Vaidik as a RSS man! Many journalists just toed the line.
The fact is that, Mr. Vaidik was a close associate of the Congress Party since Indira Gandhi era. He was close to P.N.Haksar, Indira Gandhi’s Principal Secretary (1967–73).and key strategist.
His coveted job at PTI was undoubtedly due to his close association with Congress honchos. He was in the close proximity with Congress during Narasimha Rao regime too. Till recently, he was writing paean for Rahul Gandhi: The Future of India!
And voila, his recent trip to Pakistan was in the company of Congressmen Manishankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid, and a horde of top rung Indian Journalists Dileep Padgaonkar, Barkha Dutt and Siddhrth Vardarajan…all known to be anti BJP and somehow pro Congress ‘Peace Lovers’!
For some unknown reasons Aiyar visits Pakistan quite often and has a soft corner for that country too. Khurshid once represented SIMI in the Court as a lawyer, and even appeared in Indian Court in favour of a Pakistani national, in a controversial case of Enemy Property.
Dilip Padgaonkar earlier was the part of an interlocutor team in Kashmir formed by the former UPA Government and was a regular participant in conferences organised in the U.S., by ISI operative and separatist Kashmiri leader Ghulam Nabi Fai.
Incidentally Siddhartha Vardarajan was also invited by Fai earlier, but he stayed away.
Obviously, Vaidik overstayed in Pakistan due to his appointment with Nawaz Sharif, and had to wait a few days. In the meantime he attended several seminars in Pakistan and widely interviewed in the Pak media.
His view on Hafiz Saeed has widely been expressed in Pakistani media. It was in the usual Indian line. When one of the journalists arranged an unexpected meeting with Saeed, as usual, like any journalist he just could not deny the rare offer.
And his meeting with Saeed is widely reported in the Pakistani media.
The strange thing is that, Indian media was unaware of this meet, until he himself revealed about it!
Not just Congress, Vaidik was also close to Samajwadi Party in the nineties. He still maintains good personal rapport with Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Vaidik came in touch with Baba Ramdev, during the campaign against Black Money…and reportedly on one occasion attended a seminar at Vivekananda International Foundation. He was never a member of it! Media just overstepped its brief and created ‘stories’, out of rumours and assumptions.
He is adherent of Aryasamaj, from his family background, and his surname depicts so. His penchant for Hindi is not RSS induced, rather like most journalists and intellectuals from the cow belt, who are comfortable only with that single language.
Media never asked his version, or done a bit probe on their reports…just went into cheap sensations… which perhaps, earlier known as the ‘Yellow Journalism!
Dubbing him outrightly as a RSS activist, shows how media depends on hearsay and partisan propaganda!
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