We have seen instances when Indian media has got very hyperactive. When Varun Gandhi’s Pilibhit, UP, buzz was up for weeks, if not months: Almost everyone had some information on code of conduct, legal aspects and what not. This was during the 2009 general election campaigning, when swing votes of even two per cent could decide dozens of Parliament seats changing hands.
The key topic drilled into everyone’s mind by media was ‘hate speech’.
But here is a quiz for those who followed the 2009 election campaign closely. Did you hear any other hate speech during the same month of March from 2009? Any other speech in your memory line at all from any national party?
That’s exactly the point we want to make. Indian media, particularly the electronic version, goes into hyperactive mode when it smells a chance against a certain ideology, but hides totally or passes off with casual mention, the other instances.
Most likely you would not have heard of Kagodu Thimmappa, a veteran Congress leader from Karnataka. During the same month in 2009 he gave an open hate speech, clearly inciting violence in front of a clapping and cheering crowd. Unlike Varun’s buzz, there was hardly any outrage manufactured, even though this video was beyond doubt a genuine one.
“Ee Hindutva antha helo kai modalu kadeebeku”… “First, must chop the hand of those saying Hindutva” (enraged violence-inciting voice and applause.)
The question that comes to mind is: How did Kagodu Thimmappa get away with the obvious violence-spewing hate speech, with minor case focus at a small district level? Why was a senior Congress leader openly inciting violence against millions of those who subscribe to Hindutva ideology let off by media? How come this was not propagated all the way to the top leadership of Congress, embarrassing them at every stage or during every interview?
Tough questions, but let’s leave out Hindutva for a minute, as it is an ideology.
How about elected people’s representatives respecting the judiciary? That must be a no-brainer right?
After the court verdict on the long-pending Ram Janmabhoomi – Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya came, Hyderabad’s MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi gave a public speech, which might cross lines into the matter of respecting the judiciary.
Some ‘gems’ from that speech which combine communal provocation and disrespect for courts:
“Allahabad High court ka faisla kaisa aya?”
“What kind of judgement was that from Allahabad High Court?”
“Aur phir kehte hain, nahin, unke aastha ka maamla hain. Are aastha ka maamla kaise aagaya?”
“They (judges) say, it is a matter of faith. But how can there be a matter of faith?”
“Ab mera sawal ye hai, ki aakhir Ram ki maa kahan kahan gayi thi, aur kahan janmi Ram ko?”
“My question now is, where all did Ram’s mother go wandering and where did she give birth to him?”(derogatory high pitch and loud cheers)
For anyone neutrally observing, this Indian MLA of over a decade of legislative assembly experience, who had been a floor leader of his party, clearly crossed the line. He, who was supposed to uphold the respect for judiciary and who was not supposed to disrespect any religious figure, did not behave that way in communally sensitive Hyderabad city. But was there any national ‘outrage’? None at all. Most don’t even know about it till now.
For a minute we will let even Akbaruddin escape. After all Kagodu Thimmappa and Akbaruddin Owaisi belong to the same ruling coalition of India, and media might have reasons to go ‘easy’ on them.
But what about someone who is just a journalist, and not a powerful politician? Here comes Gauri Lankesh. She is the daughter of the famous editor of a Kannada weekly called Lankesh Patrike and edited it too for over five years after her father’s death.
“Appa illa, amma illa, dharma idakke”
“Hinduism has no father, no mother” (derogatory tone of conveying illegitimacy and applause)
“Idakke ondu pavitra grantha illa”
“Hinduism does not have any sacred book” (intention is to insult Hindus).
“Idakke, British-ru bandu hesaru ido varge, ondu hesru irlilla. Adu ondu dharma antharenree?”
“Till the British came and gave a name, it did not even have a name. Do you call this a religion?” (derogatory tone, applause again)
“Mahileyaranthu eradene varga davaru”
“In Hinduism, women are second class” (peddling the communist tone, with Hindu women on stage)!
“Bekagilla ee dharma”
“We don’t want Hindu dharma” (Essentially a public calling from her to reject Hinduism; according to her it is a “primitive”, “illegitimate” and “clueless” faith).
After publicly condemning Hindu dharma, distorting the basics of Hindu faith, this journalist Gauri Lankesh goes on to launch a tirade against the RSS. “They are perverts, venomous multi-headed snakes, goons,” she says. Playing to the gallery this journalist then focuses on an 81-year-old KS Sudarshan, gutter-mouthing him in a tone that most civilised people would be ashamed to listen.
Most people will understand the need for Communism or Left ideology imbibing journalists such as Gauri Lankesh to spew venom against the RSS, its ideology and its people. Name-calling people is not uncommon in this country where even the most powerful woman shamelessly uses the epithet “Merchant of death”.
But brazenly, openly insulting Hindu dharma, right in front of Mangaluru’s District Collector’s office? Even after days, no one from any national media has criticised the obvious venom-spewing against Hinduism at a public meet meeting.
We ask, why? Thimmappa incited a crowd to chop the hands of Hindus. Owaisi made derogatory remarks about Lord Ram’s mother while openly mocking the judges who gave the historic Ayodhya verdict after years of litigation. Gauri used gutter language against Hinduism, its books (or the lack of them according to her), its views on women and so on. How come these were missed by the frequently outrage-manufacturing ‘mainstream’ Indian media?