The twist given to Narendra Modi’s interview to Reuters is not despicable; it’s downright sinister. To grab eyeballs, media, especially news television channels, will even risk social friction.
Here is some news that broke on Friday, further affirming that the tanking of the Indian economy continues unabated. Industrial production has dipped further, exports are down and retail inflation is up. And here are the specifics: The Index of Industrial Production contracted by 1.6 per cent in May, the lowest factory output in 11 months; the trade figures show 4.6 per cent decline in exports in June; and, retail inflation has jumped to 9.87 per cent largely on account of a steep rise in the prices of vegetables. Given these figures, there is unlikely to be any relief from the looming crisis that could take us back to the early 1990s when India barely survived from toppling over and falling into a bottomless pit from which clambering out would have been virtually impossible. The world has changed drastically in the past two decades. And it’s unlikely the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will drag us out from the quicksand of economic collapse this time round — there are far too many countries holding out a begging bowl.
The gloom continues to be ignored by the spendthrifts who occupy office and their political boss who wields both power and authority. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given up on all claims to being an economist as that would have fetched howls of derisive laughter. His Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, would rather empty out the coffers than risk the displeasure of Sonia Gandhi. As for the Congress president who also heads the National Advisory Council, the super-Cabinet whose mere wish is the Council of Ministers’ command, she continues to have her way, regardless of the immeasurable damage being inflicted on future generations of this benighted land.
And so it is that on August 20, when the Food Security Ordinance is rolled out without Parliament’s approval, the country will commemorate Rajiv Gandhi’s birthday by organising a bash to which two-thirds of the people will be invited. The bill shall be passed on to taxpayers who toil increasingly extra hours to keep home fires burning. At Rs 3,00,000 crore, or three per cent of India’s GDP, this will be one of the most expensive birthday bashes the world has seen. That’s how much the ill-conceived Food Security Ordinance will cost every year at current prices as calculated by economist Surjit Bhalla. The Congress and its cowardly apologists in media cite a lower figure but then if there is anything that has been conclusively proved in the past nine years is that this Government cannot count. None of the sums it has done till now have added up.
One example will suffice. The fall of the rupee vis-à-vis the dollar has been spectacular. The consequences of that fall have been equally enormous — the cost of imports has climbed steeply, the trade deficit has widened, servicing foreign debts has become more expensive and there has been a flight of foreign investment. It would be easy to absolve the Government and its Congress minders of any responsibility. After all, it is not only the rupee which has taken a battering; other currencies too have suffered on account of a surging dollar. But surely the Government could have — if not should have — acted to minimise the impact instead of leaving the people to carry the can? The consequent hike in fuel prices (more hikes are to follow) and the resultant impact on commodity and food prices is not something to feel cheerful about, unless you have benefited from the relentless loot of the nation ever since Sonia raj began. Not everybody is blessed with the same business acumen of the palace son-in-law.
These and other issues should be agitating the so-called national media which claims to represent mainstream opinion and is supposed to reflect popular concerns. But no, the NCR-based media, flush with the latest tranche of tax money credited into their accounts by the Congress for running the gross Bharat Nirman advertisements, is obsessed with its single-point agenda of demonising Gujarat’s Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Since the Ishrat Jahan story has run its course for the moment, these charlatans needed a new peg to hang their bias on. And they found it in Modi’s recent interview to Reuters.
It’s a long interview, very long in fact given Modi rarely agrees to one-on-one interviews. He talks about India’s leadership crisis, his style of governance, his vision and his commitments. But all that and more has failed to attract attention. What has been cherry-picked is his bland statement that yes, he is a born Hindu, and yes, he is a nationalist, and yes, he is a patriot. If that amounts to his being a ‘Hindu nationalist’, as he is disparagingly described by the fraudulent Left-liberal commentariat, he is okay with the description. A second comment that has been cherry-picked is his anecdotal reference to a car running over a puppy and how even such a death would hurt and sadden any human being. That was in the context of whether the 2002 violence saddens him. Since facts tend to get overwhelmed by manufactured bunk, it would be in order to recall that 790 Muslims and 294 Hindus died in the rioting that followed the hideous burning of coach S6 of Sabarmati Express at Godhra by a mob of Muslims.
So what the NCR-based media did was to spin deplorable stories out of Modi’s assertion that he is a Hindu (by birth) and a nationalist (by choice). It would seem that we have reached that stage of secularism where to admit being a Hindu is not only a matter of shame but also a crime. And to declare yourself as a nationalist is a crime. We truly live in wondrous times. As if this were not absurd enough, Modi was pitilessly pilloried for using the puppy analogy. The purpose was more than sinister as the intellectually dishonest anchors and intellectually bankrupt commentators, both sharing a common badge of ‘secularism’, tried to provoke Muslims by suggesting Modi had compared them to dogs. This is beyond beastly.
In a sense, this lampooning of Modi, this relentless slandering and demeaning of a politician who currently enjoys the status of India’s most popular leader, should not surprise us. The NCR-based media has been doing this for a decade; it’s now a Pavlovian response to bark every time Modi sneezes. Yet it is needed to point out the folly of pursuing a path that can only lead to needless social friction. Sadly, media today is so fallen that it will even risk that to grab eyeballs.
(Courtesy: The Sunday Pioneer)