Dear Eminent Intellectual Journalist Barkha Dutt,
I got to read your open letter to PM Modi, which prompted me to reply.
As usual, your opening argument is :
“In any case, ever since I reported on the 2002 riots in Gujarat, I am among the journalists you have clearly shunned and disliked – that is, of course, entirely your prerogative.”
I am not surprised that this letter starts with the mention ‘2002’. It is natural for anyone to brag about one’s only achievement, particularly if its the only issue on which you build your career. But unfortunately, you are not the only one in the league. There are dozens of such ’eminent journalists’ who have built their career on ‘2002’. Sure, we Indians do believe in ‘I am anti-nationals’, instead of SC.
You say :
“If you remember those years – and I am told you never forget (or forgive) – you would recall that I first cut my teeth as a journalist reporting a war from the frontline in Kargil in 1999.”
Thanks for doing such a huge favor to us poor Indians. But we also remember your coverage of 26/11 and the threat such coverages possess to our national security.
You said :
“So I write this as a sentimental and proud Indian who has often been teased by my more left-leaning friends and colleagues for my rather maudlin and unintellectual patriotism. I would submit that the binaries that spokespersons of your government have created (aided by the hyper-nationalist drum-beating of channels like Times Now and News X) are absolutely false.”
So you call names so easily to other journalists, but get pissed off at ‘Bhakts’ like us when you are labelled as ‘anti-national’, ‘bazaru’, ‘presstitute’ etc.
You said :
“Where Vajpayee promised that Humanism would override the literal application of the law as he stretched out a hand even to pro-Azaadi separatists, this week we have seen a singular absence of generosity or empathy from the team you lead.”
Quoting a ‘Sanghi’ PM? Is it just for your convenience, in order to prove a political point?
“Now that it’s clear that the “Azaadi” Kanhaiya Kumar spoke of was not from India, but from Hunger, Inequality, Communalism and Caste Bias, will the government apologize to him?
Do you consider us Indians so stupid, that we will believe such ridiculous excuses? There were only 2 fake videos. One was alleging Kanhaiya, other was alleging ABVP activists. All falsehood should unconditionally be condemned. The jingoistic act by few lawyers also need to be condemned. But this shouldn’t become an excuse to divert the actual issue. The whole issue is not about whether Kanhaiya Kumar is innocent or guilty. It is not about any particular person.
Nobody can deny that DSU had organised the event and a lot of people from outside were invited. There are videos which show Umar Khalid shouting anti-national slogans too, first prove them fake. NDTV has accepted in this report that Umar Khalid’s father SQR Ilyas is an ex-SIMI chief (at that time SIMI wasn’t banned). Umar Khalid belongs to DSU which recognises itself as a Maoist outfit. There is a reason why CPI(Maoist) is banned and I don’t see any reason to excuse its student wing which is showing no different behavior.
You said :
And in any case, do you really think the Indian State is so fragile that it would come undone by a clutch of “Hum Kya Chahate – Azaadi” cries?
By that logic, do you really think the Indian state is so fragile that it would be undone by few rapes, murders, terrorist attacks? Should we forgive every criminal then? We do have sedition laws and it is for the courts to interpret. But I see no reason to even avoid proper court trials.
All these non-sense debates about free speech are possible in India today because India is protected from anti-India forces. The moment India loses its sovereignty, it will also lose this basic freedom. This is why free speech always comes with some reasonable restrictions. DSU is following the ideology preached by Mao, the person responsible for killing 45 million people. Any such ideology should be considered as a threat to our national security.
You have written :
“Do you not, Mr. Prime Minister, agree that if you can visit Lahore to greet Nawaz Sharif on his birthday despite the specter of terrorism (and I thought it was spectacularly bold of you), if you can negotiate with Naga secessionists and proudly announce a peace accord (the details of which are still awaited), if you can ally with the PDP whose leader Mehbooba Mufti believes not just that Afzal Guru should not have been executed, but has, as part of her father’s “healing touch”, often visited the families of dead militants because she does not think their children should be punished – if you can take these decisions and never have your patriotism questioned, do you not think it’s a crazy over-reaction of the government to arrest a young man for slogans that it now turns out weren’t even his own?”
The question of negotiation comes when the enemy has an upper hand. Just because one is negotiating with few particular enemies, this doesn’t mean one should start milking all unnecessary enemies with one’s breast.
In the end, you quoted Tagore to say humanity should be preferred over patriotism. Which humanity are you talking about? What happened to Kashmiri Pandits, was it humanity? Is the Maoist ideology responsible for 45 million deaths a piece of humanity? In all such cases, it is the patriotic Indian who stands for humanity and protects humanity from radical Islamists and Maoists. Also, I don’t know where was this humanity and freedom of speech when Kamlesh Tiwari was jailed for hate-speech & there were riots in Malda because of this. Perhaps it didn’t suit your line of journalism.
By Omkar Patil
IIT – Delhi
Information Source: http://myvoice.opindia.com/2016/02/open-letter-to-barkha-dutt-from-a-communal-saffron-lunatic-fringe-element/