Operation Baby Lift: Is Outlook practicing anti-Hindu bias?

It appears that the Outlook magazine is deliberately pursuing a Hinduphobic agenda and this is anything but ethical journalism.

In the recent edition of Outlook magazine, they have published a cover story on “Operation Baby Lift”, wherein they accuse “Rashtra Sewika Samiti” and “Sewa Bharti” for indulging in “Human trafficking” and “abduction” of girls. The investigation was carried out by a young journalist Neha Dixit. First of all, I would like to congratulate the journalist and the Outlook team for their ‘extensive investigation’. These people might have their own prejudices and misconceptions about India and Hinduism, but at least they are earning money in this competitive era of business, even if it is through running a negative marketing strategy! But, they forgot to add a disclaimer at the end of this ‘brilliant’ story saying:

“This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.”

outlook piece

outlook pieces

Though, at the first glance, the story appears to be thorough and a result of extensive investigation, on a deeper probe, it comes across as being vague, inconsistent and a product of highly biased reporting.

For example, consider the sensational terminologies like “Baby Snatching” and “Trafficking” that have been repeatedly used in the Outlook report. The United Nation’s Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Trafficking in Persons defines “Trafficking in persons” as:

the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

Now, according to the information provided by the Outlook author herself, the parents of those Children had given consent to Rashtra Sewika Samiti to take their children for imparting them education and better life opportunities. And these children were sent for the purpose of education. The parents have even signed affidavits regarding the same in front the notary public and judicial magistrate. Here is a copy of the affidavit signed by a parent:

letter

Since, the parents themselves had given consent for sending the children and since the children were sent for the purpose of education and there has been no incidence of exploitation, where is trafficking? Where is baby snatching? The author cleverly gives a twist to the entire incident and tries to portray genuine social work as trafficking and abduction. The author, then, cites the Supreme Court’s verdict of September 1, 2010, which came after a probe revealed the trafficking of 76 children from Assam and Manipur, most of them minor girls, to “homes” run by Christian missionaries in Tamil Nadu[i] and hence, tries to discredit the humanitarian work being done by organizations like Sewa Bharati, Rashtra Sewika Samiti, etc. by equating them with evangelism being carried out by Christian missionaries. One wonders, whether this “hit-job” at Hindu organizations was carried out at the behest of evangelical organizations, which have suffered an image crisis after the Supreme Court gave its verdict, and since, more and more of their unethical activities are coming to light with each passing day.

One also wonders, whether the Outlook author forgot the basics of doing research, or whether she sidelined them, so as to arrive at the pre-determined conclusion. In her report, she uses a very small sample set as example and tries to portray that thousands of children are being ‘trafficked’ by organizations like Sewa Bharti and Rashtra Sewika Samiti. There are few simple questions that the author needs to answer: What is the size of the sample used by her? Is the sample size large enough to give a fair picture of ground reality? How many people did she interview? Where is the questionnaire? If children are being indeed trafficked, then why do parents continue to send their children to these schools? Did she undertake a comparative study of people who are happy with their children in these schools versus those who are unhappy? Why has she not taken given enough weighted to the views of these organizations? Why is her report one-sided and tries to pass subjective observation as objective truths?

It would have done them good, if the Outlook team had kept their preconceived biases aside and had studied the history of organizations like Sewa Bharati, before coming up with their defamatory article, camouflaged as “investigative journalism”. Laxmibai Kelkar established the Rashtra Sevika Samiti at Wardha on 25 October 1936, and since then, they have been continuously working towards the empowerment of women. Till date, there has not been even a single incidence of wrongdoing, corruption, or any illegal activity. Similarly, Sewa Bharati was established in 1979 and since then, it has involved itself in various service activities among the most neglected sections of the Indian society. Sewa Bharati has done enormous relief work during natural calamities, be it 2001 Gujarat earthquake, or 2004 Tsunami, or 2008 Bihar floods. “Seva Bharati” is reported to have 13,786 projects in education, 10,908 in health care, 17,560 in social welfare and 7,452 self-reliance projects.[ii] Vidya Bharati, another Hindu organization, operates one of the largest private network of schools in India, with around 17,396 schools, 2.2 million students, and 93,000 teachers. Considering, the history of selfless service of these organizations, any fair and unbiased media outlet, would have thought twice before publishing propaganda material as ‘investigation journalism’; they would have at least presented a balanced account shedding light on all aspects of the issue, including accounts from those who have benefited from these organizations, as well as the responses of these organizations to the charges made against them.

In any case, the Rashtra Sewika Samiti has issued a letter condemning the defamation carried out by the Outlook magazine and has stressed that their organization is not involved in any illegal activity:

letter...

Now, let’s have a deeper look into the Outlook report.

In Part 1 of their report titled “Baby Snatching”, despite the catching headline, not a single incident of abduction of babies is mentioned. Instead, the author tries to paint the sending away of children for the sake of studies, with parents singing affidavits stating the same as some kind of conspiracy involving Sangh organizations. The author takes issue with the English language of the affidavits, since most of the parents had no knowledge of English. But, she conveniently ignored the fact that the affidavits were signed in the presence of a notary public and judicial magistrate in Kokrajhar and hence the language is not an issue at all.

Hinduphobia of the author is quite evident, when she cleverly uses the conversations with “Adha” and “Mangal” to portray Adha as the victim and Mangal, who belongs to RSS as a part of a larger conspiracy. This is not to suggest that the plight of Adha should not be addressed or is concocted. If, Adha is not being able to contact her children, then this issue must definitely be highlighted and sorted out. But, at the same time, one should not ignore the fact that Mangal’s child was also sent to the same organization. Why is it Adha’s child going outside to study is projected as trafficking, whereas Mangal’s child’s case is not trafficking?

The author’s ignorance about Hinduism, becomes quite evident, when she tries to show how Bodos are not Hindus and writes: “The complexities of the tribals’ animist practices are flattened out for the Sangh parivar’s agenda.” She further writes: “In fact, the original religion of Bodos is Bathouism, which does not have any scriptures, religious books or temples. Bathou, in Bodo language, means the five principles: bar (air), san (sun), ha (earth), or (fire) and okhrang (sky). Their chief deity Bathoubwrai (bwrai meaning elder) is believed to be omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent. The five principles are Bathoubwrai’s creations,” without realizing the fact that earth, air, sky, etc. are considered Pancha-Mahabhutas in Hinduism and the Upanishads itself speak about how these manifested out of Brahman, which is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent!

In another follow up report titled “Govt Threatens To Sack Assam Child Rights Top Official”, Neha Dixit alleges, following Outlook expose, the Central government threatened Runumi Gogoi, chairperson, Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, to either change her report or be removed from her post. Yet, a press release from Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, published after the above report, refutes the allegations. Here is a copy of the press release:

press release

These inconsistencies raise serious questions regarding the credibility of the Outlook report and forces one to question, whether this is another hit-job on BJP and Sangh Parivar?

In the Part 2 of the report titled “The Trail”, the author tries to project the social welfare activities of these organizations as fulfilling some hideous and regressive “Hindutva Agenda”. She brands Vidya Bharati and Ekal Vidyalays work in educating the poorest of the poor as providing “Hindu nationalistic education to children.” She takes issue with children learning to say “namaskar” and practicing traditional way of life and writes “With such training, the young women grow up with an unquestioning belief in the Hindutva idea of the intended role of women in the Hindu rashtra.” The author does not even spare the national song. She calls teaching of the national song and various folk songs about Indian history as “a quiet, subtle indoctrination.”

When Ghana Kanta Brahma speaks about the burning issue of demographic changes, inter-religious conflicts, rampart conversions by Muslims and Christians of the area, and the disadvantaged condition of the Bodos, the author dismisses it as “creating paranoia” and “hearsay” and yet she does not mince her words, while speaking about “Ghar Wapsi” programmes being conducted by some Sangh organizations!

When I contacted Shri Priyank Kanoongo, member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Delhi, about the issue raised in Outlook report, he stated that the “inquiry is going on in this case and till now no problems have been found.”

In Part 5, titled “Ghar Wapasi for the Girls?” the author writes: “In the last two decades, the Bodoland territory has seen high penetration by Christian missionaries. The SC order men­tioned earlier in this report was an ind­icator of such involvement and trafficking of children. The Sangh parivar has emulated a similar model—and gone a step further—in a grand social agenda that seeks to ensure a permanent ‘Hinduised’ vote for the BJP.

This is a clear attempt at equating the welfare activities of the Sangh related organizations with evangelical activities of the Christian missionaries. Has Outlook, now become an apologist of the missionaries? What else explains this unnecessary and unfair equation? Just because Christian missionaries involve in trafficking, does not mean every other organization involved in social welfare will indulge in trafficking. It appears, the author is pursuing a different agenda than the plight of young girls, which is supposed to be the subject of the report. The author has repeatedly not only tried to equate Sangh organizations with Evangelical activities, she has also tried to uphold that Bodos and tribals are not Hindus and has consistently tried to portray any attempt to mainstream these tribals as an attempt at converting them into Hinduism.

Notwithstanding the fact that the author is completely ignorant about decentralized and open architecture of Hinduism, which is unlike Abrahamic religions, and which has for centuries developed through innumerable local traditions and beliefs and practice systems and yet unites them through underlying principle of Dharma; she also appears to be deliberately attempting to de-root Bodos and other indegenous communities from mainstream Indian culture and tradition, and hence create cultural separation and isolation. This, if pursued as a policy, is a definite recipe for disaster, mass conversions, and breaking of India.

This is not the first time that the Outlook magazine has shown its anti-Hindu bias. As recently as 20, July, 2016, the magazine published an article about “Kanwariyas” by Murad Ali Baig, wherein the author had drawn a derogatory comparison between Kanwariyas and Naxallites. It appears that the Outlook magazine is deliberately pursuing a Hinduphobic agenda and this is anything but ethical journalism.

Footnotes:

[1] http://creative.sulekha.com/tamil-nadu-christian-child-kidnapping_467823_blog

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20081120205345/http://newstodaynet.com/2006sud/06apr/0604ss1.htm

Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. IndiaFacts does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.
Shubham Verma is a Researcher and writer working with Public Policy Research Centre, New Delhi. His research focus is on Social sciences, Indian culture, Internal security and Rural development. He is the founder of Azad Gurukul.
  • Anshul Singhal

    ye samjh me nahi aa raha hai ki aise logo ko,media walo ko, islamista ko sarkar kyo kuch nhi kahti ya agar leggallly in ka kuch nhi kar sakte to aisa law kyo nhi lati jisse inke viruddh action liya ja sake …jab aab ye saaf hai ki bharat virodhi, hindu dharm , hindu virodhi, sanskriti bhasha aur jo kuch bhi bharat ka hai uske virodh me shaktiya bharat me hi sakriya hai ,..jisme sabka apna apna share hai swarth hai, isme Leftists (hindu/converted), intellectual(so -called), NGO+islamists(mulllas) christian orgs(vatican backed CIA /US-UK backed-europe backed) +Saudi/Pakistan(ISI/ARMY/Polity)(ME for islamism-wahabism) +China+local muslim politician and corrupt hindu politicians +local islamists-christian nexus+ local ambitious bussiness houses sab mile hue hai ya alag alag noch ke khana chah rahe hai to Hindu sangthan kyo nhi shakti kendra sthapit karte aur Khatritya prashikshan pe dhayan dete, punh bhartiya prampara ke anuropp gurukul ki shthapna aur usme khatriy abhyas kyo khul ke nhi karwaya ja raha ..desh me rah rahe hinduo ka ahwahn kyo khul ke nhi kiya ja raha aur unse sach ko kyo nhi saaf saaf kaha ja raha hai ek dadari hone pe islam khtre me aa jata hai aur yaha 100 saal se hum yudhdh me hai tab bhi kyo andhere me rakha ja raha hai aur kisska lihaz kar rahe hai ..inka vinash kyo khul nhi kar rahe hai ….hum inka vinash khul ke karna hoga

  • Satish N

    Appreciate Author, any doubt if Outlook practicing anti Hindu bias? :))
    Media’s single point of agenda is to defame Hindu organisations, lower our self esteem and these hit jobs grown more in the last 2yrs with Shriman. Modi has become PM. In this story too, these girls were away from homes since 2010 or even earlier but Outlook has got this story now. we know the obvious answer!
    But Qn. is what Mr. Modi, his party, his parent Org. doing even while we gave 285 seats. It shows they have no intent whatsoever to build a counter narrative in print/Electronic media. Instead, now Hindus are being put down by Modi too competing with Left Libtards… so sad!

  • Akshay chandra

    This can be the next SPOTLIGHT……good work OUTLOOK.

  • D Sharma

    Outlook is a leftist, communist, Marxist magazine. That is OK since, all views should be accomodated and listened to. However when Outlook resorts to blatant lies ( a classic Marxist formula), then action should be taken. Violence is never the answer… however these are the solutions 1) financial boycott of the magazine itself and 2) boycott of any company that advertises in Outlook. Even commies need money… once they feel the pinch, they will stop their lies.

    • Shreevalsan

      I am indeed very sorry to say this, sir, but violence is the only answer to solve the problem of a lying and traitorous media. Please note that the media is careful not to even slightly hurt the sentiments of violent people like Muslims, Christians, Commies, Naxalites etc. If only Hindus would take a leaf out of their book and start dealing with the traitorous media severely! Since most media men and women are cowards, even a little violence will go a long way to convince them not to spread lies about Hindu society, Hindu religion and Hindu organisations.

  • IndiannotAmused

    Now every Hindu knows where to send the Charity Donation money to………Thanks Outlook………Kudos to the social workers who are doing nation-building.Every act of Presstitutes is going to have a similar effect.

  • Govindan B

    The problem with Hindu organizations is that they either meekly surrender or lash out irresponsibly ( eg. the beef incidents). This is due to a lack of intelligent strategists. Irrational violence is not the answer. The Hindu groups should hit Outlook where it hurts. Canvass among Hindus to boycott the magazine. That will cause advertisers to flee to the competitors and thus drastically affect the bank balance . Then they will learn to respect Hindu power sans violence.

  • Ganesh Jadhav

    The present chief editor of Outlook magazine, Krishna Prasad is a Brahmin and is anti RSS. He knows that anti Hindu writing attract wide publicity and sales without the fear of backlash. Moreover he will be in good books with the permanent establishment, that is the bureaucracy created by the British and continued by the Congress which is anti Indian, anti Hindu religion and culture. Whether it is Modi or Congress or Communists, it is the permanent establishment which rule the roost in India.

  • Excellent article and thank you for bringing the results of your detailed investigation to our notice. Magazines like Outlook and others have this habit of using fake Hindu names (esp upper caste) of writers to spread their anti-Hindu venom.

    Just to add to one point, on whether Bodos are Hindus are not. This is a part of a larger question of whether tribals are Hindus are not. As per the Constitution of India, EVERY citizen of India who is not a Christian, Jew, Muslim or Parsi is a Hindu by default and all Hindu laws are applicable to them. Hence there is no question of converting tribals to Hindus, as they are Hindus by birth and tradition.

    In other words, anyone in India whose religion is not of foreign origin, is considered a Hindu. Our constitution clearly states this, as well as Hindu Marriage Act 1955.

  • Nikhil

    Outlook has been anti-Hindu since time immemorial. In fact it is more of a Congress mouthpiece which explains its bias and hatred for anything related to Hinduism.

  • Shreevalsan

    It is really naive of you to ask the question ‘Is Outlook practicing anti-Hindu bias?’ Outlook has been doing so ever since the magazine was started. This is evident is almost every article Outlook has printed since it started. The real question we should ask ourselves is this: what do we do to stop this? This will not stop unless the editors of Outlook realize that the price for slandering Hindus can be very high. Hindu tolerance of abuse is at the root of lies hawked by the media. The answer to our problem lies in reducing our tolerance of the untruthful and traitorous media. Even a little violence will go a long way to convince the media cowards (‘pressitutes’) that harassing the Hindus can be dangerous. Indiafacts must concentrate on publishing articles that could help Hindus to tame the media, if not completely destroy it. I feel that destruction of the media is the only long term solution to the problem of slander.

  • ST

    The problem is RSS doesn’t follow through and take these bastards to court and punish them. If at all anything, RSS must learn from Islamists who by way of their never compromising attitude towards their religion have created such a strong fear and deterrence in the minds of libtards that they never ever dare to venture into that territory. Take the recent incidence of Trupti Desai who wanted to enter Muslim place of worship in Mumbai since women are not allowed there. What happened? after being told that she will face severe consequences, she backtracked. Indian libtards understand this kind of language only

    • Shreevalsan

      Taking Outlook to court is no solution since the case may drag on for months, if not years. The problem is RSS buffoonery. Despite the large number of their members all over the country, the RSS never dares to lift a little finger at its slanderers. No organisation has swallowed the poison of suicidal Gandhism more than RSS. Despite having a BJP govt at the centre and in several states, the RSS has done nothing to teach the traitorous media a lesson. Sweet reasonableness just will not work with the lying media which has contempt for truth and non-violence. Strong arm tactics will do wonders for both RSS and Hindu society. BJP govts at the centre and the states must support righteous Hindu violence against the media. Media’s slander against Hinduism and Hinduism will stop if editors at the Outlook and other anti-Hindu media realize that it can cost them an arm or a leg. If RSS buffoons are unwilling to do it, young Hindu patriots must unleash righteous violence against the media before it is too late.

  • sudhirb

    It was a #Presstitute reporting to defame RSS body.

  • calvin

    I was wondering why this issue was abandoned so easily, and did not get blown out of proportion by the Congress, and now I know, it seems that the article itself was not accurate, in the first place.