What's wrong with the Indian public discourse

Whilst preparing the nationalistic upsurge against the foreign regime of Alexander of Macedonia in the territory of erstwhile Bharat, (that included the present day Afghanistan or the Af-Pak Region), the celebrated professor of Political Science at Takshshila University, Acharya Vishnu Gupta or Chanakya laid great stress on building a public discourse of nationalistic thought. This disruptive and lateral thinker of yore instilled with great success the importance of crafting a public discourse which is intended at desired actions or inactions in the corridors of power. He thus laid the strong foundations of shaping the battlefield from the environs of the hinterland. A similar attempt at Manufacturing, Propagation and tunnelling of public discourse was propounded for the Germans by Joseph Goebbels in the years leading to the Second World War.

These are two plausible examples which should alert the public intellect to the importance of letting a public discourse be built up or terminating it in the bud. The former was successful and the latter put its delinquent propagator on a path of self-destruction. Chanakya achieved the liberation and integration of a nation whereas Goebbels’ efforts led to a human catastrophe. The basic reason for the success and failure of the two was the element of Intrinsic Truth, which cannot be ambivalent to even an amateur.

There is something similar, profound and yet worrying in the current public discourse which represents the general response to acts of terror in the unfortunate yet real Indian governance mechanism supported by the pseudo-secular Establishment. There has been a series of massacres and acts of terror which have been perpetrated with an intention to destabilise the country. These have been followed up by a manufactured public discourse which  did  not  implicitly indicate any  wrongdoing on  the part  of  the  perpetrator, but  the  general narrative which was offered by the TV channels, media houses, newspapers and the secularatti was that of the sufferers bringing the suffering onto themselves. We shall examine a few.

The massacre in Godhra was a very real act of cowardice: a 2000 strong mob stopping the Sabarmati Express shortly after it pulled out of Godhra station on 27 February 2002. The train ferried several bogeys of Kar Sevaks returning from Ayodhya. In the eons gone by, Ayodhya literally meant ‘A-Yodhya’, a place where even the consideration of ‘Yudh’ or war was sacrilege. However, the mob attacked the bogeys with petrol and acid bombs. Some witnesses opined about explosives being used. Four bogies were gutted and at least 57 people, including over a dozen children, were burnt alive.

Some versions have it that the passengers shouted anti-Muslim slogans; others opine that they taunted and harassed Muslim co-passengers. Another section has another version suggesting the Muslim passengers detrained at Godhra and appealed to the local co-religionists for help. Others say that the slogans were enough to enrage the local Muslims and that the attack was an act of revenge.

Another eon can safely pass before the veracity of these versions can be ascertained or challenged, but there is nothing on record which establishes, indicates or can suggest that the Kar Sevaks started the violence. Anyone with a whiff of commonsense can verify with a small reference to his own intellect. It is an extraordinary leap of logic to claim that slogans shouted from a moving train or at a railway platform should have been enough to enrage local Muslims, enough for 2,000 of them, to have quickly assembled at eight O’clock in the morning, having already managed to procure petrol bombs and acid bombs. 

There can be plausible disputes about the versions of some of the Kar Sevaks, about the attack being pre- meditated, or about the 2000 strong mob ready and waiting. But there can be no denying that the final gory outcome was indefensible and unforgivable. How so ever grave the provocation, if there were any, this ghastly act will remain unforgivable.

The first official attempt at obfuscation and alteration of public discourse was an enquiry by the then Secular Railway Minister, Lalu Yadav whose constituency back home consisted of the Muslim-Yadav vote bank. Today Lalu Yadav is in jail, convicted for corruption. However, it was the inability of the masses to not differentiate between an act of terror and a communal clash. An act of terror is perpetrated, usually in a premeditated fashion. A communal clash is where two communities with a history of mutual hostility clash violently, usually spontaneously.

There is no need to elucidate on the public discourse which now marks the Indian landscape with reference to Godhra Incident. The entire discourse, which is actually a tirade, is aimed at the majority community of Gujarat. It is left to an average Gujarati  to  defend  himself  against  this  narrative  built  up  by  journalists  closely  associated  with corporate interests and who thrive on political patronage

It is again beyond reasonable comprehension as to how it is a tragedy when Graham Staines, (who made himself unpopular through brazen conversions and was warned several times) is burnt alive and when Kar Sevaks are burnt alive for no fault of their own, it is not a tragedy but an outcome of their own wrongdoings! 

Did the same profit driven, nation-blind media and secularatti declare that New Yorkers invited the wrath of Jihadis when the Twin Towers were attacked on 9/11? Remember, there was enormous resentment among the Islamic fundamentalists, if not the entire spectrum of Muslims, about American foreign policy. Obviously, we can’t even consider whether such a horrible act is justified on any ground. The Secularatti seems to have become prisoners of their own rhetoric. No horrific massacre or act of terror presents the Secularatti an occasion to leave aside its prime occupation of bashing its intellectual adversary, the so-called Right Wingers led by Sangh Parivar.

However, in an age of Twitter screen shots, sponsored ‘secularist’ constructs, entirely blaming the murders on the VHP, RSS, Gujaratis or Godhra begins to become a counterproductive argument. It gives rise to blogs, books, research and investigations into all issues of public concern: Radia Connections, phony live debates, guaranteed free loans, Government advertisements without competitive bidding, paid international visits and sponsored tours.

Any media, and indeed any group or establishment, which does not take into account the genuine concerns of its audience, risks losing its own credibility and eventually the paycheck it may have wanted to protect or enhance in the very first place. 

An effort small in its beginning but gigantic in its magnitude is now being made to craft a similar public discourse. It is being propounded that the attack on Narendra Modi, the BJP’s PM Candidate, in Patna on 27 October 2013 has its ‘roots’ in Godhra. However, Godhra’s own roots lie in vote bank politics. No World Power has allowed such Goebbelsian tactics to reach the pinnacles of prominence that anti-national elements are allowed space to justify acts of terror.  If at all the Indian media—especially electronic—which constantly blares its Master’s Voice into the ears of an average Indian, does not want to be relegated to obscurity, it will need to redefine its role in its own boardroom meetings with an eye on nation building.

Those who believe in the intrinsic strength of the Indian Civilization will have to raise their voice and be counted. History is watching as a bystander, as to who it shall nominate as Chanakya or who as Goebbels, who had to commit suicide ultimately.

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  • nishu.saran@gmail.com'
    November 16, 2013

    Nishant Saran

    Excellent article! the fear inherent in the philosophy of “Nehruvian Secularism”/ “Pseudosecularism” is unless u protect and allow space to the minorities the majority will overwhelm them.

    This basic premise itself is faulty, it might have held some good in earlier times when there was indeed a degree of religious conflict( Read Partition) but given the current situation that our harried country finds itself in, it is not only defective but guarantees a certain divisiveness and party politics of vote bank.

    Time has come when religion should be immaterial to the state.

    Hence, even when Mumbai “attacks” took place where “gunmen” (mind you not terrorists according to some “neutral” media houses including BBC ) ran amok, the genesis of it was laid at the doorsteps of some majoritarian community threatening the minority community (majoritarian either by numbers( read India) or by the shear projection of its economic and military might (read USA)).

  • u_swami@rediffmail.com'
    November 15, 2013

    Urmelesh Swami

    Truth n truth only.

  • rajkumaroberoi100@gmail.com'
    November 15, 2013

    Raj Kumar Oberoi

    Indian media can select a common motto to be displayed prominently like Doordarshan logo to remind its staff that only pure truth should prevail. Such decisions will go a long way to mold our society with malice to none.

  • tiwaringp@gmail.com'
    November 15, 2013


    Since this site is devoted to facts..
    1. I do not recall any single instance by any single newspaper of TV channel that justified the the killing of Karsewaks on any ground. Merely reporting that there were provocative slogans etc does not become justification. Does the author mean to say those reports should have been blacked out? That attack was dastardly and deserves severest condemnation and was duly condemned not just by much maligned media but even by Muslim organizations.
    2. Nor did anyone treat the resulting communal riots any differently from others. And — again factually speaking– no communal violence anywhere erupts ‘spontaneously’ regardless of history of hostility between communities. There is always a trigger. In this case it was the Godhra killings.
    As the riots unfolded the media began to see a remarkable pattern of reluctance on part of state machinery to intervene, specially in events where Muslims were being systematically butchered. That is what earned the then Modi government the blot it is unable to wash off till now. It was as bad as Rajiv Gandhi’s government’s looking the other way when Sikhs were being butchered in 1984.
    One could understand (but still not condone) angry Hindus’ ‘retaliation’ just as one could understand angry Congress members’ retaliation in 1984. What is not justifiable is the state being partisan and allowing the massacre of innocents to continue. Modi supporters, like the author, repeatedly and deliberately obfuscate this point. Their sole defence is pointing at 1984 anti-Sikh riots. This may serve to silence Congress supporters but does nothing to justify what happened in Gujarat those days.
    3. Another factual pointer– there have been numerous articles in ‘profit-driven, nation-blind’ US as well as Indian media after 9/11 attacks detailing how US meddling and wrong policies in Muslim countries from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere had helped create the jihadists and made US their target. It was and should be part of debates that media are supposed to foment and foster. What was different there was that for doing this the media were not branded anti-national even by most ardent supporters of those policies in US. In fact, in a democracy it is sacred duty of the media to point out the wrong policies and failing of their own government. That leads to improvement. A mature audience understands this.

    • preader50@yahoo.com'
      November 15, 2013


      @Alok, you contract your 1st point with the 3rd, so people should condemn US policies which you think is the root cause but one cannot utter a word against Godhra without being branded a communal hindu, token lip service by token speech against godhra incident by non hindu organization and paid media is not condemnation, has anyone protested on the streets, was any protest broadcasted on TV?.. We have been taking this nonsense for ages, getting bullied, ripped off, in the name of eliminating withcraft and superstitions the pseudo seculars are talking about banning tribals and folk songs praising gods?. This is targeted against Hinduism, how is their singing different from carol singing praising jesus and Sufism praising Allah, everything should be banned then.

    • drshobha.shrivastava@gmail.com'
      November 17, 2013

      Dr Shobha

      As a practicing rationalist, I would like to be corrected as it adds to my own knowledge and it finally leads to a better understanding ! I wholeheartedly welcome the critique offered, in the same spirit, I offered my comments !

      I shall go parawise !

      1. Justifications : The article starts off aiming to correct the ‘narrative’ leading to formation of ‘Public Discourse’ offering insights into different initiatives taken across geographies and histories. The ‘Media Narrative’ aimed at creation of a discourse which leads to sympathies being on the side of perperators of Acts of Terror. Seeking any ‘Direct Evidence’ of ‘Direct Effort’ to justify is offering one’s own naivety to the ‘Intellectual Opulence’ of those who understand the discourse pretty well. It was not intended to convey that anyone sought a direct justification, but indicators, as listed out, speak for themselves.

      2. ‘Spontaneity and Trigger Mechanism’ : The point is amply clear and seems well accepted by the commentator. It is one’s firm belief that the Govt of the Day must take onus of the proceedings of Law and Order, for the better or for the worst. However, the Guj Govt has put forth many of its actions which, taken during the time, indicate ‘Institutional Lethargy’ on part of Digvijay Singh Govt ( by not sending any reinforcements). The tardy progress of media to question this reluctance on part of neighboring state machinery to intervene, speaks for itself. If there has to be a corrective mechanism towards it, it is obviously through feature writings such as one.

      ‘Modi Supporting : It is an inherent feature and duty in a democracy to participate in the political discourse through understanding of policies, there is nothing wrong with creating awareness about policies which the BJP PM Candidate stands for.

      1984 anti-Sikh riots havent been cited at all, thus, it is not any obfuscation on the writer’s part, but, a longer-loop indulgence on part of the commentator.

      3. India and US National Discourse : Media’s Role : The point regarding ‘Media’s Role and Liberties’ is well taken, the commentator has made a valid point, however, this is absolutely in line with the what the piece narrates, what the piece warns against is letting a narrative be built around ‘Acts of Terror’ emanating from any previous occurrence of similar nature. The current, though nipped in the bud, mild attempt to conjoin Patna Blasts with Godhra is a case in point.

      Additional Inputs : There are two ‘Take-Homes’ from the piece, the actions and inactions leading to creation of narrative leading to Public Discourse has to be looked into with great care and scrutiny. Chaankya’s efforts brought a land together and Goebbels dissipated another. There is a political battle being fought across India, no nation can allow the safety of any of its PM candidates to be disgraces with any level of arguments.

  • slatpate@twitter.example.com'
    November 14, 2013

    Shivram Latpate (@slatpate)

    Nice… It give me pleasure when I read truth. I pleased with this article. My body-language can’t lie ! This must be a truth!

  • preader50@yahoo.com'
    November 14, 2013


    You hit the nail, India has sufficient psuedoseculars and so called intellectuals, there are two in Karnataka, one is UR Rao who is married to a Christian and another is Ravi Balegere, the latter is the head of TV channel Janasri, Recently there was an interview about the bill that is proposed to end blackmagic, withcraft, superstitions, customs and astrology also I guess, there is no denying the fact that there are many customs in Hinduism that should be eliminated but they talking as if there is no superstitions in other language is a joke. There are many buildings in US without 13th floor, recently a college athlete chose to forego an important competition because she was given a bib with number 666, and then we have heard of tears coming from mother mary and blood oozing out of Jesus portrait, we had a healer preacher come to India, promising cure but people with terminal diseases was not allowed near him but only those whose ill can be cured by medicine. They even mentioned that the folk songs that has been there since ages that glorifies their gods should be removed, that means the carols praising lord also falls under the same category, wonder what they will say to that. Ravi Balagere has visited Vatican and now suddenly he sees many wrongs in Hinduism, he boasted that he is running a school where every student is encouraged to not wear anything that is customary, essentially bindi, bangles and head scarfs is not allowed, that was a weird justification for being secular, where essentially kids who are allowed to follow their customs, be it any religion will grow more confident, proud and become more appreciate and compassionate for other religions and customs. Ravi Belegare double standards was more glaring because Janasri has a programme from Nithyananda and astrology and numerology programmes, just going to Vatican and wearing suits and ties will not make one modern.

  • ajaybit@yahoo.com'
    November 13, 2013


    Great article. Social media is gradually becoming REAL MEDIA. We need to expose paid media, pseudo- secular and leftist pseudo-intellectuals to stop them from further weakening this country.

  • surnell@twitter.example.com'
    November 13, 2013

    Suresh En (@surnell)

    Great read! I loved every bit of this piece most importantly the role of the media. I quote my pickn “Any media, and indeed any group or establishment, which does not take into account the genuine concerns of its audience, risks losing its own credibility and eventually the paycheck it may have wanted to protect or enhance in the very first place” You nailed it with these line.
    Hope we get to read you more often

  • vijayamaajgd@gmail.com'
    November 13, 2013

    vijaya lakahmi

    well written shobhaji. fact we should think upon. thank yu.

  • arindam.1698@rediffmail.com'
    November 13, 2013


    Following are some of the ways in which a favourable and patriotic public discourse can be built up as under:
    1) create alternate main steam media I. E TV channels. national and regional news papers.
    2) boycott the anti national TV channels and news papers and build pressure on the advertisers to stop patronising above channels and news papers by threat of boycott of the product so advertised.
    3) write articles against the misleading propaganda by MSM in the MSM as a rejoinders exposing the lies
    The above steps involve hard work and financial commitment by supporters of nationalists and sustained campaign to educate the public at large rather than merely writing blogs on internet.

  • harshadspatel9@twitter.example.com'

    Good One

  • maj.s.dhull@gmail.com'
    November 13, 2013


    I have been following the writer on tweeter, makes a lot of sense and lot of research and goodness forms her tweets, she very carefully crafted the article using pieces of European and Indian History and brings it back to Present Day India….moves to Phrase another Word which will, to my thinking remain in the environment for a long time, ‘Secularratti’ and then brings back to Goebbels and Chankya.

    A Call to Arm the Average Indian with Facts and Figures !

  • aphadke1@gmail.com'
    November 13, 2013


    Just the intro of the article is so good and telling that it compels one to read further. Loved it! Hope to keep reading such insightful pieces and yes help change the public discourse positively.

  • snimesh@ibibo.com'
    November 13, 2013


    well written article

  • daalroti@rediffmail.com'
    November 13, 2013


    Brilliant piece, ‘Aakhein khol de’ ! The writer first wore the unjust profiling ‘Internet Hindoo’ on her sleeves and goes by that name in Twitter-World. She has now coined a new world ‘Secularratti’ which is a ‘Double HitBack’ on libtards…Kudos !

  • venkatpasupathy@gmail.com'
    November 13, 2013


    A good analysis I think the credibility of electronic and print media has been slowly eroded by their biased approach to facts

  • subodh1945@gmail.com'
    November 13, 2013

    subodh khanna

    how iis it possible that in 15 mts stoppage of sabarmati xpress – culd 2000 muslims gather at godhra station – even if as some say some muslims were harassed by krsevaks 2 there were not many moblie phones then to convey to godhra from train , means it was preplannwd – by muslim mobs anyway – 2 bogies were full of karsevaks – so how culd any muslim was there , and they were second class reserved bogies all booked by kar sevaks . its all preplanned muslim mob attack to kill and burn ready with lot of petrol an xcellent well reaserched article indeed DR SHOBHA

  • melody_enterprises@hotmail.com'
    November 13, 2013


    Very good article.
    ” If at all the Indian media—especially electronic—which constantly blares its Master’s Voice into the ears of an average Indian, does not want to be relegated to obscurity, it will need to redefine its role in its own boardroom meetings with an eye on nation building.”
    This is a perfect message to our crooks in media. Will they listen?
    I don’t think that they will heed to this advise willingly but will be forced by the public to change.