An open letter to Shri Rajnath Singh, Hon’ble Home Minister of India.

Dear Hon’ble Minister,

While I admire the steps taken by the BJP government to bring in some order in the country and work on the operating philosophy so appropriately enunciated by the Hon. Prime Minister, “Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas”, I am wondering if the Government is aware of the uncontrollable damage that is being done to the implementation of this agenda by some sections of the electronic media.

The government of the day, I am sure, is committed to retaining the secular fabric of the country and ensuring that Kashmir remains an integral part of the country.  Unfortunately, the electronic media – and particularly, ‘Republic’,  the channel that has been recently started by Arnab Goswami – is out to divide India on religious lines and precipitate the alienation process of the Muslims of Kashmir.   He has been using the Kashmir issue to whip up a national level anti-Muslim sentiment and in the process generate an increasing TRP for his channel and huge accolades for himself from the large average un-informed but opinionated population.   If one sat through even one session of  noisy and in-audible melee that he steers and which he, very presumptuously, calls a ‘debate’, it becomes evident that he is just not interested in carrying out anything sensible and the only purpose for him is to generate confrontation by provoking people to take positions that are either is sync with his own un-challengeable position or exactly opposite of that so that the required noise is generated.

It is an accepted fact that the GOI is facing a huge challenge in Kashmir.   A large part of the population is either alienated or lured to pretend as alienated and, unfortunately, many governments and activist groups around the world and are keeping an eye on the developments in Kashmir to find faults with the way we handle issues concerning human rights.    I, and my fellow-countrymen, obviously, expect the Government of the day to be fully capable of handling the Kashmir issue with maturity and work out a solution that brings lasting peace in the State.  To retain Kashmir as an integral part of India, we have to, as you are rightly doing, deploy a multi-pronged strategy.  The growing sentiment at the mass level that has stooped down to the level of expressing publicly that all those people who want independence or speak against India should leave Kashmir and go to Pakistan.  Unfortunately, Arnab Goswami is playing this card – regularly and aggressively – and creating conditions that would make it impossible for BJP to play the reconciliatory approach – I have reasons to presume that the BJP joined hands with PDP in J&K to find a political solution to the problem.  Despite the fact that there is a huge problem in the valley, I am sure that the BJP Government is capable of finding and should find a political solution to the problem.  It is impossible to keep a security vigil on 6 million people of the valley on a sustained basis.  It can be a short term and interim peace restoration initiative and, obviously, cannot be a permanent solution.

If we know that a certain set of people in Kashmir and Pakistan are out to spit venom, I see no reason for Arnab to have the same set of people on his show, day after day, to talk against the GOI and its policies vis-a-vis Kashmir and aggressively articulate their demand for ‘Azadi’.   Arnab shouts and calls them names but invites them again the next day for a debate on almost the same or similar subject but this time it is triggered off by a yet another incident in the valley and the same mindless melee goes on.  The whole ‘Tamasha’ is driven by selfish motives.  Arnab has, very rightly, understood the polarized political mood of the people and is using that to generate increasing TRP for his ‘Republic’ and the separatists in the Valley and their sympathizers across the border get TV-time to showcase their views and the ability to shout at opponents.   Arnab, and the select few that he calls for his debates, think that by accusing and shouting at the separatists they are doing a great service to the nation and, I am sure, that the separatists show up as guests, despite being called names, because they just wouldn’t be able to find such a wonderful medium – and that too free of cost – to get propaganda for their ideology and movement and reach out and project themselves to their audience as champions of their cause.  It is, generally, observed that while these people are shouted at they, unperturbedly, smile and laugh and mock at the panelist who have contrary views. The issue is that should these people, who are openly talking about freedom from India, be sitting on TV debates almost every day and reaching out to their audiences through the electronic media and, also, establishing and re-enforcing their locus standi by way of their bold and aggressive anti-India conduct on the debates.  Arnab Goswami and some other channels that are competing with ‘Republic’ should be made to realize that national security and peace in Kashmir are, certainly, more important than their commercial gains that are driven by TRPs.

Also, Kashmir is a problem that has, in the recent past, acquired some Islamic flavor to it but it needs to be addressed as an isolated problem that is confined to a region and that too to the limited ethnic group.  Arnab has been able to project that problem as religious and raises the issue with the Muslim religious leaders of the country.  There is absolutely no reason to generate the feeling among the Muslim community within the country that because their fellow-religionists in Kashmir are ‘anti-national’, they have to wear the ‘I am a nationalist’ display card on their body.  I have serious doubts about our having any reason whatsoever or being able to afford to alienate even a fraction of the 170 million Muslims of the country.  ‘Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas’ does not have to be just an electoral slogan but something that needs to be practiced in letter and spirit and communicated in a manner in which it is implemented at all levels in the government and society.

Why am I writing to you.  I request you to, please, use whatever power and influence that you have as the Home Minister of the country and a senior leader of the party in power to ensure that the Kashmiri separatists and their sympathizers in Pakistan do not get TV-time and that some guidelines are developed and implemented to restrict display of religious and communal biases by TV anchors and panelists.  TV journalists need to behave responsibly but, if that is not happening, I guess the State has a reason to pitch in and restore some reasonableness in the system through means that are permissible within the constitutional framework.

5 Comments

  1. Rajan Radha

    appreciate the concerns of the author but would want to bring forth two issues.1.Author is suggesting to amend Art 19 of the constitution .and secondly the Channel and the editor has the discretion to decide the agenda and the content. Governmental control will vitiate the entire purpose of existence of such channels. If people are not happy with a particular channel,we have the remote in our hands. But yes everybody is entitled to his opinion BTW guaranteed by Art 19 of the Constitution.

    • The comments about freedom of press and use remote to switch off the TV are great to talk … but is it true “expression of freedom”?

      Fundamental rights given by Indian constitution is given within boundary lines and subject to conditions
      – you are free to wave your hands only till the limit it doesn’t touch me
      – beyond that it’s attack on me. After that what is the purpose of debate whether it was intentional or inadvertent attack?
      – Similarly we have fundamental right of LIFE but you know that it gets curtailed under various conditions and STATE has power to take away life after due diligence

      At the same time will anyone tell whether freedom of life and national security come first or Freedom of speech?

      When lacs of Kashmiri Pandits were driven away from their homes, where was the whole media ?
      Let’s agree that throughout world, media does a lot of things just for the sake of TRP and also to meet DESIGNED GOALS and then try to take shelter under freedom of speech. When the design is made by Govt and broadcasted, Govt is called names either a Parrot or Sensor (I am not justifying either of the acts of Govt., but denouncing Media Selling it’s freedom to few private hands)

      Similarly, the whole drama of awards wapsi in media just before Bihar Elections, but no mention of it afterwards show that EVERYTHING MEDIA SAYS is not “expression needing Fundamental freedom” but “motivated expression” that can’t have protection as “Fundamental Rights”

      I not only endorse the author’s views that militants and their sympathizers should not be given TV & print coverage, but go a step further that govt should come out with POLICY OF ZERO COVERAGE TO ALL CRIMINALS WITH FEW EXCEPTION to shame some one OR to search someone. Till such time, Media should follow SELF-CONTROL. At the same time even the names & photo of killed militants should not be given out in PRESS briefing

      Just 2days back driver of PDP minister was arrested and his photo and name were repeatedly flashed on TV – this also gives a different dimension of GLORIFICATION and must stop

      Public memory is short but media make “terrorists as perpetual being” by repeated flashing of terrorist’s photos in the name of news features / debate / linking with fresh terrorism encounters. Media has kept Terrorist Vani alive throughout year and well past death-anniversary.

      Just think do you remember birthday and anniversaries of just 36 pairs of your closest relatives and friends ON THE DATE and wish them (merely 3 per month)
      – in all probability answer is a big NO
      – but we do wish to lesser known people on daily basis on whatsapp

      That’s the power of media and used both for Good causes and ulterior motives. Let media not be shielded behind “Freedom of Expression”

      The cacophony of Noisy Debate Format, where nothing can be heard and panelists are used as herd Must stop

      It’s like freedom to watch porn on internet has been returned after court intervention, but we are silently watching next generation slip into a complex web of psychology disorders. There is clear link of watching porn and immediate body reactions, that’s crossing social order and creating a new social order where WITHOUT GUILT watch your daughters in bikini Or see her Leony like clips on instagram
      OR you are free to call me orthodox on using the word GUILT
      HOWEVER,
      In the name of freedom of Expression, let’s not allow media to be a”thought porn” and create & propagate conditions where each part of country become itself a free country

  2. Rakesh Kaul

    Arnab or Rajnath Singh should not make comments and issue statements on Kashmir, it is an subject far beyond their comprehension and understanding

  3. Rakesh Jinsi

    Rajan has put it very correctly.This topic is discussed in various forums and mediums only to gain visibility for themselves or their organisation. These people have no consideration for the fact how their work is negatively impacting the country.In our country freedom of expression has been taken too far!

  4. Arshad Majeef

    Mere wajood ko mazhab se mat pehchano Main khalis Hindustani Awam hoon. Thanks Rakesh Duda.

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