|Why is CNN-IBN rattled?|
On June 2 CNN-IBN had back to back programs covering the proposed hunger strike by Baba Ramdev. It was Rajdeep Sardesai first at 9PM and at 10PM Sagarika Ghose. The Ramdev issue was top of the list and then, of course, some routine issues of corruption concerning Dayanidhi Maran. Isn’t that nice? For once almost all channels had the Maran kickbacks and corruption issue in second place when normally most channels would have been screaming about it all evening. It’s natural! The Maran corruption case is certainly not as dramatic as the Ramdev satyagraha and by now the nation is pretty used to these stories of kickbacks and corruption. Aren’t we?
Both the programs had a similar agenda – Is Ramdev morally credible to launch a fight against black money and corruption? How did Ramdev get his enormous funds and build an empire worth 11000 crores (None being sure if this is 1100 or 11000). And of course, if this is a threat to democratic processes. The focus of Rajdeep’s program was the money part and that of Sagarika, the moral part. Money and morals! Hmmmm! Our media persons are the best to sermonise on both, aren’t they?
I have a decent understanding of finance and economics. But for those who are challenged in that area I will let Sagarika’s words enlighten on you on some economic and black money issues (Her tweets from June 2):
“Can black money simply be brought back by going on hunger strike? Or systemic currency reform needed so rich stop parking money abroad…..argument is rupee will have to be made into a hard currency. for that india will have to get its fiscal deficit etc in check…..Untaxed foreign exchange hidden abroad is a consequence of exchange controls on rupee. experts say only fwd is to make rupee a hard currency….Real issue of black money shd concern us. need to understand why it happens, a bash-the rich-and-UPA slogan will achieve little…..The govt shd look into why untaxed foreign exchange is hidden abroad, not just penalise those who do it. Reform is urgently needed….”
Do you feel educated now? She wants the government to look into why untaxed foreign exchange is hidden abroad when she, the wise one, already answered that question by stating it's a consequence of exchange controls on rupee. Duh? If any of you really manage to decipher what economic tenets or principles or theories Sagarika has laid out, do let me know and I will send you a special reward.
The Rajdeep program at 9pm in all its cleverness was basically a bash Ramdev exercise with no particular focus except to question his funding and his properties. Now, all the panelists were supporters of Ramdev except one – Nandita Rao. CNN-IBN pulled this person somewhere from the woodwork. She is supposedly a human rights activist and went on a rant on how Ramdev’s funding should be investigated, whether hawala channels were involved and whether illegal money was being transacted in his trusts and so on. Wait a minute! Doesn't that sound like gutter mouth Digvijay Singh? Never mind! Well, first of all assuming the Ramdev trusts are registered as charitable trusts there is a system for filing returns and being audited which is a government job. Secondly, throwing around wild charges of illegitimate funding and hawala transactions against someone is very un-lawyer like. Nandita Rao is also supposed to be a lawyer. So what exactly was her real problem? The real problem is that this guy Ramdev wears saffron, is being backed by BJP and the RSS and could be a front for the ‘saffron brigade’. Isn’t that the same fear that the Congress has? So in absence of any Congress spokespersons CNN-IBN found a proxy in Nandita Rao. The queen has ordered a gag on her puppets against talking about Ramdev. So CNN-IBN takes on the job of a smear campaign with panelists like Nandita Rao. Shades of operation Namo?
Now, did CNN-IBN know who exactly Nandita Rao is? And what her persuasions are? Make no mistake, they damn well did. And in case you are still wondering, go through the communication exchanged by her with the IAC (India Against Corruption) group. You can read the whole lot (before it gets taken off). She considers RSS, Modi and such entities anti-national and killers, so by association Ramdev is equally anti-national. So who could be a better bet for CNN-IBN’s mud-slinging against Ramdev if not this activist?
The history of corruption in this country is almost equal to the history of the Congress. So the questions being bandied about in the media are whether Ramdev is the right person, whether his methods are right and so on. Nobody asked – What exactly is the alternative? Shoot some corrupt ministers as in ‘Rang De Basanti’? The program started with images of Ramdev’s people collecting funds by cheques. Yes, would you believe it – they were collecting funds by cheques? Isn’t that alarming when we are talking about black money? By cheques? So CNN-IBN tells us how critics are questioning this fund collection. Wait, hahahahaha! No not critics, it’s CNN-IBN that is questioning or portraying the fund collection as something illegitimate and illegal. CNN-IBN’s cup of joy would have run over if those Ramdev guys were collecting cash!
So Rajdeep accuses Ramdev of using ‘public funds’! Once again, we are being enlightened on economic terminology. Does Rajdeep even know what ‘public funds’ means? Let me educate the assholes at CNN-IBN that collecting donations from the public is not the same as ‘public funds’ in legal terms. Go check that out with your lawyers or an economist, Rajdeep! But this is how they will indirectly imply that public funds are being used or misused to support the activities of Ramdev. And in case CNN-IBN stalwarts forget, one of the most corrupt bodies in this country is the BCCI which controls Cricket. One of the heads of the BCCI, Sharad Pawar, was the first to disappear from the scene when Anna Hazare started his agitation. Despite all commercial operations, extra-ordinary funds, the BCCI is still a charitable trust. Quite a few politicians, especially Congressmen, are involved in the operations of the BCCI. The funds at the disposal of BCCI far exceed everything that a Ramdev can show. Is there any charitable work that the BCCI does as part of its main agenda?
If the likes of Nandita Rao and Rajdeep Sardesai are really interested in exposing illegitimate funding and spurious NGOs then they can refer to the book NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds, Anti-Nation Industry edited by Radha Rajan and Krishen Kak. How about inviting those authors on your program, Rajdeep? Their book exposes the various illegal and anti-national funds that flow into India for anti-national NGOs. Read more HERE and HERE.
Still, if Ramdev has all kinds of illegitimate wealth CNN-IBN should take the trouble of investigating and reporting and not indulge in showing some images of donation-collection to imply there was some wrong doing where there is none. Same goes for the likes of Nandita Rao. Digvijay calls Ramdev a businessman and not a spiritual leader. Well good for Ramdev, at least he is not a crooked politician. And what is wrong in being business minded? Nandita Rao quite clearly demonstrated the fears of the Congress. And what do you know? Digvijay Singh states that “if the Congress was scared Ramdev would have been put behind bars”. Oh yeah? On what grounds asshole? On cooked-up charges? The Congress knows what mayhem will break loose if Ramdev is arrested. I don’t think the Congress is as stupid as Digivijay Singh, not yet.
The woman who opened a pandora’s box, Nira Radia, was put on surveillance by the Home and Finance ministry based on a ‘complaint’ received by the Finance Ministry in 2008. Well, what stops Nandita Rao or CNN-IBN filing a complaint with the ED or the CBDT on similar lines against Ramdev? The UPA government will be more than delighted to act on such a complaint, including phone taps and all. No, instead the likes of Nandita Rao will keep peddling nonsense which no one can decipher but can pass off in the media as gospel. And CNN-IBN will gladly oblige such gossip and rumour mongering.
The tag lines from Sagarika’s ‘Face the nation’ should tell you everything about spirituality. ‘Ungodly politics?’, ‘The asanas of protest?’, ‘Gurus of Government?’ …. Her program started by invoking Chanakya and then listed gurus right up to Bhindranwale. Yes, that same guy who held weapons in a place of worship! Do you feel wiser? See the equation?
Anna Hazare didn’t bother the media or CNN-IBN so much when he was on a hunger strike. It was great for TV. But this guy Ramdev does bother them immensely. Why? His protests and action seem to be backed by Hindus or Hindu organisations. And anything Hindu in this country is bad for the Congress and our 'secular' media. After years of Hindu-bashing, minority appeasement, coining terms like ‘saffron’ terror this comes as a different terror threat to some in the political domain and, of course, some in the media. Is Ramdev right in everything he has proposed? Obviously not. His demand for death to the corrupt, withdrawing 500 and 1000 currency notes, Hindi in some college courses are absurd and are surely not going to be accepted and shouldn’t be. But there are worse cases of absurd demands. The Gujjar agitation for reservation, blocking all rail and road traffic despite High Court orders is a classic example.
Does Ramdev really understand complex economic issues and even that of black money? I don’t think so. Ramdev only understands that black money needs to be tackled. And there is one more dangerous thing that he and many Indians know – this level of blatant and nonchalant corruption and stashing of funds abroad does not happen without the tacit approval or participation of the highest power-holders in the land. The fear for the Congress is that some of its top names may have to eventually tumble. That is bad news for Congress and in many cases, bad news for the media as well.
Let’s do a roll call. Laloo Prasad, Mulayam Singh, Amar Singh, Mayawati all of them have had or still have cases pending against them for corruption. Based on the whims of the Congress the CBI and other agencies go after them or slow down their action against them. Why aren’t these people being prosecuted or why aren’t they in jails?
Much of our ‘secular’ media personalities have built their career on Hindu bashing. If someone like Anna Hazare clad in white Khadi protests, it’s not much of a problem. But beware, if someone in saffron goes into action, all the alarm bells will go off. So you can expect a lot vicious attacks that are still to come. Mud-slinging season has just been inaugurated by CNN-IBN!