Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Fast & The Spurious

Imagine the following people going on a fast unto death to fight corruption: Sharad Pawar, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, A. Raja, Kanimozhi, Dayanidhi Maran, Arundhati Roy, Suresh Kalmadi, P. Chidambaram, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan….. You can be forgiven if you fell off your chair laughing. Even if you did, some would be seriously backing these people as ‘saints’ without any question. You can count on Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN, Rahul Kanwal of Headlines Today (HT) and some more to probably support these saints if they ever undertook a hunger strike against corruption.

When Anna Hazare went on his hunger strike almost all TV channels ran a campaign for ‘India Against Corruption’ with logos, fisted hands and asking people to SMS their support to some number. Well, now that Baba Ramdev is fasting and has challenged the government on the same grounds the media, at least two major channels – CNN-IBN and HT, are up against him and indulging in extraordinary mud-slinging. You could call this ‘the fast and the spurious’. Pallavi Ghosh of CNN-IBN even laments in her tweet: “Let's not just blame the govt for going soft on baba..sad to watch some channels doing it too”. That’s right, according to her all TV channels should be attacking Ramdev as viciously as CNN-IBN and HT.

Some weeks back nothing less than the Supreme Court of this country blasted the IT department. “You would have been sleeping if the court had not intervened... You tap phone calls in 2008 but took action against telecom companies only in March 2011. You would have continued to sleep if the court was not monitoring the case..” the apex court observed. All in the media, except one journalist (J.Gopikrishnan of Pioneer) were sleeping too. But our TV channels wasted no time in claiming credit for exposing all kinds of scams. Some of those tapped phone calls brought down one of the most prominent journalists in India. Barkha Dutt had these miserable scenes to witness against her during the Anna Hazare campaign. (See video below)
That Supreme Court statement to IT department should have told any ordinary man that the Indian government was least interested in acting against corruption or black money. That’s the reason there is popular support for the Hazares and Ramdevs. Of all the possible black-money hoarders the one that is under the glare is a scrap dealer from Pune, Hassan Ali, who is supposed to have stashed billions in Swiss banks. How intelligent is that? The funny part is, even as Ramdev’s campaign was about to start off another Maran scandal cropped up. The full extent of corruption and loot is unlikely to ever come out. If they do, it will be accidentally and not because of the government.

Like politicians, journalists too need to learn that spurious and yellow journalism can only go so far. In the wake of the Ramdev campaign both CNN-IBN and HT have been running a relentless campaign against him with various charges of illegal assets, fraudulent funding, illegitimate properties and everything they can throw at him. Of course, none of these come with any solid proof of any wrong doing. In misdirecting their coverage with wrong issues the TV channels can end up supporting those who are actually anti-nationals. (more of this later). And then they keep pointing to various people backing Ramdev, like Ritambaradevi or RSS cadre or VHP and so on.

The Congress bosserina has put a gag order on all its spokespersons. They have only allowed one loose cannon, Digvijay Singh, to utter all kinds of nonsense. In a supposedly democratic party there is a ‘gag’ order. Even as sycophants, there are some good minds in the Congress. Even they chose to zip their lips. Imagine, this is what may happen to the nation if some had their way. They would shut up the whole nation from speaking up. So, in absence of the regular Congress spokespersons the media had to scramble some of the most vicious anti-Baba, anti-BJP, anti-RSS, anti-anything that will speak against the Congress. You had Nandita Rao brought out by CNN-IBN, you had Shabnam Hashmi brought out by HT and, of course, can Vinod Sharma (of Hindustan Times) be far behind?

Except for Shabnam Hashmi, who harped on those who divide the nation, the Babri Masjid and all the communal riots and so on, the rest decided to focus on the financial aspects of Ramdev’s organisations. The private aircraft, the island in Scotland, various properties etc. became staple diet. In short, they wanted to establish beyond any doubt that Ramdev was the most corrupt man and unqualified to campaign against corruption. Throughout the last two days CNN-IBN has been running videos of fund collection by the Ramdev followers implying that this is some kind of viciously improper or illegal activity. Anything that can damage the credibility of Ramdev will do. Neither of these channels even bothered to mildly discuss the validity of his demands from the government. Their focus was to tarnish him, character assassination and pure mud-slinging. They have so far not managed to dissuade people from swarming to the Ramlila grounds.

If it were election season one can still understand, if not justify, all this talk of communalism, fundamentalism and so on by the anti-Hindu forces. What motives do media channels have in lending a platform to such voices instead of keeping the focus on the main issue? I have mentioned people like Sharad Pawar or a Maran going on a hunger strike against corruption because these worthies would know what their conscience tells them.

Baba Ramdev is no fool. The day he announced the formation of ‘Bharat Swabhiman’ and the day he took this decision to go on a hunger strike, he knew damn well that his enemies in the media would be at his throat 24X7. He also knew the enemies in the so called ‘secular’ TV channels of India. He also knew the likes of Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Shabnam Hashmi, Nandita Rao, Vinod Sharma, Nitin Waghle, Pankaj Pachauri, Pallavi Ghosh would all be out mud-slinging him. He is smarter than many media crooks. He knows the media pretty much and here is a loose translation of his sarcastic take on the media:
Yellow Journalism & Anarchist Media
“..The media channels have been giving us a lot of coverage. Imagine, these people charge heavily for every minute…. No, for every ten seconds. So you can understand how many ad-hours they have donated to us..” As for Ramdev’s oratory and invocation of national pride it must have surely worried Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh no end. The problem for the Congress media and the Congress itself is not corruption really. The problem is UP is going to polls next year, so also Gujarat and some more states. This Ramdev might end up to be a thorn in the flesh for them. So the media with all its yellow journalism also plays the role of the anarchist snake. The Congress has been a gold-mine for many media houses. Why would they want to see that end?

So it is fair to assume that Ramdev would have expected the media and other agencies to put his trusts, properties, wealth and donations under a microscope and make all kinds of charges. It is unlikely he would have dared to take on this campaign if his conscience knew of any financial misdeeds. As for all those clamouring for his blood in terms of declaration of his assets, funds etc. they need to know that there are agencies in the government like the IT department, the ED, the CBI. The Congress is known to arm-twist opponents so nothing stops them from unleashing the state machinery into going into Ramdev’s funds and assets with a fine tooth comb. Despite CNN-IBN crying itself hoarse on this topic, people don’t seem to be buying it. What next? Will someone from somewhere bring out some sex-tape CD? Will someone bring out some CD showing Ramdev accepting huge amounts of cash? Will someone dig up a hole at his ashram and unearth huge amounts of undeclared cash? (a la Sukhram?) Instead of some good investigative journalism that may truly expose financial misdeeds CNN-IBN and HT have been rattling off allegations with the nonchalance of those in jail for corruption claiming innocence.

Barkha Dutt has prudently stayed away from the scene of action in this case. To my memory there has never been a case where a journalist has been heckled, booed and driven out of a place the way Barkha Dutt has been. Such has been her fall from dizzying heights. People are not just angry at politicians. Their anger is also slowly turning towards a biased media. Rajdeep and Kanwal and the rest may want to learn from her experience. Journalists were once placed on a pedestal as high as the ones reserved for Teachers in society. The fall in their integrity is quite similar to that of corrupt politicians.

On a different note, here is something from the 26/11 tragedy that the media seems to have forgotten. The TV channels reported every word of David Headley that exposed the ISI involvement in the 26/11 attacks. Here is what they did not report (Read the full report here):

"..Headley told the court that his Lashkar-e-Toiba(LeT) handler Sajid Mir was in Karachi during the Mumbai attack. Sajid Mir told Headley that a couple of people were with him. Sajid Mir was in contact with the attackers via phone and he was watching TV coverage of the siege and seeing what was going on in India, he said. … About the operation at Chhabad House in Mumbai, Headley said Sajid Mir told the two boys (attackers) to use mattresses and ambush the Special Forces who were descending down the staircases. Six people were killed in the attack on Chhabad house, a Jewish community centre."

The spurious and selective dose of reporting by TV channels is not lost on anyone. The story of Ramdev’s fast keeps unfolding. The story of the spurious media and reporters is not new. Keep watching the mud-slinging grow to a fever pitch.

PS: Since posting the above article 'Transparency International' has also endorsed Ramdev's campaign. You won't find coverage of that news in any mainstream media. Read the news report HERE or on any other news website.


  1. people are completely fed up with corruption,the connivance of the powers that be and the sorry state of an inherently rich nation forced to remain poor.they are ready to follow anyone with an agenda to root out corruption.these are ordinary,honest,hardworking,patriotic folks -a far cry from the sardesais,the ghoses,the kanwals,the vinod (sharmas + mehtas ),the shobha des' and the rest mentioned in your post.can you not smell their fear ?

  2. Ravinar,

    No one could have said it better! Yes, the surprise package in this is Rahul Kanwal. I hadn't witnessed him being so vitriolic prior to this.
    BTW, thanks for reading my blog on Sulekha. Yes, am seriously thinking of switching to Blogger.
    Keep up the great work Ravinar.

  3. everyone who has power will fear only 1 thing.. ie someone with even more power.

    Ramdev is a true patriot. In recent times he's visited so many villages. I saw the crowds he got in a small town of Nalbari in the state of Assam.
    He speaks of morals and virtue. I wish Rahul tried being honest and true once in his life.

    I wud also like to mention Arnab of times now, who openly said that justice hedge took commission from advani. Why doesnt he go to court. He is running a sham of a news channel himself. He's getting all the moolah from pranab.

    Why is our media 2de so anti-nationalistic..?
    If a hindu guy says somethin he's branded communal.. When hindus are abused is ok. Anyone who wears a saffron cloth is a fundamentalist or terrorist.
    Thats no different from racism. Branding people on their attire.

    As indians we need to respect our sages and saints. I agree some might be bad, but its not tough to spot an honest one. Ramdev is one true indian sage. He has dedicated his whole life to treating people with yoga. We barely do anythin for our next door neighbours these days.

  4. The new twist in the story introduced by that ass Kapil Sibal has made the whole matter murkier.

    Both the Congress and the Media are shifting the focus from the central points.

    Notwithstanding the inherently debatable nature of "what is to be done and how it is to be done"; demands from Baba are clear and simple. The three demands which he has repeated so many times.

    The most surprising aspect is that none amongst the Media persons and the Congress persons have directly commented on those demands.

    They are focused on the "personality defamation" act. This is getting so painful and frankly irritating, that now if some (many) of these guys (Media and Congress) get stones thrown at them, they will neither deserve nor get any sympathy from the people.

    @Ravinar: May be this is right time that you start/propose a bharat-swabhiman channel/newspaper! :-) We really want to see facts. We are getting fed up of doctored facts and putrid opinions of the current breed of news channels!

  5. As most of India sleeps, some of us kept awake to watch the most shameless, sordid, criminal spectacle on TV for the last 3 hours...... I cannot believe my eyes at what is taking place at Ramlila maidan right now, at the atrocities and torture that this CORRUPT SHAMELESS govt. has unleashed on thousands of hapless victims, silent protesters, while they slept in the middle of the night..... hundreds of policemen, paramilitary forces swoop down on ramlila grounds, claiming they have withdrawn permission........... LATHI CHARGE and throw TEARGAS at defenseless protesters which included hundreds of elderly, women and children... there was a near stampede, suffocation, the stage was set on fire, there was only one exit, people were running helter skelter, the speaker and mike were torn down, the tents were falling, people were fainting without water, air, their eyes watering and blinded by teargas... women were molested, manhandled, children pulled apart.... I saw poor old men, fasting for 2 days, fainting and being pulled up, still holding the their national flags...... I have tears of anger streaming down my face as I write this... and I wonder what my countrymen have done to deserve this assault at the hands of the MOST CORRUPT and IMMORAL govt that India has ever seen...... where is the PM of this country? Did he allow this atrocity to be unleashed on innocent, fasting, hapless citizens of India.......... This is MURDER OF DEMOCRACY ... this is the death of everything that our freedom fighters fought for..... the Britishers have been replaced by an ITALIAN MAFIA that does not give two hoots for its citizens..

    For once, I watched only Hindi news channels, who gave a true account of what was happening on the ground....
    CNN IBN has to be the most shameless channel on this planet... while all that I described above was happening, Bhupendra Chaubey was reporting and all he SPOKE ABOUT WAS RSS, BJP, VHP, Sadhvi at stage, and how this was bound to happen and whether BJP is going to win a brownie point over this.... I have never in my life wished ill of anyone, but today I pray that this man meets his end at a stampede, trampled over by the very people whose lives he is mocking at..

    Arnab Goswami was live on tv in the middle of the night and actually uttered the words - "Delhi Police have more or less succeeded in their operation". ... as if they were fighting against terrorists.... He tried suggest to his on ground reporter that "Ramdev had fled the scene with his supporters"... when every channel that interviewed the people in the maidan reported how each one of them said that Baba Ramdev asked people to keep calm and quiet but to no avail as the mike system had been dismantled... People were angry, screaming slogans of Bharatmata and vande matram.... resisting arrest, throwing stones at police..

    Star News played the shots of the ravaged ground, and the reporter went quiet for a moment, when a saffron clad young sadhu suddenly appeared on screen, exhausted, and screamed into the camera "yeh sab sonia ke chamche".... He has realised what this country has become, and I hope someday we all do.

  6. Free Verse

    I am shocked. I came across the news of police lathi charge while casually going through rediff article comments.

    Then i tried to search for the news on ndtv website as well as times now website. Not that i expect much from these crooks but i wanted to see if they are reporting it.

    My last resort was this blog where i wanted to check for facts.

    Going through your post, i felt so ashamed as well as frustrated sitting thousands of miles away from India.

    Its a coward government that chose to act during night when people were resting. While most of India sleeps , the wicked government tries to supress the ramdev movement.

    It is the sign of collapse of responsible media.

    Today, the congress has proved the satement of dick raja. It fears the movement, it fears the way in which this movement was well organized, it fears people will join ramdev, it fears it will have to answer people and hence it resorted to lathicharge and possible arrest of baba.

    I had a strong feeling when dick raja made that statement. Its proved now.

    I am ashamed, angry, frustrated.

    But somewhere deep inside i have a strong feeling... the revolution has begun.. by virtue of its actions, congress has made sure, even the people who are on fence will jump into the movement...

    Time for another freedom movement...

    PS: Indian-Americas also held meetings and symbolic fasting in support of baba...

  7. Dear @TaMoGhNa, I am glad I could provide you some details. It was unbearable for me to watch it all on TV. One thing that ran through my mind was simply - THIS IS THE FATE OF BEING A HINDU IN INDIA. It has always been so... and I don't know for how long it will continue. How can 800 million Hinuds of this country allow this Italian bitch (sorry for my profanity, but I have no qualms today) to rule of us in this highhanded, dictatorial, immoral manner? I can understand if she doesn't feel for the Indians at Ramlila maidan... what about the Manmohan? Chidambaram who ordered this? Sheila Dikshit? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? What have they become and how low are they willing to stoop to save this foreign mafia raj?

    This Times Now channel is screening live footage, but I don't know if you will be able to view it where you are? Kindly garner all the support you can in the US for this atrocious, illegal, immoral act of the government today on its own citizens. I say this because Indian social activists will not bother - they only care where Kashmiri separatists are hurt, or Gujarat Muslims feel neglected.

  8. If there is any more proof needed that this is the real fascist nature of the Congress then you've got it. Attacking a peaceful crowd of protestors in the middle of the night is what we would associate with a Gaddafi or an Assad. All pretensions of being a government fighting for India is now gone. The truth is out there. Something has to give!


    The idea of starting a newspaper or a news channel has often been put forth to me. I would be able to do justice to that only if I make it a full time profession. So we shall see. However, there is an e-paper that has already been floated in recent days and you can take a look at

  9. Arnab Goswami is the most pompous and pretentious of the lot. I have long stopped watching all the dramabaazi he does in the name of discussions. He is as conceited and untrustworthy as the others of his ilk

  10. Here is one reporting Transparency International support to Baba Ramdev

  11. Here are some more

    Hey here is outllookindia

  12. The Congress regime has just proved how much opposed they are to Black Money reform and the Lokpal Bill. You can fool some poeple all the time and all the people for some time, and now people can see them for who they are. This is an act of desperation on the part of the Criminal Congress and it shall have widespread repercussions. People are watching. More and more people are now focused on 'Real' issues like black money policy reform and the Lokpal bill to weed out corruption.

    On the whole, Tavleen Singh generally makes sense but her weekly column today abounds with media elitism. It's as if only the super-educated (westernized?) pseudo-liberal journalists understand economics and how to root out black money. If that is really the case, why haven't they (these elite super intellectual beings) formulated a proposal for dealing with the malaise? And for Tavleen Singh to look down her nose at a Magsaysay Award winner (Hazare) is the worst example of journalistic elitism carried too far.

    Back to issues, the maligning campaign is shamelessly on with Digvijay accusing Ramdev of murder! If what Digvijay claims has really happened (people disappearing) why did no newspaper ever report this in the past?

    Ramdev's movement has mass support and he will definitely continue with his work of making the masses aware of issues. Congress Criminals, this is not the end of the story. But it's the beginning of the end for you.

  13. If Ramdev is accused of wealth and is skeptical of his corruption means there are ED, IT and others to be usurped against him. They are impotent? Are the looters including the Indian media who have become stooges for congis for obvious reasons are of the opinion that the chaste cong can be questioned only by chaste DMK, Chaste Gowda, Chaste Miya Mulayam and Chaste Maya?

    Democracy has been optimized by the congis to arraign whatever they wish against anybody and capable of tinkering as they like.

    The Madras Covuum has become second to DS if his utterances are any indication. He thinks his SIMI alone is virtuous.

    By their attitude, the congis accept that they are corrupt and would camouflage with corrupted only and thus pose challenge for the nation if their threat/coercion perception is any indication.

    The author could have included the indian media crooks also together with the congi foxes named in the first para as they are no less criminal than the foxes

  14. @Free Verse,

    Well hindus have been systematically and constantly poisoned with fake secularism and been given doses of mythical tolerance. Nehru conspired wiht commies to rid India of its cultural and traditional heritage.

    But internet has really changed the game. I have come across numerous youth, who are against this systematic assault on India by its very own indians hand in glove with videshis.

    The change is comming. All these events are indication of it. It has to be seen to what low congress gets before its eradicated. I have full faith in Dharma.

    Its a cycle. Its the begining of the end of CONgress as well as traitors of India.

    I am not writing this with emotion. I am writing this with sound logics and thinking. Change is inevitable and when something gets rotten and starts stinking, it is always got rid of. Rule of nature. Just wait and watch. All these events are just part of greater order.

  15. The "reason" or "excuse" given by police officals is clear.. They are saying it was "Political" decision...

    First and foremost, we are not suprised that its a political decion on basis of which police acted. But definately its the first time police chief or police officials are making it clear and loud that its "political" decision.

    Secondly, on what basis did police officials arrest baba? there must be some reason. Was he and his supporters indulging in violence? was he or his protestors blocking any damn traffic as other politicians do? was he instigating a mob? was he causing communal tensions?

    For the betterment of nation at large, police should have arrested dickvijay when he was endorsing 26/11 rss conspiracy book. He should have been booked for treason.

    Indian media assholes should have been booked for treason for ignoring corruption and concentrating on ramdev's individuality.

    Ironically, the PM who had sleepless nights over some suspected terrorsit muslim being arrested by foreign police, had a peaceful sleep when the innocent indians where were sleeping were attacked in the dead of night by police. Their crime. Being part of anti corruption campaign.

    I wont say government should resign. They will not as they are power clingers. But i do say, its free india's jalian wala bhag hatyakand.

    Just hope there are some "revolutionaires" out there who will be azad part 2.

  16. Dear ravi,
    thanks for your wonderful post.

    WHat i like to say is last month we saw the idiotic Raul running on bikes and doing all kind of natak to show all the juntas thru his ass licking media the police atrocities committed in noida.

    I wonder where he is now. Under his waitress moms chunnii. :)

  17. This is an award winning post.
    Where are our leaders this nation towards?


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