His ambitions to become CM forced Shankersinh Vaghela to quit BJP, form a new party and finally merge with Congress. Ever since then, most BJP supporters have called him a “traitor”. Vaghela lost the 2009 elections from Panchmahal. In case you’re unaware, Godhra is the main town in Panchmahal. Vaghela depended on the Muslim votes in Godhra but lost those votes to someone called Karim Abdul Latif. There happens to be another Abdul Latif that most Gujaratis, especially from Ahmedabad, remember quite well. We’ll come back to the story. Barkha Dutt may know a lot about Pakistan but with pardonable pride I can claim to know a bit more about Gujarat than she does. That’s the reason why it is easy to call the bluffs, the lies and the half-truths peddled on NDTV and by various participants on Barkha’s shows. It is also why the lies and bluffs go over her head. Barkha knows precious little about Gujarat beyond Narendra Modi. Even that is mostly driven by her evident contempt for the man.
NDTV and Barkha Dutt constantly lament the condition of Muslims. Considering it’s Gujarat elections, her rants have been upped a notch. Juhapura, Muslims living on the edge, why no ticket for Muslims by Modi… the list is endless. But lately she hasn’t been able to get too far with her regular guests and panellists with her agenda of divisive debates and discussions on her shows, so a little diversion and creativity is in order. She gets two people who aren’t in politics to lunch with her over “Gujarati Thali”. She didn’t clarify whether “Gujarati Thali” meant Hindu Thali or Muslim Thali. I guess we can live with ambiguity on that though. Let’s also be grateful that Barkha didn’t call it the “Effete Thali” since she thinks Gujjus are effete. So in come Suketu Mehta, a writer and Manoj Ladwa, a solicitor. Both are NRI Gujaratis; Mehta from the US and Ladwa from UK. Ladwa seems to be the person who campaigned for UK to re-establish relations with Gujarat and Modi so you could say he’s sort of pro-Modi. Mehta evidently another lamenter of the conditions of Muslims in Gujarat, the communal divide etc. Add Barkha as extra chutney to the Thali and you have 2 against 1. Let’s deviate a bit.
Along with Barkha, another one to have joined the Muslim “discourse” is her NDTV colleague (and often a stand-in for Barkha) – Sunetra Chaudhury. Now this Sunetra wonders whether appointment of Syed Asif Ibrahim as the new IB chief is “tokenism” in her tweets. Damn! What do we do? If you appoint a Muslim as head of IB they call it tokenism and if not, we aren’t being nice to Muslims. Which way should we jump? Sunetra then wonders how many Muslims are in RAW. Can you get more idiotic? A govt is supposed to appoint people to secret service and then disclose their name, caste, religion. NDTV! Haha! Naturally, people asked her the same questions about NDTV and she replies that one of the biggest NDTV anchors is a Muslim. I suppose she is probably referring to Barkha Dutt. In much a similar fashion, if Modi had indeed given tickets to say 3 Muslims, the same Sunetras and Barkhas would have called it “tokenism” and still continued to hang him. You see, prejudice and bigotry has no cure and will flow in any discourse regardless of what a person does. Is Barkha prejudiced? You won’t need a torch even in a dark night to establish that.
What’s the job of a moderator in a TV debate or any debate? Usually, along with managing the time and relevance to the topic, moderators also point out untruths. Do you expect Barkha to point out untruths that are convenient to her agenda? So Suketu Mehta (SM) is supposedly from Maninagar (Modi’s constituency) and he talked about how Hindu-Muslims were lovey-dovey in his time and greeted each other on festivals. Oh, they still do. And he says now there’s a ‘border’ between the Hindus and the Muslim community neighbouring his residence. Really? Since when are such borders new to Ahmedabad?
Abdul Latif was an ordinary rickshaw driver who rose to become a Mafia don with links to Dawood. His HQ was around Dariapur in Ahmedabad which also had a ‘border’ with the neighbouring Hindus in the congested walled city. Now what was Latif’s business? During the Congress regime he used to run an open bar in a ground roughly measuring 1000 sq. yards. On one end of the ground there was an ‘English’ bar and on the other there was a ‘Desi’ bar. There was nothing secret about it and it operated under the full glare of police during the Congress regime till around 1995. He was finally arrested after Keshubhai Patel became CM. In 1996 Latif contested 6 municipal seats from his area and won. Where did he contest from? JAIL! Latif was dreaded in Ahmedabad and Hindus lived in terror in his area where arms and crimes flowed freely along with liquor. Gujarat is a “prohibition” state. In November 1997 while being ‘transported’ by the police Latif sought to take a ‘leak’ and tried to escape and was shot dead. Who was in charge of the police then? Shankersinh Vaghela! While people were not unhappy, Hindus believed Vaghela with his new break-away party, the so-called traitor, tried to score brownie points with the Hindus. Does Barkha know all this? Does SM know this? Do they talk about why there are borders not just in Maninagar? Does SM believe borders came up only after 2002? Total rubbish and untruth.
Next, SM goes on to say that it’s difficult for Muslims to get housing in a Hindu locality under the BJP rule. I am indeed surprised that Barkha divine didn’t interrupt and correct him. News channels have been wailing for long about how Shabana Azmi or Emran Hashmi hasn’t been able to get flats in Mumbai. Is Maharashtra under BJP rule too? Another untruth passes over Barkha’s nest. Convenient, eh? That’s a good question though. Why shouldn’t Muslims get housing where they want to? But do they want it? Here’s a report from HindustanTimes – December 14 (A family-friend type outlet of Barkha Dutt):
Godhra, the headquarters of Panchmahal district, has a history of communal violence. In 1980, five members of a Sindhi family, which had migrated from Pakistan during the partition, were burnt alive at Muslim-dominated Signalfalia. Their's was the lone Hindu family in the area and oldtimers say muslims wanted them to vacate their house and leave. The same report of HT adds:
In 1990, four Hindu teachers of Saifia Madarsa in Vorwad area of Godhra town were killed by Muslims, he says, adding, "the mistrust between the two communities runs very deep and Modi's goodwill mission cannot bridge the divide". Should Hindus work in Muslim outfits?
Modi’s goodwill mission cannot bridge the divide he says. Did that divide start in 2002? Any answers? Any answers Suketu, Barkha? Now such incidents are many and not all of them have ended in murders but Barkha doesn’t want to dig up facts from history nor does Suketu. TV discussions are like Viagral pleasures. Next, Modi didn’t give tickets to Muslims! Boohoooo! That wail has been on since a month with Rajdeep, Barkha and all the unholy trinities in media. Here’s what the same Hindustan Times page had to say:
"Godhra is a prestige issue for Narendra Modi. So, he fielded Muslim candidates to divide Congress votes but Congress made sure they backed off," says Firdausbhai Kothi, president of the Muslim Ganchi Samaj Panch and owner of Kothi Steel Limited. So even if Modi picks Muslim candidates; who forces them to back off? Barkha’s party? Who sacked Ghulam Vastanvi from Deoband when he claimed Muslims had progressed well in Gujarat? Hindus?
Any answers Barkha and the media mafia? Now, asking about tickets for Muslims is not a bad question. The right question is would the Muslim candidates represent all or only Muslims? Would the candidates work for Hindus too? Hindu candidates have a history of working for all members of society. If that hadn’t happened the condition of Muslims would be far worse. Nobody seems to ask! And when they do have a Muslim candidate in a legislative house what does he do? Oops... Guy warns the country of a “third wave of Muslim radicalisation” right from the middle of India’s parliament. So will the Muslims convince us that all Muslims aren’t like the Owaisis? And that next time they will throw out Owaisi? Will Barkha campaign for Owaisi to be thrown out? Oh no... you see, he’s a darling at NDTV. Ladwa points out that there were 11 Muslims in the outgoing assembly in Gujarat but Muslims themselves claim they have done nothing.
The stupid morons in the media still don’t get it that their untruths are so easy to expose. They are the ones who made Narendra Modi larger than life by constantly bitching about him like desperate mafia-wives. How is Barkha going to explain Asifa Khan’s statements which are scheduled to be aired tonight (December 16) on her show “We the peepull”? And were Muslims not given enough chance on media to present their case? Where did all the Teestas and Shabnams come from? Shabnam Hashmi goes and provokes Muslims in Juhapura but she doesn’t live there. She lives in a locality called Vastrapur (a predominantly Hindu area) in Ahmedabad.
To their credit, both Suketu and Manoj had the discussion in a very friendly manner despite their differences. Both mentioned the need for a strong Opposition in Gujarat. Ladwa even subtly mentioned Barkha was the real Opposition in Gujarat. But one cannot excuse NDTV for raking up spurious topics without enough research and without enough facts to rely on. NDTV once had a tagline: “Experience truth first”. I guess much water has flown in the Sabarmati since they dumped that tagline. Looks like they thought they had a monopoly on truth and the rest of the public is made up fools. Why not turn it around? Why not: “Experience untruth first”? That seems more suited to their approach since 2002 and towards Gujarat.