Rather than expressing displeasure at the BBC, why not make a factual documentary ?

Prof. Shankar Sharan

1. Rather than merely imposing a ban on the controversial documentary made by the BBC, point out the mistakes in it

It is not respectable for India to express displeasure at the BBC for having made a documentary. BBC is a globally acclaimed and very old news organisation. Banning it would unintentionally prove that the incorrect aspects in the documentary are correct. This documentary has been watched by a large number of people all over the world. What sort of an intellect is it that seeks to ban and cause more harm than gain ?

Showing evidential error in the news or articles is a major blow for standard journalism or writing. It harms the reputation of the concerned writer-journalist or the news channel. Recently, two major foreign websites had to correct and apologize for incorrect reporting, and the caption of a photo in the Shaheen Bagh case. If we had exposed the errors in the BBC documentary in a similar manner, it may have responded like these foreign websites.

2. The failure of nationalist leaders in showing the world the Hindu perception of Gujarat riots

On the other hand, even after 20 years, why have the Indian news channels (such as Doordarshan) not made a documentary on the truth of Gujarat riots so far ? They did not even talk of a simple white paper on the subject.

Besides, the evidence that independent journalists such as Madhu Kishwar, Nicole Elfie, Manmath Deshpande painstakingly collected and published, was neither publicized nor rewarded. If our leaders had publicized or honoured these facts at home and abroad, alternative information about the Gujarat riots would have come to the fore; but our nationalist organisations did not want to resolve the issue once and for all. Instead, they wanted to be seen as a part of the Secular-Left ideology. As a result, they chose to remain silent about the Gujarat riots, hiding the side of the Hindus.

If you wish to take a certain direction or a specific stand, how can you expect that others should follow you always ? Such a childish attitude earns no respect. Besides, people here ran riot on social media against the BBC. One wonders why these people did not do the same about Al Jazeera or news agencies in the Islamic countries, when they too spread false and inflammatory news about India. What sort of an image will be created about us by this duplicity or silence ?

3. Stop the blame game and prove your worth instead

It is also pathetic to accuse the BBC of having a British colonial mindset, being anti-Indian or white-supremacist. This is like propagating a 100-year-old sentiment in today’s situation. This also hides the truth.

First, whatever has been said by the BBC has been said earlier by hundreds of journalists, writers and leaders of our own country because of their political gimmicks or ideological differences.

Second, calling the BBC anti-India is also incorrect; because, the BBC has been the mouthpiece of Muslims and Secular-Leftists in India. Effectively it means that the BBC has a wrong perception only about Indian Hindus and the so-called devout Hindus. Ignoring this will hurt the one who propagates this falsehood. Accusing the BBC of colonial mentality may provide self-satisfaction to some garrulous people, but it does not harm their enemies. Until and unless the opposition to Hindus, be it domestic or foreign, is given a label, the real problem will exist as it is.

The actual situation is still worse. In India, false accusations hurled at Hindu society and appeasement of Muslims go hand-in-hand very smoothly. Even when the truth is told about the malafide propaganda of any incident, it does not get any attention. Secularism, multi-culturism, equity, etc. are bandied around as some politically acceptable terms.

However, if Hindus or smart organisations that consider themselves nationalists, also indulge in similar tactics of fake narratives, their lies will be shred to pieces and ridiculed all over the world. Our nationalists feel that with their strength and (drunk with) power, they can benefit from fake narratives or pressurise the opposition. Therefore, they too rely on random accusations.

They forget that they do not have the advantage the Islamists and the Left enjoy in the world. Instead of taking the necessary or simple steps to earn respect, they believe in various dramas, pomp and abuse of money-power. They do not learn anything even after being beaten repeatedly. This is their foolishness.

To earn respect, blaming foreigners and bragging are useless. It is a sign of weakness that instead of making appropriate efforts to win the ideological war, they curse others. As a result, the misdeeds of the Left and foreigners get respect.

It is for this reason that the attempts to blame the BBC by calling it ‘White Christians’, ‘Supremacists’, etc. will fail. Because they have the same attitude with the America of Trump, Russia of Putin, Hungary of Oben, etc. These individuals too are white Christians.

Using accusations of the yore today amounts to our own dishonour and defeat; because, the source of information or journalists of the BBC are themselves respectable Hindus, Muslims and Leftists in India. This is why, it is incorrect to accuse the BBC of being colonial, anti-Indian or white-supremacist.

4. It is possible to defeat the enemy in an ideological war through truth and factual evidence

It is especially embarrassing for Hindus to try and get away with such fake accusations; because, their education on Dharma teaches them to stand firm with the truth. It is very sad to see them give up this solid foundation and indulge in low level politics and bragging. It would have been possible to get some sympathy from a section of the people across the world by boldly speaking the truth and talking openly about what happened in Gujarat or Kashmir. Instead, the childish diplomacy that is being used is only harming the Hindus further.

The real battle is ideological, which is the same inside and outside India. It is pathetic to divert from this and try to win with fake narratives. The nationalist organisations did not learn a lesson from the Ayodhya episode either. Even so, they tried uselessly to win over the Muslim side by speaking good-for-nothing sweet words about Islam for many years.

They continued to feel happy, demonstrating their pathetic magnanimity in begging for only one place and leaving Mathura and Kashi to their own fate. Finally, it was the sincere efforts of Sitaram Goel, Arun Shourie, Koenraad Elst and the scholars of the Voice of India school of thought succeeded. The Allahabad High Court accepted the right of Hindus to the disputed site of Ayodhya only on the basis of evidential research, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court. Truth alone would have been able to settle the matter earlier and amicably.

5. Instead of blaming the BBC, Indian leaders who are hungry for power need to introspect

So is the case in every issue where Hindu welfare and Islamic attitudes come face-to-face. The nationalist organisations constantly cook up some easy solutions, for which the Hindu society has to suffer a great deal in the form of material loss and humiliation.
However, leaders immersed in nurturing the ego of their organisation and power endanger the welfare of Hindu society with their wishes and convenience to preserve their self-image. They don’t issue a single statement on the plight or the humiliating condition of Hindus – from Gujarat to Kashmir and Pakistan to Bangladesh and Arab countries.

Then, why to crib about the foreigners, who are given prejudiced or incorrect information by the people of our own country ?

The irony is that the same leaders, the same informers are rewarded with national awards repeatedly. Kuldeep Nair instead of Madhu Kishwar, Maulana Waheeduddin instead of Sitaram Goel are praised sky-high; but remember, foreign organisations like the BBC broadcast aspects on Gujarat or Kashmir that were earlier published by the native Kuldeep Nair. Then, why the upset ?

– Prof. Shankar Sharan, Professor of Political Science at the NCERT and Senior Columnist, New Delhi. (31.1.2023)

A brief on the BBC Documentary

UK’s National broadcaster BBC aired a two-part series attacking PM Narendra Modi’s tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister during the Gujarat riots of 2002. The Documentary sparked outrage and was removed from select platforms.

In response to a question, Arindam Bagchi (External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson) said, “We think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias and the lack of objectivity and the continuing colonial mindset are belatedly visible”.

Prominent Indian-origin UK citizens condemned the series. UK Citizen Lord Rami Ranger said the ‘BBC caused a great deal of hurt to over a billion Indians’.

Why have Indian news channels (such as Doordarshan) not made a documentary on the truth of Gujarat riots so far ?

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