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opinion Western media has a problem with Ayodhya

By Nitin Mehta

January 28, 2024

The time has come for India to sharpen its response to these India bashers.

The Western media has gone into top gear to shed crocodile tears about the impending disaster for the minorities in India following the consecration of the Shri Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. A common thread of their hysteria is that the Mandir has been built on a razed mosque. They have closed their eyes and ears to anything that suggests that the place was a Ram Mandir originally. The Time Magazine, the Guardian and the Telegraph, BBC and many television channels tried to outdo each other in their hysterical outpouring. Somehow, they believe that their breast-beating will damage India and tarnish the image of the majority Hindu faith. In this article I would like to concentrate on a rabid Hindu hater by the name of Audrey Truschke. A lecturer at the Rutgers University in the US, she has made hatred of Hindus her trademark. In her recent article in the Time Magazine titled, “Ayodhya Temple is a Huge Monument to Hindu Supremacy” she starts with the razing of the mosque in Ayodhya. Hindus, she says, are looking for supremacy over Indian Muslims. This, she says, is to settle the “perceived” historical wrongs done by Muslims. Coming from a country which wiped out millions of indigenous Indians and initiated the slave trade in which millions of Africans were treated with cruelty that is unmatched in human history, she will never understand the Hindu mindset. A mindset that looks at the world as a family. Yes, there is a Hindu revival in a Hindu majority country and Hindus do not have to be apologetic about it. After all, the US is very much a Christian country and so are all the European countries. You never hear of the right-wing Christian United States which targets black people, the Hispanics and other minorities. Audrey further asserts that the claims of a Hindu temple at the site of the mosque do not stand up to historical scrutiny. To utter such a blatant lie raises the question of the calibre of lecturers in US universities. It looks like the places of learning in the US have been hijacked by agenda driven, ideologically compromised hatemongers. According to her, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP want a Hindu supremacist state. Does she worry about the turbulent state of politics in the US and the potential takeover by a right-wing supremacist Christian party? She does further breast beating and bemoans that Hindu supremacists will destroy pluralism and tolerance. It is a bit rich to talk about tolerance from a country that indulged in slave trade and continues to treat black people with utter prejudice. Finally, the author quotes a so-called outfit called “Freedom House”. According to this set-up, India is only partly free. Freedom House is almost entirely funded by the American government. It has been accused of being biased towards American interests. It is also criticised for biased reporting and promoting a “radical liberal ideology”. Their methodology of ranking countries in their Freedom Index is unscientific and malicious. Here is what a report from Freedom House on India in 2021 said: “India, the world’s most populous democracy, dropped from Free to Partly Free status in Freedom in the World 2021. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its state-level allies continued to crack down on critics during the year, and their response to COVID-19 included a ham-fisted lockdown that resulted in the dangerous and unplanned displacement of millions of internal migrant workers. The ruling Hindu nationalist movement also encouraged the scapegoating of Muslims, who were disproportionately blamed for the spread of the virus and faced attacks by vigilante mobs. Rather than serving as a champion of democratic practice and a counterweight to authoritarian influence from countries such as China, Modi and his party are tragically driving India itself toward authoritarianism.” This report criticising PM Modi’s handling of Covid-19 is so ridiculous that it shows how this champion of freedom is not even pretending to be a messenger of freedom. The US lost tens of thousands lives in its handling of Covid, but Freedom House finds fault with PM Modi.

The time has come for India to sharpen its response to these India bashers. In a multipolar world an aggressive approach to mass media adversaries is crucial as their voice is bound to grow into a cacophony as India marches ahead.

Nitin Mehta

28 January 2024

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