While Ajaf Ashraf, the Foreign Editor of Outlook tries his best to assert and convince us through his article in today’s Hindustan Times that Gujarat 2002 should not be forgotten, ironically the arguments he is advancing and the issues he is highlighting convey diametrically the opposite- frustration and despair that people have in fact forgotten and moved on. And Ashraf is not alone in pursuing this ‘noble’ mission of trying to connect Modi personally to 2002 riots; only difference is his inability to artfully camouflage his anguish.
Writing on the occasion of Outlook’s 15th anniversary, Ashraf boasted that “we aren’t among those who always see darkness in light….” Still he does the same-seeing darkness in light- while applauding the Naroda Patia verdict. And what is the darkness? “The verdict,” according to him, “is not likely to diminish the fear the community has about majority communalism, nor persuade them to believe that the horror of Gujarat will never revisit them.” And why it will not persuade Muslims to believe that 2002 will not revisit?
These according to Ashraf are blatant manifestations of ‘majority communalism’! Muslims, according to him, cannot fathom these. While going though the above reasons, what strikes one the most? Majority communalism? Minority isolation? No way. It is the overwhelming frustration of Ashraf that in spite of a decade long vicious propaganda by the ‘secular ‘journalists of the Main Stream Media (MSM), Modi has managed to win elections, top opinion polls and attract projects to Gujarat.
Ashraf is satisfied with just the unnecessary dragging of Modi’s name in an article meant for analyzing/ applauding the Naroda Patia verdict. Veteran journalist Kinshuk Nag is not one to be content with such simple pleasures. He openly cribs as to how Modi gets scot-free? One can understand Modi’s name being dragged in Gulberg Housing Society case where he is one of the accused. (It is of course a different matter that SIT in its closure report did not find any evidence against Modi.) What has he to do with Naroda Patia? The Hindu editorial explains the looooong shot by which Modi can be linked viz. the conspiracy established by the judgment would not have been possible without government’s- read Modi’s- knowledge.
The desperation of these journalists to link Modi to every judgement on 2002 riots reminds of a story of a school kid, who prepared meticulously for an essay on coconut tree whereas the question paper asked him to write on a cow. He did the smartest thing- he wrote 4 pages on coconut tree and concluded with a sentence that the cow is generally tied on such coconut tree! This is what exactly Ashraf, Kinshuk and the like are doing- they had obviously prepared material against Modi and if judgements turnout to be different, they still spew the readymade irrelevant material they had prepared and create an illogical link.
Why can’t these journalists accept the simple fact that no court has till date held Modi responsible for any part of 2002 riots?
DIMINISHING CLOUT OF MSM
Their reluctance to accept the simple fact can be traced to their insecurity. The reasons alluded by Ashraf signify the growing irrelevance of MSM in shaping or modifying public opinion. No other phenomenon has highlighted the diminishing clout of MSM during the last decade so convincingly as has Modi’s repeated successes in elections and opinion polls.
Added scare to MSM, is the growing clout of Social Media and the inconvenient fact that Modi is successful in harnessing it. The phenomenal success of the latest Google+ Hangout session has added insult to their injury. The IRS survey for Q1, 2012 puts Internet growth at 47.3% compared to Cable and Satellite Television’s much lower 12.4% and Print Media’s meager 1.3%. If the print media watched helplessly a few years back the TV Channels poaching its readers, today is the turn of MSM- both print and electronic media. But MSM does not watch helplessly. It cries foul. It accuses-
Many of the MSM personalities had, in the past stuck their neck out on the alleged role of Modi in Gujarat Riots. Dismissal of this basic premise will be a slap on their face. And they will do everything under the Sun to associate Modi with every aspect of 2002 riots. And this explains MSM’s indifference to 1984 anti Sikh riots. Since they had not taken a position on the 1984 riots, it does not matter to them whether the guilty are brought to book or not.
The high decibel rhetoric of MSM on Gujarat 2002 and Modi is nothing but an attempt to retrieve the losing glory of MSM.