Saturday, January 29, 2011

REACTIONS TO MY ARTICLE ON HINDUTVA IN THE WEB WORLD

B.RAMAN

I have received/seen a large number of detailed comments (60 plus) on my article of January 28 on the above subject.

2.About 30 per cent of the articles still indulge in calumny. They accuse me of having written that article in the hope of being nominated to the Rajya Sabha or getting a Padma Sri . I am a cancer patient getting myself reconciled in advance to the days to come. Where is the question of my wangling for a Rajya Sabha seat or a Padma Sri? These people are unfortunately not prepared to accept that I might have written that article out of genuine concerns and not with an ulterior motive.

3.About 10 per cent are from RSS (Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh) functionaries---some of them personally known to me. They have expressed their pain and anguish over the kind of defamatory allegations made against me and conveyed graceful apologies. One interesting comment is that Hindutva enthusiasts in the NRI community abroad have been indulging in such tactics. They say that Hindutva followers in India respect age and experience and would never behave in that manner either to me or to any other old person----whatever be their anger.

4.The remaining 60 per cent--- while not justifying the anger and behaviour noticed in the web world--- try to explain it cogently.They say that just as the perceived softness of the Government and the Congress (I) towards jihadi terrorism has triggered the recent incidents of reprisal terrorism by some Hindus, the perceived prejudices of the traditional Indian media--- print as well as electronic--- has given rise to a wave of anger among Hindu youth against our media. According to them, this should explain the new focus of the Hindutva enthusiasts on the web world to give expression to their anger, to explain their point of view and to confront those trying to demonise the Hindutva ideology. They allege that the traditional Indian media will place columns and columns and sound bytes and sound bytes at the disposal of foreign writers like Christoph Jaffrelot who make an earning out of denigrating the Hindutva enthusiasts and their ideology, but would ignore---or worse still ridicule--- the Hindutva enthusiasts. According to them, it is anger and frustration over the attitude of the mainstream Indian media that forced them to take to the web world and use it to create for themselves a level playing field. If some of them indulge in excesses as they did towards me, it is deplorable, but understandable, they say.

5.In their expressions of anger, two Indian journalists are repeatedly mentioned by name--- Barkha Dutt of NDTV and Sagarika Ghose of CNN-IBN. They are both accused of disseminating prejudice against the Hindutva enthusiasts. They are further accused of not giving equal opportunity to Hindutva enthusiasts to explain their point of view in their programmes. There is additional anger against Barkha Dutt because many feel that she gives prominence to the views of the Kashmiri separatists, but not to those of nationalist elements.

6.I am aware of the anger in the Hindu community in general and among Hindutva enthusiasts in particular over what they consider to be the prejudices of the traditional media against them. A couple of years ago I was invited to a brain-storming discussion on various aspects of national security organised by some Hindutva enthusiasts. It was attended by many prominent personalities of the Hindutva line of thinking. One of the subjects discussed was the perceived negativism of the mainstream Indian media---print as well as electronic--- towards Hindutva enthusiasts and how to counter it.

7.It was argued by some in that panel discussion that they will never be able to change the attitude of the traditional media and that they should, therefore, focus on the new media of the web world. From that time onwards, I have been seeing an attempt by young Hindutva enthusiasts to build up a constituency for themselves in the web world. I have an impression that many young NRIs are playing a prominent role in this.

8.They have every right to do so. I bless their efforts to convert the new media into the "Great Leveller" in propagating their views and in countering the perceived prejudices against them allegedly disseminated by the traditional media. My only advice to them is---by all means do so, but in a manner that is balanced, courteous and non-defamatory. Tactics smacking of defamation and intimidation will prove counter-productive. (29-1-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

14 comments:

sk said...

stsir.we indians have been and will continue to give respect to wisdom and age. we also needguides like u to keep us on right track.wishing u quick recovery from your ailment.

abhishek said...

i wish u quick recovery.. i read your all papers... even someone does not agree with anyone's view , his view help better discussion and other matters. these views help our society and make it more flexible which is necrssary to meet challenges...

Shael Sharma said...

Dear Mr. Raman,
I am dismayed at the news of your ailment. We all wish you fast recovery!

Now to the core of the issue. Clearly, this is a polarised debated and you have taken the wind out of the sails of most irrational people on the Internet and of course notably those on TWitter. The sane and the reasoned can handle the ambivaence of a spirited discourse anyway. I think this can put the past behind, so we all can get back to issues rather than personal attacks.
Please accept our continuing faith in your objectivity and your immense credibility with people in India, new and old!

Best,

S

Sandeep Patil H2O said...

Wish you a speedy recovery sir..

the irony of Indian Media is that we needed people like you to give viewers good analysis of different issues that affect our country

when in reality Indian media is hijacked by the likes of BDutt and Sagarika Ghose whose credentials have clearly become questionable at least today with all the proofs available...

Esoteric said...

Most liberals in India are cultural liberals ie have different habits,'morals' etc and not religion.In recent times,real face of Congress has been revealed as both incorrigbly corrupt and Anti-Hindu(or Indian..aka 26/11 & Diggy) and not just 'secular'.Hindutva elements have gained both some footage and credibility due to omissions of Cong.Hindutva elements are like the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt,important for Congress to brand as 'extremists' to take 'centre',literally and figuratively.

Everyone needs to behave on the web,blogs,twitter and other media...yes,in a way it suggests polarisation which is both dangerous and symbolic.

vishnu said...

Sir,
I have followed your blog religiously for the past 2 years.I find it extremely ironical that you of all has been targeted by the so called hindutva storm troopers. One was under the impression that you were sympthetic to RSS; not in any wrong way but as espousing strong cultural nationalistic views(RIGHTIST so to put it). If you were in the business of securing the naiton you certainly end up being one.
In India people are suspicious about each others intentions, a curious BEING HUNTED FEAR.
The LIBERALS feel they are targetted by the left, right and centre, the LEFT -by the right and the state, the RIGHT- by the LIBERALS etc etc.
It shows how ragged skien our polity is. Spaces are, even after 6 decades, fluid.
AT the end of the day in a democracy all sorts of fringe ideas have a space. People should learn to respect ideas and views.
TOLERANCE is the name of the game.People who indulge in the business of BANNING books and ostracising artists and writers make a mockery of the IDEA OF INDIA .

Paresh said...

Sir, in the current Indian situation, you are one of those people who give a balanced and nuanced view of the country. You tell us the good and bad of every political party/stakeholder in power. In such a situation, you have to expect being verbally abused from one or the other side wherever you mention the bad about someone. Its a sacrifice you pay for telling the truth!!

Now, is this sacrifice worth it?

Sir, I have said this many times before. Every morning, your blog is the first bit of news that I read! That is the credibility you hold in my eyes. And I can guarantee you that there are many like me :) Therefore, I feel your sacrifice IS WORTH the occasional abuse. Please carry on!

neo phyte said...

why do u categorize ur thoughts into points when the intention anyway is to come up with amorphous, vaguely worded stuff that strengthens at least my own perception that you're either a disinterested observer of what's going on or you're on the wrong side.

no point in being either balram who went for a pilgrimage during the war or some stalwart who chose the kauravs out of a misplaced sense of loyalty.

there is this gentlemen who pursued the same profession as you, mr rsn singh with his columns on sify, i prefer his approach.

wish you a speedy recovery and health.

Innate Thoughts said...

Mr. Raman,
You used a phrase storm-troopers. Do you really understand the proper usage of that phrase. Indian columnists do not do an analysis of their own writings to know why they invoke acid responses from readers. Acidic writings invoke acidic responses. Logical and incisive analysis yields thoughtful responses. Writing is not a one way street.

Pragnya said...

Sir,

Firstly , Wishing you a speedy recovery and joyful life.

Yes, you are right about the 60% argument. The Indian Mainstream Media doesnt report in a balanced way and this is detrimental to the Nation's fabric and security. This sometimes leads to pent up frustration among fair minded people and manifests on internet which indeed a great leveller. Hope you will take it in that spirit.

IndoriDude said...

Dear Mr. B Raman

Never knew of your ailment and wish you speedy recovery.

I am not aware of the issue between you and folks who are extremely unhappy with media due to their biased journalism (as you have mentioned). people are angry and angry people can say vitriolic things.

Social media has indeed made MSM worried that they r redudant in selling their ideology to masses.. hence even more escalated "tension" among people on this.

On hindutva I can only say from USA (coming back to INdia in next 2-3 months) that there is NO "root seeds" of terror in Hinduism hence the argument furthred by some that it is "temporary and reactionary" holds some water.To test this hypothesis, we can refer History of 5k years and get our results!

Deshabhakta said...

Namaste ji,

I have always held you in respect. Was saddened at some tweets pointed at you. It was highly incorrect and improper.

Would also like to let you know that I was hurt by the use of the phrase "Hindutva Storm Troopers" in that article. It placed the Hindutva movement (especially that on the internet) in bad light. Those who believe Hindutva is about serving the great nation and its native culture would not like to be clubbed with "storm troopers".

Broadway said...

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Broadway said...

Here is and article on cannibus and prostate cancer

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17636-briefing-cannabis-compounds-fight-prostate-cancer.html