India & The Great West : A Case Of Tinted Glasses And Ignored Narratives

This is the second part of the article The Great West


A cursory perusal of the coverage of a couple of websites from international media on the Narendra Modi US visit, and especially Madison Square Garden Event would show some rather interesting and more than a little irritating comments and observations : firstly, most articles explicitly mention the 2002 riots - get this : without any mention of the burning of the Sabarmati bogie with pilgrims in it, nor making any attempt to state a short summary of what happened, including the fact that subsequent investigations took place and court exoneration through an SIT happened. The way it is put forward, and its tone, is most damning; you are perfectly within your rights to mention any event - so long as you present a complete picture. But presenting it in an incomplete manner to an audience that is not aware of the full story is misleading in my opinion.

Secondly, there are clear references to him being viewed as a Hindu Extremist  by some {usually made in a most careful usage of words to ensure deniability}; references to the RSS being an Hindu Militant group {in at least one article}; and even a clear reference to the political agenda of extremist Hindu Militant Organisations! At this point, it would be worthwhile to take a peek at the dictionary meaning of the word Extremist : a person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent, or other extreme action / Wiki : Extremism (represented on both sides of the political spectrum) is an ideology (particularly in politics or religion), considered to be far outside the mainstream attitudes of a society or to violate common moral standards...  

And Militant : favouring confrontational or violent methods in support of a political or social cause / Wiki : The mass media sometimes uses the term "militant" in the context of terrorism.[8] Journalists sometimes apply the term militant to movements using terrorism as a tactic. The mass media also has used the term militant groups or radical militants for terrorist organizations.[8][23][24][25] In this usage, "militant" is virtually a euphemism for "terrorist

Let us not get into semantics here; it is beyond question that the RSS etc are not extremists or militants in sense or usage of the term as it is commonly understood or used. What is more pertinent is the overall approach and tone that is being used; as well as the other side of this pathetic story, a pathetic and vulgar display of ignorance and callousness by The Great West. Call us by any name or term that passes your fancy; call us anything you desire. Being aware of the inglorious past of The Great West, we are not overly concerned about the emancipated views on display. I have dealt with this point quite extensively in another article : The Misunderstood Hindu


My point is completely different; if The Great West is so concerned about Right-Wing Hinduism, which they perceive as Militant, why arent they equally vociferous and vocal about the impact of Islamic Fundamentalism on the Indian Consciousness? Why did it take them the shock of their own blood being spilled to wake up to the reality of Islamic Terror? Why this totally one-sided and emaciated view of the situation? In article after article, whenever India's name comes up, one of poverty / hindu extremism will always be mentioned - even totally out of context. And yet, whenever we talk of terror attacks in India, the involvement of the ISI & Pakistan is almost always downplayed with clever wordplay - in complete opposition to the direct wordplay in reference to the RSS!

We Indians have paid a heavy price, a point which I have been repeatedly making in several articles. This is a price we have paid in blood, quite literally rivers of blood that have flowed since 1985-1988, the period when the myopic leaders in the USA supplied and trained Pakistan in insurgency. The previous article gives a list of year-wise rise in incidents from the beginning. There is little awareness of this outside India, and few care to point this out outside of Indian Media. What is more, on most articles on India, you can spot out-of-context mentions of poverty, hindu fundamentalism and other such aspects -  but little or no mention of the impact of ISI & Pakistani sponsored terror attacks.  In the terror paragraphs or articles, this is routinely downplayed or buried in inconsequential trivialities! 

Interestingly, 9/11 and other Western attacks find a regular mention; as does, strangely enough, even the price {!!!!!} paid by Pakistan in the number of terror related deaths. But no acceptance of the huge cost of terror that India has borne, or the role of The West in creating this. In near-100% cases, this is equated to Kashmir without an attendant analysis of who is sponsoring the attacks, or without any mention of how the external hand, and CIA -> ISI had a significant role in it!

We are a highly emotive people, who place a high value on emotions and honour. These emotive aspects are bound to have a massive impact on our minds and our thoughts. The tinted-glass views on everything Indian, and the massive assumptions; the offensive views on our harmless religion; the complete ignorance of the terror aspect that we have suffered; the parochial, offensive and insulting views espoused by Westerners on various media; the irresponsibility, intolerance & ignorance of various official's statements on social media {examples abound}; and other such aspects are together forming a very different and ignored narrative from the other side of the great east-west divide...


The impact of this on Indian consciousness has been slow, steady but sure; more and more people are getting rubbed the wrong way in the new age of the internet, where it is hard to hide keep anything strictly localised. This is routinely felt as more and more Indians log into international websites and get exposed to such jaundiced, emacipated and biased coverage. 

The Indian Media has played a most laudable role in being relatively fair, positive and unbiased in these matters, and has routinely placed positive viewpoints and articles from international media for the benefit of creating a positive mindset, and create a strong self-image among the people. They have restricted themselves to lambasting The Great West only in cases when things get out of hand, and hard to swallow, which is a most sensible approach. Even then, increasingly, the odd article telling the other side of the story also reaches the audience, furthering the process of alienation and further hardening attitudes. 

The rise in popularity of Indian Writers has added fuel to the fire, with informed books that rip into The Great West, and the fiction books that clearly pitch The Great West {specifically the USA} as an out-and-out villain is another factor that is adding fuel to the fire. This is combined with mainstream economic media which do very well-informed analyses of economic issues, and rountinely point out the inacceptability of Western interventions and actions. 

This is not a narrative that is common; this is a side of the story of The Indian Consciousness that is not in vogue. India is known as an increasingly open and forward moving nation, friendly to The Great West. That the educated Indian mind might actually be exposed to realities and narratives that are highly critical of The Great West is not a commonly known thought. Furthermore, that the Indian Mind might be turning more nationalistic and far more critical of The Great West is not a thought that will have entered most Westerners minds. 

But that is the reality; while the other narrative- one of increasing business ties, friendship etc holds good as well, and is a powerful positive, the second aspect highlighted above is not one that can or should be ignored. The fact of the matter is that The Indian Mind is being hammered from all directions with a narrative of the developed world that is highly  critical, and completely negative in almost all aspects of normal interchange in public life. 

This, when combined with the highly emotive points  on religion and terrorism highlighted in the Backdrop segment, are a key driving force. Increasingly, The Great West is being clubbed alongwith Pakistan, and there is an increasing number of votaries of a complete look-east policy. More and more educated Indians, rather than viewing The Great West as a visionary land, view it as a problem, or with condescension and even open dislike. 

The popular narrative in international media has no awareness or conceptualisation of this; neither are they expected to have this, to be fair. That is the reason for this article - to point out the other side of the story; and clearly point out reasons why India is moving East, decidedly, clearly and emphatically. The Great West, due to its policies and its jaundiced view of us is increasingly alienating the Indian people. Given that the attitude in The Great West is not  about to change anytime soon, you can expect a further hardening of attitudes on the Indian side...


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