<link rel="stylesheet" href="//fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Open+Sans%3A400italic%2C700italic%2C400%2C700">Indian media Archives « Aam JanataSkip to content

Dear Friends,

We are living in times where groups which win the battle of media often succeed in serving their purposes/propaganda. Our founders had expected that media shall stand as a fourth pillar of Democracy to make it vibrant. Media shall provide power to the people and make them believe in Democratic principles. Reality however did not encompass the expected. This fourth pillar of Democracy, instead of standing up with people as a fourth underpin, as a fourth guard is apparently dominating even the other three pillars. Instead of strengthening the people, it is often making them weaker, helpless and undermining the essence of Democracy. Media, therefore cannot be ignored now. It is an inescapable fact of life. Ravish Kumar of NDTV India says, "Sanchar madhyam bimar ho gaya hai, aur wah janta ko bhi bimar kar raha hai".

Architect of Indian constitution, Dr. Ambedkar's below thoughts are relevant and apt here. He says, "Journalism in India was once a profession. It has now become a trade. It has no more moral function than the manufacture of soap. It does not regard itself as the responsible adviser of the public. To give the news uncoloured by any motive, to present a certain view of public policy which it believes to be for the good of the community, to correct and chastise without fear all those, no matter how high, who have chosen a wrong or a barren path, is not regarded by journalism in India its first or foremost duty. To accept a hero and worship him has become its principal duty. Under it, news gives place to sensation, reasoned opinion to unreasoning passion, appeal to the minds of responsible people to appeal to the emotions of the irresponsible. Never has the interest of country been sacrificed so senselessly for the propagation of hero-worship. Never has hero-worship become so blind that as we see it in India today. There are, I am glad to say, honourable exceptions. But they are too few and their voice is never heard".

IMG-20160228-WA0016IMG-20160228-WA0019

We, a group of young Indians in Mumbai began our journey with the Initiative of 'New India Debate society' in 2014 with the below idea in mind:

New India debate society has been making an attempt to interpret and comprehend Ambedkar in a holistic manner trying to locate the missing thread of 'his nationalism'. This we do and shall continue to do so in a strict academic discipline and hence the initiative has been considered only as an academic pursuit with no ulterior motives of any social or political action.

Though, we were always of a mind that we will welcome any action springing out as a result of this exercise which would give India a push towards its ultimate destiny – a destiny common for all the elements of the national life.

In line with the said thoughts, we lately came up with the idea of IFIL - INDIAN FIRST INDIAN LAST.

ABOUT IFIL:

IFIL - (which may also be read as I-Feel) is an initiative which envisages to generate and provoke a kind of Public conscience among Indians which rises above the closets of Caste, Creed, Religion, Language, Region, even Nationalism and creates a mindset to fight against any form of Injustice.

Meaning of I-FEEL(IFIL) is that 'I am Sensitive'. I feel the joy and pain of each Indian and I pledge to stand-up for the people in need with full sincerity.

IFIL also means 'I-FILL', I shall determine myself to fill the expected democratic and progressive leadership which at present, is regretfully lacking in Indian society.

IFIL initiative shall time and again continue to put forth various activities, programmes, demonstrations, symposiums, events workshops, lectures et al.

We intend to launch the IFIL initiative with one such activity. We have organised a demonstration 'In solidarity with the emerging democratic, progressive voices in Indian media' on Monday, 14th March 2016 at Azad Maidan, Mumbai between ⏰3:00 p.m to 6:00 p.m. ⏰

432204-sindhusooryakumar
Sindhu Sooryakumar, chief coordinating editor of Asianet News TV, threatened, abused after moderating debate on Mahishasur Jayanti

12804794_1662805560635944_6791857146694512395_n

hqdefault (1)
Sansad Marg on 14 April 2015: Shannon, a young student of journalism, came running towards me. I thought she was approaching me for a selfie, but she wanted to show me a selfie of my profession. She asked a question that had troubled her all morning. ‘Why isn’t Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar on television screens and in the newspapers?’ The media routinely broadcast images of festivals and anniversaries, but when it comes to Babasaheb there is a blackout. Shannon’s question actually hints at a larger concern from which we have insulated ourselves. Though Shannon was smiling, she was also angry. She kept stating, ‘There is such a massive crowd on Sansad Marg, but absolutely no coverage of the event. Even when there are only a few people protesting at Jantar Mantar, the media is there to cover of the issue.’ I could have answered her, but my response would have sounded (and rightly so) hollows  - Ravish Kumar
images
" Bheedtantra se Jung mein, hum hai tere sang mein - IFIL"
896281518
" Loktantra ki baat mein, hum khade tere saath mein - IFIL "

This is to express our solidarity and support to some exemplary voices we heard and observed during the tragic Rohith Vemula or JNU episode. These voices (like Ravish Kumar of NDTV India, Nikhil Wagle of Maharashtra One TV, Sindhu Suryakumar of Asianet etc) went against the flow of otherwise Profit-making, Capitalist, Brahminical & populist image of Indian media. Amidst the noise of 'deshdrohi, deshdrohi', these mediapersons gave a voice to the oppressed in unprejudiced manner and discharged their duty of digging out the truth behind the stories. For such courageous journalism (fourth pillar of democracy) and their democratic spirit, they certainly deserve a word of recognition from the responsible citizenry.

2bebcfe4-180e-42cc-9a06-3dfc66f842dd
A day comes when you have to take call of your conscience. When principles are more imp than small benefits of life, u become a free bird! - Nikhil Wagle

hqdefault12718124_1662806193969214_2106683381187478419_n

Therefore, do join us at Azad Maidan on Monday 14th March 2016 between 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to be a part of this solidarity demonstration and help us make it a big success.

P.S: The demonstration is not in support of some specific people in media but with all those sincere democratic voices in Electronic, Print or even Social media.

Do contact, Sumedh , Pratik, Kiran, Pathak, Vivek, Anita, Mrs. Geeta, Chetan, Chandrashekhar, Prasad,  and Team IFIL (I-feel) INDIAN FIRST INDIAN LAST  to join the demonstration mail: pratikse_2007@rediffmail.com; .

You can also register through the below Facebook event link.

Demonstration in Solidarity with the emerging Democratic, Progressive voices in Indian media'

2

It was inevitable. The building farmer frustration is ready to explode. If not Gajendra Singh, it would be someone else. The writing has been on the wall. There is torment needing to be heard. A scream in the void.

In 2010 Ramchandra Raut composed his suicide note on non-judicial stamp paper, addressed it to the Prime Minister and President along with local leaders. He remained a statistic. In 2012, another farmer called Gajendra from Yavatmal had written a suicide note to his village warning them to not vote for Congress and NCP before committing suicide. He sank into the statistics without a splash. The suicide notes, last, desperate attempts to be heard went as unheard in death, as the farmer did in life.

Ironically, this morning, while Gajendra Singh was still alive, Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra's Chief Minister endorsed Eknath Khadse's fantasy method of recognizing farmer suicides as the ones where the farmers left behind suicide notes. From being the undisputed reining champion of farmer suicides to 3 suicides in one clever move. Not that those suicide letters meant anything either.

We are, sadly, an apathetic nation. Our conscience has been mortgaged to the media, which feeds us upstanding people regular doses of what should offend us. Letters written by nobodys don't reach us. When they reach us, they don't matter, unless the subject is dramatic enough to trend on social media.

Within minutes of the suicide being declared a "SUCCESS", media was harvesting the scandal. Politicians, normally serene about routine reports of farmer suicides rushed to establish their innocence and the guilt of their political rivals. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was "shattered", even as his anonytrolls started pushing a piece profiling Gajendra Singh as everything except a farmer who had jumped political parties and was a member of AAP at last check (well, d'uh, he was at the AAP rally). As astonishing as it was that media managed to dig up his political history within hours of his suicide, what was more astounding was the explanations - from planned political murder to an "AAP stunt" gone wrong. Amaingly, not only did Rajasthan have the records for crop losses and applications for compensation on the tips of their media responses, they even "proved" the family claim of reason for suicide being crop losses wrong. Within hours of his death. So much concern for farmers.

While it is unclear what stopping the rally would have achieved (BJP and Congress fixated on the AAP rally continuing after the suicide as well), it is less clear how a person can kill himself in a packed rally, though I imagine it is not easy to stop someone physically while on a tree. It is even less clear how a massive exhibition of love for our farmers can proceed unfazed by the death of a farmer in their midst. To be fair, from all accounts it appears that initially it seemed like a suicide attempt prevented and injured person taken to hospital. AAP, still recovering from its allergy with intellectuals went on a breath taking demonstration of blame and sarcastic defense with some record breaking insensitivity from leaders, which I don't care to repeat here. Congress, with its leader newly resurrected and for once speaking well went ahead and got in their points of Ganga-snan for self and blame for others as well.

In summary, both BJP and AAP managed some variation of "committed suicide to make us look bad".

So far, no one seems to have gotten around to asking "why did he kill himself?" with any level of firm intention or giving voice to the extremely open secret of the why - corporate media promoted and government passed policies that are ruining rural livelihoods and decimating farmers. Farmer suicides aren't just rising, they are rising in a rapidly dropping population of farmers farming decreasing area of land on an average. Instead, every effort is on to make this about this suicide specifically, and preferrably this suicide shouldn't be about farmer suicides at all.

To me, a public demonstration of suicide is more a protest than a mere giving up. Media and politicians may be covering their own culpability with a fog of words, but I understood this man to be trying what Mohamed Bouazizi's self immolation was, in Tunisia when it kicked off the Arab Spring. An expression of intense frustration, seeking echoes far and wide by being as visible as possible and "signing" the genuineness of the protest with own life.

Where BJP anonytrolls saw a political opportunist pinging off parties, I saw that the political experience showed him how he could commit suicide to be heard. If not in life, then in death. And where countless ignorant farmers failed, he succeeded. Farmer suicides are finally prime time content. They will be the weapon of political confrontations, improving chances that someone, somewhere will be forced to change something, pay some more attention because of the one thing farmers so far had not managed to achieve. The one thing government in India understands. Nuisance value.

You may die a thousand deaths in complete silence. Your protest will get fired on. The day you burn a bus and attack a few people is the day the government leaves you alone to get whatever "justice" you want. The day your death causes a problem for important people is the day it gets attention. Till then it will only get murmurs of consolation and pleas to not die and ruin statistics for all of us.

Gajendra Singh managed to be a problem today. He died on the doorstep of politicians and in media's eye before they could avert it. The plight of farmers is a long way from being addressed, but the "nuisance" and thus the imperative to be at least seen doing something has already begun. In blaming each other, politicians are establishing collective guilt.

Naturally, the wise media has seen this despicable behavior and is busy commenting on how ugly it is without realizing that as they point fingers at the politicians, they fail to see their own role in the plight of farmers. Here are two stills from AlJazeera's excellent short documentary on the Indian media's rural blind spot that no TV channel is going to show tonight.

Percentage of rural stories on front page of newspapers
Percentage of rural stories on front page of newspapers
Percentage of time devoted to rural news on TV
Percentage of time devoted to rural news on TV. These figures don't show more than 7% of the time for over 2/3 of India's population and YET are deceptive, because this time shown too is rarely about rural issues and more likely to be other selling news from rural locations.

 

A 2011 report on rural reporting in media by EPW
A 2011 report on rural reporting in media by EPW Source: sans serif

 

By all accounts, Gajendra Singh has screamed his scream. He will get a short window of time where farmer suicides will be reported diligently and politicians blamed and defended and a massive fog of words giving us the moral superiority of knowing exactly who to blame. Then it will die down into oblivion.

It is up to us left living to decide whether the message he spent his life to communicate to us is important enough for us to carry forward the torch he desperately threw where no one can pretend to not see it.

If you scream into the void, did you scream at all?

1

On the day after ASN (The Nuclear Safety Authority in France) quietly published the findings of a serious fault in the reactor built by Areva at Flamanville, headlines in India proclaimed our Prime Minister Narendra Modi was out "shopping for nuclear power" in France. Incidentally, this is the reactor India plans for Jaitapur. One would imagine that the discovery of a serious flaw would at least postpone negotiations, if not bring a halt to them, but the Indian media and government both simply seem to have ignored the safety concerns, because today, it seems Modi is also "proud" of achieving this deal.

I suppose as a major world power without a serious nuclear disaster, we are lagging behind the world or something.

The flaw had been found in December, though disclosed only now. Murmurings of quality problems with the reactor have been rife with anti-nuclear activists (who are now supposed to be anti-national in a country aspiring to its own nuclear catastrophe) demanding investigations and tests and data to be made public and opposing it in every manner possible. Well, Areva itself has disclosed this flaw and it has been made public on the official site, so unless Areva is its own foreign-sponsored enemy, it is rather difficult to find a conspiracy here.

Contrast this with France, where the reactor already installed with the flaws is now waiting on an investigation as to its fate. It remains to be known whether the flaw can be corrected. Does it not then appear premature and unwise to invest national commitment on a potentially flawed design that may not be possible to improve on? Contrast this with the alert to China over two reactors also manufactured at the Creusot Forge, in Burgundy, France (owned by Areva) that could potentially contain this flaw. Contrast it with Europe, which is looking at nuclear power as an action against climate change, where the discovery of this flaw has led to calls to exercise caution in proceeding with a similar project and the chances are that the fate of the two reactors to be built at Hinkley Point will likely have to wait till the results of this investigation are known.

The scale of the Flamanville reactor - during installation
The scale of the Flamanville reactor - during installation

The 410 ton reactor in Flamanville was already installed in its concrete well when the flaw in the steel was discovered.The carbon content of steel in the pressure vessel cannot exceed 0.22 per cent due to risk of cracking during operations as well as reducing its operational lifetime. The steel in parts of the Flamanville plant was found to contain 0.30% of carbon. It is not going to be easy to move the 410 ton reactor vessel - if at all it is possible - and it is unclear what method could be used for repairs.

Technical clarifications concerning the manufacturing anomalies on the Flamanville EPR reactor pressure vessel

Investigations are on. An unfavorable review could well mean the final nail in the coffin of France's Nuclear Power industry, already plagued with delays and cost escalations. The plant, already 7 years overdue, had more than doubled its original estimated cost as per EDF's recent estimate from an original 3.3 billion Euro to 8 billion Euro. And this is before this flaw was found. Its start date, already pushed to 2017 is looking extremely unlikely at this point.

The release from ASN is explicit.

The nuclear pressure equipment regulation requires that the manufacturer limits the risks of heterogeneity in the materials used for manufacturing the components most important for safety. In order to address this technical requirement, AREVA carried out chemical and mechanical tests on a vessel head similar to that of the Flamanville EPR. The results of these tests, in late 2014, revealed the presence of a zone in which there was a high carbon concentration, leading to lower than expected mechanical toughness1 values. Initial measurements confirmed the presence of this anomaly in the reactor vessel head and reactor vessel bottom head of the Flamanville EPR. ASN received a proposal from AREVA for a further detailed test campaign on a representative vessel head, starting in April 2015, in order to precisely identify the location of the zone concerned and its mechanical properties.

ASN will make a decision on the acceptability of the test programme, check its correct performance and examine the file to be submitted by AREVA to demonstrate the robustness of the Flamanville EPR reactor vessel. It will also call on the services of its technical support organisation, IRSN (Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety), and the Advisory Committee of Experts for Nuclear Pressure Equipment.

"If the weakness of the vessel is confirmed, I wouldn't hold out much hope for EPR's survival," a former nuclear safety official told Le Parisien.

(FILES) - A photo taken on July 16, 2013 in Flamanville, northwestern France, shows the installation of a dome on a reactor's building on the construction site of the third European generation Pressurised Reactor (EPR). A new "anomaly" in the construction of the EPR at Flamanville was detected in the nuclear reactor, the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire (ASN - Nuclear Safety Authority) announced on April 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / CHARLY TRIBALLEAUCHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) - A photo taken on July 16, 2013 in Flamanville, northwestern France, shows the installation of a dome on a reactor's building on the construction site of the third European generation Pressurised Reactor (EPR). A new "anomaly" in the construction of the EPR at Flamanville was detected in the nuclear reactor, the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire (ASN - Nuclear Safety Authority) announced on April 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / CHARLY TRIBALLEAUCHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images

We discovered with the Rafale deal that India will simply succumb to an agreement against our interest if the other side holds out. We now seem to be discovering that India under Modi is so eager to claim credit for opportunities started but left incomplete by the previous regime that it does not even care for practical considerations for cost or safety. All this, of course is apart from the staunch opposition of locals at the site of the proposed plant - which neither government cared or cares much about, though I suppose the new Land Grab Ordinance (also known as the Land Acquisition Ordinance) will leave the locals with little right over their own land to refuse "development".

It is unclear what exactly Modi claims to be proud of in concluding such a deal.

1

There seems to be a fringe theory floating around about a larger international conspiracy (CIA etc) influencing Indian politics using the Ford Foundation (among other things). The Great Game India blog (linking to blog because too many interlinked posts to link individually) has been with this train of thought for a few years now. That the RSS creation VIF is manipulating Indian politics and that they started the India Against Corruption movement and so on. They link the Aam Aadmi Party with this larger political conspiracy.

Some of it is verifiably true. The Vivekananda International Foundation was indeed formed in the year after the Vivekananda Kendra got a grant from the Ford Foundation. Manish Sisodia, Kejriwal and others have got grants before the IAC movement and so on.

Some of it is only to be expected and verifiable through sources outside the country for example the US and CIA specifically not being interested in manipulating  a country the size of India makes no sense given their actions world over. There are leaks involving spying. The Great Game India Blog itself has provided considerable evidence of Mossad activity in India based on reports in Indian media including diamond mafia links and raising questions about Israeli role in the 26/11 attacks.

While there are many gaps in the logic that don't allow me to agree with many questions they make, the sheer effort they put into to reference their claims makes it important to at least consider the question with an open mind when they ask "Was AAP victory in Delhi Elections Planned?". The claim being that it was a larger part of a game plan all through to have Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister and Arvind Kejriwal as the Chief Minister.

My views on this are mixed.

Observations that point to the possibility of scripted wins in Lok Sabha Elections for Modi and in Delhi Elections for Arvind Kejriwal

Both these results would not have been possible without the self-destruction of the other just prior to the polls.

It is likely they would still have formed governments, but If the Aam Aadmi Party had not collapsed so thoroughly after discrediting the Congress, the landslide win for Modi would not be possible. The run up to the Lok Sabha Election saw the Aam Aadmi Party pretty much drop everything to find God and criticize Modi.

And the BJP returned the favor for the Delhi Elections. We saw Narendra Modi and Amit Shah go out of their way to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" as a disgusted supporter put it. Would the Aam Aadmi Party have won anyway? Probably, but 67 seats out of 70? Highly unlikely.

Is there any advantage to these sweeping wins in terms of manipulating India? Definitely. Complete lack of opposition leaves one entity controlling what is done without question.

"Kejriwal for CM, Modi for PM" slogan

This slogan is fascinating, because BJP supporters had used it to woo AAP supporters during the Lok Sabha Elections, and AAP supporters almost used it to woo BJP supporters in the Delhi Assembly elections. The Aam Aadmi Party actually put it up on their website before outraged volunteers made them take it down again.

Kiran Bedi as CM candidate

While many paint this as a move to get some credibility to a discredited BJP, it is impossible that those who crafted the IAC had no idea just how absurd and damaging to credibility Kiran Bedi can be. This was a calculated move to demoralize the Delhi BJP leaders. Dr Harshvardhan, who had been a face of credibility was available and unused, so to say, while Satish Upadhyay did not even get a ticket.

BJP's "abandonment" of the Sikhs

Arvind Kejriwal had reopened investigations into the 1984 ant-Sikh riots. The BJP had made vague and unc0nvincing comments. This definitely lost them Sikh votes. Yet yesterday, a day after the results of Delhi election, the BJP government in the Center announced another SIT (Special Investigating Team) to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. If this was their intention, it is rather astonishing that they did not do it before the Delhi Elections.

Religious alienation

There seemed to be a checklist of religions to alienate. Muslims were easy, with the "Ramzadon and Haramzadon" stuff. Churches were vandalized. Sikhs were ignored and BJP's most dependable vote bank - Hindus were achieved with absurd dictates to Hindu women to produce 4, 5 or upto 10 children (depending on which idiot you happened to hear). It was almost the exact reverse of BJP's calculated propaganda to target identities to con into supporting.

Why BJP may want to lose Delhi Assembly Elections 2015

There is an article by this name circulating. This article is fascinating, because of several reasons. It outlines a diabolical game plan to make Aam Aadmi Party responsible for its own failure and eventual decimation by making delivering of promises difficult from the Center. The intent being "The media spotlight on Kejriwal government will allow Jaitley to quietly to push through unpopular reforms — disinvestment of PSUs, budget cuts in health, education in his attempt to cut budget deficit." among other things. Do read. A fascinating article. Also probably untrue for the Delhi BJP and supporters at the very least - the Modi cartels in the center apart.

My guess is BJP Delhi is discovering what Nitish Kumar, Shiv Sena, Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathan, Telangana and many others discovered after raising Modi to his lofty Lok Sabha victory. What Vidarbha is discovering after bringing BJP to power in Maharashtra. The goals and agenda of those "driving" the BJP have little to do with those of supporters or even their expectations when they supported.

There are other smaller pieces of information from news reports and more that fit into these patterns. Like information for exposes on Delhi BJP leaders coming from leaders within the BJP itself.

What do I think?

In my view, politics is rarely so black and white with a single agenda playing out. Where there is power, there are grabs. Is there a longer game plan involving the VIF? I believe so. Is Aam Aadmi Party a part of the plan? Not so sure.

The Aam Aadmi Party, in my observation was formed when BJP tried to bottle the IAC genie before it got too inconvenient and expected them to not be corrupt as well. Till then, the IAC had the strong backing of the RSS and BJP. For all its claims of being an apolitical movement and it probably was, in terms of the leadership of the movement, the amount of support on the ground it got from the RSS and BJP cannot be denied. In many places, "IAC" protests were organized by BJP offices, often right outside the office, where most of the speeches made a point of praising the BJP while criticizing UPA corruption.

Was Anna Hazare complicit? Many in the Congress claim so. Particularly after he praised Modi before hastily withdrawing his statements. He may have been influenced by the support rather than doing the influencing.

However, it cannot be denied that there was an abundance of VIF-RSS-BJP support, which eventually led to an ideological clash. Those in the IAC who were not willing to exempt the BJP would have to find other means of going about their agenda, because they could very likely no longer count on the support of the BJP machinery to hold nationwide protests (which took Anna and Kejriwal by surprise initially).

Thus, the Aam Aadmi Party being a VIF-RSS-BJP creation sounds a bit outside the realm of probability. However, it is almost guaranteed that there were people planted in the party right from the start. It is simply how the RSS operates. These people may have been able to influence the actions of the party to a greater or lesser degree or simply attack from within at inopportune times. So AAP actions could have played into a larger game plan UNKNOWINGLY - for example during the aftermath of the Ambani FIR and subsequent resignation of the Arvind Kejriwal government or the Lok Sabha Election.

We saw AAP leaders and volunteers "defect" for no apparent reason. The stated reasons of a lack of internal democracy or whatever the accusations were, were hardly something to have cropped up at specific times - they would be a part of the party culture that they didn't appear to have a problem with till the time to leave - within days of each other. So it looks more than a coincidence. Given the complicit media promoting all and sundry quitters as "ex-AAP leaders" and in one instance calling an "ex-AAP leader" a representative of AAP in a programme that had no one from AAP on the panel, it seems to be organized and given visibility in a time when media was openly called "Modified".

Also, AAP being a US-Israel conspiracy seems a little more improbable, because I cannot recollect offhand the last time these forces empowered "communist" ideology to empower their agendas. It is counterproductive to the US-Israel agenda for people who don't like "imperialists" to get too much voice - which is a sentiment often shared by Aam Aadmi Party supporters - while they are not actively against, they have a perception of being unwilling to bow to imposed interests or disproportionate or unjust appropriation of national resources by big business.

Thirdly, the US-Israel lobby almost always rattles up countries by empowering the right wing. We also see this in action with the occasional comments of right wing leaders that are in agreement with these two countries as well as the larger tendency - for example being fine with attacks on Hindus by the right wing Buddhists in Sri Lanka or on Rohingya Muslims in Burma or even a VIF member meeting the top right wing terrorist influencer in Pakistan and endorsing him on Indian television channels. A lot of the anti-Muslim propaganda arguments and methods used by the Hindutva brigade are extremely similar to Israeli propaganda. Right from selective history to demonize, to organized social media propaganda.

There are no such "behavioral" corelations with the Aam Aadmi Party that I have noticed so far. There is disproportionate weightage to Ford Foundation as funding anti-national interest. While it would hardly be surprising that the CIA uses front organizations or makes opportunistic use of genuine organizations, it is a little extreme to imagine that all its funding is proof of destabilization. The same with the Magsaysay awards. Only a complete idiot would imagine that P. Sainath is somehow working to further US imperial capitalist interest in India given how much time he has devoted to deconstructing such influences.

Of course, it could "all" be astroturfing. But it isn't useful intellectually to believe something that goes contrary to observable dynamics just because it is possible.

This of course does not exclude the possibility of influencing or otherwise manipulating.

Role of Shanti Bhushan

Shanti Bhushan is a respected lawyer and ex politician of BJP and close to Jaitley as well as one of the founders of the Aam Aadmi Party. He made a donation of one crore rupees to the Aam Aadmi Party, but almost every time he has come to attention since then, it has been for damaging the interest of AAP. Just before the Lok Sabha Election, an article "by Shanti Bhushan" was published in India Today, which he claimed to not have written and it was subsequently taken down. Many of the things said in that article continue to be attributed to him in recent interviews, though he denies writing it.

A "breakaway faction" or "collective of ex-supporters" of Aam Aadmi Party, the AVAM, which has made news with absurd allegations against the AAP appear to enjoy his support. More recently, in answer to some questions I asked after a stray remark by an AAP supporter caught my eye, several AAP volunteers shared privately (since they cannot provide proofs and he's a respected and senior member) that he had been in favor of AAP's overreach in contesting in the Lok Sabha polls, which was possibly the single biggest factor in AAP's defeat.

Whether Shanti Bhushan has an ulterior motive or whether he was simply easily influenced by inconvenient narratives is difficult to say and irrelevant at this point, but he does appear to be a consistent source of damage for AAP, including often reported disapproval of Arvind Kejriwal as the leader.

The curious case of Shazia Ilmi

If there is anyone who topped Shanti Bhushan in damage to AAP, it is Shazia Ilmi. The only two "sting" videos to do real damage to AAP credibility involve her. The first appears to show her providing methods to make donations to AAP off the record. The second is where she supposedly asks Muslims to be communal. Whether these were genuine mistakes and she was targeted for stings because she was observed to be careless with words or if she was corrupt or if she was setting AAP up cannot be said. But other common factors seems to be an inopportune exit, affiliation with the "apolitical" AVAM (the RSS is apolitical as well, for a benchmark), new affiliation with the BJP - incidentally a party she leveled outrageous insults at, including personal insults aimed at Modi - some of which even me, an open Modi critic would cringe at.

Binny seems to be more of an opportunist who wanted a way to easy power and got his hopes dashed, who later found enough "appreciation" from BJP. BJP is unlikely to ever give him a cabinet seat either.

All this is water under the bridge. merely stating as an example of how while the AAP as a party may not be "in" on any conspiracy agendas, there is no telling how many people committed to other agendas are embedded inside, who influence or sabotage the actions of the party to suit.

The RSS machine is an expert at subversive strategy and poor at accountability. Sooner or later, disillusionment was inevitable, because there is only so much you can tell people that Acche Din are here, if their lives don't get easier or actually get more expensive. They are smart enough to deploy propaganda at key times and let disillusionment happen in the interim.

So can the Aam Aadmi Party government be trusted?

It would be the height of gullibility to blindly trust ANY political party. Whether the AAP has an ulterior motive or not is irrelevant. It has abundant gaps where more refinement of policy is needed in order for their actions to not harm people's interest. The bottom line always ought to be whether the ACTIONS are helping people or not - regardless of motives or intent.

The AAP has some protection from outright damaging citizen's interests simply because it cannot stand without its volunteer base, and it is impossible to have a conspiracy large enough to include thousands of volunteers and still keep it secret. So even if there are foul agendas at play, implementing them would be an uphill task. That said, it wouldn't be impossible, and only the foolish would believe that all that it takes to receive good governance is casting a vote.

The Aam Aadmi Party government has been entrusted with making Delhi a happier, safer place where all its citizens can thrive. This is a tall order. And if the AAP is honest, spotting mistakes and objecting on time will HELP their objectives. If it is not honest, spotting mistakes on time and objecting may improve chances to prevent them.

Regardless, citizens should not trust governments, but hold them accountable, relentlessly.

1

Last night, it emerged that after several shows that may have showed content embarrassing to the BJP, NDTV had gone off air in many places. Several "insider accounts" seem to allude to a picture of NDTV being perceived as showing footage embarrassing to the BJP (watch after 30 minutes).

NDTV coverage of Modi speech different from BJP official feed
NDTV coverage of Modi speech different from BJP official feed

The indication is that cable operators have been asked to block NDTV till the 7th of February - the day when Delhi Assembly Elections happen.

While this information cannot be confirmed, multiple reports of NDTV going off-air have been shared on social media, and a post compiling them was put up on this blog and is being regularly updated.

Another viewer has pointed to a link on the Times Now website where the video of the confrontation between AAP and AVAM last night during Arnab Goswami's News Hour that was extremely embarrassing to AVAM and BJP appears to have been removed.

Yesterday, All India Bakchod took down the videos of their Roast. For those who don't know, a roast is a comedy format based on humorous insults. It is intentionally offensive and insulting and all the participants participate knowing this, and the audience participates expecting this. In other words, consensual. In an ideal world, this should not have required any more attention than the kids under the window going "behen ke *****" as they play cricket. Profanity is common on our streets. It appears to be the idea of being open about it offended people who threatened to file cases. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena threatened to block films of actors participating in the roast - surely a matter of criminal intimidation, given that they have no constitutional authority to do any such thing. In the end, the roast was taken down. The government will now be probing All India Bakchod. Almost seems like the roast continues. AIB is so unsexy that they had to do a roast before anyone would probe them.

On a more serious note, Shireen Dalvi, the editor of Avadhnama's Mumbai edition is being hounded by Muslim organizations with multiple FIRs filed against her. She has been forced to wear the burkha for the first time in her life to protect her identity and has not been able to return to her home for weeks for fear of retaliation for her "crime" of publishing a Charlie Hebdo cartoon on the newspaper. And before we scream and faint about obscenity and racism, it was a cartoon most law abiding Muslims would unhesitatingly appreciate. It showed Prophet Mohammed holding a sign saying "Je Suis Charlie" in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack. In effect, the cartoon said that the massacre was by criminals and what the Prophet Mohammed stood for. Larger Muslim organizations in Mumbai had no problem with this. Stray organizations persecuting her found no resistance from the state.

In a world where Muslims are criticized for not doing enough to combat religious extremists, here was one who stood up tall and spoke up. And the state failed her. She should have got a bravery award. Instead, she is on  the run, her newspaper shut down, 15 employees out of a job and her children living with relatives with this stress hounding their exam preparations. All for doing a job and doing what a newspaper editor should do - stretch the scope of thought for readers.

One would think that we cannot blame the state for this. Oh but we can, because something even more stupid has happened. Two newspaper sellers,Tariq Ahmed Sheikh and Salman Kalam Sheikh were arrested for selling Avadhnama - why? - because they understood Urdu, and "could have refrained from selling it". This is Mumbai Police, JJ Marg police station. Proactive. Acting without even a complaint to act on. Without even a crime being done. What right does anyone have to harp on about the intolerance of Muslims when the establishment itself appears to be complicit in keeping them that way by hounding voices of sanity instead of empowering them?

And oh. The DEN Network block of NDTV has gone unreported by all - including NDTV. A media that can keep quiet while it gets strangled, perhaps deserves to be dead.

These are dark days for Indian media. I hope more independent voices emerge from fearless masses to take up the torch, because slaves of money fear poverty more than imprisonment.