In Response to OPEN articele – “Why Money Loves Modi …and why he still can’t make it work for him in national politics”

This post is based on an article published on the web site of the OPEN Magazine titled Why Money Loves Modi …and why he still can’t make it work for him in national politics (click).

It feels weird to publish two back-to-back posts highlighting the propagandist methods used by the Indian national media to show Narendra Modi in poor light. Ideally, I would not like to be seen as an advocate of Modi, for I am not. But, going by what I consider overwhelming amount of disinformation and propaganda that passes of as journalism in India, it is perhaps inescapable to look like a strong Modi-supporter even when one just logically points to the instances of manipulations used by the media.

I had just tweeted highlighting how the article was biased and with little substance, when I was pointed out by a fellow tweeter (who I respect for many reasons, including being reasonable and open to others’ reasoned speculations) that the article indeed did contain facts.

I had responded thus: (1) “There are many facts, few insinuations that cannot be verified, and some PoV-insertion. I can give examples of each. 🙂 ” (2) “..And then there are many facts, if included, will dilute the impression that the article was trying to create.”

It so turns out, in my knowledge, that the articles that can be best shown as prototypes on how to sway the public opinion using innocent-looking weasel words (click), glittering generalities (click) – prime examples of which in Indian context are “secularism”, “liberal”, “civil society”, obscurantism (click), etc., happen to be the ones written against Modi.

Wikipedia has a very nice template on propaganda techniques (click) that I have just discovered, and which I recommend as a minimum essential guide to all the readers who might want to become successful ‘journalists’ in India read minds of the Indian journalists.

Anyway, my response to the article’s some of the points follows.

1. “Politically there are a number of places that are barred to Narendra Modi—they extend from Bihar to the US”

“number of”? And, “Bihar to the US” – meaning his entry is barred in all strips of land on the Globe that fall between Bihar to the US, or were the authors referring to some hierarchy wherein Bihar happens to be at the bottom and the US at the top? What would Modi have to do *politically* with the US? There might be a few places barred, but “number of” suggests as if he is an InterPol fugitive.

2. ““The Department of State is extremely sensitive to your concerns and we are cognizant of the human rights abuses Modi has committed.””

What Matthew Reynolds said has little bearing on how things are in India. Practically, what happens in the US has little bearing on what happens in India politically. [Remember, at least going by the title, this article was an attempt to show why Modi is a pariah in *India* and not the US].

3. “But doors barred by politics can be forced open by other levers, those of commerce.”

That’s the biggest contradiction of what the authors were trying to suggest in their article. And anyway, that is just another PoV-insertion.

4. “…Ratan Tata, whose embrace of Modi only grows stronger ever since Tata’s Nano factory moved to Gujarat.”

Another PoV-insertion, whether metaphorical or otherwise, there is no way to prove. Just a few days after the Radia tapes were leaked and Tata’s reputation had taken a severe beating, he had said that Manmohan Singh’s integrity as a prime minister is impeccable. So, that should mean Tata is supporting UPA also. Another example, where suppressing other facts leads to fallacious conclusions.

5. “This economic diplomacy is bearing fruit. … What’s more, this newfound warmth suddenly extends across the Canadian political spectrum”

Why does this “newfound warmth” have to be outcome of only of “economic diplomacy”? It is entirely possible that those in Canada also followed SIT’s investigations, Zaheera Shaikhs’ turning hostile, Teesta Setalvad’s assistant turning against her, revealing of the statistics of riots in which over 250 Hindus had also died apart from around 800 Muslims, the Supreme Court overseeing the investigations and lastly, just perhaps, they might have *freshly discovered* the concept of “innocent until proved guilty”. Had any of these countries barred Rajiv Gandhi from entering their territories? So, just perhaps, they were anyway not so consistent in respecting religious rights in the first place. It was always about pressure from “advocacy groups”. So, if Canada might have had ulterior motives in *allowing* Modi a visa, why is it not possible that the US might have had ulterior motives in *rejecting* Modi a visa. Advocacy is not a one-way street.

6. “…Modi was photographed in a warm handclasp with Canadian Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla”

See the penultimate photograph (click). The handclasp did not look at all as warm as the authors suggest. It was at best a finger-grasp. And frankly to my eyes, Modi, more than warm, looks hesitant or afraid of something. Anyway, what’s this grasp’s relevance?

7. “…only 5 per cent of investments proposed in the 2009 summit have materialised so far”

Which implies that Modi after all is not making as much money as it is seeming to everyone. In which case, the basic premise of the article that it is *money* that Modi is using to muscle his way into the national politics stands greatly weakened.

8. “Since Modi is the only political master in Gujarat, there are no politicians whose palms need be greased.”

Are the authors trying to insinuate then that the only political master whose palms need to be greased is Modi? I won’t ask for evidence; I do think of it as a plausibility. But the fact is, if a “political master” himself gets his palms greased, there is no way others below him in the power hierarchy will stay silent. And then, so much development (if it has indeed happened) would not happen, because without coordination from those lower down the power hierarchy, nothing significant can happen.

9. “Clearly, this was a summit that was not about the state government, bureaucrats or even other state BJP politicians, it was about one man: Narendrabhai Modi.”

Another useless PoV. If it was all about promoting Modi, why did the industrialists from India as well as abroad throw in so much money (if they did, which they must have to keep the premise of the article tenable)?

10. ““When I met Narendra Modi, I was surprised. He knew everything about the GVK Group. In fact, he was advising us on where to set up the business, where we can acquire the raw materials and so on. He is the best advisor for business. I was very impressed by his knowledge.””

An absolute useless digression from the main theme of the article. In fact, all the endorsements by the industrialists mentioned in the article fall in the same category. Perhaps, they were just included to connect Modi with the ‘high-flying’ industrialists (that is my speculation).

11. Every single thing written about what photographers said about Modi is impossible to verify for the readers. It might be as much true as it might be fiction. Also, I wonder if his attempts at grooming himself is the reason he remains a pariah in national politics (which again, is a PoV-insertion by the authors).

12. “The slick, suave Modi, now endowed with a more luxuriant head of hair (the cause of which Open could not verify)”

ROFL! As if everything else written in the article could be verified by ‘The Open’! 😀

13. “The subtle shift in Modi’s pitch was directed not at the businessmen he was addressing—they were already sold—but politicians and people outside Gujarat.”

Another attempt at mind-reading of Modi – a job that should be best left to professional Oracles and not attempted by amateurs.

14. “The same go-it-alone, get-the-job-done persona that works so well for big business is not so effective in a top-heavy party, which has achieved a semblance of equilibrium at the top in the past one year, with different roles assigned to its leaders. Modi’s hardline approach leaves little room for the manoeuvrability central to coalition politics.”

Perhaps, the only sane observation that is relevant to the topic in the entire article. This “manoeuvrability central to coalition politics” is extremely vital to recover the funds expended in election campaigns and to prepare for any subsequent elections, otherwise, allies will not support the coalition when such a need arises. Of course, that is my PoV.

15. “Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj created a stir within her party when she said Bihar did not need Narendra Modi’s magic in the election; the BJP had another Modi, the Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, there”

Did the authors take into consideration the possibility that “Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha” might have her personal political ambitions, and in light of which Narendra Modi, if he decides to enter National Politics, that is, would be one of the strongest contenders for her? Or do the authors think that the BJP is also like some other party, where only one or two persons decide who to *appoint* as the Prime Minister eliminating any need for other politicians to compete openly with each other?

16. “where Nitish had worked hard to please the state’s Muslims” AND “Nitish won re-election on the slogan of development.”

So, Nitish won because he had worked hard to please the state’s Muslims or because he had used the slogan of development, or are both one and the same according to the authors? More important, how is it again relevant to the article? It is quite possible, Nitish Kumar wanted to restrict BJP’s presence in Bihar, otherwise his bargaining power would be weakened. BJP had won substantial portions of the seats that the NDA-JDU combine had won, and their “success ratio” (fraction of seats contested, which they won) was much better than JDU’s. Perhaps, therein lied Nitish’s discomfort. Of course, that too is my PoV. But I get surprised, that most of these mind reader-cum-journalists, do not even entertain such simple possibilities.

17. “True to his reputation, Modi spoke of Afzal Guru’s much-delayed hanging at the rally.”

What kind of reputation is needed to speak about Afzal Guru’s much-delayed hanging?

18. “The next day, in the same city in Punjab, even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not miss the opportunity to take a swipe at Nitish: “There is no doubt that Nitish Kumar professes to be a secular leader. But yesterday, after seeing him shake hands with Modi, a doubt did arise in my mind,””

The mind readers ought to know that when the entire article is about the *power dynamics of national politics*, the opinion of a politician who cannot win a single Lok Sabha seat does not count. Yes, had the issue been of Dr. Singh’s area of apparent expertise, i.e., Economics and how to best govern, then *perhaps* his opinion would be of some relevance.

19. “Yet, something crucial has changed within the NDA. With his second consecutive Assembly election win in Bihar, denying Lalu Prasad power yet again, Nitish has replaced Modi as the NDA’s ‘more acceptable’ prime ministerial prospect for the future.”

A needless presumption that either of the two leaders would actually be interested in becoming the Prime Minister. And another presumption is that the decision-making body within the BJP and/or NDA is thinking of only these two persons as prime ministerial candidates and no one else. But of course, the authors are mind readers. My bad!

20. “Whatever big business might say, Nitish Kumar’s slogan of ‘inclusive development’ resonates far louder through the country than Modi’s brand of development.”

Auditory hallucinations. Oops… am I turning a mind reader, here? 😉

19 thoughts on “In Response to OPEN articele – “Why Money Loves Modi …and why he still can’t make it work for him in national politics”

  1. Hi,

    Stumbled upon your blog while searching for pathetic Indian media biases. Read your latest two entries on Modi and you are spot on with your sharp rebuttal!

    I too read the Open article on Modi, typical Modi-bashing disguised as complementary. When I saw it first, I was happy that at least *somebody* in the media was giving Modi the credit he deserves, but when I finished reading the article, it just felt SO WRONG. And you have pointed out exactly why.


    Good blog, keep it up!

    • free_verse_girl,

      Thanks and welcome to the blog!

      While, it is natural for most of us to try to classify any fact and/or opinion into “pro-” or “anti-” Modi, I do make a conscious effort to assess the merit of the reasoning used. The reason I have to make ‘conscious’ efforts is because I know I am pretty antipathetic towards the Indian media, and it is possible that I might dismiss something as unworthy of my attention, and wrongly so.

      So, when I try to analyze such articles, I just get appalled by the sheer lack of logic in such articles. I can neatly classify some of the extreme statements into one or the other propaganda technique meant to wrongly influence the readers. No wonder, my estimate of the intelligence used by those who write such articles is very poor. The unfortunate part is that people react to such articles in extreme terms – either they fall for everything that would be written or they would simply oppose everything throwing the baby out with the bath-water so to say. 🙂 I hope I myself don’t end up doing the same.

  2. Ketan, as usual your detailed analysis and rebuttal of Media… But just a few things:

    1. There is so much bullshit being passed around in the world today, yet you have taken 2 Modi articles back to back to make your point – yet if you don’t want to look like a strong Modi supporter, I don’t know how anyone can see you. (Btw, these aren’t just 2 blog posts on the issue of Modi on your blog) Or is this the case of enemy of enemy is your friend.

    Just to clarify that neither do I stand in line with or against Modi or the Media. But from your writing, it seems that you tend to build very strong opinions about people and issues. And generally in today’s world when people get involved in online discussions, they become more resolute about their opinions. This is actually a result of a researched subject (Coz. I know you don’t like insinuations or PoV-insertions :)) I’ll find the link for you if you wish.

    The article may be whatever it is but whatever you say about the article, cannot really change the fact that Modi, though hugely popular among commerce barons, is finding it difficult to find a place in Delhi. And that is what the piece tried to emphasize, I think.

    Yes the article ends with amazing WTFness since in no imagination would the BJP would let Nitish even think of coming close to Delhi, let alone of a PM candidature.

    You know, When someone speaks to you, what do you hear?

    You do not hear what he/she says;
    You hear what you THINK he/she said.

    And I think, these days, you just want to THINK that the entire media is a corrupt marketing machine. Something on the lines of conspiracy theorists.

    Yes, media definitely has a bias but the bias is not always a result of corruption, or personal interests. Have you ever tried to analyse, why does the media have a bias against the BJP and for the Congress? And maybe, they are right or at least have non-personal reasons in doing so? Maybe Modi has done something that is worthy of such hate.

    As you know, motive is one of the most important issues to prove before calling anyone guilty. I seriously never understood the motive of the entire media industry in promoting the congress against the BJP. And maybe, this could be the subject of your next post – What is the motive?

    And also, on purely technical grounds, there is nothing pathetic about an online magazine carrying a piece by some authors categorised as a “feature story” that carry more than a plain statement of facts.

    • Rakesh,

      Thanks for visiting the blog! 🙂

      Well yes, I do have very strong opinions about the media, and they are entirely uncharitable. You are right. It is also possible that this lopsided opinion might be making me blind to some of the good things they do.

      However, as I have tried to explain at the very beginning in the article, the issue on which media uses some of its dirtiest tricks that can be classified as ‘propaganda techniques’ is against Modi. So, even if I would have to take a random sample of articles employing bad logic and dirty tricks, the highest proportion of that would be one based on Modi.

      In my analysis, I have ensured that I keep my own biases and opinion to the minimum. In fact, I have used *only* the author’s words to prove that either there were self-contradictions or their statements sorely lacked logic.

      I have no issues with authors pointing out why Modi might be a pariah to the Delhi politics. My issue is with *bad logic* used to try to force that upon readers’ minds. In fact, I will go on to add my own reasons for why Modi might not be able to make it to the Delhi politics. First question is: is he interested? He might be interested or he might not be. I do not know. But frankly, there is nothing in his political decisions *till now* at least that makes me confident that he will take a shot at Delhi politics. To be popular in one state is one thing, but to have a sway in Delhi politics is entirely another. There are few people who ‘just like that’ succeed in Delhi politics if they would not have lobbied and parked themselves there for a few years. He is not even a Lok Sabha member, if you want me to be more specific! Second point to consider is: BJP, unlike the Congress, is a party where its members can still afford to have aspirations for the top spot. So, Modi will indeed face competition from the likes of Sushma Swaraj. In fact, it is said that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was close to Rajnath Singh, and L. K. Advani used to be close to Modi, hence the somewhat sour relations between Modi and Vajpayee.

      Anyway, a lot of what I have written above is conjectural. I do not expect you to take it seriously.

      It is not true that my grudge against the media is majorly because of Modi. No! In fact, whether media supports Modi or not is a very irrelevant fact in the long term for two reasons: electoral outcomes are not going to be determined much by media coverage (I remember in 2007, the media had made it appear that a huge section of the BJP was with Keshubhai Patel and diamond traders who were in turn against Modi and that it would be very difficult for Modi to win, but well, the actual ground reality was nothing like what the media had portrayed). And secondly, whether Modi becomes the Prime Minister or some day goes to jail will have very little immediate impact on my life! But why what media does is important because we need to know how much we can rely upon them. You must be remembering that at one point I had expressed very strong views on how media had badly handled the yield from Pokhran tests. The second instance was my debate on environmentalists and Bt-brinjal. You had commented on both the posts and both had nothing whatsoever to do with Modi.

      As to why the media is anti-Modi, is simply because the political entity that has the greatest money power and clout (which does *not* happen to be the Congress Party) happens to be the one that sees a threat in Modi. And it is that political entity that has greatest influence over the media.

      I had done a detailed analysis of the same in this article – Why the Indian National Media appears Anti-Hindu (click).

      Thanks also for the concern! 🙂

  3. “over 250 Hindus had also died apart from around 800 Muslims,”

    i asked these questions to you before…let me ask you again:

    1)Where are the families of over 250 hindus who are alleged to have died in gujarat riots??

    2)Can you show me some cases where the muslim perpetrators of hindu killing during gujarat riots (which according to “statistics” over 250!) have been arrested , tried in a court by gujarat police????

    3)are not you amazed that even the BJP and right-wing bloggers/newspapers are not highlighting the cases of hindu victims of guj riots for last 9 years????

    Note: i am NOT saying that there are no hindu victims… simple question is :where are their families ??and where are their killers?

    • Indian Pundit,

      I did not get your question when you were meaning to ask: “where are the families of over 250 Hindus who are alleged to have died in gujarat riots”, seriously. They are in Gujarat! If your question is where are the news articles in English media that highlight their plight, then, is it not obvious (that at least I believe) that such articles would go against the original line that “Modi perpetrated genocide against Muslims”? Would such highlighting not go against their purpose of propagating Muslim victimhood?

      Anyway, let me tell you that even if I ask you to name some 900 Muslim victims you are unlikely to be able to name them. We all, at best, know the names of some 10 to 15 Muslims who had died in the riots, so is the inference from that that no other Muslim had died?

      Forget that, names of how many Hindus who had died in Sabarmati Express burning or those who had died at the hands of forces in Kashmir are known?

      Isn’t it surprising that for entire three years, till this report (click) was published most media houses were claiming that the number of Muslims who had died was over 2,000? Some even till this date peg that figure at above 2,000.

      The reason I highlight the death of around 200 Hindu deaths is *NOT because I want to portray Hindus as victims, but for the very simple reason that if indeed those number of Hindu and Muslim deaths had occurred (in ratio of 1:4), then terms like ‘genocide’, ‘pogrom’, etc., become entirely ridiculous. Plus, the conclusion that the State machinery actively sided with the Hindus in killing of Muslims also become very ridiculous, at least in my eyes.

      I am not asking you to take the ratio of 1:4 Muslim deaths as Gospel truth, but the fact is such kind of figures are lot more difficult to fudge than ‘witness accounts’ and ‘recounting of woeful stories’, which can be cooked up, exaggerated and also selectively publicized to make things appear one-sided.

      Anyway, you had asked for names of Muslim convicts, I am not sure, but these three names – Kalu Sana, Bana Fata and Salam Aba sound non-Hindu and more of Muslim to me. You can find the article where I found them here (click). Of course, you will ask upon reading the article how can Muslims be convicted for killings of Muslims? Two possibilities arise: 1. That above names are not Muslim names or 2. That reporting by ToI reporter on this insignificant news was not accurate. Because in most riot cases, people of both the factions get killed and indulge in violence. It is not Judge’s fault that the media would report only on one.

      The second article that you might want to read was carried by The Hindu (click). It makes clear mention of retaliatory violence by Muslims and the killing of rioteers in police firing and flag march by Indian army on March 1 itself (train burning had happened just two days prior to that on February 27). Of course, it does not mention whether those killed were Hindus or Muslims. You and I are free to draw whatever conclusions we might want from these stats.

      Thanks for visiting! Though I would have preferred that you would have commented on the content of this article rather than ask me questions that were quite irrelevant to this post.

  4. not much on the main post. but i think you will find this interesting:

    So innocent is Modi that his govt takes to task police officers for releasing “without permission” telephone records for the riots period:
    NOT to media
    NOT to blogs
    NOT to wikileaks

    but to duly constituted enquiry panels probing
    price of onion? (nope)
    cricket performance? (nope)
    filmstars tax evasion? (nope)
    gujarat riots 2002 (couldnt possibly have any use for those records right)

    PS: Here’s a conspiracy theory for you Ketan. I begin to suspect that Modi is in the pay of the NG family to lead the BJP charge in the next election (thereby doing his best to wreck NDA chances). I cant think of any other reason for the UPA to be so indifferent to a situation where they are doing so badly 🙂

  5. Ketan,

    A follow-up to the previous note: the IPS officer being targeted by the Modi govt may have run afoul of them earlier. Its not just the CDs.

    1. As SP of Bhavnagar at the time of Guj riots Rahul Sharma led his men in defence of the Bhavnagar madrassa from a mob of ~10000.

    2. He appears to have further messed up by not releasing 21 men he arrested in connection with these attacks inspite of political pressure.

    He was transferred to what was considered a low profile job, DCP control room Ahmedabad.
    You know, just records and files. Cops like military are pretty strict on control and command. I assume they thought he couldnt do much harm there.

    3. He took initiative and got the records of cell phone calls from the providers… if you’re a cop in India however high-ranking, and even if you’re tasked with “assisting the crime branch in investigating high-profile Naroda Patiya and Gulbarg cases” it does NOT pay to take initiative. Check with your superiors, or better still the politicos.

    4. He submitted the record CDs to Nanavati commission and to Bannerji commission.

    As one can see Rahul Sharma is a repeat offender richly deserving of what the Guj govt is trying to send his way 🙂


    Please indulge the following alternative narrative: In an alternative reality populated by a CM (Modi-II) and govt that really cares for the safety of the people:

    at step 1. Modi-II govt appreciates Rahul Sharma and commends his actions for recognition.

    at step 2. Modi-II publicly declares that this is the kind of upstanding officer he is looking for. He accelerates the process of awarding Sharma and strictly orders the defendants to be held in jail.

    at step 3. Modi-II empowers the search for records and enables it rather than questioning it and undermining it. It takes action against officers that *dont* co-operate in this search or try to bury records.

    at step 4. Maybe you can fill up this one 🙂

    thank you,

    • Jai,

      As you might know I strike a very firm distinction between something being reported to have happened, and it actually having happened the way it is reported to have happened. Of course, you might believe that I employ this approach to only believe those things that conform to my biases. But I will allow you to make that judgement-call. 🙂

      The first article you had linked starts with a falsehood that the SIT has indicted Narendra Modi for complicity in Gujarat riots, which from various sources I know of, is not true. At least from the leaked SIT reports it appears that they have not been able to collect forensic evidence that would ever lead to conviction of Modi. Hence, this word “indict” comes across as very strange. So, that would make the intentions of one reporting such things a bit suspect to me. But anyway, I just wanted to highlight why I do not trust such ‘reports’ in Indian media so easily.

      Okay, let me draw your attention to some of the most significant lines in the article:

      1. “The CDs obtained by Sharma, however, went missing before it was brought on record by the investigating agency, the city crime branch that probed three major massacres of the city at Naroda Patia, Naroda Gam and Gulbarg Society.”

      2. “When Sharma was called for deposition at the Nanavati-Shah commission, he submitted a copy of the CD to the inquiry panel. Later, he also submitted a copy of call records to the Banerjee committee.”

      So, what does the first sentence suggest? To me it suggests that Rahul Sharma asked for this data in capacity of an employee of Gujarat Police. Meaning, he writes an official letter on ‘Government of Gujarat’ letterhead asking for the data, and actually gets the data, which automatically become a property of Gujarat Police (and not private property of Rahul Sharma). But when the State Police wants the same data (which rightly belongs to them), he says, “Sorry, CDs ghoom gayee”. So, I do not see why a show-cause notice should not be served for such an act of irresponsibility/sabotage. In fact, if he indeed said that he had lost the CDs as one of the articles you linked seems to claim that he was not at all punished was very, very lenient of the Gujarat Police and in fact should be held against them as shining example of lack of professionalism. Or of course, there is another possibility, that he had indeed submitted the original CDs to the Gujarat Police who said “Sorry, CDs ghoom gayee” to the investigating agencies. Really?

      Moreover, Justice U. C. Bannerjee had been appointed by Laloo Prasad Yadav in capacity of the Railway Minister whose jurisdiction happened to be railway tracks of Western Railways and the associated Railway Stations like that of Godhra, right? What business did Justice U. C. Bannerjee have listening into conversations that happened in far off Ahmedabad? Maybe the CDs proved that nobody from the Muslim community had spoken over mobile phones before February 27, so no Muslim had conspired to burn the train, so the train had burned by itself? Really? Anyway, I yet again leave it to you to decide what could be the motives of Rahul Sharma behind submitting the CDs to U. C. Bannerjee and/or of ToI to publish these ‘facts’.

      Anyway, moving away from all of that, the very idea that DCP *control room* in a city (Ahmedabad) afflicted with riots is a ‘low profile’ job without responsibility is something I fail to understand (incidents of stabbing and small-scale violence had continued long into March and April). In fact, the very media makes us believe that these Ahmedabad *control rooms* were such important strategic locations that Modi had “installed” two of ministers there to ensure that “pogrom” against Muslims be properly carried out smoothly. Yes, yes, it could also be said that Modi wanted to ensure that Rahul Sharma who was such a risk to the Gujarat Police should be under the watchful eyes of the Ministers, who remained in *control rooms* till? March 1? March 2? March 3? March 4? No! March 26th!! For entire 3 weeks!

      That he went onto work later on for the ever so trustworthy and impartial CBI proves that this guy had no political affiliations or that maybe, his seniors from Gujarat Police itself wrote good ‘appraisals’ for him to have been ‘promoted’ in such a manner to a Central Government agency? Anyway, we can draw whatever conclusions we want from all of the above. You will continue to see only Modi as the person who uses trickery, and I will continue to think that everything in India with such high stakes can be politicized (also by Modi).

      I would have preferred that you would have said something about the blog post itself. 🙂

      To clarify, I am nobody to adjudicate Modi as “guilty” or “innocent”. I just maintain that whatever data has been brought forth, at least for me, is not convincing that the entire State machinery was behind Hindu fanatics in helping them kill off Muslims, because this idea goes against the fact that for every four Muslims killed one Hindu had also died, and this ratio suggests only two possibilities: 1. that the State machinery (which had also included at that time soldiers from the Indian army) did not act at all or 2. that the State machinery tried somewhat/reasonably well/to its best of abilities to control the violence, but failed (both because of the scale and suddenness of violence and the inherent lack of professionalism and resources of Indian Police forces). I tend to go by the latter conclusion. Because it sounds more realistic and fitting in with what I have seen about Indian Police.

      To me the idea that entire State Machinery (of over 70,000 police persons, Rapid Action Force and Indian Army) can systematically assist killing of 900 people without leaving evidence of doing so and without leaving evidence of destruction of that evidence is lot more ridiculous than the uncharitable motives I attribute to the media.

      If, as the above articles claim, the data in the CD is clearly showing Modi’s complicity in riots, the same would be confirmed by the Gujarat HC or the SC. Let us wait till that time. And in the interim we can confidently keep our respective beliefs intact as to how reliable such media reports are. 🙂

      Sorry for having used the sarcastic tone I used above. But I prefer that you as well do not use sarcasm of the kind you had used in your comments.

      Gujarat riots and their investigations – are very complex issues. I would never try to see them through simplistic prism of ‘innocent’ v/s ‘guilty’.


      • I didnt notice your reply till now. The way I see the sequence of events in that news story is that Sharma actually submitted copy CDs whenever required: to the committees etc. What reason would he have to deliberately “miss” the originals?

        So I surmise that the CDs were “missed” by others in the police who had access to them who thought they were protecting their patrons. It must have been disappointing to them to know that copies of CDs were still there and made available to enquiry later.

        BTW I agree that TOI is not a highly credible news source.


        • Jai,

          Oh, I’d replied pretty late, so it’s likely you would miss my reply, especially if you wouldn’t have subscribed to comments’ notification.

          And if you read carefully, I have considered both the possibilities that it is Sharma who did not hand over the CDs or that he indeed did hand over the CDs, but the Gujarat Police (with a mala fide intent) did not submit them and “lied” that they had lost them. Yes, you got my point, I guess, the bottomline is “the sequence of events in *that* news story”. We do not know the other side of the story, which invariably exists.

          Anyway, my point is not what Gujarat Police did or did not do. My point is very simple: an event like that of Gujarat riots is way too complex for political parties and media houses to not have an agenda of their own. And I hope, I could point out a few logical inconsistencies in the claims made in the story (especially about the submission of those call records to the U C Bannerjee Committee).

          Also I hope you do not mind my getting a bit personal here, you have tended to slot me as “Modi supporter” and “Hindutvavaadi” (former, I am to certain degree, maybe it is more of reactionary to what the political “alternatives” are and the approach of ‘media’ on Modi who I pretty much dislike for reasons more than one,many of which do not even have anything to do with politics; latter, I just am not) on D-cubed, but I don’t think I have ever assumed a position akin to “Modi can do no wrong”. I have seen you as a very observant person (e.g., when you pointed out that the allegations by Rais Khan against Teesta Setalvad were just that – allegations – something that I too had admitted even before you pointed that out) and that makes me worried (yes, I am using the term after some consideration), why would you not spot the simple logical glitches of the kind I pointed out (viz., 1. U C Bannerjee Commission had little to benefit from those CDs; 2. Transfer from a far-fetched desert land (Saurashtra) to the actual epicenter of worst kind of violence (the Police control rooms in Ahmedabad) would be seen as investing of greater responsibility and a kind of appreciation and expression of trust; 3. “Control room” while inter-religion riots would be going on in a city is *not* a bureaucratic place with no work; 4. Getting to work for the CBI indicates strong recommendations by the State Police or some kind of political affiliation with the Government at the Center). Kindly note, none of the points I make above are sourced in ‘passion’ or ’emotion’. I believe, I’m being pretty objective in raising these points.

          If we factor in the above points I raised, does the basic premise that Sharma is being ‘targeted’ seem weakened? For me, it does weaken greatly. Yet, it is with this (easily falsifiable) presumption at the center (that Sharma is being ‘targeted’) both the news articles were published. Were the reporters/editors unaware of these simple logical glitches? I am highly disinclined to believe that, yet they carried that ‘story’. Why would I not believe that these people have some ulterior motives in trying to misguide me – the reader? You might say, the ulterior motive is their concern for humanity, because Modi is inhuman, and yet they want to see him disgraced and punished at *any cost*. But the problem again, especially in my understanding and opinion, is that this idea that Modi is inhuman and had actively facilitated killing of Muslims was also created by using the above kind of tactics of disinformation (“there was no army for three days”), exaggeration (“more than 2,000 Muslims were killed”; plus terms like “pogrom”, “genocide”), and suppression of vital pieces of information (~300 Hindus killed in riots along with ~900 Muslims, 170 killed in police firing, 9,000 Muslims and over 33,000 Hindus arrested/detained, and the fact that we still don’t know how many police, paramilitary and military personnel had died in attempt to control riots)! So for me, even that ‘allowance’ that these reporters and media corporations lie about Modi in ‘good faith’ is also not possible to make. In fact, careful scrutiny of some of the early reports from newspapers like ‘The Hindu’ does not indicate a partisan role played by the government in initial few days, when most of the casualties had already taken place. It is later that “Modi sided with Hindus” kind of reporting (without any evidence or statistical figures to back the claim) started gaining strength.

          I know, Modi is a deeply polarizing figure, he might be partly responsible for that, because he does not directly engage his detractors, the reasons for which could range from electoral concerns to something as simple as fear of being misquoted. And of course, also the fact that a lot on what he might have to speak is sub judice. I also do not believe that if he were to denounce use of violence, he would be faithfully quoted and reported by the kind of media we have. I am not saying all this because I have some conspiracy theories in mind, but simply from pattern of how most of the media reacts to Modi (fine examples of which are the news articles you had linked).

          I hope with this explanation you will see my position as not as fanatical as you might have in the past, and at least see some nuances in what I have to say. 🙂

          Thanks for engaging me!

        • And Jai, one more thing, in none of my arguments above I’m invoking the perceived reliability v/s unreliability of ToI. I only pointed out how what they printed is logically and from common knowledge at odds with things we can be more certain of (1. “UC Bannerjee commission = *Railways* inquiry panel”; 2. “Posting in urban areas are considered more lucrative” 3. “A police control room during riots is a place of most of the action”, 4. “CBI posting would be rather considered a promotion rather than demotion”).

          And I’m not even going into the actual significance of data contained in those CDs. If their contents are as explosive as these articles make them out to be, I believe, the SIT would be able to provide definitive forensic evidence to the Supreme Court, and Modi would just not be able to protect anyone, and not even himself, if he would feature in those conversations. If the CDs do not contain data of that nature, then these news articles were merely an exercise in sensationalism to “malign Modi” [Yes, conspiracy theory. 😀 ].

  6. @Jai_C

    Times of India is tabloid newspaper at best. They are known to distort facts, add facts of their own or conveniently omit important facts, add their own twisted interpretation, trace unsubstantiated information to conveniently placed ‘sources’. I don’t think anybody in the country takes ToI seriously. A recent sting by a western newspaper shows how ToI is highly compromised, indulging as it does, in paid news.

    Papers like ToI just need the whiff of an occurrence somewhere and it’s upto the imagination of their “journalists” to turn it into “news story”.

    • free_verse,

      Thanks! That was an interesting link! In fact, I found it funny as well.

      You know, taking money to provide 'celebrities at extra cost' and to cover inconsequential parties as 'news' is so innocuous. A responsible news company like Bennett & Coleman would neeeeevvvvvveeeeerrrrrr (never) do it in case of important news like that pertaining to the Gujarat riots, because they are so conscientious when it comes to such issues.

      Right? 😉

  7. Hi, I noticed you inquiring after Gujarat’s agricultural growth on your twitter account [I don’t have an account yet but follow some people nonetheless, including you :)] – Agriculture in Gujarat grew at 16.7%. Important question is: did *all* (the kind of) farmers register a growth?
    @Shonatwits In which case Gujarat agricultural growth is even more spectacular?

    Anyway, wanted to post links to two very reliable articles on the stunning agricultural boom on the semi-arid lands of Gujarat:

    Does much to dispel the argument of many (like Malika Sarabhai etc.) that only industrialists are prospering in Gujarat. Gujarat’s agricultural growth story is a miracle to be studied and followed for the benefit of the entire country, but the mainstream media, owing to extraneous reasons, is guilty of not highlighting these achievements.

    Your question on whether this growth benefits all kinds of farmers is a relevant one. Only time will fully reveal that. But I feel that this agricultural boom is definitely benefiting all, unlike the famous Green Revolution under which only the rich wheat growing farmers of Punjab and Haryana prospered. The reason is simple: Green Revolution relied on expensive hybrid seeds and irrigation facilities which only the rich farmers could afford. Gujarat’s growth on the other hand is a result of decentralised irrigation initiatives which are locally situated and managed. Focus is on small and minor irrigation projects and watershed facilities which are cheap and affordable (irrigation is pretty much the main issue in arid gujarat). Other innovative initiatives such as help disseminate technical knowledge and expertise to farmers for better productivity.

    Our present day inflation problem is a direct result of practically NO SUBSTANTIAL investment in agriculture in the last 10 years to raise productivity. The past two 5 years plans have aimed for 4% agriculture growth and we have barely touched 2-3% (and that to dependent on monsoon). This coupled with the fact that the NAC-led govt. believes in populist, wasteful schemes like NREGA has increased disposable income with the rural poor without raising their productivity. The massive inflation is a culmination of all this.

    For decades now, it has been emphasized that the only way to bring India’s masses out of abject poverty is to attain high agricultural growth.But it is not even fashionable to talk about agriculture anymore in public fora. It’s either industries or IT (which are hardly prospering as well)

    Narendra Modi has ensured that both industry and agriculture develop adequately and THAT IS THE reason for low poverty levels in India. It’s an absolute shame that our country’s media and think tanks have ignored these achievements and on the contrary, seek to undermine them just for political and ideological reasons.

    • Thanks a lot, free_verse_girl! As you might be aware already, I have just published a blog post based largely on your comment. 🙂

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