Independence Day 2018: Hope abounds, so does cynicism

India at 72… Well, personally, there’s a lot of hope. For another, there is a lot of cynicism which I don’t personally feel, but I feel the country is feeling. And the third is that there is a lot of disinformation out there, which needs to be sifted out and I don’t know how we are going to do that. Suddenly on social media, everybody is feeling empowered and they feel that they need to put across their version of what is actually happening but that’s not necessarily the true version because they pick it up from sources that are not reliable at all. This has been compounded by the fact that the news media has stopped researching the rumour-mongering which they carry minus authentication. When you borrow from a big newspaper you  assume that they have done their due diligence and hence don’t do yours!

If we talk about the recent ABP channel developments where the Managing Editor and primetime anchor were apparently pressurised to quit by the government, why can’t the rest of the press squad follow the story? Do you think this would have happened 10 years ago? I’m so disappointed in the present reportage. It is so knee-jerk, there is no due diligence. They just carry anything that is sensational, and there is no researching of facts.

Shah factor

The other point which is really worrying is that there is a government in place, which is doing its damn best to pull us out of a morass of bad debts and no future and complete corruption – one man at least; I don’t know about the government. Prime Minister Modi is setting an example of how to go about it. The problem is that there’s not enough information about Amit Shah and therefore people tend to believe the worst because they believe what they see. Shah looks extremely intimidating and people both within the party and outside are wary of him. The belief is that Modi is using Shah for his convenience because he is winning elections for him, which is not really true. There is no mojo there – the fact is, there is a lot of hard work and common sense. The fact is not anybody from the media has actually done any authentic digging, any fact-finding into who is Amit Shah and where does he come from; does he have any proper credentials or is he just like any political appendage?

Game of embarrassment

The rapes, the lynching, the Hindu communalism… has anybody really bothered to find out who all are behind this and how many incidents are there, and are we really playing it up for lack of anything better? If you look at the country as a whole and you look at the amount of crimes, you are highlighting lynchings, however horrifying they might be, which are sporadic. Has anybody bothered to find out who are these gau rakshaks, why are they doing this and why they claim to have the government’s support? Have you ever realised that there is this age-old rivalry between the loony fringes of the VHP-Bajrang Dal and the BJP? Who were the main guys who were booked and are rotting in jail for the Godhra carnage?

All the Bajrangis and the VHPs. After the Godhra riots, then International Working President of the Vishva Hindu Parishad Pravin Togadia was externed out of Gujarat because Modi held him responsible for the carnage. Now, he hates Modi and has been trying to embarrass his government, trying to stay relevant and well aware that that the so-called secular press was going to outdo itself to show how communal we all are. Everybody took the bait. Finally Modi got the RSS to deal with him as part of the internal discipline of the right wing movement.

False notes

The greatest tragedy of the BJP is that they have forgotten that they are in power because of Modi – not the other way round. People in this country voted only for Modi; they didn’t care a hoot who was standing, because they believed Modi was the future rather than the Congress which had looted this country blind and with arrogance. Scams in the BJP government? These are not even BJP rank and file. As a matter of fact, if the RSS could catch hold of them, they would lynch them and these are the guys who deserve to be lynched; not the poor guys who are dealing in beef. They have taken advantage of a system perpetuated by the Congress, whereby nationalised banks were giving out money on the basis of a phone call, with no due diligence.

Forget about what the BJP’s promises were; it’s time to look at what they are doing right. And the biggest problem is supposing Modi is not delivering and we want to get rid of him, look at the goon squad waiting in the wings! Mayawati, Didi, Akhilesh Yadav… do you want any of them to run the country? Coming to Rahul Gandhi, he would need to chuck his coterie of ‘purana paapis’, go with his conscience and rope in a brand new team that should ideally include Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora.

Warning signs

The VHP-Bajrang Dal is making it out to be a Hindu raj and that we should become Draconian and take on the minorities. Even the BJP has not realised that if 80 percent of this country is Hindu, 50% of that figure are fence-sitters and don’t agree with aggressive Hindutva. They might not come into the open and stick their necks out, but when it comes to the ballot they could reject this kind of communalism.

BJP is insecure and will never hire a competent person if they believe s/he is not with them completely. Whether it was hiring the Censor Board chief, or the head of the Film Institute, they chose a bunch of absolute idiots which eroded their credibility straight away. Anyway, this election isn’t going anywhere. They are going to win it, maybe not with the kind of landslide figures they did five years ago, but who else is there?

Coming back to the sense of hope I mentioned at the start, I have a feeling that this country is slowly and surely coming back on track. It will happen…faster than you think, actually!

(Prahlad Kakkar is an ad film director, and founder and main director for Genesis Film Productions, established in 1977)

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