Right from the time of Independence, sections of British media have predicted India’s break-up or the death of its democracy. Though there is a PR section in the Indian High Commission in London, no one has ever challenged these messengers of doom.
A few weeks ago some 200 “prominent citizens” of the UK put their names to a statement condemning India. The word prominent is an overstatement as most of the names were unfamiliar and a lot of them were small time actors, musicians, poets, writers and even a rapper as well as students. The “prominent Indians” on the list were hardly prominent.
But it also had Danny Boyle, the director of Slumdog Millionaire. How and why the people of India gave this film accolades I never understood. Danny Boyles of the world have an arrogant and disparaging attitude towards India. It shows in his portrayal of Indian society.
India is considered soft. You won’t see Danny Boyle making a similar film in China nor would he get Chinese actors to act in a film which has the undercurrents of such naked dislike for a country and its people.
Apart from the Danny Boyles of the world, we have Indian academics abroad who overwhelmingly have an allergy for India. They use every available opportunity to disparage their country. You will not find a single academic from another country who so willingly talks down his or her country of origin. This is peculiar only to Indian academics abroad. India has to look into its education system to find out why these academics have no respect for a country which has given them opportunities to get where they are.
A few years ago, an Indian lord (Member of the House of Lords) and professor gave a speech on India at the prestigious Chatham House. He listed India’s failures one after the other. Nothing about India being the fastest growing economy, nothing about the world’s largest democracy. Nothing. His knockout punch was that India’s infant mortality rate was worse than Bangladesh’s. I challenged him at question time and surprised and shocked him. They are not used to being challenged. Officials from the Indian High Commission were also present there, but no one spoke a word.
Right from the time India got Independence, sections of the British media have predicted India’s imminent break-up or the death of its democracy. Though there is a PR section in the Indian High Commission in London, no one has ever challenged these messengers of doom. Maybe the policy is to ignore them. This, however, is untenable in this day and age where every negative story in this vast country is metamorphosed into a heinous act on the world stage. This impacts the new generation of Indians abroad negatively.
Going back to the statement of the so-called prominent people, they proclaimed that India’s image has never been so tarnished. As if they ever cared for India’s image. They took umbrage with what they called India’s dictatorial and majoritarian (read Hindu) agenda. They further accused the present government of assault on human rights and criminalisation of dissent.
The word “majoritarianism” is increasingly being used by India’s detractors. They expressly dislike the idea of a Hindu majority country. They want none of the traditions, beliefs and cultural heritage of Hindus who have lived in India for thousands of years, to be acknowledged. Again you will never find any other country being accused of majoritarianism. The UK has a huge number of immigrants from many countries and yet its ethos is Christian based. They have bishops sitting in Parliament to advise the government on important issues. The major events of the nation like royal weddings and opening of Parliament are blessed by Church leaders. And this is the case with most countries. This does not take anything away from the minorities. All it does is acknowledge the ethos and sentiments of the majority. Moreover, no one speaks against this modus operandi of the UK. Not even the left-wing lobby or even Indian academics. Their only concern is that India should not have anything even remotely similar.
The anti-India lobby in the UK is made up of some film producers, left-wing academics, politicians and media groups and groups belonging to rival faiths. They have all united on one issue and that is to eliminate the idea of a Hindu majority country with its own identity based on a heritage of thousands of years. They are all on the same wavelength as Ramachandra Guha and Arundhati Roy! They have a “majority phobia”. It is a term I have coined.
The further charge of assault on human rights by the present government is an example of how fake news is snuffing out the truth. India has a fiercely independent judiciary and a huge number of checks and balances to stop any human rights abuses. The so called criminalisation of dissent is also bothering the left and secular lobby. The nefarious activities to break up the country and create mass violence and disorder is being foiled by India and that is why the bogey of criminalisation of dissent is being red flagged. The statement also accuses the Delhi police of bias presumably because it has uncovered a plot to create chaos during the visit of US President Donald Trump.
Even if there was a non BJP government in power, this lobby would continue with its negative propaganda because their main aim is to deny the Hindu majority any acknowledgement of its core values on a national level.
It baffles me that India which started with nothing and is now a major world economy, a democracy with all its massive diversity and population continues to get negative media coverage. India is surrounded by countries where there have been civil wars, massive violence, no democracy, but the Western media looks the other way. India should be a role model for how a nation can exist despite its massive diversity. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam—the world is a family. Now that is a good Hindu saying to go along with Satyameva Jayate.