The West is still exploring the east. For us, China, Japan and our own India are great success stories.
But it is in these countries the West always looks for real disaster stories. For the major publications of the West, with Asia editions, the most happening places are not the rich, powerful and populous countries of Asia. The newsmakers for them are the smaller countries, with their tourist attractions, cultural diversities and rich heritage!
When the reporting is on India, China or Japan, the subject varieties are Aids, poverty, rural destitution, unemployment, urban unrest, problems of growth and development, communal strife, caste divide, natural calamities, corruption and failing democracies.
This double standard becomes more glaring when the matter of terrorism or bilateral territorial issues hit headlines. The latest Time magazine, which ran a cover story on Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, brazenly declared that India was willing to concede its territory to Pakistan. It announced with the flourish of a fiction, common in the Western media, ?Singh will make an offer to help defuse South Asia'smost dangerous flash-point, Kashmir. India, says the official will offer to adjust the Line of Control, the de facto border dividing Kashmir, by a matter of miles eastward?. The official says its formal presentation in New York is a result of Singh'sinstruction that his foreign affairs team think ?out of the box? on Kashmir ?to get a solution and soon??.. Singh has chosen an interesting moment for his offer.? The report was very uncharitable to India and the earlier NDA government, but full of encomiums to Dr Singh.
The entire paradigm was based on an unnamed senior official in India. The report was immediately denied.
More violent was the editorial comment in The Economist. It is an essay in blatant lies, bias and concealed threat for India. It said, ?There has been progress on almost everything apart from the one thing that really matters. Only Kashmir remains untouched. It is easy to hold out the hand of friendship from a position of superiority, such as that enjoyed by India in the beautiful and strategic Valley of Kashmir. Pakistan, which holds only a fragment of a state that is dominated by Muslims, but was ceded to India by its Hindu Maharajah in 1947, takes a rather different view of the status quo. So do the Kashmiris themselves. Perhaps 75,000 of them have died in a 15-year revolt against India'soppressive rule… And India, for reasons that are hard to fathom, seems not to see the danger in allowing the other side to do all the conceding. It has repeatedly failed?and failed again this week?to reward people who are taking dreadful personal risks? India should show more flexibility. If India continues to offer nothing in return, sooner rather than later the Kashmiris will give up on talking. And Pakistan is far too volatile and dangerous a place to be taken for granted either. India needs the moderate Kashmiris and Pakistan'sPresident Pervez Musharraf to survive. It should be helping them to do so,? (September 11, 2004).
Canard cannot be more scandalous. Every word, quoted above, dripping of paranoid ?damn India? campaign orchestrated with hosannas for bloodthirsty terrorist brutes.
At home they supposedly fight terror. But in Chechenya they support Muslim terrorists. Even their condemnation of the Beslan massacre of the innocent children was conditional. The tone was as if Russia was asking for the tragedy. In the same issue, The Economist has forcefully pleaded the Chechenyan terrorist cause. They did the same in Bosnia too. It is not the democratic, peace loving, developing India, they hail, but tin-pot dictators, who usurp power, patronise terror and covet other'sterritory, they promote. It is sinful for India to pay land for peace. And Kashmir is culturally, geographically, and emotionally India.
It is time for the Western media to grow up and call a spade a spade. Appreciate emotional sensitivities of other sovereign countries; stop preaching to the less fortunate South from their glass castles. After all, they have no credibility in India, because of the bias they exude, the absurdity they profess.