Media'sresponsibility is ?to report? impartially. Therefore, to even expect media to take sides is not principally fair for anybody. To realise the peculiarity of Indian media, one has to understand as to how and why Indian media came about. Indian media is not just today'sprint and electronic media. Indian media has a history, which is much richer and glorious as compared to those in many other countries. Pre-British period, Indian media was mainly non-conventional media like folk arts and locally established forms of communicating the local events and happenings to a very limited target group. Print art was in a beginning stage and then newspapers mainly printed cinema and play ads with little local news. Once the momentum to movement against British invasion started building up, locally powerful and nationally inspired print media took shape like Lokamanya Tilak'sKesari, Hitawada, Anand Bazaar Patrika, etc. It had one goal that is to oust the invader. It had one target group namely, ?all? Indians. Patriotism was the only theme of it and it worked with the majority of Indians.
British left India. While leaving, along with English education, they left fractured India, full of bleeding deep wound of Partition. The scars of which are still visible all over India and Pakistan. What happened to Indian media then? Indian media reported faithfully every happening including the choice made by the then Muslims to vote for separate Pakistan. Indian media kept on reporting for a long time not just the horrid stories of how Hindus were thrashed, burnt and killed by Muslims during Partition, but also reported persistently that 90 per cent Muslims of the undivided India had voted for Pakistan in 1946. Those who could not vote were 10 per cent and were from Baluchistan, Pakhtuniustan, which are already in Pakistan now. Post-independence media could see through this and kept on reporting that leaving apart 10 per cent, almost 99 per cent Muslims in present India had voted for separate Muslim state that is Pakistan. Editorials of all patriotic print media then criticised this mentality of Muslims and reporters kept on reporting how the Muslims who were left back in Hindustan always craved for Pakistan, tried to either go to Pakistan and when not possible tried to create many mini-Pakistans within Hindustan where Hindus were again burnt, stabbed, killed and raped even after 1947. Indian media consistently reported all those happenings and events even then.
So, looking into the history as well, we can very well say, Indian Media was never ever anti-Hindu. Indian media always impartially reported facts, happenings, events and printed true photographs then.
This impartial, principled and courageous Indian media never ceased to exist even during Emergency. We all have seen many journalists including senior editors of prestigious newspapers going to jail carrying the torch of freedom of speech and freedom of thought.
Now, to understand media'srole in today'sage, one must realise the basic fact that any means of communication like print, electronic and non-conventional media is a reflection of the society. It was evident then in the freedom fight, in the fight against Emergency and now as well. This means, media, being one of the social institutions, has to represent and reflect the happenings, events and facts of the majority society also. Modern day media fights tooth and nail with the competing media but when it comes to these reflections, opens up a plethora of Hindustan in front of its readers and viewers. Take any TV channel. What do they show? ?A generally watched by all? type of politics, sports, arts such as cinema, music, dance, etc, and lots of cultural aspects of Hindustan. What do they show in it? Indian festivals like Holi, Navratri, Durga Puja, Diwali, Dussehra. Indian religious events like Maha Kumbh, Moon and Sun eclipse, religious baths by lakhs of pilgrims, pilgrim like Kashi, Amarnath, Mansarovar, 12 Jyotirlingas in Shraavan…. The list is unlimited of all what today'sIndian media shows. Obviously any media has to show or write what a majority of any nation watches or reads. Not just their advertisers expect to reach larger target group, but as any media, the core has to reach the largest group, which of course is the majority of any nation and in Hindustan, Hindus are the majority. Sure, Indian media reflects this majority. Therefore, even as a business logic and as a media core principle, Indian media can'tbe and is not anti-Hindu. Ultimately, no media can focus only on 12 per cent claim 85 per cent TRP or readership or circulation! Neither as business nor as media principle.
Indian media has always advocated open debates on various social issues and human-interest happenings. Don'twe all remember India Today'sjournalism of courage when they printed a rare picture of how Hindus were thrashed in Kashmir. In 90s, schools of Kashmir had slogans written on the walls: ?Allah is our God, Koran is our constitution, Mohammad is our leader, Jehad is our way.? India Today printed these pictures without fearing. Even today, all media in the country has been consistently reporting gruesome terrorist acts be it 1993 Mumbai blasts, Parliament attack or 7/11 Mumbai train blasts. Indian media is not giving sensational pictures of these. Indian media including TV channels, Internet are analysing the links of various jehadi networks behind these attacks on Hindustan. Surely Indian media is not anti-Hindu.
Possibly, there are a few in Indian media who have a different take on Hindustan'ssocial core. These are mainly ?discarded by China and vaguely in the process of extinction in India? types. Those ideologies that never belonged to Hindustan are always treated by majority Indians as Invasions. Such media and mediapersons do not reflect Indian ethos and therefore don'tsurvive in the media competition of TRPs and even in the core media principles.
The pseudo classification of Indian media supposedly done by some of the so-called thinkers as secular media and non-secular media has no basis. Any media in any nation has great thinkers as journalists. In India, such thinkers have greatly contributed to the glory and richness of Indian media. Be it Amrita Pritam who wrote a world renowned novel Pinjar, be it Ramnath Goenka who stood against Emergency, be it Bhanupratap Shukla who sacrificed his position for pure thinking. There are many such examples. In fact, even the CNN of US had to show Haj to do PR with Saudi Muslims for oil when President Bush was speaking against Islamic Fascism. But Indian media has not done such compromises. CNN'snew Indian wing CNN IBN has been consistently carrying its torch against Jehad. Zee at the cost of an attack on its journalist showed infiltration story. Star wasn'tscared to show Dawood tapes. There are many such examples.
The Indian Express is very subtly writing the plight of each family of the victim in 7/11 blasts. Times of India bravely exposed SIMI'sjehadi link. Aaj Tak very courageously showed Al Badr man'sinterview where he had said: For us any Hindustani is a qafir, be it Hindu or Muslim. We will finish Hindustan and establish Darul Islam. NDTV walked into Deoband and filmed their fierce teaching without being afraid. Indian media has been showing events of any social mal practice be it fatwas or horrid anti-women anti humanity ways of anyone. Here, Indian media represents majority society and therefore they do time to time criticise events like making Durga, Krishna wear jeans or making foreign women dance semi nude in Navratri, Garba and so on.
Indian media has been on the forefront of not sparing anyone, however mighty and powerful that person may be, when it comes to national interest. When India did nuclear test, Indian media was all for it. While Pak borders were opened Indian media welcomed it but all of them cautioned of domestic security. And the same Indian media asked the decision makers as to whither their promises of Ram Mandir even after 6 years and why salute Jinnah in Pak. Today the same Indian media is asking as to why J&K Chief Minister is advocating for clemency of a Supreme Court declared terror convict and why it shouldn'tbe treated as treason and contempt of court, same Indian media reports fearlessly when an ancient Shiv Mandir is broken in Dang in Gujarat in Navratri.
Sure, Indian media is not anti-Hindu at all.
(The author is renowned cardiac surgeon and international general secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad.)