The encomiums were endless. One of the nation'slargest selling newspapers was not referring to Cuban leader Fidel Castro or to the Chinese President Hu Jintao but Maoist killer usurper Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias ?Prachanda?, of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The latest poster boy of the Indian media.
The Maoist, whose hands are smeared with the blood of thousands of innocent Nepalese citizens, was being hosted by the daily at its annual jamboree called the ?Leadership Summit?. And like any other radical killer, the man, who thrived and prospered on anti-India propaganda, had the Indian media eating out of his hands. They did not ask him, if he deserves to be punished or he regretted at heart the macabre killings. His word was the last for them.
?But the media thirsted for more. The television crew chased him for bytes even after the interface. They just wanted him to carry on – talk, talk and talk,? the newspaper reporter went gaga over Prachanda'salleged ?popularity?. It was reminiscent of the pathetic show put up by India'ssenior Editors and journalists at the media interaction with the Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf (which was subsequently leaked out and broadcast) during the Agra Summit.
Then too, our media had spoken about Musharraf's?body language?. We seem to have developed a fancy for the dictators in our neighbourhood even as we swear by democracy at home. Prachanda, mind you, is not just responsible for the killing of innocent Nepalese citizens. He has consistently whipped up anti-India sentiments in the Himalayan Kingdom. While the Indian media might have forgotten all that as it hosted and feted him, the cunning Nepalese Maoist remained unapologitic. At a meeting called by the Nepal Democracy Solidarity Committee in Delhi, he struck to his old agenda and called for a review of all treaties with India in view of the ?new situation? in his country. The Maoists have been targeting the historic Indo-Nepalese Friendship Treaty of 1950 and other river water sharing treaties.
The historic friendship treaty has not only stood the test of time but also served the strategic interests of both the nations over the past five decades.
In the name of imbalance and discrimination, what is sought to be achieved by the Maoists is the presence of forces inimical to India on Nepalese soil and opening the floodgates to Chinese goods.
Though the Indian media may not have been aware of his background, he knew the art of manipulating them. Playing to the galleries, he charged the Nepalese King with having been hand in gloves with Pakistan'sInter-Services Intelligence and the likes of Dawood Ibrahim. But Mr Prachanda must know there are many in this country who remember how he used to slam the Nepalese monarchy as Indian agents in his hate campaign.
However, the most important issue of concern to all patriotic Indians is the ever widening Maoist corridor extending from the Nepal border. That the Maoists in Nepal have been providing financial, military and hideout aid to Indian extremists has been an open secret for so long. It is a fact over which there has been a national consensus in this country. The Indian Government has often expressed apprehensions that the growing clout of Maoists in Nepal can boost the morale of their counterparts in this country.
While claiming there was no ?working relationship? with the Indian Maoists, Prachanda conceded that the two shared ?ideological relations?. Now that leaves a lot to explain. The SSB, posted along the Indo-Nepal border, has often nabbed many a Maoist trying to cross over to India with arms and ammunition after receiving training in the jungles there.
The plight of the people affected by atrocities of the Left ultras in Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh should be good enough to open the eyes of our so-called intellectuals, who suffer from both selective amnesia and myopic vision.
More than anything else, it is Hinduism that has held India and Nepal together for centuries. Nepal'sunique Hindu identity gave strength and a sense of pride to the followers of the faith world-wide. But the Maoists led by Prachanda ruthlessly crushed that identity by forcing the new Government to proclaim Nepal as a secular country. It remains beyond the comprehension of a majority of Indian people as to how the religious and cultural identity of the Nepalese people have come in the way of their socio-economic development, which the Maoists claim to espouse.
The growing assertion of the Marxists in India, their anti-Hindutva tirade, the ?key role? played by CPI (M) Politburo Member Sitaram Yechuri in brokering a deal in Nepal, Prachanda'smeeting with the Left honchos in Delhi? all indicate to a dangerous trend. Added to that comes Hu'svisit. A Left Albatross, it seems, is already around India'sneck.
Equally disturbing is the Indian media'spenchant for forces inimical to the country. We have had a section of the media clamouring for Mohd Afzal'sclemency. Then, they campaigned for one Dar, said to be L-e-T operative based in Bangladesh. For a moment, it appeared that the media wants to give ?diplomatic immunity? to all Kashmiris and that if any Kashmiri is arrested for any petty crime like theft and cheating or white collar crimes, it could ?inflame passions in the valley? and ?further strengthen the sense of alienation.?
If this trend of glamoursing and honouring anti-Indian elements continue, the day is not far when we would have the likes of Maulana Azhar Masood (of Kandahar infamy) and Madani (of Coimbatore plot ) being projected as guest speakers at prestigious media events. Not that the other side is not to be heard, but just that we don'tforget the past so soon and expose our spinelessness to people who do not swear by democracy, who are hardened criminals and killers. What kind of leaders ?Leadership Summits? project is the moot point.