The English media after going ga-ga over Sachin Tendulkar for a few days has sobered down and is now settling down. Of course, one expects one last hurrah from the media after the final Test in which Tendulkar plays his farewell game is over. Whether he will retire in style hitting his last ton or go out for a duck as Don Bradman did in the last match he played, remains to be seen. Meanwhile the comments on Tendulkar have dropped from high praise to a more sober assessment.
Writing in Economic Times (October 18 ) Boria Majumdar noted that “Tendulkar isn’t simply an icon but he is an idea that we have all come to embrace and admire.” To that he added: “Needless to say, there never was a Sachin Tendulkar and there never will be. And in the process of bidding his last hurrah, he is doing one final service to the game he has contributed so much to in a career that is unrivalled.”
Does anyone believe it? Can one? The rabid criticism against Narendra Modi has all but died out. He is getting reasonable reportage in most of the dailies; not laudatory, but still reportage. And that maybe just the beginning. I am reminded of an article written by Rajdeep Sardesai in Hindustan Times sometime and it deserves reproduc-tion. Wrote Sardesai: “Journalism cannot be public relations nor can it be character assassination. Now, as Modi is poised for his next big leap, it is time for the media to maybe reset its moral compass. Is it possible to analyse the Modi phenomenon by moving beyond the extremes of glorification of vilification? Can the media find a middle ground where Modi can be assessed in a neutral dispassionate manner without facing the charge of bias or being a cheer leader? Or is Modi such a polarising figure that even the media has been divided into camps? Journalism in its purest form must remain the pursuit of truth shorn off ideological agenda.”
Rajdeep Surdesai then said what needed to be said a longer while ago. But the media has probably come to realise that it would now be unsafe to damn Modi considering that he – and the NDA – might come to power in 2014 and then where will it stand?
The greatest damage that our secular press did was to damn Modi over the Godhra and post-Godhra happenings. It was vicious. It was strongly condemnatory of the man which under any circumstances he did not deserve. But such has been our post-Independent mindset among our so-called intellectuals that they took pride in damning fellow Hindus at the slightest provocation. Not only did it hurt India, but it also hurt India’s standing in the world beyond. It may have been fasionable to be ‘secular’ whatever that means – but it is not secular for Hindus to be self-condemnatory when it comes to taking sides in any Hindu-Muslim differences.
If the Muslims had any sense of grace, they would have graciously conceded the Hindu claim on the disputed structure. All that the Hindus had claimed was just one freedom to build a temple to Sri Ram on the site where he was reportedly born. It was an much a matter of faith as it was justiable on historic facts. Just imagine what a different world India would have been if the Muslims had graciously conceded the Hindu claim! They would have clasped the Muslims to their heart and proceeded to grant them any wish. This, our secularists prevented. That is why I argue that the worst enemies of Muslims are the secularists and their own leaders. May I hope and pray that they will change their minds to win the udying gratitude of Hindus. That would be the best way to rebuild an India of our dreams, in a mightly show of Hindu-Muslim unity.
We are one people and should always remain one. For Muslims to grant the Hindu demand would not be a self-inflicted defeat: it would be the greatest moral victory for Muslims ever in the history of Islam. To Muslims all over India I beseech them, pray love us and we will love you.