The father of Shehla Rashid has accused his daughter of indulging in anti-national activities and accepting Rs. 3.00 crores in cash, under the table, from a Kashmiri businessman. He also alleged that there is threat to his life from her. Shehla has denied the allegation accusing instead her father of being a wife-beater and a bad parent. Moments after her father’s allegations, even before the full picture had emerged, a lot of usual suspects came in Shehla’s support—ab initio and a priori. For instance, Swara Bhaskar—who last time had self-confessed having turned into a pure vagina after watching movie Padmavat—called Shehla a star and a warrior.
Shehla has been a favorite of Left-liberal media ever since she came in initial limelight. Reporting on her has bordered on a hagiography. Sample an article of The Wire, for instance, that praises her as “kind of young voice India needs” and wannabe “Young Indians to look out for”. It further said that “Rashid not just speaks out, but does so loudly, clearly and forcefully… she is not given to ranting and outbursts—her tone is always measured, and her views always considered.” Immense coverage and lionization of Shehla in a section of social, print and electronic media was a pointer to the fact that the top-of-your-voice villainification of India and its democratic institutions is the surefire method to earn you a ready constituency and audience.
Now, some of her propaganda already been called out and questioned, it is time to ask ourselves: Is she the kind of youth icon that India needs and our media serves?
Justice Markandey Katju on such Phonies
Justice Katju has disapproved of turning such mediocre phonies into icons: “There is nothing in Shehla Rashid’s head, and she is just a media creation like her other JNU compatriots, Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and so on. I have heard many of their speeches on YouTube, and found that what they say is, in Shakespeare’s words, ‘A tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying noting’.” The justice further poses the question if she is so vocal, “then why doesn’t she speak out loudly, clearly and forcefully against sharia, burqa and madrasas, which are feudal laws, practices and institutions that have obstructed the progress and modernization of Muslims and done great harm to them? Obviously, because she does not want to lose her Muslim vote bank…After all, they have to think of their political careers.”
“No, India does not need the voices of careerists and phonies like Shehla Rashid or Kanhaiya Kumar…It needs the voice of genuine self-sacrificing modern-minded patriots who will lead the country in the coming historical people’s struggle to create a just social and political order in India, which abolishes the great evils plaguing the country”
Castigating in general, the Justice continues: “In my opinion, most of India’s self-proclaimed liberals, intellectuals, academics and mediapersons are an inane, superficial and frivolous, puffed-up and arrogant lot, who have been strutting around like peacocks for long on the Indian stage. They have managed to bedazzle and be-fool most people, particularly the gullible youth into thinking them to be profound paragons, embodiments and the quintessence of wisdom and learning. But the truth is that they have little in their heads and the knowledge they have is only bookish and perfunctory.”
Four legs good, two legs bad
In February 2019, Shehla had spread rumor that a group of Kashmiri girls were trapped in a hostel in Dehra Dun by a mob demanding their expulsion. The Uttarakhand police subsequently filed an FIR against her for disrupting public tranquility and intent to provoke breach of peace by rumor mongering. In this case, since the specifics of rumor were easily verifiable, therefore, she could not play the usual victim card.
The Print published an article on November 3, 2018 claiming that “Shehla has time and again insisted that she is not a votary of identity politics”. The Wire too quoted her in an interview: “I personally don’t believe in identity politics. As you can see, I do left politics and not identity politics”. The braveheart was obviously fighting the fascist-communal forces of India, media said. However, in December 2019, she put out a series of tweets endorsing Muslim identity politics, revealing her face of a Islamist politician. How naïve of our liberal-secular media—someone flaunts a particular set of views vociferously and he/she is turned into a hero and a warrior! Due diligence, background check and cautious reporting is thrown to dogs. This is not the first time.
Earlier this year, Ayesha Renna and Ladeeda Farzana of Jamia Milia Islamia who were idolized as “sheroes” by Barkha Dutt turned out to be Jihadists. Renna had called her motherland India a fascist country simply for executing the terrorist Yakub Menon in accordance with rule of law. The other ‘shero’ Ladeeda turned out to be an Islamist who openly supports Islamic Jihad against kafirs.
In spite of Shehla’s best efforts to sound “progressive,” her mediocre trolls and speeches betray her pro-Muslim, pro-Marx, pro-madrasa outlook. No crime in being mediocre—I can understand that India has never produced a single original Left thinker (Can anyone name one?). But is this level of new intellectual hollowness that likes of rabble rousers will be termed as Marxist intellectuals and face of new India— Liberal-secular media must introspect. If Shehla, Ayesha and Ladeeda are the answers then probably media are not asking the right questions. When hagiographies are written, government is termed vengeful and camel’s nose is feared, it clearly signals that the dice is loaded from the start in a liberal’s mind. Their mafia-like grip over media brings out a similarly loaded narrative.
Liberal-intellectuals of the country are unable to see what V S Naipaul was able to sense more than two decades back: “What is happening in India is a mighty creative process. Indian intellectuals, who want to be sure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on… only now are the people beginning to understand that there has been a great vandalising of India.” If Shehla and Ladeeda are the kind of heroes that our intellectuals make out to be, then Galileo’s quip is apt: Unhappy is the land that is in need of heroes.