Chandigarh, November 6: Today it is NDTV. Tomorrow it can be the entire media. Dr Subhash Chandra of Zee TV should keep this into account while becoming His Master’s Voice by defending one day black out of NDTV on November 9 by the NDA government of Sangh Parivar headed by Narendra Modi. The Modi government is seeking legitimacy to this legal subversion of democratic institutions in the name of threat to nation’s sovereignty, security and integrity. This has always been the language of fascists. Even the questioning of killing of eight SIMI men is being attacked in the name of patriotic fervour. The nation is suddenly confronted with distorted concept of nationalism and patriotism. This can pose the biggest threat to democracy.
It may be mentioned that Indira Gandhi imposed democracy on June 26, 1975 in the name of nationalism to cover her own failures. History seems to be repeating itself. The RSS at one stage went to the extent of offering support to Indira Gandhi and it is a matter of record like that of VD Savarkar having written a letter to the British government seeking sort of apology. During Emergency, India was ‘Nation on the move’. Now it is the ‘Intolerant Nation’ and that too in the name of ultra-nationalism , an atmosphere that has been built up in the country, especially since the ‘surgical strike’ by the army across the Line of Control in Uri sector to neutralise launching pads of terrorists. It is Jai Ho for the army all over the social media all these weeks and any one raising a question is being attacked as anti-national. This did not happened even in 1971 when Indira Gandhi succeeded in the dismemberment of Pakistan with the creation of Bangladesh that was the biggest ever action of the Indian armed forces.
Narendra Modi is no more talking of bringing down prices. Black money is a forgotten issue. What concerns the ordinary person is now being swept under the carpet with the tool of ultra-nationalism. This might help the BJP in Uttar Pradesh elections but not in Punjab. It is Punjab that is hit adversely in war and a war like situation.
However, the nationalists are not doing the real service to the country they are supposed to do. Army alone is short of about 8600 officers and this is a big gap. It is time for all able bodied and eligible patriots to join the army rather than fighting through social media and TV screens or attacking all those raising legitimate questions. This would be the best service they would be doing to the country. All such ‘patriotic families’ must contribute at least one member to the armed forces. The Sangh Parivar should rather make it compulsory for its members to do this service to the nation. That would be the true test of their patriotism.
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister R Venkaiah Naidu seemed to be apologetic when he said the ban on NDTV was only for a day. At the same time, action has also been taken against a TV channel in Assam. NDTV has been targeted for airing what has been described as the content that violated guidelines on national security. This was during terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase.
Punjab has perfected a different system altogether about ‘anti-ruling party’ potential TV channels and this system was started when Congress was in power in the state with Capt Amarinder Singh as the Chief Minister. It is Punjabi news channel Punjab Today that had the monopoly with total patronage from that government. No other channel could come up. The state witnessed regime change in 2007 and Punjab Today was replaced by Badal family owned PTC group. ABP News set up its studio in Mohali to launch its Punjabi news channel. This group just could not. Cable network too has been monopolised in this state. Several others also tried. It is PTC group that has the virtual monopoly. Of course, Zee also provides some news content in Punjabi but the channel has to fall in line.
The Akali Dal is the only party that launched consistent agitation against Emergency with leaders like Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Parkash Singh Badal getting arrested in the very first group and released only after 19 months. It may be mentioned that no other party, not even any outfit of the Sangh Parivar, offered such resistance. Among the papers that continued to confront Indira Gandhi during that period included The Indian Express and The Statesman. Others just crawled. It seems the regime at the centre want the members of the fourth estate to crawl again in the name of nationalism.
The irony that the Akali Dal that used to be the champion of civil liberties has not issued even a single statement condemning this action against NDTV channel that amounts to censorship. The situation is alarming.