Ranjona Banerji: Fake narrative by the faithful

20 Sep,2019

By Ranjona Banerji


It’s been 40 days and counting since the Government of India “liberated” the state of Jammu and Kashmir by splitting it into three parts, taking away the legislative rights of some of those parts and then putting everyone and everything in a state of lockdown. As ever, the faithful to Narendra Modi and to the BJP in the media tried as hard as they could cover up for the BJP government at the Centre. Most of this was done by providing a fake narrative about how everyone was so happy and there was no restriction of movement and that communication was possible if you had the right equipment and communication is overrated anyway and so on.

This defence has since petered out. Because the evidence that the government lockdown has severely impacted everyday life in Kashmir is compelling and overriding. Rather than admit that they had deliberately or inadvertently (ha ha) misled the public, these sections of the media have now moved on to other publicity stories: like how sweet that Modi celebrated his birthday with his Mother or other such claptrap.

The biggest bugbear for the pro-Modi pro-BJP media has been the foreign media which has just refused to fall in line. You can’t even call them anti-national, the horrors, because their “national” is elsewhere. Damn. And, they’re watching closely. Not just Kashmir but Assam and the NRC as well. Detention Centres may fill “patriots” in India with glee but they have deeply horrific memories and implications and people keep an eye on them, within their own countries and without. Even I have been called upon to comment on Assam.

This BBC report emphasises the horrors of an authoritarian state misusing its own laws. There is suffering on the ground that cannot be ignored:


Luckily sections of the anti-national Indian media have continued to work on Kashmir and the reports that have trickled out have not been full of love and laughter. Even if the publicity blitzkrieg continues over Modi’s birthday or his absurd upcoming “Howdy” event in Texas or Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh doing a “sortie” in a light combat aircraft for some, the reality of what this government has released on India is around us.

Even if the Indian media continues to bow and scrape, some Indian citizens have the courage to speak out, like this young man from Varanasi who has become an internet sensation. From the mouths of babes, eh?



Britain continues to be filled with confusion over the Brexit deadline running out this month, well, obviously. The Supreme Court hearings are often very eruditely legal. But how glorious that the proceedings are transmitted live. That citizens can watch and listen as the highest court in the land discussed the future of the nation is in the rightness of things. Especially with democracy in turmoil. It’s an idea that the Indian media should champion.

And frankly, so should our judiciary. It may stop them from being “misrepresented” by the “evil” media as judges say seemingly absurd things in court. Live telecast of the houses of Parliament in India has been a boon. We still vote for some of them, but at least we know how idiotic or brilliant our elected representatives can be.

So why not our courts?


 Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Editor, MxMIndia. Her views here are personal


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