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Hate speech, Indian media and secular parties!

March 31, 2014

Hate speech, Indian media and secular parties!

Vedaprakash

 

The applicability of expression “hate-speech” to India: Now “hate-speech” is discussed a lot in the media. The applicability of such expression to Indian context has to be considered in a careful way, as the Indians have got independence only just 66 years ago, in spite of the history going beyond 5000 years. In other words, the Indians were ruled by the Colonial forces and the Mohammedan powers that treated Indians subdued in many aspects. Both powers disparaged, denigrated and maligned them in many ways through their appreciation and depreciation. The conditions set out for “hate speech” in the present context were already found in their attitude, behavior and actions against them. Just like “gay rights” etc., when new issues are brought in, Indians have to deal them cautiously.

 

Indians derided by the rulers of the past 1300 years: Even after the freedom, as the legacy of the past rulers has been continued with the enforced factors, and after the LPG regime again the neocolonial forces dominate and control the thought processes of Indians with new parameters of modernization, westernization, industrialization and now Americanization. The slangs of different influential foreign masters exhibited in various spheres. Thus, the media has such characteristic mores. Above all, the Indians have been under the constant attack of both these forces and the ideologically opposed communists also. Though, the Communists of all sorts are opposed by many political parties, ideologically, they have been dominating in the Indian media, curriculum and polity.

 

“Hate-speech”, now invented and its understanding: “Hate speech is generally understood as, that speech is[1]  “ … usually thought to include communications of animosity or disparagement of an individual or a group on account of a group characteristic such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, or sexual orientation” and it is carried to be quoted by others[2] as authority[3]. The westernized or non-Indian way of expressing journalists have started using this expression without going into the details. Now, we find all Indian English media uses such expression, as if the Indian speakers, particularly, politicians have been violating all provisions of Acts and rules but scot-free.

 

From Indian English media to Indian polity: Incidentally, the same Indian English media has introduced many words and expressions of hate speech – lumpen elements[4], bandwagon, goons[5], thugs, fringe, medieval forces, secular, communal, fascist, middle class, fundamentalist, saffron terror[6], rightwing terror[7], and so on. They have been used as adjectives with one or each other with other or words taken from this list. Thus, we can see –

 

  • Fascist communal forces
  • middle class mentality
  • communal forces
  • communal goons
  • rightwing thugs
  • medieval bandwagon
  • lumpen fringe elements
  • saffron terror elements
  • rightwing terrorists

 

and such other combinations have been so popular in usage. Specifically, these expressions have been mostly used against BJP, RSS and other so-called Sangh Parivar organizations by the media experts and standardized such usage, as if they are applicable to them only. Even their counterparts say leftwing, Green terror, real medieval forces, fascist fringe bandwagons and others have never been branded.

 

Secular and communal “hate-speeches”: As the media and the non-BJP parties including the Muslim, Islamic and other categories always call the BJP and Sangh Parivar as communal. Emboldened by such persistent, relentless and pushy propaganda, they started using other attacking expressions. BJP is anti-minority, anti-Muslim, anti-Islamic etc, whereas all other non-BJP parties are pro-minority, pro-Muslim and Islam supporting categories. The government media, functions, iftar parties are also used to carry on such propaganda. Thus, this has created some sort of inferiority complex in the minds of Sangh Parivar, their leaders, members and sympathizers and Hindus as a whole of India.

 

Sonia started “hate-speech” in electioneering: The “hate-speech” campaign started with Sonia during 2007 elections, when she called Modi “Maut ka sauthagar”. Generally, she reads prepared speech by somebody, that means, she consciously accepted and used such expression to target Modi. Here the role of scrpt writer is also questioned[8]. On 28 January 2014 Aam Aadmi party leader Arvind Kejriwal tweeted scathing comment over Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi calling them moron and murderer. He tweeted, “Stuck between a moron and a murderer…what now India”. Sonia has called BJP communal many times, Modi “Maut ka sauthagar” (messager of Death) etc., followed by the rhetoric of Digvijaya and Kapil Sibal many times in their interviews.  Sonia before Gujarat assembly elections referred Narendra Modi to “Maut Ka Saudagar” (person who sells death) and on 1st Feb 2014 accusing BJP to spread hate among people she said, “I firmly believe you will not allow those who sow the seeds of poison (Zaher Ki Kheti) to succeed. They sport Muslim skull cap, move with maulanas, yet they claim themselves 100% hallmark of secular category. However, when Modi started speaking in Hindi in a colloquial way addressing the common man with sarcasm, his words are watched, recorded and interpreted as “hate speech”. Nahid Hasan the SP candidate from Uttar Pradesh’s Kairana constituency hinted at Mayawati’s proximity to Modi. “Thrice Mayawati has sat in Modi’s lap and after elections she will do so again. Both are unmarried,” he added[9]. For Musaffarnagar riots all parties have been blamed by the media[10], but the Supreme Court[11] the ruling party SP for not preventing and controlling the riots[12].

 

For convenience, the famous ones are listed as follows[13]:

 

  1. Zeher Ki Kheti– This comment made by Sonia Gandhi is the latest in the line (and perhaps one of most pinching ones). Speaking at a public rally in northern Kanataka, the UPA chairperson accused Narendra Modi of indulging in “Zeher Ki Kheti” (Sowing seeds of poison).

 

  1. Maut Ka Saudagar-Sonia‘s remark, wherein she referred to Modi as “Maut Ka Saudagar” (merchant of death) in the Gujarat assembly elections in 2007.

 

  1. Modi’s “Khooni Panja” and “Zaalim Hath” Attack-Modi has never been the kind of person who would meekly listen to outrageous comments from opposition and remain quite. He has perhaps been even more famous for his reference to the Congress party’s ‘palm’ symbol as “Khooni Panja” (Bloody Claws) and “Zaalim Hath” (Cruel Hand).

 

  1. Modi’s “Shazada” and “Madam” Barb– Modi is also known for referring to Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi as “Shazada” (prince) and “Madam” respectively.

 

  1.  Somnath Bharti’s “Want to Spit on Faces” Attack-he expressed his desire to “spit on the faces” of Arun jaitley and Harish Salve.

 

  1. Kejriwal Retweets “Stuck Between Moron and Murderer”- “Stuck between a moron and a murderer… what now, India!?”

 

  1. Manhonah Singh’s “Presiding over Massacre” Statement  – He referred to BJP’s PM Candidate Modi as someone who “presided over massacre of citizens” during the Gujurat riots of 2002.

 

  1. Rahul Gandhi’s “Comb to a Bald Man” Quip– Rahul has not been too far away in the rank of people making most controversial remarks as well. But this one was really quite funny.

 

Why against BJP or “Hindus”?: The expressions Communal BJP and secular Congress have been so popularized that even the BJPwalas are quite amused to be called so. And the non-BJP parties have always taken such privilege of calling BJP communal and thus they always pose as secular. Of course, the persistent media also always brand the parties and certified. Only few like Advani have understood the mischief and countered them by using expression “pseudo-secularism”. The provisions of IPC and Peoples Representation Act could penalize the “hate-sppech”, but many times the speakers have scot-free for example, Arunthathi Roy, Jilani in the north and the DK and atheist elements of the South, though dozens of cases filed have been pending against them. Incidentally, it has to be noted that these speakers have targeted “Hindus” only.

 

Vedaprakash

© 31-03-2014

[1] John T. Nockleby, “Hate Speech,” in Encyclopedia of the American Constitution.  Ed. Leonard W. Levy and Kenneth L. Karst. Vol. 3. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000. p. 1277-1279.

[2] http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v09n02/brown-sica_m01.html#_edn2

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech

[4] http://www.asianage.com/interview-week/there-s-no-modi-wave-punjab-polls-are-fought-local-issues-262

[5] http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/in-mp-cops-watched-bjp-goons-attack-rebel-s-house/340247/

[6] http://ibnlive.in.com/news/right-wing-terror-main-agenda-at-fivehour-long-bjp-rss-meet/372519-37-64.html

[7] http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/home-minister-shinde-says-bjp-rss-promoting-hindu-terrorism-then-clarifies-319884

[8] Lyricist and script writer Javed Akhtar has won many laurels for his dialogue writing skills, but this is one instance, he says, where he can’t take the credit. The political grapevine attributes the maut ka saudagar reference Sonia Gandhi made during her Gujarat poll campaign to him. “I am truly embarrassed for being given credit for somebody else’s work,” says Akhtar. Ever since Sonia Gandhi used the term during one of her election speeches in Gujarat, there has been speculation in political circles about who actually coined the term. Several names have been doing the rounds, the most prominent being Akhtar.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-who-coined-maut-ka-saudagar-1140033

[9] http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/allaboutnarendramodi/case-against-sp-leader-for-hate-speech-against-modi/article1-1202244.aspx

[10] http://indiatoday.intoday.in/video/muzaffarnagar-news-muzaffarnagar-riots-muzaffarnagar-akhilesh-yadav-samajwadi-party-bjp-bsp/1/309391.html

[11] http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/outtoday/41339.pdf

[12] http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sc-holds-akhilesh-govt-guilty-of-negligence-orders-arrest-of-all-muzaffarnagar-accused/

[13] http://www.ibtimes.co.in/articles/536884/20140202/indian-pololitics-infamous-attacks-language-sonia.htm