If India’s contrarians were not renegades, if their works were research-backed for the sake of credibility — if not for the sake of the nation, the interests of which they have no qualms about hurting — the country, already a force to reckon with, would fare even better

The opposition and its supporters in the media have succeeded in convincing an international body that democracy in the country is in danger. They have clearly gone by the reports of the conventional media in the country that is loath to presenting the other side of the picture as well. It is not our case that the media narrative is downright false; it is biased for sure. First, many an incident that was given a communal colour prima facie proved a hoax. Second, an equal number of attacks on Hindus is never reported; when alluded to, the religious identity of the assailant is suppressed. A Muslim is described in the English language media of the country as “belonging to a certain community”, but a rioter who happens to be a Hindu is, well, clearly “Hindu”. These pamphleteers must certainly be asked how they have been managing this campaign without hassles since May 2014 if this regime is indeed intolerant. Ironically, the conditional supporters of this government believe that the law should have caught up with the allegedly fraudulent owners of NDTV, for example, long ago. There is, however, one aspect that the otherwise questionable survey has got right. Even if sections of both Muslims and Hindus are on a rampage, the law and order machinery in the States must have collapsed. But then, the newspapers and television channels must be asked why they were accusing the Narendra Modi government of connivance or complicity even for incidents that were happening in the provinces ruled by opposition parties? That the Bharatiya Janata Party rules 19 of the States is a recent development whereas this propaganda of “intolerance”, replete with the return of state awards by formerly patronised intellectuals, started within days of the swearing-in ceremony four years ago. The pencil pushers are not new to the game. Ill at ease with a government run by a perceptively nationalist political party, they had begun in right earnest in 2002. A study of the reference section of the Wikipedia article on the last Gujarat riots would show that the entire discourse depended on dozen-odd journalists’ act of quoting from the statements of one another rather than interviewing police officers or citing passages from the commission of inquiry. So desperate were they that a magazine damned Modi based on non-existent pages from the report of the special investigating team! There were others who made a hero out of a dubious Indian Police Service officer.

The so-called right wing deserves flak in no less a measure. They are, for one, such halfwits that they go about the town sharing, on various platforms of social media, uniform resource locators of websites that revel in defaming the regime that is supposedly theirs. Never mind the BJP’s discomfiture with questions on abrogating Article 370 or bringing in a uniform civil code! It does not matter if the messages accompanying the links on Facebook and Twitter are inquisitive or expletive-ridden. Even bad publicity draws for these agenda-driven ‘news’ portals large internet crowds. The ‘Internet Hindu’ is, moreover, stupid enough to troll the fifth columnists to stardom, adding to the popularity of their research-defying articles.

The question is how much such questionable surveys affect India in the global market. The attitude of the most important heads of states and other foreign policymakers towards Modi is reassuring while the Vatican and groupings like the Organisation of Islamic Conference are expectedly on a ranting spree. The diatribes are, of course, despite Modi’s defiance of the Sangh on minority issues. Anyway, if the contrarians in India were not renegades, and if their works were research-backed for the sake of credibility — if not for the sake of the nation, the interests of which they have no qualms about hurting — India, already a force to reckon with, would fare even better.