Padmaja Shaw, whose writing I’ve linked to in the past, has written another terrific piece titled Manufacturing Hindutva?, which dissects a story that appeared in a major national magazine.
When I read the cover ‘story’: Inside the Mind of The Bombers, carried by India Today, 13 October 2008, as an average reader I expected some minimum credibility in the story. I read the story with increasing disbelief and dismay. It signifies a new and unfortunate phase in Indian journalism. Mr Mihir Srivastava, the Principal Correspondent of India Today, claims to have met the ‘culprits’ twice. They were apparently not allowed to meet with their own families or lawyers but for some reason have been allowed to meet with the journalist and pour their hearts out to this sympathetic listener.
One does not see such crass profiling of the ‘other’ at least in major publications that are concerned about objectivity. I am awaiting similar advisories about Christians, Sikhs, Parsees and (after they are sufficiently tamed), dalits, people of ‘other’ regions, ‘other’ castes who settle in any ‘other’ state of India, people who speak a language ‘other’ than the one you prefer to speak, Hindus who worship ‘any other’ gods and not Rama, youth who have fun on valentines day, women with short hair, women who work, women who do not perform kadva chauth …..
The ‘other’ or ‘they’, it’s an us verus them argument that was used by a certain US president.