I had written in the past how the media convinced the people of India that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a criminal who would be arrested at any time. (Don't worry, Modi is 'just' about to be nabbed)
I had also written how the media always makes a wrong prediction about Modi and gets away with it. (Get Modi wrong a million times? Keep talking!)
One would have thought that after he became PM things would change, but absolutely nothing of the sort seems to have happened.
The first is the myth (or downright lie?) of the Rs 10 lakh suit. Just one report appeared that Modi was wearing a suit at that price. On reading the story one would have thought that the reporter would maybe have got hold of the receipt to make such a claim.
Or maybe it was a specific brand by a specific company which sold at Rs 10 lakh. It was none of that. There was absolutely no investigative journalism involved. It was mere speculation. (If you didn’t want to call it an outright lie that is)
After getting a backlash, the media house backtracked and apologized saying that the quote was given by a designer who requested anonymity!
A designer requesting anonymity! This was a total new one for it is usually government sources, secret agents and the like who remain anonymous not innocuous designers! In fact one can even ask whether such a designer exists in the first place.
But the damage was done and the Modi industry went on an overdrive blasting the chaiwallah who dared wear a designer suit. Just sample some of the headlines…
Muffler man vs ten lakh suit. Modi's vanity has undone BJP. Rs 10 lakh Modi suit cost BJP Delhi election. Who Funded Mr Modi's Rs 10 Lakh Suit?
To make matters worse, Pappu jumped into the fray during the Delhi elections as evident from the following headline: Modi talks of Make in India but his Rs 10 lakh suit comes from UK: Rahul Gandhi.
The media house revised its estimate to Rs 80,000 to Rs 5 lakh and now the talk is that the suit may have cost as less as Rs 7,000! This comes in the backdrop of many status messages calling it even a Rs 20 lakh suit initially.
However senior editors and politicians with a verified Twitter account still stubbornly quote the Rs 10 lakh amount.
It is interesting that when anonymous accounts with hardly any followers talk nonsense then Modi is responsible, but when anti-Modi celebrities do the same then there is absolutely no call for responsibility.
But the bigger question is: Why do Indians rejoice when Obama insults India?
Do they hate Modi that much that they are happy even if India is rubbished?
US President Barack Obama's visit was a spectacular success but the entire media still decided to focus on two absolute trivialities to rubbish Modi.
The first one was the Rs 10 lakh suit (which was an outright lie) and the second was the following statement by Obama…
"India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith."
It is amazing how so much analysis can come out of so innocuous a statement. Then Obama put his foot in his mouth and said…
"In past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs— acts that would have shocked Gandhiji."
Now here's the thing. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohammed Ali Jinnah oversaw Partition in which it is estimated (by some accounts) that a whopping one million were killed.
So how anyone who saw that will be shocked by an India which hasn't seen a major (there have been minor ones) riot for over a decade is unfathomable.
While in Pakistan the minorities have almost been wiped out, in India the Hindu population has fallen below 80%. You won’t get a higher example of religious tolerance than that!
So while Obama was rubbishing India, many Indians instead of being outraged started to celebrate and jump on one leg with joy because they got a chance to flay Modi.
Just check the headlines that came as a result of these statements…
Reading Obama's lips: He's telling PM Modi to shut down Hindutva forces. Obama’s speech on religion tolerance is indictment of Modi regime.
Obama's Statement on Religious Tolerance an Eye-Opener for Modi Government. Obama’s speech on religion tolerance is indictment of Modi regime.
Ironically Obama further angered America by invoking the long gone religious Crusades and then got egg in his face when an old Indian man faced a racial attack by American police and three Muslims were gunned down in his backyard.
In the end Obama was attacked more for censuring India by the American press than the Indian press.
One would have thought that the mindset that led to the celebration of an Indian Chief Minister being denied a visa would end.
One would have thought that the spectacle of Indian MPs writing to Obama to petition for the visa ban to stay would also end.
But some things never change!
Even if the Commander-in-Chief of a country that wages the most wars against Muslim nations flays one of the most peaceful nations in the world then Modi has to be attacked viciously.
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogshere