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Friday, December 8, 2023

Trying to ‘ban’ the BBC documentary is a wrong move

The BBC has come out with a two-part documentary on Bharat. The first part had the title “The Modi Question”, primarily on the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat. The conclusion that the BBC arrives at, after supposedly rigorous research, is that Narendra Modi, as the chief minister of Gujarat, is patently responsible for the deaths of some 750 Muslims and some 250 Hindus in the riots.

The BBC also alleges that there was an ‘ethnic cleansing’, and that a report by the British High Commission, prepared while the riots were going on, was an important part of the ‘rigorous research’.

The attempt to ‘ban’ the documentary has the undesired effect to divert the attention from the content, and to the issue of freedom of expression, etc. It will now be assumed that the attempt to ‘ban’ actually proves the allegation made by the BBC.

That the documentary is a hit job by the BBC has been firmly stated by many respected people. Swapan Dasgupta, who was one of the pro-BJP persons interviewed for the documentary, and Lord Rami Ranger in Britain, have said it in so many words. When the content of the documentary was raised in the House of Commons in Britain, the country’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak summarily dismissed the documentary’s characterisation of Modi.

There have been other people who have also analysed the content and have said that everything said in the documentary is completely opposite to what Bharat’s official investigation found and what the judiciary has pronounced. The documentary has been thrashed by everyone except the usual suspects – namely the members of the Khan Market Gang all over the world.

Like other such ‘bans’, the viewership of the documentary cannot be prevented. Most, not having access to those who have rubbished it with facts and logic, will tend to believe what the documentary says. In effect, the purpose of the ‘ban’ will not be achieved.

In 1999, one Bhaskar Roy wrote: “Its phenomenal growth notwithstanding, the BJP has always lacked acceptability in that segment of society for which BBC and the Time magazine serve as a window to the world.” (The Times of India, September 16, 1999.) This segment of the society is today called the Khan Market Gang. Their world view was always opposite to what the people have had to say. The BBC documentary is another desperate attempt to make the media house think that they are still relevant.

There is the Hindu parampara (tradition) of ‘purvapaksha and uttarpaksha’, a process of intellectual manthan (churning), that leads to enduring solutions to the problems that a society is always confronted with. The government should remove the ‘ban’ and let the documentary be discussed. The discussion will once again prove what is already known – that the BBC has deep bias against Bharat, and that the supposed Modi question is another weapon that they think they have in their armory.

Post script

The British High Commission report did get mention very soon after it was written. The sequence was as follows:

  1. An intern was sent from Delhi to Ahmedabad. The intern was about one year in the UK foreign office, and Bharat was his first posting abroad. He was alone.
  2. He came to Ahmedabad two/three days after the post-Godhra riots started.
  3. The Gujarat officers had no time for him, since they were busy dealing with the situation. In any case, he was too junior.
  4. He spent two/three days in Ahmedabad, all with the anti-Hindu activists, which was the source of his information.
  5. His report was leaked out soon after he submitted to his High Commission. This was done by a member of the Dutch Embassy who was upset by the brush off that was given to him by the Gujarat officials when he asked them to give protection to some Dutch monuments in Gujarat.
  6. I do not know if the report was actually published in toto by any organisation, or only the summary.

I do not have the media links reharding the above. But the BBC is lying that the report was kept a secret until now. They may indulge in technicalities, but they know the truth that the report was commented upon in the mainstream media then.

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Ashok Chowgule
Ashok Chowgule
Working President (External), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharat.


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