Thursday, January 06, 2022

How Hindi newspapers suppress minorities' voices: Expressing grievance is made an undesirable act through twisted headlines

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

This post is about the systematic manner in which Hindi newspapers throttle minorities' voices and even a genuine expression of grievance is given a twist and those voicing concern are made to appear as fundamentalists.

It is a clever system and this news report published on January 6 in Dainik Bhaskar, is being cited just as an example. 

Rather than raising a question on why 'Surya Namaskar' is again and again being forced on the students in educational institutes and schools, the entire story goes about Muslim board that has given a statement on this issue.

As far as physical activity was concerned, there was always PT or physical training period and teachers for it. Then, there were sports. Also, you can offer yoga. But forcing students to something more--Surya Namaskar, is pointless.

Schools are meant for studies but instead of focus on improvement on educational standards or better facilities, it is mostly these things that we hear about. The lack of infrastructure, strength of faculty and other key issues need to be addressed, more. 

If physical activity is needed, then sports and PT are enough. Others can go for yoga depending on their choice. In fact, even if someone wants they can perform Surya Namaskar, though there is no need to enter such things into public schools where children belonging to different faiths study.

However, the headline and choice of words is such that it shows Muslim community as 'stubborn', and 'not agreeing to it', rather than questioning the motive and the decision to force 'Surya Namaskar. Interesting, other states have also pushed for 'bhojan mantra' and similar other activities in schools. 

In schools, children belonging to all religions study. And, there is no need to put one religion and its practices ahead of others. It's as simple as that--keep religion in homes. State has no business promoting just one religion and its practices, even if it may appear 'part of culture' to adherents of this faith. 

Over the last two decades, the state governments too have been making such attempts, repeatedly. In Islam, it is forbidden to bow before anyone except Almighty, and so there is no question of bowing before a celestial object. 

The simple point is that there should be focus on studies, schools and the education staff, but children are made to do things that are not about education but other aspects. Just because school has hundreds of children and any event that has students, can become a TV show because of large gathering, they are chosen as 'testing grounds' for the political and other aims. 

The role of media is questionable. The board has just issued a statement, not a firman or a fatwa that the media terms it. Each Muslim reacts individually and know well about their believes, even though the attempts are to put impressionable kids in a situation of moral conflict--faith on one side and school staff's pressure on the other hand. 

But the papers present it as if Muslims are stubborn, always opposing and react like robots to their organisations. It's all incorrect. The papers present the issue totally differently--it's their board game, they set it and then force you to play on their pitch.

Each day they inject a lot in minds, divide society through their clever insertions & twists. Politicians come much later, the crop is first sown here, then harvested. See in your own cities, it is done so subtly, so cleverly to modulate minds.

The sanest people, when they read such reports, feel that Muslims are being unreasonable. Because it doesn't hit them that the actual story is about something else. For, at least, thirty years, the vernacular papers have been doing it, as long as I remember. 

Entire generations have grown up reading these cleverly worded stories and the twisted arguments. People with the most clear minds, get confused, as news presented in a way, as if 'Muslims have problem with everything'. Can the society see this game!