Tuesday, February 27, 2024



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By Sushil Kutty


Was what happened in Red Fort, Delhi on January 26 comparable to what happened on January 6 in Capitol Hill, Washington DC? In Delhi and in India, it’s being talked of as if the farmers’ protests warped into insurrection and that the fullest punishment should be meted out to the “guilty” with the full force of the law. Strangely, the person shouting from the top of his lungs for the immediate arrests of “farmers’ leaders” is none other than the guy who was recently bailed out by the Supreme Court with Justice DY Chandrachud declaring that ‘We must send a message today to the high courts as well: Please exercise your jurisdiction to uphold personal liberty.”


Justice Chandrachud said high courts were denying personal liberty in cases across India and that if the Supreme Court did not interfere, then “they will walk on the path of destruction.” And with those words Arnab Goswami accused of abetment to suicide walked free with the top court’s interim bail in his pocket. This is the same Goswami who was screaming ‘I’ll be killed’ through the barred window of a moving police van heading for Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Jail. That balmy morning, Arnab Goswami was crapping bricks and all those who heard his plaintive cry wanted release for the poor fellow – nobody should be robbed of his personal liberty. Nobody, not even Arnab Goswami!


And look at what Mr. Plaintive now wants. The personal liberties of a slew of farmers’ leaders snatched away. From that of the deceptively soft-spoken Yogendra Yadav to the brash and loud Rakesh Tikait to that of the lady rebel for all causes Medha Patkar, Arnab Goswami wants all of them jailed, preferably under the most stringent of laws. For Yogendra Yadav, for whom Goswami has a special affinity, Arnab wants the UAPA! And guess what, the very next morning after the night (January 26) Goswami voiced the demand on his TV show, there were reports that Yadav could indeed be slapped with the god-awful Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Talk about coincidences!!


The Republic TV media baron is turning out to be quite a character. There is no provision in law but, if there’s one, Arnab Goswami should forthwith be held without bail and to hell with “they will walk on the path of destruction.” Anybody who wishes ill of others and from which he himself cringes deserves nobody’s sympathy. Arnab Goswami is a clear and present danger to the personal liberties of tens of hundreds of Indians, people who will refuse to pander to his warped sense of “nationalism.”


And now he has launched what he calls the ‘Nationalist Collective’ – a grouping of “nationalist Indians” from all walks of life, from all across the world who will come together to fight India’s enemies. There’s conspiracy afoot, declares Goswami, his words echoing that of the tinfoil hats of the 1970-80s who used to bring up the imaginary doings of the “foreign hand” at every throw of the dice, a gamble that mostly got called and exposed at every show of the hand.   


Now, if that does not get your goat, consider this: According to the ‘Nationalist Collective’ all the farmers who sat to picket Delhi for 60-plus days are anti-nationals. In fact, everybody who does not agree with “army officer’s son Arnab Goswami” is an anti-national! Q.E.D. Goswami’s powerful urge to see people who do not gel with his thoughts, jailed is egregious, horrifying – shocking. Megalomania?


Forget that. For now, worry about the classification ‘nationalist’ and ‘anti-national.’ The classification is being done by those who have declared themselves “good Indians.” Those who do not kowtow to their ideology are “bad Indians.”


January 27, 2021 on Republic TV, Goswami held forth on the ‘Nationalist Collective.’ With 10 guests and himself on the show it was a football team. “We cannot be bystanders anymore,” Arnab told the “muted three” who made up the ‘anti-national” representation on the show. The trio shouted at the top of their voices but they could not be heard or were even allowed to speak. Arnab’s nationalists consisting of a retired general, a Goa journalist, a Kashmiri pandit, a lawyer and a couple of others shouted the anti-national-trio down and Arnab helped them along. It was primetime television bullying at its best.


But what was on show on television was mild compared to what Goswami promises with his Nationalist Collective: “Yesterday it was rioters in the name of farmers. Tomorrow, it will be Maoists and Maoist-terrorists, and the day after, it could be radicalized terrorists or any other such group. We cannot allow anti-national elements to plunder our country anymore. We are believers in democracy. Our democracy will not survive if it is not fought for and defended with all the force at our command. We must, therefore, rally together and expose the intentions of the enemy.”


The Democrats and the US mainstream media have labelled the people who swarmed the US Capitol on January 6 “domestic terrorists.” Here, we have Goswami’s ‘Nationalist Collective’ branding farmers who picketed Delhi the enemies of India, anti-nationals. The question is did somebody take a leaf out of the January 6 Capitol Hill playbook and apply it to India’s farmers and their Republic Day tractor rally? Again, whose agenda does it suit? Now the farmers have no place to run. Passports of their leaders are being flagged and suddenly the police are as if they have had their fill of oats!


“Today, there is an urgent need for all Nationalists to come together as a Collective. We, the Nationalists of India, having realized the intentions of the anti-nationals need to join hands to take them on. Our democracy is under threat… I am announcing the launch of the Nationalist Collective… The Nationalist Collective will be an Instrument in the Defence of the Nation. The Nationalist Collective will emphasise the need to connect all Indians with the glue of Nationalist fervour, Nationalist spirit, Nationalist pride, and Nationalist common intent,” says Arnab Goswami in shrill hysteria.


The question is should we all flock to Goswami’s ‘Nationalist Collective’ and attain nirvana, or will all of us who do not do so be targeted? But who gave Arnab Goswami the right to judge a person’s nationalism/patriotism. In some ways, it is good that Arnab Goswami calls himself only a “nationalist.” The day he insists he is a patriot is when he should be cuffed to the bedpost. This is the same fellow whose nationalism went out the window in a Whatsapp chat.(IPA Service)


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