After 66 months of unbridled ‘Lok Kalyan‘, it might appear to any ordinary mortal with 1MB of common sense that there is not very much new that Narendra Modi has to offer humankind any more—nothing that hasn’t been heard before.
Nothing that has not been seen through by voters in Delhi today—or in Jharkhand, or Maharashtra, or Madhya Pradesh, or Rajasthan, in the last few months.
With the Constitution thrown to the wolves, institutions gone to the dogs, the economy in tatters, the social fabric torn, with hatred and violence the calling card of dvesh bhakts, it might seem that the Prime Minister could do with a little less talking and “interacting”, and a lot more listening.
But India’s media barons, who know which side of the bread to slather some more makhan, are far from ordinary and have a very uncommon notion of common sense.
Which is why each falls over the other to invite the ‘Pradhan Sevak‘ and his other equals involved in self-less seva to drop their gems at their schmoozefests also known as “events”, where the inane is elevated to the profound by handing a one-way megaphone to those who set the nation on the road to perdition.
Hindustan Times‘s “leadership summit” in December last was a case in point.
For days preceding the event, India’s second biggest newspaper group, which also boasts of the Hindi daily Hindustan and the business newspaper Mint in its stable, plastered its publications with promo ads with the conversation-stopper:
“Prime Minister will be speaking about his vision for a better tomorrow at the 17th HT Leadership Summit”.
Like, the world hasn’t heard of his vision for a better tomorrow before.
Like, attendees at previous editions of HT’s jamboree hadn’t heard it before. Modi was there in 2015, 2017 as prime minister and in 2007 as chief minister of Gujarat.
On the day after Modi’s appearance at the “HT summit”, it was of course front-page news for the newspaper’s readers.
And, of course, there had to be the obligatory photograph with HT‘s boss woman and former Congress MP Shobhana Bhartia directing the traffic with the PM alongside.
On the inside pages were more mandatory pearls of the prime minister’s wisdom but the icing on a stale cake surely had to be the newspaper’s editorial.
Precisely, how much of that fatuous nonsense has been delivered in the last two months is there for all to see—in the world’s great publications. Weighty voices are concerned at the path India has taken.
The hastily passed Citizenship Amendment Act has muddied the water immeasurably, and India is clearly now a changed country.
Now, a day after the Delhi election results in which the BJP bared its ugly fangs and rolled out a toxic, obnoxious campaign that normalised hatred against the minorities and violence against students, The Times of India is deftly opening its doors.
“Vision for a better tomorrow” in December.
“India Action Plan 2020” tomorrow.
There has never been a better time to manfacture consent than now, with India’s media giants in tow.
Also read: Network18 and The Times group