Kiren Rijiju and Suresh Prabhu: A significant visit that went unreported

In the New Year, mainstream media served us sensational stories about little Taimur. Who changes Taimur’s diapers, was one such avoidable story sensationalized by reputed media houses. The son of Afzal Guru passing his 12th exams with distinction was another news story which could have been avoided. What message is the media trying to spread? That the little baby who shares his name with the medieval era Emperor Timur Lang, known for his barbarism and loot of India, is actually a cute baby who even wears diapers just like other babies? That the son of a hanged terrorist mastermind is actually an intelligent boy just like many others in the country and had his father been alive, the boy would have done wonders and obtained better grades than this?

We were also served a sensational never before heard news in the history of the country, press briefing by four judges of Supreme Court, who were dissatisfied with the roster system and the CJI’s style of working. A day later, two of the judges said that the matter would be solved amicably and there was no crisis. Since then we are back to leading a normal life once again, till a sensation is served to us in the form of news. Keep your fingers crossed.

In the aftermath of the Bhima-Koregaon violence, attempts were made by the media to portray that caste equations had worsened in the state of Maharashtra.

They debated that under the BJP rule, Dalits were being oppressed and their voices muzzled. Devendra Fadnavis faced flak for failing to prevent the violent clashes. It was alleged that the ugly face of Hindutva was unleashed. The leftist media was in overdrive to show that BJP government was playing in the hands of the strong upper castes. Articles were written on how young Jignesh Mevani was emerging as a Pan-India leader due to the oppression of Dalits by BJP. Tweets were created linking three unrelated and isolated incidents, Una flogging, Vemula’s death and Koregaon violence and a narrative of Dalit repression was propagated.

It’s been only 15 days to the violence which had shut the entire state of Maharashtra. The same media which was working overtime in informing you that a RSS ideologue and a Brahmin CM had actually failed in his duty to safeguard the innocents (Who had gathered to commemorate a 200 year old victory against the Peshwa), kept mum when two NDA ministers Kiren Rijiju and Suresh Prabhu paid a visit to the Dr B R Ambedkar Memorial in London on 13th January. The memorial was acquired by Fadnavis and Maharashtra Government in 2015 and was inaugurated by PM Modi.

Let me explain why this visit assumes importance in the backdrop of the recent violence in Pune, and the subsequent bandh call given by various Dalit organizations in Maharashtra.

The media has made it a habit to highlight and report visits of politicians, to memorials and Samadhis belonging to National icons, only on the occasion of their Jayanthi Celebration or Death Anniversary. This builds a perception among public that the politicians are more interested in photo ops. We all remember how the opposition ridiculed and rejected various events organized by the government under the Swacch Bharath Abhiyan. Images of PM Modi and his ministers cleaning the streets were belittled as mere photo ops. The reality can only be gauged, if a politician imbibes the ideals preached by our National icons Like Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Gandhi and others on a daily basis. And not just use it for building public perception.

The media lost an opportunity this time to remind the people of Maharashtra that it was their CM who initiated efforts, to ensure that the historic house, where Babasaheb lived while in London, belonged to our country. We know that public memory is too short these days. With the advent of the information and technology era, we are bombarded with despicable news stories with each passing moment. There is no time to recall what a particular politician did a day before. Only yesterday’s news keeps playing in our minds, so there is a need to keep refreshing the public memory from time to time. Judging a politician based on fresh and latest media reports is never the right way to form opinion.

Fadnavis

The media, which aroused passions, by focusing on caste of CM Fadnavis and went to the extent of alienating Dalits from Hinduism, has to be cautious. It should look for opportunity where it can even bring things back to normalcy. It missed one such news in a routine, low profile visit of Ministers, Kiren Rijiju and Suresh Prabhu, to the Dr B R Ambedkar memorial. Sometimes what appears routine and insignificant, may be worthy of inducing little bit of positivity and hope in the susceptible minds. After all, aren’t Positivity and Hope for a better tomorrow our immediate concerns?

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