An Emmy nomination for constant dehumanising and hijacking of narratives of Kashmiris by NDTV — the godfather of self-proclaimed liberal Indian media is an insult to Kashmir.
Courtesy: Mir Suhail/Kashmir Reader
Apart from the constant killings, detentions and denial of right to self determination, Kashmiris are victimised by another major Indian force: the Indian Media.
Misrepresentations and sensationalist hues in complete disregard to our history, our struggle and our narrative is an oft repeated habit of the Indian media. Indian anchors spearheaded by Indian military’s poster-girl Barkha Dutt have constantly demeaned Kashmir struggle as a consequence of ‘misgovernance’ and ‘manifestation of anger’.
Image reflected by media to Kashmiris is obscene with its sensationalist themes that are borrowed from a sick Indian porno featuring fragile-egos who see no humanity but their own.
From the outright refusal to use the terms like the occupation on its insistence to subscribe to the rabid nationalist-colonial narrative. Or the juxtaposing of the oppressed with the oppressor as ‘equal sufferers’. That too in a disproportionate conflict between an emerging superpower (which maintains control with around half a million troops along with its agencies and local militias) and a civilian population that is daily sent to prison on the pretext of its aspirations.
Indian media has essentially been another weapon in the armoury of the Indian occupation. To the point it wilfully dehumanises Kashmiri protesters as ‘mobs and rioters’ while Egyptian protesters during the Arab spring were just ‘protesters’. How convenient.
Kashmiris have grown accustomed to their portrayal being grossly twisted on every single Indian news channel. Rabble rousing anchors who instead of educating the uninformed Indian masses become de-facto chest thumping warriors.
If one were to watch an Indian news channel (mostly primetime as Kashmir bashing is free and gives higher ratings) it would seem Indian Army is doing a favour to Kashmiris by killing them as if the stones being thrown are nano-atom-bombs.
Like many Indian journalists who have made their careers from the sufferings of Kashmiris; Barkha Dutt, the nationalist Indian journalist who struck a goldmine during the Kargil war in the late 1990s. Ever since then she’s been the go-to-girl for NDTV to project Kashmir in a theme that tries to play Kashmiris as unintelligent people who have no idea what they want.
Sheikh Abdullah, Kashmir’s most popular leader of the 20th century called the Indian Journalist as ‘viceroys’ who like in erstwhile British colonial era offer tributes laced with propaganda to satisfy the neo-colonist hunger of the Indian state.
A few good men and a boat excerpt from its report that’s been nominated is an obnoxious public relations campaign to humanise troops (formerly known as Jammu Kashmir militias) who are possibly engaged in war-crimes.
Barkha Dutt asks a Kashmiri trapped in a house holding a small kid,”Bacha bhi aapka chota hai” (Your kid is also small). Kids are supposed to be small.
Another instance she asks a man who wades through water, “Aap toh paani mein hai” (Oh you’re in water) No he’s flying over the moon.
In another report the NDTV reporter presents the Hindu legend of Kashmir being a large lake and Kashyap the demigod who dewatered the valley. She ostensibly asks, “Who will be the Kashyap now?”
Lo! and behold, The Indian Army are shown as the saviours of the people of Kashmir. The Kashyaps; the demigods of the deluge.
The people who are visibly angry over the slow pace of rescue from the Indian state which rejected any international efforts are dehumanised. The reporter says in a cringe-worthy tone that how Kashmiris who are being helped by the Indian Army are calling the occupational forces as ‘occupational forces’.
Later the embedded reporter gets a VIP seat in an Army helicopter which is throwing aid at a hapless people on the ground which also contained expired food items or were thrown into waterlogged areas. The flash on the news shows 2000 tonnes of aid has been collected from India while dismissing the enormous mobilisation by non-resident-Kashmiris who brought rescue boats and other relief items to Kashmir from all over the world.
In the first week of the deluge, the Army had sent its helicopters on sorties to rescue Indian tourists from the value while ignoring the locals.
What happened in Kashmir last September is a catastrophe of a great magnitude. But the way the Indian media spinned the rescue and relief efforts into a PR stunt to suit its political agenda is appalling.
Almost a year later, those who survived live to tell the stories of helplessness. Their houses yet to be rebuilt, aid from the Indian state yet to arrive and their roofs still broken. Those corpses who floated over the murky waters as the Indian choppers rescued its own civilians will be the witnesses of truth.
The Kashmir volunteers who came from across the world; from Dubai to New York to New Delhi and Islamabad, became the unknown whose heroics will never make it to glossy tickers of sensationalism. The mobilisation campaign for relief and rehabilitation from Kashmiris across the planet will always be historic, as it’s the first time the entire Kashmiri nation united to stand up for their own.
The amplification of such a PR campaign for the Indian Army during the floods reduced the heart warming efforts of local Kashmiris and those overseas to nothing. That’s where the power of social media comes on to the scene. A few Kashmiris started a rescue-locate network (one of the first in the world) and led to networking of unorganised relief efforts by Kashmiris.
There was constant flow of news and updates from the ground which were blocked by fancy news-studios. Those stories were covered by lot of international newsmedia such as CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC, New York Times etc.
Aloof from all the sensationalism, the Kashmiri social media had made a significant impact in not only broadcasting news but also engaging people to contribute in relief and rehabilitation efforts.
Three days into the disaster, veteran journalist Barkha Dutt had the gall to ask if the rescue mission would be a turning point for the army in Kashmir on her show on NDTV.
Forgetting that floods never erases war-crimes, mass-graves still exist.