OMG! What did I see on AajTak last night? The nightmare began around 10:00 pm and lasted a full hour. The program was titled “Uparwala dekh raha hai” (God is watching) and featured a roundtable with BJP’s Sambit Patra, Saba Naqvi, John Dayal and some other Mameluks from Queen Sonia’s court.
The topic was “Is it fair to connect Islam with terrorism”? I can assure you that in case God really was watching this show last night, God ended up with a terrible headache.
Yes, the show was all about repeating the same tired old platitudes about how Islam is a religion of peace and yada yada yada…
Why am I calling this a nightmare? Because BJP’s Sambit Patra was right there, validating the vermin like Saba Naqvi and John Dayal. This was really an outrageous example of how BJP has managed to lose the media narrative. Who the hell are Saba Naqvi and John Dayal to speak for India, India’s Muslims, India’s minorities or for anyone but themselves? By agreeing to sit at a roundtable on equal terms with these people, is the BJP not contributing to the sense of self importance of these vermin? By agreeing to sit at a roundtable, is the BJP not allowing these people to set the terms of the debate? Does anyone really believe that these Mameluks like Saba Naqvi and John Dayal can be convinced by argument? If not, then why does the BJP engage with them? By engaging with them, the BJP is only raising the profile of its enemies.
And what outcome could be expected from such a debate? Nothing except platitudes about the “peaceful nature” of Islam. TV debates like these keep the spotlight focused on pseudo-secularism. Does the BJP really expect to win the debate? Why not change the debate to topics that matter: such as FDI pouring in at breakneck speed, soaring forex reserves, the government’s big reform push after the Bihar polls? Instead of discussing Devendra Fadnavis’ successful “Jal Yukt Shivir Abhiyan” in Maharashtra, a historic water conservation effort, the BJP ends up sitting in debates over beef and Dadri and what not. In the run up to the 2014 elections, I remember Ravi Shankar Prasad saying once that he was no longer interested in the “sterile debate over secularism”. What happened now? Why are we back to discussing stuff that doesn’t matter with a bunch of Mameluks?
Well, now you could say my blog itself could be accused of the same crime. I myself am always talking about the handful of Mameluks in the media. Am I not giving them undue importance? Totally fair point. But let me say this. I am not an official spokesperson of the BJP. I do not represent the BJP in any capacity. I’m one guy who responds to what I see on TV and what I read on the internet. Dear BJP, leave the lowly work of responding to Mameluk talking points to Chaiwallahs like me. They are at my level, not yours. YOU represent 282 Lok Sabha MPs who received 17 crore votes. YOU can drive the debate. YOU can starve the Mameluks by refusing to talk about “secularism”. And whatever little propaganda they have left: we on social media can take care of that. The BJP’s greatest blessing is that it has literally millions of supporters who do not expect even one paisa in return. Let us respond to the Mameluk circus performers like Saba Naqvi and John Dayal. YOU go talk about FDI and reform. Laugh away the issue of “secularism”, for that is what it is: laughable. Will you dare?