Dhulagarh : Person to person reporting shatters media stranglehold

So, as I told you folks, I was traveling through the rough and tumble of rural Bengal. And if anything, I feel the good folks who read my blog deserve a “ground report”. However, as I keep saying all the time, I am not a journalist. Unlike journalists, I don’t think that anecdotes are data. Unlike journalists, I don’t make a living pretending to know the pulse of the people. So, here is some stuff that I found interesting and I think you might enjoy too.

First of all, on demonetization, the picture seems radically different from what the media has been drilling into our heads. I spoke to exactly 40 people. ALL of them were strangers and ALL of them were definitely really poor  : regular travelers in horrible local trains, vendors in those same trains and of course drivers of e-rickshaws and auto-rickshaws.

Here is my standard template of speaking to them:

Me : Have there been problems with notes in these parts?

Typical answer: Somewhat / normalizing now / No problem /

Me : But are the ATMs working?

Typical answer : I don’t have / don’t use an ATM card (I told you most of these people were very poor.)

And then I would ask the all important question:

Me : Tell me something. This thing that Modi has done, you think it was the right thing?

Answer : Yes (38) No (2)

Typically I would stick around to mention something like : “But Didi is very angry”. To this I received a lot of responses, some outright abusing the Chief Minister to one really clever person who put it thus:

Seems Didi’s brothers have lost a lot of money.

Some people of course were actual “Modi bhakts”. One of them confidently told me a fantastic story of how Modi came to Belur in West Bengal to become a sadhu but a very learned sage told him that Modi had taken birth specifically to save the country 🙂

How poor were these people? Let me give you an example. One of my respondents was the guy standing beside me in the local train. A hawker came by selling little packets of fried snacks. Here is how the guy spoke to the hawker:

Guy : How  much for this packet?

Hawker : Rs 5

Guy takes a long pause. Then he nods miserably and says:

“Do you have anything cheaper than Rs 5?”

Hawker: No. Rs 5 is the minimum.

The guy waited a while, let go of the packet. The hawker turned away. Another person bought a packet for Rs 5. Then the guy, who was clearly hungry, finally gave in and asked:

“Okay give me the Rs 5 packet then”.

A person who thinks 10 times before purchasing a Rs 5 packet of snacks is supporting demonetization vocally. And they think that Modi has lost touch with the masses.

That’s my “ground report” on demonetization. Take it for what you will…

The other issue on my mind was Dhulagarh. You have to understand that because of the nature of the topic, I didn’t feel very safe talking about it to a lot of people. I don’t think I managed to speak to more than 10 people about Dhulagarh riots.

Several of them asked me my name before opening their mouth on Dhulagarh. They clearly wanted to know my religion first.

But once they opened their mouth, it got really, fiercely communal. The emotions I heard were extremely charged and extremely hateful. They clearly said the TMC government is working only for the Muslims. Many times, the things they went on to say were so violent and hateful that I had to try to calm them down.

I am fairly sure now of two things:

(1) Everyone in Bengal knows about Dhulagarh now and everyone is thinking about it.

(2) Mamata Banerjee and her secular allies have made a giant mistake by covering up what really happened.

As bad as things were, the burqa of secularism forcibly thrown over the events in Dhulagarh has led to the popular narrative spinning completely out of control. Extreme exaggerations are everywhere. Some told me about the “Dhulagarh massacre”, which I am quite sure simply did not happen. But people are talking about it. The cover up has made things much worse.

For me, the Dhulagarh lesson (if the seculars have learned any) is a triumph of “person to person reporting” over and above the heads of the ayatollahs of secular media. Traditionally, the model of information flow in India looked like this:  (forgive my poor drawing please)


Observe how Dadri and the fake Barun Kashyap story make it to the right chamber and are fed to the public, while Dhulagarh and Malda still languish in the left chamber. All because of the bottleneck which is in the stranglehold of Lutyens media.

But then, technology came along. Local residents, armed with mobile phone cameras and recorders picked up the events and started reporting them. Other people began to compile this information on Twitter, FB and Whatsapp. In effect, technology helped the people punch huge holes in the carefully constructed isolation chambers:


This is what your new world looks like Rajdeep. Resistance is futile.

21 thoughts on “Dhulagarh : Person to person reporting shatters media stranglehold

  1. The traditional media in India had two choices.

    Option 1: Be truthful, report in an unbiased manner, earn trust

    Option 2: Be selective, report in a highly biased manner, lie when convenient, lose trust

    The Indian media chose option 2 for all the decades since independence. It worked till the advent of social media. With social media, people started noticing large deviations between what their friends reported on social media with what the large media houses reported. People trust their friends and hence because of the above dissonance, people started distrusting and disliking the traditional media.

    Things have come to a pass where only fools trust the traditional media anymore.
    And as 2014 showed, lots of Indians have graduated from being naive to being intelligent. Traditional media is dead. In this age, any form of journalism that lies is dead. Deader than stone.


  2. Even the Congress and the opposition guys who are sensible in the left caves(such as r/india) and some even of the shill “reporters” and op-ed writers admit that Demonetisation has massive public support,and lament it.Ex:


    People are really underestimating class warfare between the poor and the rich,and the seeming carefree nature of the poor in having no money(they are used to it anyways) and their seeming pleasure in seeing even the rich having to suffer like them.The poor are practical people,they are not expecting all black money to disappear.But they know that the benefactors of black money and the rich will be dealt a huge blow,and that many people’s fortunes will be affected.Even if the people are caught are insignificant in the larger picture(hope not),these people will enjoy the suffering of the rich and powerful at little cost to them.plus,since these people have suffered pain,they expect some benefits,whether or not they actually exist.

    this is why i think that the “anger and outrage” is more among the middle class and the rich,rather than the poor and lower middle class.Hopefully the polls will prove this argument od “widespread public outrage”as baseless,and instead force the libtards to start arguments about “idiocity of the indian masses” and how only the “intellectualz” must be listened to. the process has already started.

    as for Dhulagarh,it’s pretty unfortunate that mamata’s and media’s cover-up has flared so much tension and anger among people.hope things don’t get out of control.and you are right,the advent of social media,especially whatsapp have given a body blow to Lutyen’s Delhi,and some like Rajdeep’s own channel have started realising that things can’t remain hidden, and they have already showed a report on the riots.and with the coming of Republic,the influence if Lutyens will only fall


  3. CW…Excellent post!

    Good reporting on demonetization!

    In effect it is clear that we can declare that ‘DEMONETIZATION OF MODI A GRAND SUCCESS’!

    ‘In effect, technology helped the people punch huge holes in the carefully constructed isolation chambers’…..well said and very well illustrated!

    It is clear that the new era is hear and to stay…..that truth will prevail with ordinary people reporting!

    MSM is dead….period!


      1. Two of my best friends here in the US went to India over the Christmas break – very similar reports from them (one was from my home state of Gujarat and the other from Karnataka). The incredible thing is there are still logistical challenges – viz Bharuch (one of the smaller cities in Gujarat) still has challenges with cash inflow and yet, people from all walks of life (doodhwala to kaamwalas to small traders) are extremely supportive of the move because Modi has established a personal credibility unlike any politician in memory since Independence. I believe Dr Praveen Patil pointed out in one of his tweets that the level of support for demonetization at the ground level is a statistical abnormality.


  4. @CW.. Thank you for a ground reporting form danger zone of Bangal…. Hindus are not wakeup until they come to near nonexistence. so I think Hindus in BANGAL are now wake up form this and I am sure in quite near future They will bounce back and Mamta Begum will face a great Blow in Bangal..Hopefully in 2019


    1. My mama just came back from Bengal’s Murshidabad. In our ancestral village, Hindus are scared to celebrate Janamashthami. The M community puts up loudspeakers on Janamashthami day abusing Krishna. Next year they might attack physically. Everyone is scared.


    1. I didn’t ask anyone’s name except for a few cases where the conversation got really long and intimate. Incidentally, I might have inadvertently helped out a couple of illegal Bangladeshis know more about the Aadhar card process….thinking they were just ordinary Indian poor. But that’s a story for another day 🙂


  5. Happy New (Calendar) year CW, But I do not agree with your survey. You should of have interviewed poorest people of the country like Rahul Gandhi, Mamta Banerji, Mayavathi, Laloo………who literally lost tons of 500/1000 old notes which they kept to donate to poor voters during elections.


  6. Happy new Gregorian calendar year to everyone! I am perhaps the oldest person commenting here on a regular basis, and I do not agree with Kannan that Indian media has *always* been corrupt. I can remember a time during my childhood then The Hindu was an excellent paper. While other papers would give excerpts, they would print the entire document and let the reader judge for himself. The slide started when N. Ram, the commie, took control, and it has been all downhill ever since. Now another commie, Malini Parthasarathy, has kicked out Ram, and the paper is basically a laughing stock. When Arun Shourie was the Editor of The Indian Express and Ramnath Goenka was the owner, the Bofors scandal was exposed by them. However, Toilet Paper has always been a toilet paper for as long as I can remember.

    The downward slide of media started for a variety of reasons. For The Hindu, the reasons were ideological. Ram was a commie and thus hated all things Hindu and simultaneously all things Western. The IE sold its soul for money, pure and simple. The TV channels started off being corrupt right from day no. 1, because private channels came into existence along with liberalization, in 1991.

    Now some turncoats are dipping their toes in the water. Yesterday Manu Joseph wrote a blog for the Toilet Paper acknowledging that demonetization had widespread popular support. Last week Bekaar Patel wrote an article along similar lines in Outlook. Earlier the great distortian Ram Chua wrote a piece critical of Raoul Ghandi. I have decided that I won’t give links, because then people will click and increase the hits for these articles.

    In many ways, I believe that NOW is the most dangerous time for the BJP, precisely because the opposition including the media is in such total disarray. When Vajpayee was in power, he eagerly sought out the approval of the Lootyens mafia and abandoned his core base. It did not help that his so-called son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya was monumentally corrupt, and this forced ABV to call off any investigation of the Bofors scandal. The fact that confirmed BJP-haters like Manu Joseph, Bekaar Patel and Ram Chua are now sucking up them may give the BJP leadership some delusions of grandeur. If they fall into that trap then NaMo will be a goner for sure in 2019.

    As Chaiwallah has rightly pointed out, the poor people are with NaMo because they think he is against the corrupt rich. If he loses that perception battle, then public sentiment will swing by 180 degrees very very quickly because, let us face it, the actual implementation of demonetization has been staggeringly amateurish. Let us not forget also that thus far NaMo has done absolutely NOTHING for core Hindutva issues such as releasing Hindu temples from the stranglehold of the government.

    Apologies for the long post and again, best wishes to everyone.


    1. Prof. Vidyasagar,
      Happy new year to you 🙂

      I think Modi has picked a winner here. Honestly, I am surprised Modi has wrapped up the exercise within 50 days. Even dynasty newspapers are acknowledging that lines have mostly disappeared. Within 1 more week, things will be absolutely normal. I think the core Hindu issues will come to the forefront once Modi has solidified his hold electorally. Right now the biggest priority is still 2019. If we lose that election, Hindus are likely on their way out in this country.


  7. We have to be honest, diligent, vigilant and hard working. The battle and therfore war is not completely won. There is not yet satyamev jayte established. The Delhi results came after the great victory of social media in 2014. There are thousands still watching anti national khan and prostitute movies. There are yet thousands fooled by congi illegitimates like sp, bsp, rjd nautankis, there are still residue thousand years slaves among us in presstitutes. There is no other way than we Hindus organize for the benefit of humanity.


  8. I think Bengal is ready to be taken over by the BJP, provided we have a strong leadership that can channelize anger and despair of Hindus into ballot boxes.

    However, given the fact that Bengal do not produce courageous leaders (Subhash Bose was an exception, not the norm), the biggest risk is that Modi + Shah may not find someone who can effectively take on the Sharia-compliant Begum Mumtaz Bano and her gang of “peaceful” riot-mongers.


    1. If BJP can find a half decent leader, the state is ripe to shift wholesale to BJP. In absence of caste silos, WB politics moves in sudden landslides. Even my hardcore anti-Modi relatives are reporting that they are simply terrified of the M community now. They may be Communist supporters, but they are also very devout Hindus. And now M community has started interfering to the point that ordinary Hindus like them are finding it difficult to celebrate Durgapuja and Janamashthami.


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