News media in the past one week of the Uri terror attack has been the most vocal in their condemnation, much more than the government of the day. Every night, night after night, various news channels have been coming up with plans on how to best respond to the latest attacks on the country. The battle with Pakistan is fought every night on television with some news anchors on steroids recommending bombing the hell out of Pakistan. Well almost.
I must at the same time also share some expert advice coming from panelists on this issue: From, ‘Pakistan will not be in a position to celebrate their next Independence Day, such will be India’s response’ to ‘India should induct Balochis into the Indian army’. From ‘become like Israel’ to ‘form our own fidayeen’. From ‘unki chaati pe khade hokar goli maarenge’ to ‘unki daant khatte kar denge agar humaare desh ki taraf dekha bhi toh’. (The last two in Hindi by senior BJP spokespersons in a debate I was a part of).
After Nawaz Sharif’s non-stop self-goals in his address at UNGA there was considerable outrage in India. For India, it should be a moment of Pakistan exposing itself as a terror sympathizer and supporter. The Pakistani Prime Minister by calling Burhan Wani a ‘young leader’ fighting for the Kashmir cause exposed yet again his country’s active role in creating unrest in Kashmir as well as actively supporting self-declared militants. Our young diplomat, Eenam Gambhir at the UN called out Pakistan’s double standards in addressing terror emanating from their land. The reply however, wasn’t good enough for TV TRPs, so the discussion began with condemnation of Nawaz Sharif’s statement, those who didn’t answer with a simple yes or no were called non-patriots, ‘rudalis’, anti-nationals, living off tax payers’ money with no substantial contribution to the nation etc. It all happened live on our national channels!
If Twitter is the mother of all outrage and provider of possible solutions to give Pakistan a befitting reply, then news channels have definitely emerged as the daddy of all outrage. On Twitter, there are ways to counter the argument, on television however, it is difficult, as the anchors at the back of their mind have already reached the conclusion of how the debate will end. So the debate is not a dialogue anymore it is more of keep provoking the guest to see our way or well, take the highway!
Yes, it is easy to switch off the channel but how can one ignore their role in shaping the country’s narrative? Provoking the already hurt and angry sentiments of the people of the country will only end up pressurizing the country to take knee jerk decisions that may harm our own cause. Act in haste, repent at leisure. It would do the media some good to introspect their own role in ensuring sense prevails and also to keep remembering the words of the DGMO, Lt General Ranbir Singh’s on Uri attacks: “We reserve the right to respond to any act of the adversary at a time and place of our choosing”.
We must not forget that Pakistan continues diligently to follow their policy of a hundred cuts to India at the expense of their own nation. Pakistan at the cost of totally disregarding the needs of its own citizens is busy spending crores of money in helping terrorist camps attack India. Over the years, Pakistan has not seen a stable government or powerful elected heads, army men have staged coups and become more powerful than the elected government itself.
However, it being a neighbour, as much troublesome as it can be, there has to be possible solutions to get them to give up their stated position. Pakistan has to allow the region to focus on economic development rather than having to handle the terrorism challenge it abets and encourages. The decision on how to best tackle Pakistan needs to come from our elected government, a government that was elected on the promise of being tough on terror and holding Pakistan accountable. The BJP after winning the election though seems to have forgotten their resolve to carry out their promises. What the country needs is a well thought-out strategy not decided by the rhetoric and jingoism in their words.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.