A brief history of how Jawaharlal Nehru recruited top editors and prominent journalists in the English media and its continuing consequences
That was the reply of the young Chou En-Lai in 1945 to a Western journalist when he told him that the American media considered Chinese communism as merely “radical agrarian reformers,” and not mass murderers like Lenin and Stalin. Seventy-five years later, the core of this Communist perversion has remained intact: that all values, principles and ideas are and must be made subservient to Communist revolution. The classic illustration of this depravity in practice is an alleged American reporter named Walter Duranty who spun entire kilometres of Communist propaganda as “news” while he was stationed in Moscow and won the Pulitzer Prize for it. The American public lapped it up and its academia and intelligentsia built up a pile of theses using his material as its premise. Oh, and Walter Duranty was employed by the New York Times.
This is the patented aggressor syndrome, a phenomenon which has allowed every genocidal maniac to get away with the most horrific crimes in humanity. The aggressor is very clear about his goals. It is the others who make excuses for his crimes. Like Nawab Nehru, the gold standard Stalin and Mao apologist. He was understandably outraged…indeed, it was inconceivable to him that anyone could even criticise these Great Leaders.
Imagine Nehru’s Nawabian fury when he noticed that public discourse was flooded with such provocative titles as World Conquest in Instalments: J.V. Stalin, Communists under Communism, Nehru’s Fatal Friendship and China is Red with Peasants’ Blood. All this and more, like regular sledgehammer blows directly pounding the Panchsheel wheels of the selfsame fatal friendship with China. The fact that Nehru had personally opened India’s main door for no-holds-barred Communist propaganda, allowed the Indian governmental agencies to officially facilitate this propaganda, and created a permanent Chinese Communist enclave didn’t seem to worry him the least bit about its disastrous consequences.
All the talk about paid media, Lutyens media mafia, sold out media, and fake news today has a double origin, in a manner of speaking. The first obviously is Nawab Nehru’s largesse to media houses which were given prime land in Delhi for ostensibly promoting the fourth pillar but which in reality was a lifetime bribe. The second flows from the first: he ensured that his illicit romance with alien Communist imperialisms brooked no serious media opposition. This is also why the media crawled when Indira Gandhi merely asked it to bend. It is truly stunning when we observe the fact that within barely a decade of “independence,” the USSR and China had cultivated a substantial goon squad comprising editors, journalists and writers within striking distance of both the Prime Minister’s house and office.
As we saw in the previous part, Nawab Nehru’s Pan Parag goondas in the media were instructed to keep a close watch on any criticism of his China policy and specifically, any criticism of China itself. This included criticism in the form of Letters to the Editor.
The earliest and the most distinguished media Pan Parag goonda was the editor of The Statesman, the late Prem Bhatia. Even as Nawab Nehru’s sleazy China romance got steamier, Prem Bhatia found it necessary dedicate his weekly column, The Political Scene to blasting anti-China and anti-Communist criticism. Needless, he used the oldest trick in the book: labelling, branding, and personal attacks. He pejoratively branded them as “indigenous McCarthies” and began issuing veiled public threats to them on behalf of Nawab Nehru. Here is a sample from his column dated 7 August 1955.
By every yardstick, Prem Bhatia was one of the pioneering forerunners of alleged journalists like Sagarika Ghose who probably best epitomise Bhatia’s school of political shilling on behalf of the Nehru dynasty. Note some phrases in the foregoing passage and compare the kind of stuff that today's Lutyens media would regularly peddle until recently, i.e. before their descent into round-the-clock incoherence.
Here is the modern-day translation of Bhatiaspeak for the benefit of the reader.
And thus the vile playbook was set in motion, a playbook that has remained largely intact in what passes off as journalism in India.
Needless, Prem Bhatia was handsomely rewarded by the Nawab. His website mentions how “he traveled extensively and was included in India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru’s entourage during his official foreign visits,” and how he was appointed as “a diplomat (First Secretary) under Ambassador Vijayalakshmi Pandit in Moscow.” The gravy train didn’t stop. He went on to become the “High Commissioner for India in Kenya. After a four year tenure, he became High Commissioner in Singapore in 1969” for eight long years.
We can round off this account with the Prem Bhatia Award for Journalism. Here are some notable winners: Rajdeep Sardesai, Aakar Patel, Suhasini Haider, P. Sainath, and Harish Khare.
The first was Crossroads, an official weekly of the CPI, then edited by the selfsame Romesh Thapar, brother of the distorian Romila Thapar and cousin of the Congress scribe, Karan Thapar. Week after week, Crossroads launched vicious attacks against the critics of Communism, the USSR and China with the zeal of a true fanatic. Eventually, Romesh Thapar moves into the Indira Gandhi’s inner circle and a deluge of top government positions woo him: Chairman of the ITDC, director of the India International Centre, Vice Chairperson of Bal Bhavan (his wife, Raj Thapar becomes a director later), and has free access to folks like John Kenneth Galbraith. In a surreal development, Romesh Thapar is once tasked by the CPI to barge into the Bombay station of the All India Radio, stage a coup, and announce that a Communist revolution had taken place in India. I’m not making this up. Till his death, Romesh Thapar remains a member of the CPI(M).
The second was the weekly tabloid Blitz, infamous for soft porn, sleaze and Penthouse-style Communist propaganda. Its last page was notorious for a full spread of semi-nude women, and it was considered scandalous to keep it in respectable homes. It was partly funded by the Communists and partly by the Congress and was completely shameless about its Communist propaganda. Founded and edited by the despicable Russi Karanjia—who bizarrely joined the BJP late in his life—he recruited and groomed an entire generation of journalism deplorables. Some names include P. Sainath, Sudheendra Kulkarni, K.A. Abbas, Teesta Setalvad, and Vir Sanghvi’s father. Karanjia’s nonstop tirade against those who opposed Nehru’s sell-out to China screeched to a halt when a fellow Parsi, D.F. Karaka, in his magazine Current, published a full account of his funding sources. The tagline of Blitz was “Free, Frank and Fearless.” Which is copied decades later by a Communist terror pamphlet named Tehelka whose tagline was “Free, Fair and Fearless.”
To be continued