IN THE GARB OF A DOCUMENTARY, THE BBC has attempted to launch a jihad against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And it has failed spectacularly. The failure by itself is not pathetic. The kind of advance backlash it garnered the moment it announced the release date of the “documentary” is what is really pathetic. It plodded on, needless, because…delusions of imperialism deterreth not the foolhardy.
Which is where real story lies. England, the plunderer-in-chief of the world for over three centuries, is today tottering on the edge of implosion for the very same reason: it can no longer loot the world with the same impunity and on the same scale. And India, Britain’s “crown jewel,” remains a carbuncle, which has engorged with the ascendence of Narendra Modi. As long as India could be kept weak and internally warring, the UK — and the white western sphere — were assured of their dominance on the global stage. The white west has always been wary of and hated countries in the world which are geographically large. A Communist Russia and China worked to the white west’s advantage in a perverse manner. National poverty has been the hallmark of every pure Communist country. Which meant that the white west was safe from economic competition from these nations. It was the former USSR’s military deterrent that prevented the white west from economically colonising it. India was a different case. The ill-informed “mixed model” of economy that Nawab Nehru forced down India’s throat worked to the white west’s advantage but that story is well-known.
Narendra Modi’s rise has not only smashed the old way of doing things, it has given India the much-needed stability not only to stand on its feet but to sprint ahead in economic progress. The powerful British Pound was relegated to irrelevance more than seven decades ago and the American Dollar is today facing the same fate. Both currencies are underpinned by common traits that reek of colonialism.
The rise of India and the expansion of its footprint across the globe under Modi’s premiership is a phenomenal story for a more fundamental reason: this expansion has been bloodless, non-aggressive and largely non-confrontational. America’s postwar global dominance has been characterised and achieved using that fatal phrase: “bringing democracy.” This is the foreign policy equivalent of the accursed, ancient Christian missionary credo: “taking the Lord’s name to unreached places.” Everywhere the Lord’s name has acquired strength, every nook of the world where American “democracy” has been “brought,” has wrecked entire nations and left genocides in its wake.
THE TIMING AND MOTIVE of the latest BBC “documentary” is merely incidental. In fact, the “documentary” itself is of ancillary consequence. Greater clarity ensues when we try to understand the “documentary” as a twofold historical phenomenon.
The first is the fact that since its inception until today, the BBC has regarded India as a subject country. Who or what gave it the right to meddle in our internal affairs? Why doesn’t India launch a similar documentary-jihad against England?
The second flows from the first. The BBC documentary-jihad stems from the aforementioned accursed Abrahamic mindset. The “documentary” targets Narendra Modi because deep down, the BBC views India as a Hindu majority country headed by a leader who wears his Hindu Dharma unapologetically. For more than half a century, the white western world was used to and comfortable with the Nehruvian Prime Ministers that they had shaped in their mould. The negative proof for this is available in the manner in which the UK has mollycoddled Pakistan, allowing them a run of impunity on their own soil. This is a monster that England created and is happy to give it legitimacy as an Islamic “republic,” a glaring misnomer. The traditional US foreign policy vis a vis Pakistan is also largely based on this UK model.
As such, the BBC’s documentary-jihad against PM Modi must essentially be viewed as a continuation of a civilisational war against India, whose core remains Hindu. Erase this Hindu component, and India will be in the same bracket as say, Syria, Libya or other tinpot African nations whose stability have been recurrently destroyed through white western manipulation. Media organisations like the BBC have been the powerful vehicles carrying this manipulation through heartless propaganda and disinformation.
Lee Kuan Yew recognised precisely this manipulation when he noted on different occasions that “we want the mass media to reinforce, not undermine, the cultural values and social attitudes being inculcated in our schools and universities ... The freedom of the press must be subordinated to the integrity of Singapore. I tell this...class of intelligentsia, those who read all these magazines and newspapers: who wrote it? What is his stake and interest in your future before you believe him? We allow American journalists in Singapore in order to report Singapore to their fellow countrymen...But we cannot allow them to assume a role in Singapore that the American media play in America, that is, that of invigilator, adversary and inquisitor of the administration.” (Italics added)
Apart from the civilisational aspect, the BBC also suffers from a historical credibility defect as far as India is concerned. It must be remembered that the BBC was explicitly set up in the colonial era as an Imperial news service. One of the most authoritative voices calling the BBC’s bluff about India was George Orwell.
A little-known aspect of Orwell’s distinguished career as a journalist, writer and novelist is his stint at the BBC. From August 1941 to November 1943, he worked as a Talks Producer in the Indian Section of the BBC Eastern Service. During this period, Orwell broadcast at least sixty wartime scripts to Indian listeners.
The Orwell scholar, W.J. West makes a valuable observation: “the key to Orwell’s evolution from the slightly pedantic and unpolished author of pre-war days lies in the two years he spent as a Talks Producer in the Indian Section of the BBC’s Eastern Service.” The two-year experience at the BBC furnished the raw material for George Orwell to write his landmark Animal Farm and 1984.
Orwell was naive when he joined the BBC and disgusted when he left it. He believed its scheming denizens who told him that the Indian Section was modelled as a “university of the air” educating Indian listeners about the news of WW 2. But the murky side was revealed in 1941 when the Ministry of Information seized the BBC and transformed it into a full-fledged propaganda factory. The reason: Goebbels.
At the height of the war, German radio propaganda was at its most sophisticated, helmed by the evil genius, Joseph Goebbels. It was motivated by the singular goal of demoralising the so-called Allied powers. With painful frequency, Germany radio-bombed both European and Indian airwaves with bombastic announcements of each victory. India was a specially chosen target for this radio propaganda. Germany had indeed studied the situation here thoroughly. The radio propaganda was carefully designed to exploit the raging anti-British sentiment out here. Even more specifically, Germany’s broadcasts were aimed at the two million Indian troops fighting in Europe on the British side. The scholar and writer F. Yeats Brown in his book, Martial India gives a painful portrait of this: “India has two million volunteers fighting in the Allied cause. It is the largest — and, I think, the least publicised — army of volunteers ever gathered under any flag.” (Italics added) Indian soldiers fighting the war on behalf of their oppressors.
The Indian listeners were not only outraged but relished the news of German victories and hungered for more. A cable from England’s The Daily Telegraph dated October 6, 1939, noted with alarm: “German propaganda in English excellently received in India. Listeners await vainly for refutation from London or Delhi.” Similar reports from India flooded London. The implication was that the BBC was doing a rotten job of countering German radio propaganda pouring into India.
A panicked BBC immediately established within the Eastern Service a dedicated section to broadcast its own propaganda to India in both English and “Hindustani.” Malcolm Darling who headed the section enlisted the support of Mulk Raj Anand, a close friend of George Orwell. Mulk Raj Anand refused.
IN THE BEGINNING, Orwell had a favourable but slightly cynical view of the BBC. He noted in his diary, “I believe that the BBC in spite of the stupidity of its foreign propaganda and the unbearable voices of its announcers, is very truthful. It is more reliable than the press.”
Suddenly, Germany’s invasion of Russia changed everything. The boisterous left-wing media in England which had opposed the war took an immediate U-turn because its Fatherland, the USSR, was at the receiving end of Hitler. The Leftist shrillery was so devastating that the British Government replaced the Minister of Information.
One outcome was George Orwell’s promotion as an Empire Talks Assistant (that was a real position). Along with other staffers, the BBC enrolled him in a special training course meant to teach the finer nuances of the art of radio propaganda. The poet and literary critic, William Empson who was Orwell’s course mate and colleague described the training course as the Liars School of the BBC. This unflattering moniker has endured the test of time.
Censorship was the other side of the BBC propaganda machinery. The totalitarian nightmare that Orwell describes so chillingly in 1984 was birthed in the censorious environment at the BBC. In fact, most of the descriptions of the physical spaces in 1984 — buildings, offices, canteens, etc — are directly taken from what he observed at the BBC.
George Orwell also found it ironic that while his book Burmese Days was banned in India by his own government, the BBC had still given him a job. But it was characteristic of the cut-throat policy of expediency that underscored colonial Britain both at home and abroad in every sphere.
As the months rolled on, Orwell became increasingly repelled at what he saw in the BBC. In a letter to the Chinese novelist Hsiao Ch’ien, this is how he damned the BBC: “Our radio strategy is even more hopeless than our military strategy. Nevertheless, one rapidly becomes propaganda-minded and develops a cunning one did not previous have.” Clearly, the Liars School of the BBC had briefly infected even a conscientious man like George Orwell.
And on June 21, 1942, this is what Orwell wrote in his diary: “The thing that strikes one in the BBC is … the moral squalor and ultimate futility of what we are doing… our policy is so ill-defined, the disorganisation is so great… the fear and hatred of intelligence are so all pervading.” The obvious conclusion: as the British Government’s propaganda arm, the BBC’s charter was to hire mediocrities whose only function was to behave like automatons. And even this job wasn’t done well. Here is Lawerence Brander admitting the failure. Brander was the Intelligence officer for the BBC Eastern Service. He returned to England at the end of 1942 after touring India for six months and wrote his report: “Affairs are much worse in India than anyone here is allowed to realise… our broadcasts are utterly useless because no one listens to them in India.”
GEORGE ORWELL RESIGNED FROM THE BBC IN NOVEMBER 1943. Here is an excerpt from his resignation letter: “I am tendering my resignation because for some time, … I have been conscious that I was wasting my own time and the public money on doing work that produces no result… the broadcasting of British propaganda to India is an almost hopeless task.”
The truth that Orwell wrote eighty years ago remains etched in stone. The taxpaying British public continues to allow the BBC to squander its hard-earned money towards spinning anti-India propaganda, which has repeatedly failed. If two world wars haven’t taught the British government this simple truth, nothing else will.
As things stand now, Rishi Sunak has strongly condemned the documentary-jihad against Narendra Modi, thereby landing a Prime Ministerial egg on the BBC’s septic face. But BBC or no BBC, England forfeited its right to preach anything at all to India the day it sent the East India Company to plunder India. A fact that Narendra Modi — then the CM of Gujarat — curtly reminded a BBC journalist, “You British should not try to teach us human rights.”
Propaganda factories like the BBC derive their confidence to make such “documentaries” maligning an elected Prime Minister of an independent nation from a section of Indians. This section of Indians drool at the mere prospect of being “interviewed” by even a lowly BBC clerk earning less than minimum wage back in England. This is how the BBC got away for several decades with the most egregious propaganda against India — the number of traitors per square feet, especially in the Indian academia and media, made its job a breeze.
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