WhatsApp leaks concerning Arnab Goswami (Republic TV) have brought into the limelight some bitter truths. One bitter truth is that the general public is a “bewildered herd” (to quote Noam Chomsky) who could easily be made a fool out of. Abraham Lincoln was wrong in saying “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
History tells us that the people, even the Americans, are gullible. Propaganda deeply influenced even independent-minded Americans who laid down a constitution, beginning with the words ‘we the people.’ Chomsky says even the American masses are like a “bewildered herd” who have stopped thinking. He asserts that in a “properly functioning democracy”, there is a “small percentage of the people”, a “specialized class of citizens” who analyze, execute, make decisions and run things in the political, economic, and ideological systems”.
Chomsky reminds, “Woodrow Wilson was elected President in 1916 on the platform “Peace without Victory”, right in the middle of the World War I. The American population was extremely pacifistic and saw no reason to get involved in a European War. The Wilson administration established a government propaganda commission, called the Creel Committee, which (through fake news, films, etc.) succeeded, within six months, in turning a pacifist population into a hysterical, war-mongering population which wanted to destroy everything German, tear the Germans limb from limb, go to war and save the world. After the war, the same techniques were used to whip up a hysterical Red Square.”
Arnab Goswami’s leaks
The leaked WhatsApp chats revealed that Abbottabad’s surgical strikes were conducted to shore up Narendra Modi’s image as a “strong man”, a Brobdingnagian among the Lilliputian self-centered Indian politicians. The “strike” helped Modi win elections with a thumping majority.
Even though Modi is educated only up to high school, he understands the power of propaganda. He has done a three-month course in the USA on image management and public relations. His campaign blitz cost about US $700 million. Modi is considered the most techno-savvy leader of India as he is very active on various social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, et cetera.
Shocking information in leaks
WhatsApp chats between Republic TV’s Editor-in-Chief, Arnab Goswami, and former Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) CEO Partho Dasgupta run into 500 long pages. They revealed a nexus between media and politicians to deceive the masses. Several Congress leaders, including former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan, have raised alarming questions.
Chidambaram has questioned how the journalist and his friend knew about the Balakot strikes three days before it took place.
Meanwhile, senior journalist Madhavan Narayanan, in his piece, raised pertinent questions about the clearly transparent violations of media ethics, professionalism and business malpractices, as are evident from the purported chats between the Republic TV CEO and former BARC head. In the transcripts, Arnab referred to the Pulwama attack on February 14, 2019. Three days before the Balakot airstrike on February 26, 2019, Goswami purportedly wrote India’s response would be “Bigger than a normal airstrike” and at the same time something major on Kashmir (abrogation of special status).
Dasgupta was arrested in the fake Television Rating Point (TRP) case. The Mumbai police had earlier told the court that Goswami had allegedly bribed Dasgupta with lakhs of rupees to ramp up Republic TV’s viewership.
Like the Indian air force, the Indian army also knows the value of propaganda. It occasionally sates fake encounters in which innocent Kashmiris are kidnapped and killed. Afzal Guru was hanged but subsequent revelations by police officer Davinder Sing revealed that he was in fact innocent.
Impact of the Modi magic
In the elections, Congress lost even in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh, where it ruled. Even Rahul Gandhi lost its citadel, Amethi. In the gory West-Bengal contest, the formidable Mamta Bannerjee lost many seats to BJP. Modi’s self-image brand prevailed. The RSS held many conclaves to reach out to intellectuals. Muslim munch distributed RSS leaflets. Even after winning the elections, BJP stalwarts visited Madrassa Deoband. He captivated popular imagination as a strong leader -Modi hai to mumkin hai (If Modi is there, then it is possible). Through the power of propaganda, Modi brazenly bagged credit for all achievements of previous Congress governments. It was Jawaharlal Nehru who abolished the zamindari system. It is Nehru, not Modi, who set up the space center that catapulted India’s ASAT Shakti.
Goswami leaks further debilitate India’s accusation that the Pulwama attack was orchestrated by Pakistan. Several questions, given heretofore come to mind about India’s ‘charge sheet’ on Pakistan; why did India count on the FBI when it already possessed all communications from Pakistan? For instance, it intercepted the whole talk between military dictator Yahya Khan and his coterie during the East Pakistan/Bangladesh crisis. It intercepted Musharraf’s conversation with his generals while he was flying back from China to Pakistan. Isn’t there collusion between the FBI and India?
Why did India blame Pakistan even before the forensic-lab and National Investigation Agency investigation report? Why are there differing reports about the weight of the RDX used? The Indian Express speculated “High-grade RDX explosive, weighing about 80 kilograms, was used in the suicide attack.” The Hindu estimated 100-150 kg.
Why was a private vehicle allowed to approach the scene of the incident in violation of the CRPF Standing Operating Procedures? The CRPF’s Standing Operating Procedure required the movement of up to 100 persons in a convoy. Why has the CRPF been moving such convoys, comprising more than 2,500 personnel each, on the Srinagar-Jammu highway? In the past fortnight, two such convoys had moved from Jammu to Srinagar. The latest was on February 4, with a convoy of 91 vehicles and 2,871 personnel’. Why could the convoy not spot the lonely suicide vehicle trailing behind?
How did the terrorists know the convoy movement was delayed by two days? How did they remain undetected while loading the vehicle with explosives the whole day? Not only WhatsApp but also landlines have never been accessible even in Hindu-majority Jammu (occupied Kashmir). Then how come did the FBI tell the NIA about the WhatsApp group operated by a member of the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad, who was in contact with the people who carried out the attack of Pulwama?
According to the FBI, a man called Mohammed Hussain was operating the WhatsApp group, from Muzaffarabad. But the number was however registered under the name of “Jameela from Budgam”.
Modi owes his electoral victory to the power of propaganda. He is making a fool of not only the Indian masses but also the world around him.
Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been writing freelance for over five decades. He has served the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan for 39 years. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies and magazines at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is the author of eight e-books including The Myth of Accession. He knows many languages including French and Arabic. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.