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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Propaganda, misinformation and deception by Indian Media

According to Dr. Aaila Sohail, several Indian media outlets have become a global joke for publishing fake news on a daily basis, Since last years expose by the BBC, India has developed a reputation for spreading misinformation. In its damning news piece, the London-based broadcaster uncovered a 15-year long operation targeting key western organizations to serve Indian interests. Managed by an Indian entity, the largest network of disinformation, was being used to hammer Pakistan’s image.

Indian media has recently tried to spread unverified reports about the involvement of the Pakistan Army in Panjsher, Afghanistan. It was most humiliating for the Indian Gen Bakshi to be told that the pictures of the Pakistan army’s involvement in Afghanistan that he had presented as proof, were those of Pakistani actors from the movie Yalghar.  Likewise,  the obstinate insistence of the  Indian anchor Goswami on the presence of ISI officers on the 5th floor of Serena Hotel in Kabul became a butt of mockery when there was a spade of tweets to expose that Serena has only 2 floors.

The use of disinformation by the Indian media is an old strategy to “Balkanise” Pakistan. Indian investment in Afghanistan was like their support to the Bengalis in former East Pakistan. The objective was not their liberation, rather the dismemberment of Pakistan. Bangladesh, on Oct 12 2012  conferred awards on 61 of its foreign friends for their outstanding support in the creation of Bangladesh. Of the total recipients, 50 were from India; most of them were journalists. They were awarded the “Friends of Liberation War Honour” award. Of the two “Bangladesh Liberation War Honour” awards, one went to IK Gujral, former PM of India.

Read more: Exposing the real face of India

Are India’s highest civilians awards authentic? 

It is interesting to note that Mark Tully, the British Correspondent who gave coverage to the Indo Pak war in 1971 was also conferred the “Friends of Liberation War Honour” for his contribution to the creation of Bangladesh. He was born in Calcutta, India in 1935. He was the Chief of Bureau, BBC, New Delhi for twenty-two years. After resigning from his job as a radio correspondent in 1994, he continued to stay in India. Tully said, “I have a lot of affection for India, that is a country worth fighting for as a journalist”. His adopted country acknowledged his anti-Pakistan services by honoring him with two of India’s highest civilian awards – the Padma Shri (for distinguished service) and the Padma Bhushan (for distinguished service of higher-order).

Indian and Western journalists, boast of giving “authentic information”. How the word “authentic” has, in the hands of Indian and Western media, come to be encrusted with inauthentic, unverified, biased meanings can be well understood by the following event narrated by Brig. Saad Ullah in his book East Pakistan to Bangladesh.

The Indian army disguised as Mukties invaded insidiously erstwhile East Pakistan in June 1971. Brig. Saad Ullah writes that a large team of foreign correspondents visited Chandrapur in September 1971 to see the battleground. “They saw how the Indians had shelled the railway junction. They saw the captured arms, ammunition, and the dead. The attackers wore patrol boots and equipment but were otherwise in civies”. Chandrapur was littered with the dead bodies of Indians along with their weapons, ammunition and equipment. “Sufficient to prick the bubble of BBC propaganda but not their conscience,” remarks Brig. Saad.

Read more: India’s national security challenges and religious extremism

The British correspondent insisted that they could be all Mukties

His attention was drawn to their features – they were typical North Indians of Aryan descent, whereas the Bengalis were mostly Astroloids. They were smaller in build, had a darker complexion, and rather a broad nose and liquid eyes. “Among them was not a single Bengali; they were all Indians. All correspondents readily saw the point”. The exception was the British correspondent who insisted that the dead may be volunteers fighting by the side of the Mukties. The Pakistani Brig. pointed towards the sterling sten machine carbine of British manufacture and piqued, “Perhaps the British government is also fighting on the side of the freedom fighters and giving weapons to the so-called Indians volunteers?

It was hard for him to see the truth. That was not their official line! Later at the broken bridge, a Bengali civilian came out of the adjacent ‘Bari. He was holding the hand of a little girl. Inquiries revealed that his wife had been recently killed through Indian shelling. The British correspondent was visibly disturbed. She had been killed by the wrong side! “You would have loved to hear the poor woman had been raped and personally killed by the Brigade Commander.” I enjoyed his embarrassment. How I loathed the British hypocrisy! Through plunder and tyranny of 200 years, they had reduced the Bengali Muslims to virtual serfdom. The Hindus were their allies. ‘Arrival of British in India was the advent of Hindu renaissance’, said Jadu Nath Sarkar.’

The notorious permanent settlement of Bengal, the grasping British Indigo planters, systematic decimation of local handloom industry, the partition of Bengal and its undoing under Hindu pressure, the famine of the forties, they had forgotten all. The crime of neglect and plunder was now being laid at our doorsteps. Unfortunately, many had started believing their yarns. That is a successful psychological war. The British press was an excellent Indian ally.”

Read more: US Deputy Secretary to visit South Asia as India demands close watch on Pakistan

Pakistan Army observes the highest code of honor and valor but it is viciously maligned abroad and sometimes, at home, for doing its duty. What Brig. Saad wrote about the 1971 war holds today as well, “Defence of one’s country had become ignoble, well done BBC and Bharat. New international mores were being established.”

Prof Dr. Aalia Sohail Khan, former Vice-Chancellor Rawalpindi University Pakistan. 33 years of experience in teaching English literature and language at postgraduate level. 7 years of administrative experience. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.