Public Opinion Engineering by 'Riot Vultures'20/03/2011 00:33:28 H Balakrishnan
LETTER TO TNIE
Refrence the 'Opinion' - " The truth about Gujarati Muslims " - (TNIE - 18 Mar).
The name of the author struck an almost instantaneous 'familiar chord' with me !! Especially, when the writer wrote :
" There has to be a judicious balance between the two. He should have added that like in South Africa, there should be Truth and Reconciliation Commission and then Muslims should, in the spirit of reconciliation, forgive Modi for what his government did in 2002. But one does not see any sign of regret at all and those under his influence still justify the carnage of 2002 ".
" There are large numbers of Muslims in Gujarat who prioritise justice over progress as what they faced was too barbaric to ignore ". Also. " But a vast majority of Muslims in Gujarat and especially those who suffered maximum loss of lives and lost everything they had, are poor or very poor. I do not think they ever would go soft on Modi".
Dr. Koenraad Elst, the Belgian historian,
whose writings on Ayodhya and 'communalism in India', stand vindicated by the
Aodhya verdict delivered by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, had in his book "Ayodhya: The Finale", Voice of India, New Delhi (2003),mentioned in 'detail' the 'riot vulture' called Asghar Ali Engineer !! It is worth quoting at length !! Here goes !!
3.10. Public opinion engineering
These days, much-acclaimed characters like John Dayal, Harsh Mander and Arundhati Roy lie in waiting for communal riots and elatedly jump at them when and where they erupt.They exploit the anti-Hindu propaganda value of riots to the hilt, making up fictional stories as they go along to compensate for any defects in the true account. John Dayal is welcomed to Congressional committees in Washington DC as a crown witness to canards such as how Hindus are raping Catholic nuns in India, an allegation long refuted in a report by the Congress state government of Madhya Pradesh.Arundhati Roy goes lyrical about the torture of a Muslim politician’s two daughters by Hindus during the Gujarat riots of 2002, even when the man had only one daughter, who came forward to clarify that she happened to be in the US at the time of the “facts”.Harsh Mander has already been condemned by the Press Council of India (decision 14/106/02-03 dd. 30 June 2003, Dr. Krishen Kak vs. Times of India) for spreading false rumours about alleged Hindu atrocities in his famous column Hindustan Hamara (Times of India, 20 March 2002; incidentally a title borrowed from a poem by Mohammed Iqbal, who claimed “our India” for Islam and became the spiritual father of Pakistan).
[ Note: Harsh Mander is a 'current member' of the 'SUPER CABINET' @ 10 Janpath, that goes by the nomenclature :
"National Advisory Committee" !! ]
These riot vulturesdo a lot of damage to India, among other reasons because they are so eagerly believed abroad. Yet they don’t interest me too much, if only because they pale in comparison with the past master of their art, the one who was already doing the same job long before these newcomers had discovered the uses of riot “reporting” in anti-Hindu hate-mongering. I mean Asghar Ali Engineer.
Since approximately the Stone Age, Engineer has been travelling to riot spots in India (butchering of minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh somehow doesn’t interest him as much)with prefabricated riot reports invariably showing the same ingredients:Hindu pre-planning, Muslim victimhood, anti-Muslim complicity of the police and some local politicians. With the “facts” of the matter fixed beforehand, the main purpose of his visits is to note down some local names in order to give his reports more credibility.
Admittedly, Engineer is of a different calibre than his followers, in the sense that he doesn’t mix his mendaciousness in the service of the hate cause with mendaciousness for self-promotion. People like Harsh Mander and Arundhati Roy easily come across as laughable because their corrupting concern for their own image-building detracts mightily from the force of their propaganda against Hinduism: Roy posturing as an environmentalist all while setting up shop in a villa in a protected forest zone, Mander taking early retirement in peacetime from the civil service but falsely claiming that he had “resigned” (which implies loss of pension rights and other privileges) as an act of protest against the Gujarat riots, etc. Engineer won’t be an impeccable human being, but at least his human defects don’t come in the way of his effectiveness as an anti-Hindu campaigner.
In the present debate, he has predictably contributed his two cents’ worth: “Archaeological excavations and temple”, Secular Perspective, 1 Sep. 2003. The text goes through most of the tactical moves discussed in the preceding sections. Engineer is not an archaeologist nor a historian, but he makes the most of newspaper reports as if these were primary and reliable sources. He is not above quoting even anonymous sources as arguments of authority.
His best source, a “senior archaeologist” who was “speaking on condition of anonymity”, has “stated categorically, ‘There is no evidence of a temple. In fact, as we go deeper, we are seeing more evidence of Islamic influence.’” Surely Mr. Engineer should know that Islam originated in 7th-century Arabia, yet at the Ayodhya site where findings date back two thousand years earlier, it only gets more Islamic as you recede deeper into the past? Could it be that under Hindu
influence, Islam in India had a few previous incarnations?
Predictably, Engineer invokes the authority of “noted archaeologist” Suraj Bhan and of “historian” Irfan Habibwithout
informing the readers about their status as long-standing servants of the Babri Masjid lobby. Yet, in his case this may be due to mere carelessness, as elsewhere he does reveal that one Supriya Verma of Panjab University “spent months in Ayodhya as an expert of the Sunni Waqf Board”. Indeed, he knows from lawyer Zafaryab Jilani that the Waqf Board has six archaeologists under contract to follow the diggings and study the conclusions at length. It just makes you wonder where the Waqf Board is getting all this money from.
But it’s good to see what Engineer quotes Habib for: “When digging was ordered, many historians like Irfan Habib had warned that excavation could not lead to a clinching evidence for the existence of a temple.”Which merely amounts to saying that those historians, knowing how the evidence would go against them, had prepared their escape from facing the facts by declaring these impossible beforehand.
As for Waqf Board emissary Supriya Verma, she makes the most of the animal bones found at different layers: “If any shrine
and a temple existed, how can anyone account for the animal bones?” As per the ASI findings, the site lay in ruins several
times, circumstances in which animals may have made their home in it. Is she really an archaeologists that she doesn’t know how the strangest objects accumulate at sites of interest over the millennia? Or did she mean to say that the animals indicate a Muslim rather than a Hindu presence, with mosques as sanctuary for our four-legged brethren? It seems the anti-temple experts are clutching at straws in desperation.
Like so many others, Engineer uses the counterbalancing posture, pretending that the ASI’s scientific findings are evened
out by the obstinate anti-scientific protests of the usual suspects: “However, the report will be subject to different interpretations and would not go unchallenged.” Yes, just as even the most cast-iron evidence in a court case never goes
unchallenged by the disfavoured party’s lawyer.
It’s also what he had heard Irfan Habib predicting: “The artefacts could be interpreted differently.” True enough, Engineer notes with satisfaction: “And this is precisely what is happening. The final report submitted by ASI seems to be highly controversial and is bound to be challenged.” Well, well, those who were predicting trouble are now exulting in the realization of their prediction. Only, everyone can see that it’s merely they themselves who are creating the predicted trouble.
Like many others, Engineer disingenuously plays off the interim report with its allegedly “negative” result against the final report: “Now we have the final report of the ASI which says that there could have been a temple-like structure below Babri Masjid. Is it not a glaring contradiction? All through the digging no definite indications of any temple-like structure were found and suddenly the final report discovers temple-like structure there.” Once more, old lies are falsely presented as facts to counter new facts.
This had been done before, viz. with B.B. Lal’s findings. Like most secularists in 1990-91, Engineer is still contrasting B.B. Lal’s public statements about his excavation results with his remark in his published ASI report summary that “the late period was devoid of any special interest”. To our crusading secularist, this means that B.B. Lal speaks with forked tongue: “But later in 1990 Lal began to claim that certain brick bases he had excavated in the seventies were meant to support pillars and thus suggested ‘the existence of a temple-like structure in the south of the Babri Masjid’.”
The true story has been explained threadbare long ago, but for poor listeners like Mr. Engineer, we may repeat that Lal’s
excavation focused on the ancient period and that from the viewpoint of Ramayana studies, the medieval layer with its
unmistakable temple foundations was indeed devoid of much interest. The discovery of temple remains was nothing unexpected or controversial at the time, given the consensus (still prevalent in the late 1970s) on the site’s known history of Islamic iconoclasm. Yet, after the normal bureaucratic and human-inertial delays, as the 1980s were advancing, the ASI started deliberately postponing the formal publication of Lal’s findings because secularist opinion had started mobilizing against the longstanding historical consensus. The reason for the endless procrastination must have been the same reason why the court case has been dragging on for decades: fear of getting involved in controversy, particularly one where the facts would force a stance favoured by the Hindu side. In other words, fear of being demonized by the secularist establishment with its bloodhound attitude towards dissent.
If anyone expected Mr. Engineer to be above personal attacks on the ASI experts, he’d better wake up. Taking umbrage behind two Waqf Board lawyers whom he quotes with approval, he has Abdul Mannan dismiss the report as a “saffron report”, while Zafaryab Jilani is quoted as saying: “It was prepared under political pressure.” Not meaner than what most secularist reporters have alleged, but just as unfounded. [Engineer of course does not mention, just as Irfan Habib and ‘secularist’ publications never do,that four out of the twenty authors of the ASI report itself were Muslims. Are these Muslim archaeologists also ‘saffronized’?It seems more likely that Irfan Habib is an Islamist masquerading as a Marxist. – Vishal Agarwal]
Finally, another false semblance of balance in Engineer’s text is the one between two evaluations of the report. All manner of experts and so-called experts are quoted as denouncing the excavation report, but neither the ASI team, nor other archaeologists nor even VHP-affiliated experts were called to contribute even one sentence in defence of the ASI findings. For his semblance of balance, however, Engineer had to also relay a pro-evidence voice. So he has picked one, only one, and that one is the voice of “RSS spokesman Ram Madhav”, not an expert but a political leader. This way, our spin-doctor creates the impression that on the one hand you have “the expert archaeological opinion”, which “may not give much credence to the ASI report”, while on the other hand you only have partisan Hindu nationalist opinion. When in reality, the opposite asymmetry holds good: genuine expert opinion supports the ASI report and only politically motivated secularists, whether sporting academic titles or not, denounce it.
Undeniably, Asghar Ali Engineer remains a formidable master of disinformation. This makes him an excellent representative of Indian secularism and of the anti-temple campaign in particular.
(REF: http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/finale/ch3.html) - (pp: 49-54 in the Book)
I rest my case, Sir.
To put it 'mildly' - speaks volumes about a newspaper that publishes such a ' worthy's ' Opinion !!! Cheers !!!