This is what happens everyday on ‘TIMES NOW’ The News Hour with Arnab Goswami

New Delhi, October 5: Arnab Goswami’s father is an ex-military officer. His sister and brother-in-law are working in Indian Army. Everything is correct, clear and fantastic.

But just one question to Mr Arnab Goswami.

Who gave you the authority to accuse someone to be an anti-nationalist?

Who gave you the authority to oppress someone’s right to speech and expression?

Who gave you the authority to literally harass someone especially a women?

Every day after the Uri attack Arnab conducts the debate in a different way. We could call the style ‘repressive’.

The News Hour actually develop like this.

As the primary step, select an anti-nationalist (in his opinion) as one of the panel member, and some so called nationalists.

As the next step, Arnab himself would pounce on the anti-nationalist panel member and start attacking him.

If they successfully defend his arguments, he would suddenly interfere and restrain the member from speaking anymore.

Within no time the chance to speak would be handed over to one of the so called nationalists.

Then all of them start bullying the so called anti-nationalist one by one. They behave as if they have just got their helpless enemy, injured and unarmed.

All of them would compete each other in harassing that day’s “Scape Goat” with just one aim, to oppress the enemy in a different manner. Fortunately most of the members love variety and doing things in different manner, like Arnab.

“This drama is going on in Arnab’s TIMES NOW News Hour debates for the last few days”.

Veteran Actor Om Puri and Actress Mita Vashisht recently walked out of the News Hour debate of Times Now. The debate was on the issue of Pakistani artistes ban from India, after the Indo-Pak tension increased, following a series of terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.

Arnab Goswami had furiously attacked Mita Vashisht for talking to one of the martyr’s father in a patronising tone (only in his version) and told her to leave his show on Times Now.

Mita Vashisht walked out of the show midway after literally slapping Arnab, saying ‘Oh shut up’.

The actress wrote a detailed article in ‘DailyO’ defending herself and explaining why Pakistani actors are not condemning the Uri attack and in this article she explained what happened in Times Now studio floor.

These incidents on the studio floor is raising  two conflicting arguments — either the TV debates have turned too targeted and certain moderators do not allow significant chance for panelists to put their point across or panelists are at a fault for walking out when they know they are in for a sharp and competitive debate.

Indian news Channel debates have become highly imbalanced, where the moderator pushes an argument rather than allowing different viewpoints to prevail over each other and panelists who are supposed to fight for their argument indecorously walk out.

Earlier, several panelists have simply walked out of debates when debating was no longer possible. The list includes Kiran Bedi, BJP member Nupur Sharma and several Kashmiri separatists.

The solution is simple. Make TV news debates more interactive and less dominating. And do not participate if you know that you are unable to counter attack the and literally kill the host (otherwise you would be killed a thousand times).

We can get a conclusion on this, if we going through the complete article of Mita, on the issue as well as on the question of the ban of Pakistani actors in India.

Reading the article of Mita Vashisht, on the News Hour issue as well as on the questions about the ban of Pakistani artistes in India would justify the above mentioned literal homicide.

Read the complete article written by Mita Vashisht: 

Oh shut up, I said, yanked off the earphone (and Arnab Goswami’s hysterical noisy dribble) and walked off the camera, leaving the genteel technicians with the big Times Now equipment van without another word.

 

I should have taken leave of those technicians and told them “so sorry, this obviously has nothing to do with you, thank you for coming,” I thought to myself later.

 

A few minutes later, my cellphone is flooded with messages saying “well done”, “glad you had the guts to say shut up to Arnab’s arrogance” and many other messages in a similar vein.

 

Half an hour later, I get the feedback that Arnab is saying, post-blipping me off the show and my simultaneous shut up to him, that I have insulted the father of a Kargil War martyr by saying shut up to him.

 

I think an RTI application is in order to play back and scrutinise the show’s live recording of last night. I think it will prove that Arnab is playing a game of dangerous mischief.

 

And his tools are not dissimilar to the one’s used by hardline rabble-rousers who have caused religious and ethnic hatred and dissension as well as riots in our country.

 

Now let me make it clear why I said this whole debate is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. I will start by saying what I said on the show last night.

 

I had said: “I am not interested in Fawad Khan or Pakistani actors. Their presence or absence in Bollywood is not important to me.

Bollywood producers cast them because they wanted to and if the producers’ body is now screaming for their ouster from the country in order to display their angst about our soldiers in Uri, wouldn’t it be better if they put their energies into collecting funds for the families of the Uri martyrs, shouldn’t our energies be directed towards actually connecting with them – the widows, children and parents of those killed? Asking how they are and what can we do for them.”

 

Then I said (or tried to, with Arnab constantly screeching in my ear) that India and Pakistan have never been friends, we have always been enemies, so what is the big hullabaloo now?

 

You expect Fawad Khan to stand up to his government in Pakistan and pledge allegiance to India?

 

India and Pakistan have had two full-blown wars (1965 and 1971) and then the Kargil War in 1999 – when the mutilated bodies of our young officers came back in coffins from Pakistan. Why did we forget that?

Since 1999, we have allowed Pakistani artists and actors to work in India – why have we forgotten 1999… why did we allow Pakistani artists to come to India after the war if their presence was indeed an issue?

 

It was after this statement of mine that I heard Arnab’s voice screaming in my ear that I was being condescending towards the country, to Bollywood (and to the Indian Army, I think he said).

 

I also need to tell you that I could hear only Arnab and a lot of surrounding noise in the earphone, and I did not even know who was on the show and what was being said by them.

 

I did not know, and neither was informed, that the father of a Kargil War martyr was on the show – the question of insulting him does not arise.

 

For those who have seen me on the Barkha Dutt show We the People, where the Army and the Pay Commission were being discussed, it is clear that the Army and its values are in my blood.

 

I suffer deeply every time Army personnel are used and then discarded – whether it is in times of actual war or while they are guarding our borders, or saving lives during the floods in Kashmir or during earthquakes – it is only the soldier who is at the forefront and always ready for duty of any kind in any situation (war or no war).

 

My father, my beloved armyman father, fought on the front in all three wars. My brave Army wife mother would tell me in 1971: “If daddy doesn’t come back, it is because he will be going to God.” And she would continue to work with me on my homework for the next day’s school even as the air-raid sirens were screaming overhead.

 

I have not forgotten 1965, I have not forgotten 1971 and I have not forgotten 1999. Why, after all this, were Pakistani artists allowed to come and perform?

 

It is with this logic that I say the Pakistani-artists-in-Bollywood issue is a non-issue today.

 

And we expect the poor Fawad Khan – who crossed the border to make it big in Bollywood here – to become a hero? You expect him to stand up to his government in Pakistan and pledge allegiance to India?

 

He probably has a family to protect back in Pakistan! Does that make him anti-Indian?

 

When communist playwright Safdar Hashmi could be killed by the youth wing of our then ruling government in broad daylight while performing a street-play in Delhi years ago, and as a nation we “let it pass”, who is Fawad Khan?

 

If Binayak Sen could be jailed in India, imagine Fawad Khan’s plight in Pakistan. When thousands of Sikhs were butchered and burnt alive in Delhi in 1984 and we hid in our houses in fear of what that government could do to us, were we all traitors?

 

Or were we the terrorised middle-class that lost its bearings in the face of an institutionalised witch-hunt?

 

When the Pandits of Kashmir left in a mass exodus, we let it be, are we traitors? Or are we pathetic mortals?

 

The fact that a whole show is given to someone like a Mr Arnab Goswami speaks of the Times we live in Now.

 

I recall poet WB Yeats’ amazingly insightful lines from The Second Coming. He speaks of a time that will come when:

 

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

 

Are full of passionate intensity.

 

Speaks of the times we are in now, doesn’t it?

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