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CNN- Frozen In Time

If the American channels ignore the visit of prime minister Narendra Modi, no complaint need be made. But if it demonstrate a state of mind frozen in time it does raise questions. Today, on the concluding day of the visit of the Indian Prime Minister, its coverage was as poor as that of some domestic channels in India. Its anchor seemed to be as ignorant of the visitors country or the visitor himself. Her insipid questions to a person back in Delhi rather than someone in Washington accompanied poor visuals of people & places in the backyard of Delhi or some other place, giving a misleading impression of India as only a “backward” country. Such tricks of the media act to block or filter news from its domestic viewers, whom they want to feed their cooked up reports only as a great marketing strategy. If the CNN deputes its crew for visuals of modern, prosperous and developed India, I can accompany it to many such places in Delhi and elsewhere in India. The USA is home to the UNO, where the General Assembly meets. I have never seen the CNN covering the proceedings in details or discussing the view points of member countries- it devotes all its resources on covering violence, violence and violence. If it learns its lessons in international humility fast it will not be wanting in giving adequate weightage to peace and happiness in the world. After all, Buddha was not born to simply preach peace; he was a natural development in an environment of terrible violence all around. But it is for the CNN.

Questions are being asked as to what has Modi gained by his visit to the USA? First, Modi had not gone to gain something. He was not visiting his relations from whom he was expecting some kind of a gift . He was also not paying a visit to a disciple who is expected to offer valuable gifts to his Guru. Even then, the visit has meant great gains for both the sides. It is for the first time that the American people have witnessed real India, unfiltered by news channels, even as there was a complete blackout of some kind. Thanks to the power of the social media, the viewer is not captive to the monopoly of the media and refuses to view only what these channels dish out. Narendra Modi has made a distinct personal impact on the viewers.People in countries like America are very busy and can’t spare so much time or attention as they have bestowed on Narendra Modi. The misinformation campaigns run by paid lobbyists against Narendra Modi in the past 10 years have been effectively demolished. His critics in India and America have been shamed. But more than that, a friendly relationship at people to people level has been established. Now the visuals shown by CNN will not succeed in misguiding the American people about India. Let me put a question: where do you visualize America after 500 years? A robust and stable healthy democracy of enormously prosperous people belonging to a knowledge society or else? India is more than 5000 (five thousand) years old. India had the good fortune of experiencing all this till its obsession with peace did it in by facilitating the barbaric aggressors to vanquish it and subjugate it. The problem America has been facing is not “terror” but war of a new variety in which human bombs are used to commit acts of barbarity and justified in the name of religion. Whether it was knowingly or otherwise but the American “war on terror” was the correct assessment of terror as a war which needed a response in the form of a war. The only problem is that America does not know how to fight this war. Its operations in Iraq as well as Afghanistan ended up in terrible fiasco only because that is not the kind of response this variety of war demands. What is the other kind, is yet to be devised. But one thing is certain- you can’t talk human rights or justice when responding to inhuman or unjust acts of war called terrorism.

In this region, India as a stable democracy of  more than one billion people and a rich culture of more than 5000 years holds more promise of a stable fruitful friendship to a country like America than our undemocratic, fickle and unstable neighbours. This simple strategic idea has not been allowed to take roots in the American administration by vested interests. America can not survive for 500 or more years on the strength of short term benefits or narrow foreign policy guideline as is suggested by its relations with India and others in the region. The cold war having gone, the world is now afflicted by terrorism, which has come to occupy the space vacated by the cold war. The media conduct contributes disproportionately to the spread of terrorism. The media can’t show mercy to one of terrorism and cruelty to the other. It has to partner in spreading civil values for the world to live a better life. The most valuable achievement of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is this sensitization of the masses in America. America need not fight wars as in the past. Its interference in ISIS affairs has been invited by a worried world and it is for the first time that it stands on a very high moral ground. In India, prominent Congress Party leaders have openly admonished Prime Minister Narendra Modi  today not to partner with America in action against the ISIS. In this context, America has to view India as a mighty nation which is a votary of world peace. It has to change its view and the policy that sustained such a view that patronizing Pakistan acts as counterweight to re-surging India. Pakistan, in its present form of government, will be a great drain on American resources and a waste, without contributing even slightly to world peace. Pakistan has to move towards genuine democracy for its own survival and America ought to facilitate it.

This change of perception about India and better understanding between the two mighty nations of the world puts greater value to other spheres of economic or strategic relations. American establishment should watch their discussions on TV in the mirror to see how dominating they appear and how grandstanding their views on everything they talk to nations like India. India does not suffer it any more. Americans should talk as equal partners and two sovereign nation having distinct strengths, which they are prepared to exchange for mutual benefits. It can’t always be that one gives and the other takes- after all, this give & take comes to an an end sometime, if not in the immediate future, at least in the distant future as the life of the nations runs for several thousand years. We wish the Indo-American relations also to set an example worthy of emulation by others for thousands of years. That is also the message Prime Minister Narendra Modi has driven in words or gestures during this visit. From the son of the soil, this message contains the essence of Indianism: we love and want to spread the message of love to a world suffering the consequences of acts of hate.

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