#RightSideUp: Modi 2.0 Report Card, Netflix in the Red

A weekly round-up of voices from the right.

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre may have hit the 100-day mark, but it seems there wasn’t much to celebrate for many right-leaning websites – though most had more than just applauded the reading down of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir in August. Since then, most of the websites have been reticent to publish stories about Kashmir except the usual government-driven reports. Even the National Register of Citizens (NRC) ended on a bitter note for many on the right, leaving not much room for carousing.

It seems that’s why the usual flood of articles that mark the completion of the first hallowed hundred days, where a government is in power fresh off the back of heaps of promises made to the electorate, were conspicuously absent – perhaps because there hasn’t been much to rave about, with Kashmir still on lockdown, the Indian economy in a slump and sedition laws being the flavour of the season.

Also read: The Farther Away From Chandrayaan, the Pettier the Winds Blow

It’s not particularly far-reaching for one to say that if the Chandrayaan 2 mission hadn’t witnessed the partial failure that it did over the weekend, a large part of the credit for India’s momentous step in space exploration would have been laid at Prime Minister Modi’s feet in article after article and by numerous TV anchors.

That’s not to say that the Indian Space Research Organisation and its chief K. Sivan would not have been at the receiving end of accolades.

Television screens and social media also regurgitated visuals of the prime minister pulling in an emotional Sivan for a benevolent hug. Debates raged online about on whether he should have broken down or kept the decorum, but the chorus emerged that ‘Indians are an emotional lot’, armed with the usual trolling abuse.

But Modi, despite having walked away initially, as seen on camera, when told about the possible failure of the soft-landing of the lander Vikram, managed to successfully turn it into a PR movement. As one Twitter user put it:

On right-leaning sites like Swarajya and OpIndia, headlines fawned over Modi’s speech while rightfully applauding ISRO for its commendable work on the Chandrayaan 2 mission. Some sites also lashed out at NDTV’s science and technology journalist Pallava Bagla, who was roasted on social media.

In an article on The Frustrated Indian Post, formerly rightlog.in, Yash Joshi, an aspiring civil servant who is “hell bent on bringing about a positive change in India” calls him a “sorry excuse of a human being” in the strap itself. The article, which has over 43,000 views – as seen from the view counter displayed on the page – says:

“As the nation rallied around to support ISRO for their tremendous efforts and determination, Pallava Bagla decided to scream at an ISRO scientist because his entitled self didn’t want to ask questions to anyone below Dr K Sivan, the Chief of ISRO.

Bagla who claims to be a ‘journalist’ at NDTV showcased his arrogance which seems to be in the DNA of NDTV at an unfortunate hour by deciding to shout at Mr D.P. Karnik, an ISRO scientist during the media interaction. Bagla’s entitled self couldn’t withstand the presence of someone below Dr Sivan and further went to humiliate him by calling him a ‘junior scientist’.

My heart goes out to Mr Karnik who was visibly intimidated by the screams of a deplorable human being like Bagla.”

Joshi, who it seems never bothered to actually read up on Bagla’s work and contributions to reporting in the field of science, branded the journalist’s apology “half-hearted”. He then breaks into a rant about NDTV and says Bagla’s “behaviour was completely in tune with the journalistic standards of NDTV. NDTV is infamous for furthering their anti-India and towing Pakistan’s line which was quite evident from their coverage on Article 370”.

Also read: #RightSideUp: The Great NRC Conspiracy Theory

Modi 2.0 scorecard

Among the very few who chose to review the first hundred days of the present regime was R. Jagannathan, the editorial director of Swarajya magazine, in Mint‘s opinion section, in an article titled ‘Modi 2.0 scores impressively on politics if not on economics‘.

He starts by hailing the number of Bills that were passed during the “most productive parliament session in [a] decade” – that many have also called India’s ‘most dangerous parliament session’.

“If one goes by the numbers, the performance of Modi 2.0 in its first 100 days is staggering… it saw 38 bills being introduced, 28 of them passed with an overwhelming majority.

On the political side, Article 370 has been reduced to a cipher and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) bifurcated into two Union territories, the anti-terror law has been amended to let the state declare individuals as terrorists, the National Investigation Agency has been empowered to probe more kinds of crime like human trafficking, currency fraud and cyber terrorism. If this is not extraordinary for any government in its post-poll honeymoon period, what is?”

He acknowledges that amid all this stupendous law-making, the economy is where the government has been underperforming the most. But before he even begins to make his argument, he lays out a point as to how it has been the norm for NDA governments to make big moves in the initial hundred days that are “political in nature”.

“While the economic slowdown has pushed the finance minister to announce weekly policy relaxations to boost business sentiment, these can hardly be read as proactive moves. They are reactive. This is the reality of Modi 2.0. He barely gets pass marks on economic priorities, but 9/10 in political messaging.”

Also read: #RightSideUp: A Tale of Two Former Finance Ministers

Netflix in the red

Less than a week ago, Netflix became fodder for social media for a day after a member of the Shiv Sena’s IT cell lodged a police complaint against the streaming service for “defaming the country” and portraying “an incorrect picture”.

The shows caught in the crossfire include Sacred Games, Leila, Ghoul and the comedy talk show Patriot Act hosted by Hasan Minhaj.

The news desk at The Frustrated Indian Post reacted ecstatically to the news in ‘Finally! Complaint filed against Netflix for its anti-Hindu propaganda’.

The article states how Netflix has been “indulging in anti-Hindu propaganda for a long time”.

“Series such as Leila, depict a Hindu oppressive state, which portrays that in the name of religion, the individuals aren’t given their basic rights. However, such an oppressive Hindu state is a piece of fiction at best, unrelated to the current scenario and unlikely to happen in the near future.

Moreover, the second season of Sacred Games shows Hinduphobia and Indophobia of another level altogether. Here, a Sanatani teacher is not only venomous, but is also ready to blow up an entire city in order to achieve his goals… In this series, almost every Hindu character is shown as wicked, uncouth and barbaric, while Muslim characters, especially Inspector Majid [Shahid being the sole exception] have been shown as innocent, resolute, not hesitating to sacrifice themselves if need be.

People are now becoming more informed and vocal against the leftist propaganda in the movies, and what is being witnessed is a surge of nationalists objecting to false portrayal of Hinduism and against those who link Hinduism to intolerance. India, being a secular country does not show any religion in a bad light, and certain pieces of cinematic art such as the Netflix TV shows.”

Also read: #RightSideUp: A Kashmir State of Mind; An ‘MRI Report’ for the Ages