By Sushil Kutty
“What the hell’s going on?” Once journalist-now-dissident-BJP-leader Arun Shourie labels Indian Army’s ‘surgical strikes’ “farjical/farcical strikes” and the next day – 636 days after the army’s special forces struck and decimated terrorist launch pads in POK – television news channels are awash with video proof of the strikes with “boisterous and elated” TV anchors demanding that every Rahul, Nirupam, Arvind and Doubting Yechury “apologize” for not believing the army.
Arun Shourie crossed into the boisterous and chaotic world of journalism after spending years in the staid company of Asia’s bankers. He wasn’t the typical journalist. He wrote word-heavy cumbersome articles, which went to an experienced sub-editor to set to piece. Headlines to his “stories” were straightforward, and cut to the chase without much ado.
But ‘pun’ is part of the sub-editor’s quiver and he uses pun to great effect. Shourie must have learned from his years watching the sub-editor at work, noticing how the unsung sub-editor changed ‘Shourie’ with a change of word. So, the use of the Hindi ‘farzi (forgery)’ and equating it to the English ‘farcical’ to pun on the ‘surgical!’
And Shourie, like one BJP spokesperson says, is cursed with “too many grey cells for his own good” – he loses himself in the labyrinth. What to make of Shourie, Hamlet or Othello? Or just plain lost in the woods!
Now that the video-proof is out, will Arun Shourie retract his pun and stop making fun of Narendra Modi? Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and ‘Shotgun Sinha’ have no ideological differences with Modi but they resented that their “leader” Lal Krishna Advani was not given the honour and status he deserved post-Modi ascending to Pradhan Mantri.
Shourie, sure, is no longer the ‘Bhagwan Ram of Journalism’. He’s not even an MP and never could have won a Lok Sabha election on his own sail unless somebody else’s wave had put him first past the post. Lacking that grace (mark), Shourie was nominated by the BJP to the Rajya Sabha and Atal Bihari Vajpayee made him a minister. Using that to effect, today, the Opposition is asking the Modi government to apologize for casting doubts on the Indian Army!
The acclaimed journalist has since “clarified”, stating that he did not label the surgical strikes “farjical/farcical”; all that he had said was that the “strikes did not break the terrorist camel’s back.” Is that proof that Shourie is an accomplished politician now?
Forget that. The question is: ‘Why release video proof of the surgical strikes this day of all days, 636 days after the September 29, 2014 event? For all these days, the videos sat on the shelf at the Defence Ministry and, despite the army wanting to “show them”, there was no move to correct the wrong impression spread by “anti-nationals.”
Lt. Gen. BS Hooda, who “supervised the strikes”, told media the other day, soon after the videos hit television screens, that the videos were “authentic” and proof of the army’s preparedness; “the boys did great”, the “army never lies”. Now retired, Gen Hooda says he had hoped the videos would be made public earlier but that the government thought otherwise and tarried.
And tarried, and tarried… Till a year is left to the next general elections! If people haven’t noticed, the BJP has launched its 2019 election campaign and drumming up Hindu nationalism has begun in earnest.
The BJP walked out of the PDP-BJP alliance. The Centre reiterated that only a “muscular Kashmir policy” will work. ‘Operation All Out’ was resumed with renewed vigour and BJP President Amit Shah travelled to Jammu to say that Article 370 would be history very soon.
Simultaneously, an out of sorts Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath – his image in tatters after the by-election losses in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana; his ineffective campaigns in Karnataka – rose to the occasion and fingered the Dalit Card while at the same time asserting that “Mandir Wahin Banega”; and that, “Isi Saal.”
Passport officer Vikas Mishra’s refusal to issue a passport to an inter-faith marriage ‘wife’ was welcome bait. Doesn’t matter if the Union minister the bait landed was BJP and popular! Nothing and nobody would be allowed to come in the way of surging Hindu Nationalism!!
This year’s ‘Black Day’ to mark ‘Indira’s Emergency’ was made an example of to hit out at the Congress party’s “dictatorial genes”, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the nation that his government will not allow democracy to flounder in India, ever again. So help me God!
And, now, as if out of the blue, the surgical strikes videos are out – precision-perfect, meticulously-planned, excellently-executed, both the army’s surgical strikes in September 2014 as well as the timing of the release in 2018. There are many sorts of coup, and this is one. A coup ‘de grace – precision-perfect, meticulously-planned, excellently-executed. Bloodless!