I have over several months had to severely criticize an institution I would much rather have not, namely the BBC. This had to do with pointing out that the BBC, probably under influence of its Pakistani staffers, had been deliberately distorting the history and geography of the subcontinent by portraying maps of India with Jammu & Kashmir entirely lopped off.
Imagine my surprise some minutes ago to see there seems to have been some real impact!
A few days ago, in a Damian Gramaticas story from a Gurgaon shopping-mall, a map of India was shown again with J&K lopped off — these people are hopeless, I felt. But then, wait, the next day there was a map of Pakistan too shown by the same BBC, with areas of Pakistani Jammu & Kashmir also not shown as part of it. Hmmmm, I thought, something’s going on at least within the BBC and some little bureaucratic debate must be taking place across a table somewhere by which some bureaucratic committee has finally decided that Jammu & Kashmir is going to be lopped off all BBC maps of both India and Pakistan in the BBC’s own new version of history and geography. At least that meant the Pakistani moles within the organisation were not going wholly unanswered (or that they were left satisfied with some kind of JKLF ideology).
And finally this morning, twenty minutes ago, success! There was another report by the same Mr Gramaticas allowing an Indian politician to get on with some spin, but wait, what preceded all this waffle? A map of India with J&K on the Indian side of the Line of Control within India — and perhaps even Aksai Chin on the other side of the Line of Actual Control with China too!
I had sent an email about all this to the nice man who is presently the UK’s diplomat in Kolkata (far nicer than his immediate predecessors). Perhaps someone at the British Foreign Office had finally picked up the phone and said to the bureaucrats at the BBC “Now now, look ye here, if the UK Government and the European Union recognize Indian de facto and de jure sovereignty in a certain manner in Jammu & Kashmir, corresponding to the LOC and LAC, you had better do so too, it seems to us, as you are a public British broadcaster and cannot really go about inventing your own history and geography as you please, no matter how badly you might want to. We don’t want to see you being asked by the Indians to pack your bags and leave after all, do we? Indians are rather sensitive about this whole Kashmir thing, or didn’t you know?”.
Anyway, BBC, however this has happened, well done with your progress, may you maintain it consistently and not retrogress backwards.
Today’s English-language newspapers report a front-page story that suggests the extent of intellectual fraud emanating from our capital-city’s English-speaking elite may be unending and limitless and uncontrollable (and this Delhi-based elite has spread itself to other places in the country too).
Such may be a source of our ridiculous politics, paralleled by the corruption in organized business in both public and private sectors. Delhi was perhaps the wrong place to which to move India’s capital one hundred years ago; the geography was such that it made ordinary survival hard or at least highly stressful, and when you have a capital-city in which the elite have to work so hard all the time merely to remain within the city-limits, it was inevitable perhaps that truthfulness and honesty would become major casualties.
Subroto Roy, Kolkata