The lengths to which Indian media outlets will go to erase all positive mentions of the Hindu faith from their reporting can border on the comical.
Actor Dhanush yesterday announced that he’d be joining Netflix’s “The Gray Man” starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. “Looking forward to being a part of this wonderful action packed experience. My sincere thanks to my dearest fans from all over the world for all the love and support you have been showing me throughout these years. Love you all. Spread Love… ! OM NAMASHIVAYA. Love, D,” he wrote on a post on Twitter.
It was a major announcement, and the news was carried by most national outlets. But as discovered by journalist Swati Goel Sharma, many outlets left out Dhanush’s OM NAMASHIVAYA — written in caps, no less — from the copy of their reports.
Indian Express shared Dhanush’s tweet, and carried his quote till till “Love you all. Spread Love…!,” but abruptly cut off when he’d said “OM NAMASHIVAYA”. It’s not as though “OM NAMASHIVAYA” was removed because it was a separate paragraph — Dhanush had written “Love you all. Spread the love…!” as a separate paragraph too, but Indian Express included it as a part of the quote.
A one-off case like this can be an aberration, possibly attributed to the whims of a particular writer. But Indian Express wasn’t the only outlet where the OM NAMASHIVAYA mysteriously disappeared. The Deccan Herald report didn’t even carry Dhanush’s tweet, but again cut off his quote right before he’d said OM NAMASHIVAYA.
But things got even more interesting. News18 too carried an article on the news, but again cut off right Dhanush’s quote right before he’d said OM NAMASHIVAYA.
And ABP News too chose to cut off the quote right before Dhanush had said Om Namashivaya.
Now it’s not as though all articles were taken from the same syndicated feed: Indian Express’ article was attributed to its own Entertainment Desk, Deccan Herald’s and News18’s reports was attributed to PTI, while ABP News’s report was attributed to ABP News Bureau. But all four articles — and the PTI version was carried by many other outlets, including Outlook — omitted the “Om Namashivaya”.
The Indian media usually isn’t this reticent in mentioning religious identities — in the lynching cases which were being breathlessly reported on a few years ago, news outlets would prominently carry the Hindu identities of the accused. When a man named Rambhakt Gopal had fired at a CAA protest last year, media outlets had gone to great lengths to highlight his Hindu identity. But the media somehow turns “secular” when a movie star shares a Hindu slogan while announcing a major project, and censors it out of their news reports. It’s hard to tell if this behavior is intentional, or ingrained through years of indoctrination at liberal institutions, but one thing is apparent — India’s Hindus are getting a raw deal from the country’s national media.