Such is the state of India’s media today that seemingly neutral outlets can’t help but push Islamo-leftist narratives.
The Times of India yesterday published an article with a rather startling headline. “Varanasi: Gyanvapi Mosque gifts 1,700 square-feet land to Kashi Vishwanath trust,” the headline claimed. The Gyanvapi Mosque is the mosque that was built by Aurangzeb after destroying the Kashi Vishwanath temple, and the headline immediately garnered a lot of attention.
But before the headline could be used to sing peans about India’s secularism, netizens noticed something was amiss. While the headline said that the Gyanvapi Mosque had “gifted” 1,700 square feet of land to the the Vishwanath Temple, the article also included an important detail. While the Gyanvapi mosque had given 1,700 square feet of land, it article also went on the say that the Kashi Vishwanath temple had given 1,000 square feet of land to the Muslim community as a return gift.
It was essentially a land swap, necessitated by the development of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor, but Times of India chose to only highlight the land given by the mosque to the temple, and hid the land given by the temple to the mosque. Most people don’t read news items beyond the headlines, and professional propagandists like Dhruv Rathee also use newspaper headlines in videos to push their narratives, and millions of people around India could’ve been left with the impression that the controversial Gyanvapi mosque had magnanimously gifted land to a temple.
The headline and the news article were heavily panned on social media, with users calling out Times of India’s bias, and wondering if the outlet had been infiltrated by Islamo-leftist propagandists. After much outrage, Times of India has now updated the headline. The updated headline now reads: “Hindus, Muslims swap land for Kashi Vishwanath Dham”.
This bit of propaganda was caught by alert social media users, who then built enough pressure to get India’s largest English daily to change its headline. But all this was possible only because of social media — one can only wonder about the kind of fake news and motivated narratives that have been fed to Indians over decades.