Sunday, 29 March 2009

Kashmir and India in Western Eyes

The following post is a letter I wrote to the BBC commenting on a news report I saw about Kashmir just before the state elections in J&K in November 2008.

While watching BBC World News I saw a report about a protest by separatist leader Yaseen Malik's supporters in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The report mentioned that there were protests because of Malik's arrest. There was no mention of the reason of arrest. That is an important fact missed.
It was not mentioned what kind of protests occurred, peaceful or rioting, how many people were protesting in what parts of J&K. My concern is not about things that were missed but things that were added.

There was also a seemingly factual comment mentioned at the end of the report stating that many people in J&K wish independence from a "Hindu" India or a merger with "Muslim" Pakistan.

While the fact about a "Muslim" Pakistan is certainly true. But the concept "Hindu India" is not quite true. "Hindu" is a name given by outsiders for the religion of a majority Indians and accepted by them. "India" is a name given by outsiders for the country and accepted by the people of the country. But "Hindu India" is a factual error and suggests that "Hinduism" is a national religion of India. I would say mentioning it adds a certain slant to the reporting, that should have been avoided.

I would like to see BBC reporting about the facts that India is a multicultural, multi-religious, multi-linguistic country, which is the truth. Would adding that description also add a slant to the reporting?

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