Swapan Dasgupta on Barkhagate – Part 1
This article originally appeared in centreright.in. CRI content has now been subsumed in swarajyamag.com. The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of swarajyamag.com

So Swapan Dasgupta has finally broken his silence on what has now come to be widely known as “Barkhagate” (admittedly a tad unfair nomenclature given the plethora of media doyens involved). Predictably he has taken up the cudgels on behalf of his discredited tribesmen and tribeswomen in a lame apologia of a post He partially redeems himself though by alluding to the prevalence of corruption in co-opted parts of fourth estate.

Ruthless internet Hindus might ask a pertinent question-  Why do we need to place so much importance on dissecting Swapan’s point of view on “Barkhagate” when prime facie its looks a shut and proven  case of media culpability? They might also, in a Pavlovian manner, suggest that Swapan who has reveled in his role as a token rightwing representative allowed to flourish in a otherwise tyrannical left liberal Nehruvian media complex (to maintain a pretense of debate) has no overwhelming incentive to break the coziness that such a symbiotic relationship engenders.  However it’s undeniable that Swapan is widely regarded as cerebral voice of enlightened, benign rightwing nationalism and justifiably so .His nuanced, often superlative intellectual interventions certainly entails us to take him seriously. He is perhaps the last man standing in the mainstream discourse given that all other, often legitimate, voices from right side of debate is dismissed with facileness as those representing loonies from organized World Wide Web of Khaki Knickerwallahs

Now that Swapan has absolved Barkha it makes it a cakewalk for the lady to dismiss probing questions on her dubious role in Radia tape episode as malicious campaign orchestrated by those in vanguard of web Hindutva .Classical left liberal strategy (which even several utterly mediocre members of that ubiquitous group have been adopting recently) is to exemplify strident voices, use it as victimhood grievance mongering mechanism and deflect accountability. Remember how a skillful defense of Barkha’s abominable rabblerousing (post Allahabad HC verdict on disputed structure) was mounted blaming it as a figment of fertile right wing imagination. As one ideologically agnostic commentator quipped “Nation should be breathing a sigh of relief that NDTV doesn’t broadcast in Urdu else rage boys would have rioting by now”

If one fisks through the Swapan’s convoluted but sporadically insightful blogpost, this is our reading of what he essentially wishes to communicate

1. He dismisses any mala fide intent on Barkha’s part and locates her in the realm of typically garrulous, conceited media personality overcome with delusions of grandeur. She is purportedly not a mover and shaker in national political landscape.

2. He pretty much issues a “nice girl” certificate suggesting that she is far from being an evil, scheming political pimp masquerading as hack that Radia tapes so unequivocally establish her to be. He argues that what she did have a justifiable contextual underpinning -political reportage and she wasn’t wheeling and dealing between single family based central command and multiple families based southern command

3. He delivers a series of motherhood type homilies on his profession or to be more charitable “published a tutorial on journalism for dummies” as one astute media observer caustically put it

4 He in a tabloidian manner subtly provides clue on section of media that is blatantly corrupted .Any discerning media watcher can pretty much figure out the names

5.He claims political reportage requires cultivating ‘sources’ and offers himself as a example of politically biased journalist to defend his dubious colleagues(Never mind the fact except for BJP journos others never overtly disclose their first family political leanings)

6. He tells us something that he thinks many of us never knew-that Vir Sanghvi, the celebrated food writer is a closet GAND (Gandhi Nehru Dynasty) supporter

In the continuum of extraordinarily reductionist, whitewashing exercise and clever by half defense, Swapan’s blogpost lies somewhere in the middle. May be it could sway the easily impressionable, given ammunition for “Internet Hindus are sick” type grievance mongering brigade and further fructify his position as “enlightened rightwinger” .But many of us for whom Radia tapes was a validation and a clincher in relentless crusade to expose liberal media complex’s dubious agenda (to further the interests of their political master for an obvious quid pro quo) battle will go on

To be continued………….