Communal Press in Bihar : A Birla newspaper spews venom

Love and Hate – painting by Elin Bogomolnik


Secular Democracy, June 1971

The enormous funds supplied by the imperialists and India’s business and feudal class help the RSS and Jana Sangh to bring out several journals all over India.

These journals often characterised by the tinge of yellow journalism indulge in all sorts of vicious propaganda. They propagate incessantly against the minority community of India and progressive elements.

However, the Sangh leadership has made a clear division of work between these diverse organs. Obviously, this is to escape the hand of the law.

There are two types of Sanghi journals. Those belonging to the first, try to dress up their pernicious propaganda in diverse and respectable garbs; the journals belonging to the second type specialize in a Nazi-type propaganda. Here one can see the unmasked face of the communal dragon.

Bihar, like other States, has its quota of the communal press. It can be divided into four categories.

Urdu Communal Press

The first is the Urdu communal Press represented by journals like Sangam (Patna). This category is not much dangerous, and most of the space in such papers is devoted to the cause of Muslim Personal Law.

So far as the Hindu-Muslim relation is concerned, they seem to be not much unreasonable.

Popular Hindi Journals

Popular language journals, owned by Sanghi elements come in the second category. Ranchi Express is one of them.

Party Journals

The third category is more to the point and opens in its tone.

They are party journals, owned by organisations like the RSS and the Jana Sangh. Sangh Sandesh which comes out from Patna as the mouthpiece of Bihar Jana Sangh is one of them.

Respectable But Dangerous

The fourth category of the communal press which has come into existence very recently is very “respectable” in its garb but nevertheless much  dangerous.

Some journals having a mass-circulation propagate Sanghi thoughts and yet it costs the organisation practically nothing.

Some Sanghi Intellectuals have infiltrated into ‘popular’ journals and gradually taken hold of them. Afterwards, pernicious Sanghi propaganda is started through them — In a somewhat moderate tone.

Pradeep Turns Communal

Pradeep, a Hindi daily of Patna, has fallen victim to such a conspiracy. It was quite popular in the State for its non-partisan views since its birth in 1949.

But this paper has turned out to be a staunch supporter of the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ philosophy after May 2, 1970, the day its present editor, Mr Ram Singh Bharatiya took over.

Almost daily editorials on subjects like “Unite Hindu Society” or “Tasks before the Hindu” appear from the venomous pen of Mr Bharatiya

‘One-third India Ruled by Muslims’

Though it is not possible here to give the views of Mr Bharatiya in detail, some examples are given below.

He is much unhappy due to what he terms as the “decline of the Hindu dharma”. He says: “Owing to the weakness of Hindus, one-third of India is being ruled today by the Muslims”. (Pradeep,10-11-70)

“The Hindu dharma is on decline in this country while the Muslim and Christian dharmas are prospering”. (Ibid 11-12-20)

The cause for it, as viewed by Mr Bharatiya is amusing: “Religion has a great influence upon politics”. (Ibid 11-12-70) “Nehru policy is dangerous for Hindus (or for communalists?). It has become unsocial under the new circumstances.”(Ibid 10-11-70)

So the “Intellectual giant” comes out of his shell of intellectualism and declares like any other Sanghi: “The Hindus should grab the power from the hands of the people following Nehru thought, and transfer it over the people following a pure nationalistic school of thought. The era of new national thought has arrived.” (Ibid 10-11-70) “The Hindus should strengthen their dharma..and donate whole heartedly (to Mr Bharatiya?) for the prosperity of Hinduism.”

‘Excess sexual desire’

This intellectual giant commented in his paper (9-12-70) on the Javed-Jayanti affair of Delhi:” Marriage of a Hindu girl with a Muslim boy”.

The marriage was objected to by the wise editor on the grounds (it is significant that even Panchajanya and Organiser did not dare to object to the marriage in their columns) that “only Hindu girls marry Muslims, but Muslim girls never marry Hindus. This one-way affair is not liked by the Hindus. We think that such marriages are not only bad rather dangerous for the Hindu society. Those who support such marriages on the basis of India being a secular state are totally wrong. Those Hindu girls who indulge in such affairs have a abnormal mind owing to the excess of sexual desires.”

What the learned editor has to say about the secular-minded people? “There are many non-Hindus in our country professing Hindusim. The Hinda society faces its grave danger from these elements rather than the non-Hindus”.

RSS Session

In whose hands the power of the Indian Sate should be given? The answer was found in December 1970, during the first Bihar State Conference of the RSS held at Patna.

Besides giving a special page to the RSS rally (using the term “Param Pujaniya” for Guru Golwalkar in its news items) and writing leaders on the occasion, the Pradeep came with 4-page special supplement on the RSS in its issue dated December 25.

It is also of great significance that the RSS storm troopers could find only one newspaper in Bihar and that also with the lowest circulation among the four prominent dailies of the State-to publicise their first State Conference. The mask was off.

A Birla Owned Daily!

Now a word about the paper, It is owned by the Bihar Journals Ltd., a Birla concern. Strangely enough, the English Newspaper published by the same publication is progressive in its outlook.

We do not know whether the present policies of Pradeep squares up with the known policies of the Birlas (parliamentary democracy and secularism).

As it has been said earlier, till the other day Pradeep was known for balanced editorial and impartial views. The change in the policies of the paper was marked with the appointment of the new editor in May last year.

The appointment of Mr Ram Singh Bharatiya on the post of Editor has also an interesting background. When the former editor of the paper died in 1969, it was edited jointly by the editorial staff for nearly one year, thereafter ignoring the claims of the senior-most staff from the editorial board of Pradeep.

Mr Bharatiya — obviously an outsider — was imported to “edit” the newspaper.

Prejudiced & Partisan

One question. Why not the reposters, correspondents and editorial staff protest against the dangerous course being adopted by their newspaper? Have all of them turned Sanghis overnight?

The answer was provided by a prominent member of the editorial board of Pradeep in a special interview to Secular Democracy who summarised it in one Hindi proverb — “jaisi bahe bayer pith waise kijeeye“, i.e. to change with the time without moral conception.

Following this proverb the reporters, correspondents and editorial staff of Pradeep have turned on what can be best described in the term of “intellectual dishonesty”

And perhaps this is why, not only editorials of the daily but news reporting as well is highly prejudiced, partisan and provocative.


Secular Democracy, June 1971

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