There’s little secret on the remarkable transformation of Indian media and the extent to which Islamophobia is gaining grounds within the journalist fraternity.
Assam’s singer Nahid Afreen and a false propaganda that she had received a fatwa by Muslim clerics against her singing was a shining example of an attempt to legitimise Islamophobia by members of Indian media fraternity.
More recently, Financial Express, an otherwise a reputed paper belonging to Indian Express family, carried a brief piece on renowned actor Kamal Haasan and his reported comments on Draupadi.
In the report titled ‘Is Kamal Haasan anti-Hindu, does he even know what he is talking about?’ the author Manika Gupta, slammed the actor for being ‘anti-Hindu’ while astonishingly declaring him a Muslim. The piece in questioned looked more like an all-out tirade against Haasan (for being a Muslim) than it qualified to be a report or even an opinion piece.
She wrote, “He’s not only inciting enmity between the two groups but also forgetting that his own religion has instances of worst condition of women. He should focus on triple talaq and issues like that rather than bothering about one-off reference in the Mahabharata. Only if he could mind his own business.”
This prompted many to mock the paper for incredibly poor piece of journalism. Faced with an incessant ridicule, the paper was forced to remove the portion, where Gupta had implied that Haasan was Muslim.
The paper soon carried a clarificationb, which read, “An earlier version of this article erroneously identified Kamal Haasan as a Muslim. We have rectified the inaccuracy. The error is deeply regretted.”
Gupta’s rant was in response to the actor’s comments on Draupadi. Haasan had said, “In Mahabharata, Panchali was used as a pawn while the men gambled,’ he also said that ‘she was used as a collateral and India is a country that respects and honours a book that revolves around men using a woman to gamble away as if she was a mere object.”