Just two days ago, a noted journalist and former BJP minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Arun Shourie, warned everyone to exercise caution while encountering the lies spread by the right-wing brigade.
Within 24 hours of his homily, the usual suspects in the right-wing propaganda department had launched their campaign of lies with more vigour.
Twitter handle, S Gurumurthy, who earned fame for his campaign against NDTV, posted a screenshot of a message being attributed to the Oscar-winning music director, AR Rahman.
The graphic (see below) had the logo of Postcard news, which has been notorious for peddling lies in favour of the right-wing ideology in India.
According to Gurumurthy, or shall we say Postcard news, Rahman reportedly said that since killing of cows hurt the sentiments of ‘billions of Hindus,’ we needed to ‘stop that.’
Rahman, who had converted to Islam when he was in his teens, was quoted as saying, “I don’t neat beef. My mother was a practicing Hindu. She had always been spiritually inclined. Growing up, I used to watch my mother as she worshipped cows during religious festivals. I chose the path of Sufism but I still consider cow to be a sacred symbol of life. Killing cows hurts the sentiments of billions of Hindus, so we need to stop that. I welcome the initiative taken by the central government to curb cattle slaughter.”
Gurumurthy also posted another tweet, where Rahman’s alleged comments were attributed to website Verge (see below).
— S Gurumurthy (@sgurumurthy) June 10, 2017
Not long ago, a Verge bulletin was in the news for comments falsely attributed to the Google CEO, Sundar Pichai. Once again, we at Janta Ka Reporter, had exposed how a senior BJP functionary in Tamil Nadu was sharing photoshopped quote of the Google CEO.
Rahman had never made the comments being attributed to him. It appears that Postcard news lifted a quote of the music legend’s interview given to Nasreen Munni Kabir for her book AR Rahman The Spirit of Music.
This is what he had said while talking about his mother being a spiritual person when Kabir asked him if his belief in spirituality helped him when he and his family were facing hard times?
“Yes, absolutely. My mother was a practising Hindu… My mother had always been spiritually inclined. We had Hindu religious images on the walls of the Habibullah Road house where we grew up. there was also an image of Mother Mary holding Jesus in Her arms and a photograph of the sacred sites of Mecca and Medina.
In 1986, ten year after my father died, we happened to meet Qadri Saaheb again. The peer was unwell and my mother looked after him. He regarded her as a daughter. There was a strong connection between us. I was nineteen at the time and working on a session musician and composing jingles.”
The quotes above were reproduced by Scroll website when it carried excerpts of Kabir’s book on Rahman.
One of Gurumurthy’s tweets has been retweeted more than 1500 times. That’s because even a senior cabinet member in Narendra Modi’s government fell for his tweet. Nirmala Sitharam, however, quickly realised her mistake and announced that she had decided to undo her retweet because ‘this seems unverified information.’
She wrote, “FYI : I am undoing my RT as this seems unverified information. Sorry about any confusion.”
. @sgurumurthy, FYI : I am undoing my RT as this seems unverified information. Sorry about any confusion.
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) June 10, 2017
Many Twitter users too informed Gurumurthy that his mischief, understandably executed in collaboration with the right-wing propaganda website, Postcard news, had been exposed. But neither Sitharaman’s tweet nor the tweets by other users could convince him to delete his tweets.
Both of Gurumurthy’s tweets remain on Twitter, prompting his ideological friends on the microblogging site to continue to spread the falsehood to gain advantage for the Modi government as far as building a favourable perception is concerned.