Economic Times publishes offensive memes on Shivling despite multiple FIRs over such memes

In its print edition on May 22, 2022, The Economic Times (ET) published a meme mocking Hindus by depicting the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre as a Shivling and captioned BOM BHOLENATH. The image was included in the MEME’S THE WORD Column of the print edition.

Another cartoon in the column mocks the call to open the Taj Mahal’s closed gates in the basement.

It is worth noting that this has occurred at a time when multiple judicial proceedings have been initiated over disrespectful remarks and social media posts about the Shivling unearthed in the disputed Gyanvapi complex close to the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir. A complaint was recently filed against TMC MP Mahua Moitra, ‘journalist’ Saba Naqvi, Retired IAS Surya Pratap Singh, Peace Party’s Shadab Chouhan, and RJD leader Kumar Divashankar for making derogatory tweets about Lord Shiva following the discovery of a Shivling inside the disputed Gyanvapi mosque’s wuzukhana.

A Delhi University professor Ratan Lal was even arrested and then granted bail, for sharing another similar offensive meme over the Shivling.

Yet, publishing this meme on Shivling and Lord Shiva by the Economic Times demonstrates the callousness with which they treat the sentiments of the Hindu faith. If it was about any other faith, a cartoon/meme offending other religions, no mainstream media would have touched it with a barge pole but apparently, it is ok to laugh at Hindus’ religious beliefs and their symbols.

Mocking Hindus and their beliefs have become a threshold these days for media outlets to be considered truly liberal. Furthermore, this is not mere negligence; media outlets doing so consciously and repeatedly demonstrate their hostile objectives of offending Hindu feelings without having to face any opposition. In this case, it is well known across the globe that Kashi Vishwanath is one of the most revered locations and major pilgrimage destinations for Hindus, but still, a caricature and meme of such insulting nature was published in a national daily.

Making fun of Hindu feelings has become the new normal for the whole mainstream media, not just ET. It illustrates that the media is unconcerned about the Hindu faith. For them, anything Hindu is essentially simply ‘RSS/BJP,’ and hence they portray themselves as anti-establishment while being overtly anti-Hindu. So much so that they would wish death upon ‘Sanghis’ just because they do not align with them on political ideologies.

They do not acknowledge the fact that Hindus have their own identity and they are not just an extension of a political party or any organization.

Such incidents mocking the Hindu faith are commonplace because the media and the general public know very well that there is no risk of any backlash from the offended Hindus, who are at most going to file some FIRs that will not go anywhere. As we saw in the case of DU professor Ratan Lal who got bail the very next day.

Professor Ratan Lal of Delhi University was arrested for hurting Hindu sentiments on social media, but he got bail instantly because he stated in court that he is a Hindu. This is the reality where anyone can make disparaging remarks about Hindus, their festivals, and their culture without fear of any consequences because the offender can simply claim that it is one’s freedom of expression and, as a member of the same religion or community, he knows what is offensive and what is not!

Hence, with the fear of any backlash eliminated, media outlets and organizations wilfully take these risks, knowing that the severity of court punishment will be minimal, if at all!

Everyone is familiar with the Charlie Hebdo incident. If the caricature had been of the Prophet or the Quran, ET would have been attacked on social media and maybe at their offices, with the meme’s originator executed. The fact that something like this has not occurred illustrates the tolerance of a religion founded on the values of universal acceptance and harmony.

Many media outlets, including the Times Group, labelled Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures as offensive and provocative. However, when it comes to Hinduism, the double standards are clear. This meme on the sacred Shivling marks the epitome of freedom of expression for Economic Times. They feel free to publish and republish cartoons that are disrespectful to Hinduism, but they dare not publish drawings or memes that criticise Islam since they are fully aware of the ramifications.

Moreover, this is on Hindus too. It is on to Hindus to acknowledge this fact about media and consume content that is not disrespectful to their faith. The same is true when reporting on situations such as love jihad, religious conversions, and a variety of other issues in which Hindus are only the victims and are the ones facing censure. The more Hindus consume and encourage such stuff, the more they will be ridiculed in every way imaginable.

Source : OpIndia

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