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We Know That Ugly Beast: How India Caused Western Hysterics

© AP Photo / Ajit SolankiIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to people as he arrives to cast his vote during the third phase of general elections, in Ahmedabad, India, Tuesday, May 7, 2024.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to people as he arrives to cast his vote during the third phase of general elections, in Ahmedabad, India, Tuesday, May 7, 2024.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 10.06.2024
Following the Lok Sabha 2024 election results in India, BJP has won by a majority vote and Narendra Modi has taken oath as Prime Minister for 3rd term. Meanwhile, during the elections Western media has witnessed anti-India narrative, emphasized on different aspects of the state's ruling.
I wasn’t really following every twist and turn of India’s electoral season. There was a better thing to do – watching the truly amazing fit of India-hating in, virtually, all of the Western media.
And here is a good quotation on that subject – from your media, not theirs: This hydra-headed, globe-spanning anti-India narrative takes many forms. It could be uninformed rants or supercilious commentary by opinion writers or members of academia based abroad, slanted reports that cherry pick data or indulge in circuitous references to push a certain viewpoint, or it could be bot networks and social media influencers activated and/or contracted to fulfil vested interests.

Well, we, Russians, are familiar with the beastie. A hydra, if you do not know your Greek lore, is a kind of a snake with multiple heads, and the moment you chop off one of these, some more are growing right there, and bite you with more vigor.

It’s hard to remember when that ugly beast began to attack Russia. Some people trace it back to ancient times, but in our days it was, at the very least, soon after the year 2000. Or, maybe, even earlier. I’m ashamed to say, that at first I was giving some benefit of the doubt at least to some opinions about Russia’s "weak economy" or "authoritarian government". But the moment you try to check some facts, you discover that reality is somewhat different.
In many cases, you have to shut your ears from that constant angry noise and go to the place in question, just to be sure. Such was my trip to my beloved Crimea peninsula in the spring of 2014, when the Crimeans have, at last, convinced Moscow that, unless Russia helps, there’ll be a bloodbath there, the locals fighting Ukrainian troops. Such bloodbath has happened nearby, in the summer of the same year, in East Ukraine, bearing the historic name of Donbass, where the Kiev troops started to murder civilians by the hundreds. So the Crimeans knew what might have been in store for them.

Before my trip there I did have some doubts about the overwhelming results of the spring referendums about going back to Russia. The doubts flew away, when I met dozens of familiar folks on that peninsula, talked to them without any interference and saw the Russian flags on virtually every house, which you never see in and around Moscow. But the same hydra just went on hissing about Russian repressions in that area. Still does, but I stopped paying it any attention.

You may be a journalist or a writer like me, or anybody else, but in any case you have to develop that habit of personally checking on the so-called global media, initially doubting its every word, and in most cases discovering that your doubts were well founded. And here I’m risking your fury, but, still, let me try. It’s about China, and I know some popular Indian feelings about that country. But I also happen to be a Sinologist by education, and I’ve lost count of my trips to China, checking and cross-checking facts.
And most facts simply do not tally with the hydra’s hissing, when you come there and talk to people, and watch even the slightest twitch of their eye, when talking about sensitive subjects. That’s how I acted when visiting Xinjiang, China, admittedly on well-arranged fact-finding trips. In each case, I was comparing and discussing my observations with other visitors, from the Middle East, Afghanistan and other Muslim nations. So now I know that when the hydra hisses about Xinjiang, it’s mostly lying. China is not a paradise, but it’s not a monsterland, either. And, no, its economy is not crushing down currently, I know it from Russia’s bank analysts and from my trip to China’s nine cities three weeks ago.
Sorry once more if I hurt someone’s feelings.

Now, we are reading that the same hydra is – and that’s another quote from the already quoted column – ‘obsessed with running down India’s achievements through clandestine funding of an array of insidious agents who seemingly work with an intricate network of global media outlets, think tanks, rating agencies, academicians, civil society activists and NGOs with the sole purpose of delegitimizing and undermining India’s democratic credentials’.

All right, we read all such stuff, and we don’t believe it, because the same array of compulsive liars were and are lying about Russia and, probably, about most things in the world.
Here I have another quote, from a man I used to know and whom I respect and trust, that’s Ambassador Kanwal Sibal, who was your Foreign Secretary. He is asking us: ‘when India does not interfere in the internal affairs of Western countries, does not lecture them on deficiencies in their democracies, does not give them homilies on minority and racial discrimination and the rise of fascism in their societies, and so on, why do they feel the compulsion to admonish us on perceived deficiencies in our society and governance?’
That’s a very academic question – what’s wrong with that West, and why does it react with such fury to anybody being non-Western and happy about it. There are, these days, many answers to that question. But we are faced with something less academic, namely the problem of what do we do.

Here we are, faced with lies on unprecedented scale. Today, these lies have touched India. Yesterday, that was Russia and lots of other nations. So, what can we do about it? I may have several ideas on that matter.

First, we have to put it all down on paper, or lots of papers, as in conducting a detailed investigation on what had been said. Or else we are running a risk of forgetting that bout of anti-Indian fury with all its details, trusting some future historians to dig it up and put in some book that nobody will read. Simply speaking, all the things said about India today have to be recorded.
Second, we compare notes. Our two nations are, by far, not the only ones, subjected to that hydra attack. Dozens of others may be interested in the same recording experience, and raise merry hell about the overall picture.
Third, we take note that there are many international structures like BRICS that were dwelling too hard on finance, mostly. Of course, it’s bad, when you cannot make a deal and pay up, being afraid that your payment will be traced and reprimanded. So all these ideas about alternative financial systems began to circulate, maybe, twenty years ago, and the result is still not glorious. But global control of information narrative appears to be a weapon as deadly as your money in somebody else’s hands. Therefore, alternative information systems have to become an equally important topic for a global discussion.
Fourth and final, you may recognize that systematic slander as a powerful weapon, but you better never use it yourself. It somehow happens that people despise lies more than they hate them.
Dmitry Kosyrev is a Russian writer, author of spy novels and short stories. He also did columns for the Pioneer and Firstpost.com
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