Another day, another report making zero sense. And Indians fuming and frothing over it. A certain Freedom House released it’s annual Freedom of the World Report and a quick look at the India part clearly establishes why the report will have to be consigned to a dustbin.
India, the world’s most populous democracy, dropped from Free to Partly Free status in Freedom in the World 2021. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its state-level allies continued to crack down on critics during the year, and their response to COVID-19 included a ham-fisted lockdown that resulted in the dangerous and unplanned displacement of millions of internal migrant workers. The ruling Hindu nationalist movement also encouraged the scapegoating of Muslims, who were disproportionately blamed for the spread of the virus and faced attacks by vigilante mobs. Rather than serving as a champion of democratic practice and a counterweight to authoritarian influence from countries such as China, Modi and his party are tragically driving India itself toward authoritarianism.
The standard benchmark is that, whenever you see the words ruling Hindu nationalist or ruling Hindu supremacist one need not read any further – the subsequent words will be atrocities towards Muslims, minorities, NGOs, Kashmir, CAA and curtailing freedom. If this is the narrative which is being pedelled, why exactly should one look into this routine rote?
Now, a deeper look into what’s happening with this report.
Freedom in the World is produced each year by a team of in-house and external analysts and expert advisers from the academic, think tank, and human rights communities. The 2021 edition involved over 125 analysts, and nearly 40 advisers. The analysts, who prepare the draft reports and scores, use a broad range of sources, including news articles, academic analyses, reports from nongovernmental organizations, individual professional contacts, and on-the-ground research. The analysts score countries and territories based on the conditions and events within their borders during the coverage period. The analysts’ proposed scores are discussed and defended at a series of review meetings, organized by region and attended by Freedom House staff and a panel of expert advisers. The end product represents the consensus of the analysts, outside advisers, and Freedom House staff, who are responsible for any final decisions. Although an element of subjectivity is unavoidable in such an enterprise, the ratings process emphasizes methodological consistency, intellectual rigor, and balanced and unbiased judgments.
What are the takeaways? Assuming the unbiased nature of the 125 analysts and 40 advisors which in itself is a big question mark, one need to note that the scores given by these people are not sacrosanct. These numbers should be inline with the expectations of Freedom House. It all boils down to one single point – Freedom House decides what to put in the report. Now, are there any known biases?
In this regard, the words of Zoltan Kovacs, the then Hungarian Secretary of State (he is still the Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations, International spokesman, Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister) over the 2020 Nations in Transit Report published by the same Freedom House is worth noting.
Such a pity. @freedomhouse was once known as the bipartisan human rights organization. With their Soros funding they’ve declined, becoming the fist of the party that is the Soros network. Anyone who doesn’t conform to their liberal view, gets downgraded.
Now, combine this news with what Soros himself said at Davos in January 2020.
Nationalism, far from being reversed, made further headway…The biggest and most frightening setback came in India where a democratically elected Narendra Modi is creating a Hindu nationalist state, imposing punitive measures on Kashmir, a semi-autonomous Muslim region, and threatening to deprive millions of Muslims of their citizenship.
Further, over the same speech, referring to different sections of the same speech, Sanjeev Sanyal, the then(and current) Principal Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance, India, said,
Soros has announced a billion dollar fund to interfere in the politics of India, China, etc to ostensibly fight ‘authoritarian’ despots. This was exactly the language used by 19th century European thinkers to justify colonisation
Notice, it’s the same language used by the Freedom of the World Report!! What Soros said over India is exactly replicated in the Report over Inida. Fully knowing that Freedom House is funded by Soros and the language used by the report matches with the views of the funders, is there any reason why the report should be treated seriously? With Soros backed Open Society and it’s spawning tentacles raising the bogey of nationalism and chanting the standard trope of Hindu nationalism, Muslim atrocities, CAA and all, and on the other hand, funding propaganda and even protests in India to bolster the fake image which they wanted to project, why should one spend time on reading such reports?
Now, coming to some facts which counter the paragraph from the introduction of the report.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its state-level allies continued to crack down on critics during the year
Crackdown of critics is an open ended statement. If the critic referred to is a certain Varavara Rao and his cohorts, it may help the readers to understand why the government cracked upon them. Varavara Rao and a certain bunch of people were arrested for plotting to assassinate Narendra Modi, the democratically elected head of Indian Sovereign State. Do you call that criticism?
their response to COVID-19 included a ham-fisted lockdown that resulted in the dangerous and unplanned displacement of millions of internal migrant workers
May be, it makes sense to know that such a displacement happened only in two states – Delhi and Maharashtra, and both are ruled not by BJP and are known to act opposite to the stand Central Government takes? In this regard, a reference should be made of Uttar Pradesh ruled by the same Hindu Nationalists who absorbed all the chaos created and ensured that nothing happens?
also encouraged the scapegoating of Muslims, who were disproportionately blamed for the spread of the virus and faced attacks by vigilante mobs
Quoting from the article linked below –
Of about 4,400 COVID-19 positive cases in India, nearly a third are related to the religious gathering at the Markaz, as the Jamaat headquarters is known.
Meanwhile, panic gripped a large part of India as state governments launched a massive search to identify all those who had visited the Markaz and people they came into contact with later.
As of Monday, more than 25,000 Jamaat members and their contacts had been quarantined across nearly 15 Indian states.
Related Article Panic Grips Tablighi Jamaat Ijtema: Maulana Saad On The Run
Clearly, one would note that the people fled Delhi to all parts of India and it’s no wonder at the inception of India’s COVID journey, one third of India’s COVID cases are traced to a single event. When facts are cited, why should they be converted into an exaggerated outrage narrative?
Cementing the bias, one would note that the report, on one side doesn’t contain Palestine but contains Indian Kashmir as a separate entity and places it on a worser ranking than the territories of the erstwhile Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir illegally held by Pakistan in contravention of UN Resolutions. Another important point, it is Indian Kashmir and has no reference to the others who constitute Jammu and Kashmir – Jammu, Ladakh and more importantly, people who came to Jammu and Kashmir from other parts of India or migrated from Pakistan but who are not accorded citizenship rights. It is important to note that removal of Article 370, though it is abhorrent to Pakistan and it’s overseas propaganda lobby is actually good for Kashmir because it allowed others to come out of subhuman conditions and on the other hand, opened up Jammu and Kashmir for investments.
If giving jobs to people
makes one more intolerant than murdering people in cold-blood
one can clearly understand the usefulness of such a report and the role it should play in setting the narrative.
Further details over India and may be other countries which are in the crosshairs will uncover only such biased views – not just biased views, but biased views based on faulty information. Is this deliberate or accidental? I will believe it is deliberate. This is not the first report which used this trope and this is not going to be the last, and when all of them drum up the same set of lies and follow the narrative set by their funders, why exactly should the report be taken seriously?
After all, how much does it cost for me to commission a report which says Somalia is an investor’s paradise or which says Vanuatu is a bigger polluter than China? But, what purpose does that report serve?
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