Marathi news channel ABP Majha is facing a barrage of criticism for a hosting a talk show titled ‘Swatantryaveer Savarkar – Hero or Villain’ on the birth anniversary of the revolutionary freedom fighter.
The hashtag #BoycottABPMajha was trending on twitter, and several netizens expressed their displeasure towards the channel, and also BBC Marathi for a similarly derogatory tweet towards Veer Savarkar –
Dear Indians, please boycott these channels.
Let's teach them a lesson. pic.twitter.com/mbAwnvI45y
— Arnav Rupde🇮🇳 (@Arnav_Rupde) May 29, 2019
#BoycottABPMajha is trending now…
What a shameful day for @abpmajhatv & the team with editor @rajivkhandekar & host @PrasannJOSHI
Kindly share your apology letter, if you feel bad about it..!! pic.twitter.com/WlH9DpXEwL
— Rushikesh D. Ingale (@RD_Ingale) May 29, 2019
Stung by the criticism, ABP-Majha came out with an explanation / half-hearted apology, claiming that they meant no disrespect towards the freedom fighter and only wanted to address the allegation usually hurled at Veer Savarkar that he ‘colluded’ with the British and was responsible for partition –
एबीपी माझाची भूमिका | ABP Majha pic.twitter.com/ZaPpOhT4cW
— ABP माझा (@abpmajhatv) May 29, 2019
However, this cut no ice with the channel’s erstwhile audience. Many wondered if the channel would air a similar program on other icons like Nehru & Gandhi –
नेहरू भारतचा शिल्पकार, की इंग्रजांचा चाटुकार???#boycottabpmajha
— Ganesh Wankhede #सावरकर (@iGaneshW) May 30, 2019
Demeaning and demonizing Savarkar is a favorite pastime of ‘historians’ & ‘intellectuals’ associated with the Congress ecosystem, as this Facebook post on the official Congress page shows –
Recently, the Congress government of Rajasthan made sweeping changes to social science textbooks after coming to power in the state – they dropped the prefix ‘Veer’ from Savakar’s name; referred to him as Vinayak Damodar Savarkar who “plotted assassination” of Mahatma Gandhi (despite courts having acquitted him in the case); claimed Savarkar had “apologised” to the British Raj to reduce his 50-year jail term and secure clemency.
The truth is that Savarkar was incarcerated for over a decade in the harshest prison, Cellular Jail in Andaman – reserved by the British colonials for the freedom fighters they considered most dangerous. In contrast, more acceptable figures like Nehru and Gandhi were usually kept under house-arrest in the luxurious confines of Aga Khan palace in Pune. The propaganda around Savarkar’s ‘apology’ has been demolished several times, not least in this withering piece by Dr. Gautam Sen.
Old media and old elites of Bharat will not disappear just because people have soundly rejected their divisive, anti-Hindu ideology in successive general elections. They will change only through public campaigns like #BoycottABPMajha and creation of new media entities which represent the idea of new Bharat.
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