The controversial journalist and founder of The Print, Shekhar Gupta, is a master of effervescent hypocrisy and this was on display again on twitter. His portal published an article deriding the judiciary for the ‘lack of caste inclusivity’. As usual, Shekhar Gupta conveniently forgot to look inward. His own ‘extended family’, the media, has shown alarming disregard for Dalit representation.
For all the grand claims of inclusivity, diversity and other liberal fan favorite words, the Indian media landscape seems to not only be dominated, but to the point of being monopolized by Upper Caste Hindus, a majority of these belonging from the same Brahmin community they constantly blame for every ill in Indian society including the rise of their favorite bogeyman, Narendra Modi. Lack of OBC or Dalit representation is so glaring that one can hardly be blamed for assuming that this might be a deliberate ploy to maintain the insularity in which the coterie of Lutyens’ Media thrives.
One of the ‘star’ anchors of NDTV and self-appointed custodian of truth and justice who wears the mantle of crusader for dalit rights to the point of popularizing the now familiar terms ‘kaun jaat ho? (Which caste do you belong to?) Ravish kumar is a Brahmin from Uttar Pradesh. His family name was not very well known before the much –publicized disgrace caused by his brother (a certain Pandey) came to light. Similarly, another equality and inclusivity warrior from the marshlands that is Lutyens’ Media, Rajdeep Sardesai has even boasted about his ‘Gaud-Saraswat Brahmin’ heritage on twitter, while pretending to keeping the torch of social-equality aloft. It would almost be funny, if it wasn’t tragic. His wife Sagarika Ghosh who also pretends to be the warrior against casteism and other social ills (as long as there is a BJP angle, which she miraculously always finds) is a Kayastha, an Upper Caste privileged Hindu. Another ‘star’ anchor of NDTV, Nidhi Razdan is a Kashmiri Brahmin who was married to Neelesh Misra, Brahmin, from Uttar Pradesh.
Once upon a time NDTV’s Knight in shining armour and now a belligerent critic of the same organisation, Barkha Dutt, for all her talks on upliftment of OBCs and Dalit communities also belongs to Kayastha community. The problem of elitist casteism in Indian Media is so rampant that one would be hard-pressed to find a single media personality belonging to Dalit Community. Some of the white-dwarfs of Indian Media who now have limited shining capacity on twitter foaming their mouths on the slights of Dalit and OBC communities in Indian society, belong to upper caste Hindu communities. One such white-dwarf, Nikhil Wagle is a Saraswat Brahmin. Another guard of inclusive Indian Democracy who frequently plays the caste card in every news and analysis, Shekhar Gupta of The Print, comes from the affluent ‘Baniya’ community.
Either Shekhar Gupta is caste-blind (which does not seem to be the case given his inclination to see the caste-angle everywhere) or he only prefers to preach and not practice because one look at his colleagues and the reality would have set in. The total dominance of Upper Caste Hindus in Indian Media begs the question whether these truth and justice warriors are only paying lip service to Dalit causes and playing up caste cards in almost every instance so that their own bigotry and dominance would not be questioned. Given the data, it’s hard to fathom that this Brahminical domination of Indian Media Elites is mere happenstance and there aren’t any deliberate attempts to keep the insularity intact in play. This casteist elitism of Indian Media makes their crusade for Dalit rights look like a complete farce at best and a dangerous ploy to exclude certain groups (based on caste) from the coterie at worst. In comparison, two of the most prominent products of Lutyens’ Media’s favourite nemesis, RSS, are from OBC and Dalit communities and are occupants of Country’s highest offices.
Before raising questions on honorable judiciary, Shekhar Gupta should work on promoting Dalit and OBC representation in Indian Media. But as Shekhar Gupta has repeatedly demonstrated, he is not a fan of accountability himself. When it comes to question of accountability from Indian Media, the age old saying comes to mind…Who will guard the guards?
This article is an adaptation of one of Ashish Dwivedi’s (now editor, tfipost.com) older articles. The previous version of this article was originally published at opindia.com.