Vinod K Jose, executive editor of The Caravan has come out in support of Shashi Tharoor on calling PM Modi a ‘scorpion’. Shashi Tharoor recently launched a book named The Paradoxical Prime Minister, which is largely critical of PM Modi. In the book, Tharoor quoted an unnamed RSS leader as saying “Shivling mein bichhu baitha hai. Na usko haath se utaar sakte ho, na usko joota maar sakte ho (a scorpion is sitting on a Shivling; it can neither be removed by hand, nor can you hit it with a shoe).” The quote was based on a reportage published by The Caravan on PM Modi. The reportage was done by Vinod K Jose with the title, ‘The Emperor Uncrowned’ and published on 01 March 2012.
Union Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad held a press conference and accused that Tharoor “attempted to disrespect Lord Shiva” and asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to apologize for this. Shashi Tharoor took to twitter to reply to RS Prasad and wrote “This comment (not by me) has been in the public domain for six years. Ravi Shankar Prasad making an issue of a 6-year-old quote shows how little new the BJP has to offer the nation. As for media subserving the BJP’s desire for ‘controversy’, when will this ‘profession’ develop any self-respect?” Later, Vinod K Jose came in defense of Tharoor and tweeted “Its funny RS Prasad would attack @ShashiTharoor for a scorpion quote I received from an RSS leader 7 yrs ago (in 2011 Nov) & published in ‘12 March issue of @thecaravanindia. Modi profile was then discussed in national TV; then & now don’t wan’t to know who the RSS leader was?”
The Caravan was started by Delhi Press in 1940 and its editorial line adhered to Nehruvian model of socialism and secularism. The magazine operated till 1988 and catered mainly to high level bureaucrats and left-liberal establishment of the country. It was an ardent supporter of Soviet Union and as the people’s faith in communism started diminishing, the readership of the magazine also went down. The financial support which these publications received from Soviet Union was stopped in 1980s as the Soviet economy collapsed. The magazine could not survive for long and was shut down in 1988, three years before collapse of Soviet Union. Delhi Press was and is one of the largest publishers in the country with more than 35 publications but it could not take the financial burden of The Caravan. Now, Delhi Press is mainly known for magazines like Mukta, Champak, Grihashobha, Woman’s Era, Suman Saurabh and Saras Salil which are mainly targeted towards children and women.
The founder of magazine and chief of Delhi Press, Vishwa Nath died in 2002. Anant Nath, grandson of Vishwa Nath, a post graduate from Colombia University, took over the post of director of Delhi Press in August 2005. After almost four years of taking over the position of director of Delhi Press, junior Nath decided to revive The Caravan. He chose Vinod K Jose, another graduate of Colombia University as the executive editor of The Caravan while his father holds the position of Editor in Chief and he took the designation of editor at the magazine. The magazine came in fine print with its first issue in January, 2010. Since then it has served the cause of ‘left’ in India with its monthly issues. From 1940 to 1988, it had served the cause of ‘left’ but in its new avatar, the magazine added an additional trait – Anti Hindu agenda.
The executive editor of The Caravan is a vocal supporter of separatist like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Afzal Guru, the mastermind of 2001 Indian parliament attacks.
He was questioned by Crime Branch in New Delhi for the articles he had written in support of Geelani and Afzal Guru. He opposed death penalty to terrorists and released a statement seeking clemency for Afzal Guru “’I don’t want a fellow Indian to get the death penalty” read his statement.
He is also a supporter of Maoist cause posted following picture with Maoist Guerillas in Central India’s Bastar forest.
On one hand, he supports terrorists like SAR Geelani, and on the other, he calls VHP a militant and Hindu extremist group. He even has problem with an economic advisor to Obama government being associated with VHP. “The economist of Indian origin on President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team, Ms. Sonal Shah, has one dubious credential on her resume–her relationship with the Hindu extremist group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). This militant group was held responsible for the genocidal pogroms against Muslims in the western Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 that killed 2,000 people and rendered 100,000 homeless. Ms. Shah was the “National Coordinator” for the VHP in North America. So the lingering question is: why hasn’t the Obama team vetted enough on Ms. Sonal Shah’s Hindu extremist connections?” wrote Jose in Countercurrents.org, a leftist publication.
The next most important person at The Caravan is Hartosh Singh Bal, the political editor of the magazine. He is known for vehement opposition to Sangh Parivar and BJP, he considers Godhra train incident an ‘accident’ while holds PM Modi responsible for 2002 riots even after Supreme Court’s clean chit. In a 2012 Caravan article, he puts a Hindu matter into ‘perspective’. Proceeding to ‘set the record straight’ he tells his readers that Bhojshala is not actually a Hindu structure but a mosque and its full name is Bhojshala Kamal Maula Mosque.
The Caravan is well known for its elite Colombia University connection. Except editor, Vishwa Nath and executive editor Vinod K Jose, Sonal Shah an associate editor at the magazine is also from Colombia University. She was ‘terrified’ with the idea of Aurangzeb Road being named as Dr. Abdul kalam Road. Another journalist at The Caravan, Supriya Nayar has said that BJP follows ‘old-fashioned Hindu patriarchy’. The contributing editors at The Caravan also belong to the same left-liberal cabal. Faitama Bhutto is granddaughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the socialist tyrant of Pakistan. Siddharth Dube is another Maoist rights activist in the country.
This combination of agenda driven journalists with a particular ideology driven publication is not averse to work around the basic ethics of journalism. This was pretty evident in the hit-job Caravan conducted on judge Loya’s death with the sole motive of discrediting BJP president Amit Shah. The story was widely debunked by Indian Express.
Neither The Caravan nor its executive editor are averse to imaginatively creating ‘sources’ and ‘facts’ which exactly suit their current agenda-driven journalism, as they have shown in the past. It is pretty evident that the ‘anonymous’ RSS source that Jose quoted in his report and was subsequently picked up by Tharoor is nothing but a product of the fertile imagination from the minds of the Caravan who brought the Judge Loya story. It is unfortunate that, in order to target an ideology, the leftist media establishment has completely disavowed basic journalistic ethics, relying more on sensationalism.