The Shiv Sena is arguably modern India’s silliest political entity, which, in order to satiate the demented persuasions of a few, took to making a superstar out of already sensational journalist Arnab Goswami. Arnab Goswami’s fame, and consequent fandom is not a recent phenomenon by far. He has been a household name for many since the 2010s, if not earlier. In the past one year particularly, and in the few months gone by this year, the man has risen from strength to strength; first with the launch of Republic’s Hindi news channel – Republic Bharat, and then with the man’s coverage on issues like the brutal lynching of sadhus in Palghar and the death of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
While Arnab Goswami, for all these years was a name majorly common among the country’s English-speaking populace alone, of late, he has taken his brand of journalism all across the length and breadth of India. Courtesy, his immense popularity, as seen when he was released from Taloja jail last evening following bail granted to him by the Supreme Court in a flimsy two-year-old case. A sea of people stood there, welcomed him by showering flowers and screaming in his support. It seemed as though a highly influential and loved political leader was being freed after facing intense incarceration at the hands of the state.
— ANI (@ANI) November 11, 2020
Arnab Goswami’s hounding at the hands of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, using the state’s police force, only to serve the vendetta-driven politics of a few momentarily mighty politicians has worked to their own catastrophic disadvantage. The government and police have gained nothing by arresting the man, an act which has by the way been called ‘illegal’ by the Alibaug court. The Supreme Court too, while granting bail to Arnab, launched an unsparing attack against those who are working overtime in Maharashtra to cull the personal freedoms and liberties of citizens who dare to dissent against the present powers that be.
Republic TV’s and Republic Bharat’s YouTube viewership went over the roof last night, as Arnab Goswami reached his studio in Mumbai and delivered a twenty-minute long monologue. Millions of viewers had tuned in to watch Arnab ‘address the nation’ after spending over a week in prison. Meanwhile, it is not like outrage over Arnab Goswami’s voice being muzzled has been limited to India alone. In fact, progressive-Muslim Imam, who goes by the name ‘Imam of Peace’ has even put Arnab Goswami’s picture in the police van as his cover photo.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal called up his counterpart in Maharashtra – Uddhav Thackeray and asked him to ensure that Arnab Goswami is treated well and is provided adequate security. Demands and protests for the release of Arnab Goswami were not limited to Maharashtra or his home state Assam alone. Rather, the whole country came together to demand the release of the journalist who has become a habit for many Indians at 9 pm. Visuals of his release from Taloja jail, however, are quite telling of how the foolishness of the Shiv Sena has made them convert Arnab from a journalist alone, into something much greater. In fact, there are calls on social media by people who say they want to see Goswami as the next Chief Minister of Maharashtra instead of the present one.
Today, Arnab Goswami has more political capital than many national leaders in India. The MVA government’s harassment of an honest and principled journalist has effectively made him much stronger, which is why last night he took to announce that Republic will be launched in all regional languages of India in the next one year, and will emerge as a major global player in the coming 17-18 months.
Arnab Goswami, at this point in his life, can choose to be much more than a journalist, and flourish thereafter. Yet, he is crusading against the vindictive, hateful and intolerant Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Needless to say, Arnab Goswami now has the backing of India’s people, and the opinions of his peers and colleagues regarding his style and brand of journalism cease to matter now, more than ever. The Shiv Sena has made out a new hero for India, from Maharashtra, with its own hands.