While many are proud of what they think has become a bustling “right-wing” ecosystem in India – at least on social media; regular instances of brazen ideological submission before leftists and borderline Naxal-sympathisers by no less than conservative intellectuals and thinkers makes one question the foundational strength of the said ecosystem in India. A non-liberal thought has gained prominence in India since 2014. The socialist status quo is now frowned upon, and the “right-wing” is only rising from strength to strength. However, liberals still manage to find their way into institutional dominance – due to their friendships with conservatives and members of the “right-wing”.
While the right-wing should be consolidating its power and influence, a section of it seems preoccupied with handing over the same to leftists. The same seems to have happened at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla. IIAS Shimla – which comes under the control of the Ministry of Education, New Delhi, has revived the publication of its half-yearly ‘Chetna’ magazine. One would have thought that the magazine – produced and published using Indian taxpayer money – would become a means of propelling Indic and dharmic thought.
However, IIAS Shimla seems to have other plans. The magazine is now being edited by ‘journalist’ Ashutosh Bhardwaj – a man who has a marked enthusiasm for covering the Naxal belt with as much dedication for the rogue red domestic terrorists as possible. A look at Bhardwaj’s Twitter timeline reveals that the man is more than just excited about the rise of resistance from the Naxal belt. According to the ‘journalist’, the Government is losing its grip on Bastar with each passing day.
Apart from appearing to be sympathetic towards Naxals, Ashutosh Bhardwaj is also a conspiracy theory peddler. Screenshots of a Facebook post of his have now grabbed the attention of many on social media, in which the Chetna magazine editor claims to be told by a senior police official in 2011 that the phones of journalists are being tapped by the government. In a bizarre twist, Bhardwaj goes on to say that a precedent for such phone tapping of journalists and mass surveillance was set by the government of Gujarat, presumably when Narendra Modi as chief minister was leading it.
But that is not all Ashutosh Bhardwaj has said before he was chosen as an editor of a magazine funded by the Ministry of Education. In fact, he has previously called the under-construction Ram Mandir in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya a temple which is being built upon the foundations of innumerable dead bodies and gaping communal disharmony. He then goes on to call the Ram Mandir a consequence of a hateful communal campaign.
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There is no reason which can justify Ashutosh Bhardwaj editing and giving shape to a magazine funded by Indian taxpayer money. The Director of IIAS – Makarand Paranjape, who is considered a right-wing thinker and intellectual must take necessary steps to ensure that this wrong is rectified immediately. For the right-wing to become a bustling ecosystem in reality, we cannot afford to have Naxal-sympathisers editing magazines paid for by the Indian government.