Regardless of your ideology, you must have heard of Rana Ayyub. Whether you hate her or admire her depends totally on your ideology. But she is famous and therefore the latest action by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attaching Rs. 1.77 crores of Washington Post columnist Rana Ayyub in a money laundering case should have been big news.
The left-liberal ecosystem should have outraged and under normal circumstances, it would have been expected to take pot-shots at the government, you know with the general propaganda about so-called fascism. But nothing of that sort is happening. There is no major outrage in the left-liberal ecosystem. And that points out one thing- Rana Ayyub was a major disruptor in the left-liberal ecosystem and that is why her comrades are not making a huge issue out of this development. But why?
Rana Ayyub’s entry in a tight left-liberal space
Rana Ayyub wasn’t a big name in the left-liberal ecosystem some 12-13 years ago. But suddenly she came into the limelight after being presented the Sanskriti award for journalism in the year 2011. So, suddenly Ayyub became popular.
The next 10-11 years saw her rise dramatically even in the tight left-liberal ideological space that already had some popular names like Saba Naqvi, Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Rana Safvi and of course Barkha Dutt. Other soft left-liberal elements too were dotted all over the mainstream media.
Rana Ayyub’s sudden rise to prominence
Rana Ayyub however was a true disrupter in the ecosystem. She came in and suddenly became a huge liberal icon. Some 12 years ago, you may not have heard of her. But today, she has a Wikipedia page dedicated to her and she is also a columnist for Washington Post. This places her in a very good position, to be honest.
And it didn’t come easily to her. She changed the rules of the game. Till 2010 or 2011, all that the left-liberal ecosystem and the outrage industry could do was make generous remarks about the 2002 Gujarat riots and nothing else.
But Ayyub went a step ahead. She even came up with a book titled, “Gujarat Files – Anatomy of a coverup”. Based on the findings in the book and some other articles, advocates Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan had even argued on behalf of the petitioners, praying for fresh investigations in the Haren Pandya case.
It is a different matter that the petition was dismissed by the Court. The apex court had even remarked, “In our opinion on merits in view of the material that has been placed on record including that of Azam Khan’s statement and book by Rana Ayyub, no case is made out on the basis of material placed on record so as to direct further investigation or re-investigation. There is absolutely no material for that purpose.” It had also stated, “The Book by Rana Ayyub is of no utility. It is based upon surmises, conjectures, and suppositions and has no evidentiary value.”
But the point is that Ayyub went about her job relentlessly. She even claimed that one of her reports was instrumental in getting the then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah arrested in a case. However, later Shah was found to be innocent and got acquitted. He is, of course, the Union Home Minister today despite all the adverse propaganda that he faces from his haters.
She remained quite active on Twitter all this while and carried her liberal image on her sleeves. Ayyub muscled her way into the left-liberal camp and made it big.
She even made big claims about her journalistic work like this Instagram post in which Rana says, “Verified For six months I lived undercover in this small room in Gujarat posing as Maithili Tyagi, a student of the American film institute conservatory. Eight cameras on my body, a terrific french colleague and a desire to get the truth see the light of the day, undertaking one of the most audacious undercover operations that culminated in the form of #GujaratFiles. The West hailed it as an investigation that had parallels with the Watergate scandal. Excited to relive this again very soon. Fingers crossed #adaptation #gujaratfiles.”
Her comrades got overshadowed
What did Rana Ayyub’s meteoric rise to prominence mean to the established left-liberal authors and journalists? Well, they suddenly found themselves getting overshadowed or at least losing out on a fraction of the popularity that they enjoyed earlier.
Earlier, it was very easy for the established left-liberals. They could condemn PM Narendra Modi and retain their popularity but things are not so simple any longer. Rana Ayyub thus becomes a follower of the left-liberal ideology but she is not an insider. For an established left-liberal face, there would have been a huge outrage on a similar case by the ED. But in the case of Ayyub, there is stunning silence and now you know why.