This year we have been very fortunate as a Nation. We have received International acclaim via our three Photojournalists winning the Pulitzer Prize in feature photography. On the Pulitzer Prize website, the citation below the three awardees reads: “For striking images of Life in the contested territory of Kashmir as India revoked its independence, executed through a communications blackout.”
But the terrible thing is that our present Government doesn’t know only how to value such awards. It is only Mr. Rahul Gandhi, Ms. Iltija Mufti, Mr. Omar Abdullah and friends who appreciated these photojournalists who made our country proud. A trivia – two of these three photo journalists refer to our Kashmir as Indian Kashmir. Mr. Gandhi felt that the photos were powerful images of life in J & K. As expected, BJP spokespersons protested Mr. Gandhi’s Freedom of Speech. How unimaginative! Is this the way to counter propaganda?
Propaganda? How can photos speak anything but the truth? If one were to take a look at the Associated Press site of the photos of these journalists, one would know how narratives are set. All the photos mostly say any one of these stories:
Armed forces in empty roads, centre of the town or fields
People examining bullet holes in walls
Women / children shouting for ‘independence’
Children / old people / vehicles / students hurt in firing/lathi charge etc.
People praying to Allah
It is very clear that the narrative set is that the Army rules Kashmir, they use arms and weapons, people are protesting against it, even children and women are not spared and that people have no hope other than Allah.
One wonders how Western Nations which very conveniently hide their flaws like homelessness, depression and suicides, addiction, wars in foreign lands, think it fit to paint other countries in such poor light. A little more research and one dawns on the wisdom behind the word, “Liberal legacy”. This phenomenon has been responsible for the setting of most of the skewed narratives all over the world. Choose any award and one would see the ‘liberal’ connection in that.
India too is not free of such a connection. That is why when Mr. Modi became the PM, we had a deluge of Award Wapsi. Those who indulged in it knew the real value of those awards which were earned by promoting liberalism, secularism, distortion in history and culture and pleasing the powers. Had any of them worked hard to showcase the real India, they would not have returned the awards so cheaply.
In Kashmir it is a known fact that the valley is in the grip of radicalization and fear mongering. The Government and the Army have bent backwards to help the common citizens especially in sectors like education, natural calamity management, health, services, etc. We see hundreds of photos of little children offering flowers and smiling at the soldiers. We know that the Army and CRPF have helped thousands of people in times of floods in Kashmir.
COVID 19 management too has been exceptional in the Valley and in Jammu and Ladakh. It is also common knowledge that the people of Jammu and Ladakh are finally breathing a sigh of relief that they too are getting equal attention from the Government agencies. But unfortunately, such news does not conform to the Narratives set by the “liberal” gang. Such news does not make headlines because they would make a Nation look good and feel proud. A Nation which is self-confident cannot be pressurized to cow down. And this is not which some foreign countries and some Parties within Bharat want. This is the cold truth.
A fact worth giving attention to is that the Pulitzer Prize Board does not automatically look into all photos to award anyone. To get a Pulitzer Prize, one has to submit an entry along with a fee of $75 per entry. From the entries submitted, juries make recommendations on the nominations, from which one wins the Award.
So to win the award, one has to indulge in the simple act of submitting entries which would endear to the Jury members and not to the Truth! In 2018 also two of our photo journalists won this award – for their story on Rohingya refugees. That was the flavor of that year! This year it is abolishing Article 370 and the open declaration that the whole of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh belongs to Bharat, that is India. I wonder what will happen when India reclaims Pakistan Occupied Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Maybe that year the favored flavor will be “Tears of an injured Pakistani soldier”.