Just Who are the Real Anti-Science People in India? The Government, or the Media?

The Circus Called Indian Media (courtesy: Mint)

The latest advisory of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on treating COVID-19 gains praise from a wide spectrum of the medical and scientific community for its evidence-based approach towards COVID management. Also, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on record to laud India’s scientific community for their invaluable contribution to the nation’s fight against the COVID pandemic. However, given the utterly deplorable and false propaganda of a section of India’s liberal community, it is time to ask a few tough questions of the eminent liberals of our country who think they know more than scientists.

Modi Government’s Multiple Steps in Sync with Science

That the oh so liberal liberati of India was bereft of any cranial abilities was well known. What has been on demonstration for more than a year and a half however account for nothing less than plagiarism. The word plagiarism is used because the model templates that their masters in the West use to discredit far right political class, which is genuinely anti-science in its thought and behaviour, has been copy pasted blindly to criticize the Narendra Modi government on ‘science’. Of course, as we say in Hindi – nakal ke liye bhi akkal ki zaroorat hoti hai (it takes brains to copy) – and that is where the liberati, that also demonstrates signs of being the real ignorantsia, of India comes a cropper, as it blindly rants on all the supposed issues of India’s right wing when it comes to science.

The government of India set up a scientific advisory committee to steer its response to the COVID pandemic way back in April 2020. Even before the committee, the government, following advise from august quarters, chose to keep events like the Holi celebrations of 2020 an absolutely low key affair. Even as the World Health Organization (WHO) kept insisting that masks were not needed by all, the Modi government had gone ahead based on scientific advice and strongly recommended both masks for all and physical distancing. As early as March 2020, proposals were invited to push for rapid innovations by various bodies such as the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to develop materials and machinery that prove useful for tackling COVID-19. A vaccine task force was also set up in April itself.

Not to be outdone is the upkeep with latest scientific advise on treating COVID with suitable medicines. Clinical trials were facilitated both for vaccines as well as potential drugs by the scientific administration that saw the slashing of significant, potentially delaying red tape in approvals and clearances without compromising on scientific rigour. Vaccination process was followed as per protocols that complies with scientific thinking for health workers, co-morbid patients and elderly citizens. Even with the internationally manufactured vaccines, decisions to fast track emergency use approvals have been taken based on evidence presented to the scientific administrators as well as following up on the processes adopted by scientific communities in leading nations.

Liberati or Ignorantsia? Trying to Clutch at Straws, Falling Between the Stools

In contrast, India’s liberati continued to search that one straw to beat the Narendra Modi government with, in turn exposing their double standards. Kumbh Mela was a super spreader based on sporadic data, but the confirmed fanning out of thousands of Tablighi Jamaat preachers after a markaz cannot allow the markaz to be considered a super spreader. A khap panchayat in Mewat is definitely a super spreader, but not the thousands of protests asking for the beheading of Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati for blasphemy        . Elections are the cause for COVID to spread, but when it comes to farmer protests, we lose our voices and comprehension abilities all of a sudden.

This kind of monkey balancing saw the liberati fall between the stools on so many occasions. However, the utter shamelessness of the same set has been seen with the manner in which they fanned vaccine hesitancy, either by sharing spurious news reports or by giving voice to the likes of Akhilesh Yadav, TS Singh Deo, Prashant Bhushan and many others. If that was not enough, the inability to understand statistics or its malevolent use was on display on multiple occasions. Studies that projected bloodbath across India came a cropper, but those medical equipment salesmen still get overtime in the media space. Death undercounting on a deliberate basis kept coming up as a charge – of course when it comes to their masters in the West doing much worse on undercounting of cases and deaths, there is utter silence. Since the media in the US was willing to discount lab leak theories despite evidence only because a certain leader said so, efforts were made to discount all similar research and opinion within India by this very Commissar.

If that was not enough, there was a deliberate search for any and every to prove that all Hindus are superstitious bigots who coat themselves in cow dung, while evangelicals who find the COVID pandemic as an opportunity to convert people to Christianity are noble saints. This set kept praising states that have performed miserably on COVID management like Maharashtra and Kerala, while the senseless strategy of sensationalism has been adopted on states like Uttar Pradesh, which had far fewer cases despite the much larger population, to create an impression of an evil fascist regime throwing bodies in the river to hide deaths. The selective shifting between numbers and percentages to suit the agenda has already been exposed multiple times, but never let facts get in the way of good Goebbelesian propaganda if you are part of the liberati.

India’s liberal class has shamed itself ever more when it comes to its absolutely unscientific behaviour on peddling false reports and creating doubts related to the issue of the COVID pandemic. One would have hoped that after all these faux pas, these folks would have stopped. However, that is sadly a dream for a parallel universe. We can only Imagine, as John Lennon would have said.


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