One and a half years ago, the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi signalled a new era in India politics: promises of extraordinary transformation and economic development, but also a turn to so called “right-wing Hindu nationalism”, which has been accused of anti-Muslim, anti-minority rhetoric.
Al Jazeera ‘Head to Head’ show recorded a programme featuring an interview with Ram Madhav, on Monday 7th December, at 7.30pm, which will be broadcast on 25th December 2015 at 22:00 hrs and will be repeated on 26thDecember at 1200 hrs, 27th December at 0100 hrs, and 28th December at 0600 hrs.
‘Head to Head’ programme is described by Al Jazeera as their forum of ideas, a gladiatorial contest tackling big issues such as faith, nationalism, democracy and foreign intervention in front of an opinionated audience at the Oxford Union.
Prior to the recording of the interview with Ram Madhav, an invitation email was sent by Al Jazeera inviting guests and stating that a variety of informed and distinguished guests had also been invited. The email stated that the programme format was to include a Q&A section with the audience and that the programme was to explore whether ‘Hindu nationalism’ is inherently exclusionary and if it is compatible with secularism and democracy, probe violence against minorities and also discuss human rights abuses in Indian-administered Kashmir, and how to bring peace to the region.
Krishna Bhan, President of the Indo-European Kashmiri Forum (IEKF) and Director of Hindu Council UK (HCUK) represented both organisations and gives her viewpoint on the discussions:
I was invited as a special guest to attend the interview/discussion on behalf of the IEKF/KPAE and HCUK. In my opinion, Ram Madhav, the National General Secretary of BJP, excelled himself in the programme. He showed a great deal of decorum and integrity in explaining the status of minorities in India and India’s take on secularism towards the diverse communities living in the World’s largest democracy. The human rights abuse and violence in the Indian administered Kashmir was one of the topics that was tabled for discussion. Unfortunately, the host of the programme, Mr Mehdi Hasan’s interview questions lacked the accuracy of the data and the facts related to most of the issues had been distorted. The whole programme seemed to have been prepared by Al Jazeera with the intention of discrediting India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The interview/discussion seemed one sided and it lacked the balanced participation of the audience. The two out of the three experienced and highly educated panellist, too, presented some biased opinions on the matters related to India and to Kashmir.
It was disappointing that some of us,who were asked to prepare and submit their questions well in advance, were actually ignored and kept out of the whole discussion deliberately during the entire programme.
However, I was glad that I got the opportunity to hear Ram Madhav’s excellent answers on various issues in India that are close to my heart, especially Kashmir.
I thank Ram Madhav for his well balanced and informative interview.
President of the Indo-European Kashmiri Forum (IEKF) and Director of Hindu Council UK (HCUK)