Cut back to 2013. You had UPA raaj. NDTV was the foremost channel. Even in debates on issues related to UPA govt, the BJP spokie on the panel would get beaten up by Barkha/Nidhi and other panelists. Almost every channel was against BJP and sanatan dharma. You had never heard of the likes of Makarand Paranjpe, Anand Ranganathan, Abhijit Iyer Mitra. Bollywood was uniformly “secular”, “aman ki asha” on Pak and so on. Mohandas Pai was Infy person. You rarely saw any books on Indian history heroes in English. Cricketers never spoke on current affairs, all stayed quiet.

Then 2014 happened. We had Zee news coming out of closet and supporting BJP. We then had Timesnow changing tune and becoming “nationalist”. Then Republic got launched and rest was history. So much so that the top 3 English channels are Republic, Timesnow and DD holding more than 60% of the market.

Bollywood had rebel voices coming out like Anupam Kher, Raveena, Agnihotri, Pallavi Joshi even Ajay and Kajol. Movies with a different narrative started emerging. We did not know so many Bollywoodiyas had sanatani impulses. We saw a Bahubali (though released in Hindi by KJo) and an Uri become hits.

Even sportspeople started speaking in favour of sanatan dharma and India. The likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Phogat sisters to name a few. Like in the famous Eminem song ,”I’m not afraid, to take a stand”.

We also had voices rising like Anand Ranganathan, Makarand Paranjpe, Abhijit Iyer Mitra in intellectual circles challenging the dominant narrative.

All this started because the people decided to change their minds. They wanted a different narrative and their own voice heard and options emerged. In all these places, politics, movies, journalism, there was the monopoly of a few people with a certain slant. This was challenged by the enlightened masses.

Something similar is happening with the publishing industry. Only a certain set of people held power and only a certain ideology was promoted. The latest example of the book on Delhi riots written by Adv. Monika Arora and others. This was withdrawn by Bloomsbury India publications after “secular” people objected.

This has happened many times in the past. No one bothered. This time there is a rebellion. Ranganathan and bunch of others said they are withdrawing their books from Bloomsbury. They will publish elsewhere. Social media has exploded against Bloomsbury. And Garuda publications has stepped in the publish the Delhi book.

Like the other areas were shaken up, publishing will too. The book and Garuda publications have both got famous now. Let us make them more famous. Alternatives have to and will emerge outside of the cabal in this industry too. Ek dhakka aur do…

Abhijit Kothiwale ©️

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