Thursday, 08 September 2011 15:12Written by Dilip Mandal
by Dilip Mandal, translated from Hindi by Ritu Ranjan Kumar
[A set of unverified gossipy statements about the UP Chief Minister Mayawati from unnamed journalists forms the basis of the WikiLeaks cables released a few days ago. Yet, the Indan media went to town about the contents being the truth. For, it only extended the Indian media's sustained gender, caste, class stereotyped campaign on the UP Chief minister, Mayawati- Round Table India]
Look at what is in the Wiki cable and how media misinterpreted it:
(Some journalists from UP supplied several pieces of information to the US Ambassador and based on that information, the Ambassador sent a report to Washington, which is now shamelessly being projected as a major leak by WikiLeaks. This is not a leak by WikiLeaks: instead it's a set of statements made by the UP journalists in the year 2008.)
Assessing the political atmosphere in Uttar Pradesh just before the (2009) Lok Sabha elections, the US Political Consul to India wrote a report. Later, he sent his confidential report to the US Government. The report is dated 23 October 2008. This confidential cable got leaked by WikiLeaks on 30 August 2011. Immediately after realizing that Mayawati is mentioned in the leaked cable, the Indian media gathered together like hungry wolves and started spreading sensational and misleading news about Mayawati. The most observable headlines in media are as follows:
Mayawati sent empty jet to Mumbai for sandals: WikiLeaks (Times of India)
Mayavati sent her plane for her sandals (Dainik Hindustan)
Mayawati sent empty jet to Mumbai for sandals: Wikileaks (Economic Times)
BSP chief a 'first-rate egomaniac' (Indian Express)
WikiLeaks: Mayawati's 'eccentric paranoia' included 9 cooks, 2 tasters (NDTV)
Maya sent plane for her sandals (Navbharat Times)
Mayawati brought sandals in a private jet from Mumbai: Wikileaks (Samaylive)
Mayawati sent jet to fetch sandals: WikiLeaks (IBN Live)
And what these items of news contained was:
* 'She constructed a private road from her residence to her office, which is cleaned immediately after her multiple vehicle convoy reaches its destination," the cable said in an analysis of her "eccentricities, whims and insecurities'.
* It added an account of Mayawati making a state minister do sit-ups in front of her as punishment for a minor protocol error, and reported it cost $250,000 to run as a BSP parliamentary candidate due to 'institutionalized corruption'.
* Wikileaks cable says that 'she appointed food tasters to taste food meant for her. This employee tastes food before it's served to her ensure it's not poisoned'.
* Wikileaks cable says she constructed a private road from her residence to her office, which is cleaned immediately after her multiple vehicle convoy reaches its destination
* The US embassy cables from the year 2007-2009 have described Mayawati as 'a first-rate egomaniac' and paranoid about her security. The cable also said that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister is obsessed with becoming prime minister.
* 'When she needed new sandals, her private jet flew empty to Mumbai to retrieve her preferred brand,' said the US embassy cable.
* 'She fears assassination and demanded from the central government the highest level of protection available. In addition to this outsized security apparatus, she constructed a private road from her residence to her office, which is cleaned immediately after her multiple vehicle convoy reaches its destination,' said the cable.
Does WikiLeaks say all these? Who is 'revealing' these things? The diplomatic cable sent to Washington should be read very carefully in its original form. Let the truth be established and the lies be exposed. Please go through excerpts of the cable:
1. Mulford does not say anything himself. He is only quoting the views of several Lucknow based journalists:
"According to several journalists, the law and order situation in UP has improved only in that Mayawati has centralized corruption in her own hands. She has become a virtual paranoid dictator replete with food tasters and a security entourage to rival a head of state"
It can be easily observed that the matter related to "food tasters" has been said on behalf of some journalists. Now, in the year 2011 journalists present the opinions of their own class as a 'WikiLeaks' revelation', thus sensationalizing the issue.
2. Another issue which is being broadcast by the media as a WikiLeaks' revelation is as follows:
One Lucknow journalist related a story in which a State Minister was forced to do sit-ups in front of her as penance for not first asking permission to call on UP's governor. Mayawati forced a civil servant to resign when she learned his daughter had joined the Congress Party in Delhi.
3. The basis of the information in this cable is explained in the cable itself. The US diplomat has honestly mentioned the sources. But, the Indian media is not honest enough to mention the source of the information in the cable:
Poloff traveled to three cities in Uttar Pradesh (UP) during the week of October 13-17 to gauge the political state of play. A wide range of business, political, academic and media contacts generally agreed that Chief Minister Mayawati and her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have done little to promote development since her May 2007 election.
4. Mulford reports on the basis of the same sources:
Mayawati's full majority victory in May 2007 UP State Assembly elections left her beholden to no one and has allowed her to act on her eccentricities, whims and insecurities. When she needed new sandals, her private jet flew empty to Mumbai to retrieve her preferred brand. According to Lucknow journalists, she employs nine cooks (two to cook, the others to watch over them) and two food tasters. She fears assassination and demanded from the central government the highest level of protection available. In addition to this outsized security apparatus, she constructed a private road from her residence to her office, which is cleaned immediately after her multiple vehicle convoy reaches its destination.
It is clear that whatever views journalists expressed to Mulford became the basis of the report sent to Washington and later got released by WikiLeaks. And the shameless Indian media is presenting this cable as 'WikiLeaks revelations'.
WikiLeaks, the website owned by Julian Assange has only released and made public the US diplomatic cable. But the manner in which the Indian media has sensationalized and propagandized and spread rumors about this issue is a real shameful act. One is free to criticize Mayawati, there is no problem at all. But to criticize her, the shield of WikiLeaks' trustworthiness must not be exploited.