Aastha Manocha has a post-graduate diploma in journalism. She worked for The Indian Express portal for close to two years as a sub-editor. She is young and idealistic in her journalistic pursuit. We don't know what she's doing here either.
Channel Surf – Times Now
Sometimes when you’re faced with inanities in response to the most serious of topics, you just lose it. How long can a man be forced to sit and listen to yet another debate on “Who Headley?” every time 26/11 is mentioned? How long can he watch people who should actually have nowhere to hide their faces, trot about drivel which assumes that the recipient of their great knowledge is actually just a dumbass with no research or knowledge of his own?
Even though I sound like Arnab Goswami right now, I’m not talking about him. I’m talking about Times Now Strategic Affairs Analyst, Maroof Raza. On Monday, India got custody of Abu Hamza a.k.a. Abu Jundal the man whose voice we heard guiding terrorists as they carried on their business during those three bloody days in Mumbai in November 2008.
I was expecting an explosion of noise on Newshour on Times Now with Arnab Goswami, but surprisingly that didn’t happen. Mr Goswami seemed to be a little more subdued than usual. However, this piece is not about him. It’s about Maroof Raza, one of the panelists on Monday night’s episode.
Now, Mr Raza is known for making sharp, solid points without often giving into the chest-thumping patriotism which dominates TV “discussions” on Indo-Pak relations and terrorism. But perhaps he too got tired of sitting through the entire length of Newshour from London, listening to Ahmed Raza Kasuri, Senior Advocate – Pakistan Supreme Court and Major General (Retd) Rashid Qureshi, Former Spokesperson to Parvez Musharraf indulge in all kind of self-righteous defense. Defense which insisted that Hamza is an Indian citizen, that Pakistan hasn’t been given India’s dossier on the Mumbai attacks, and the usual spiel about how Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism.
The strains started showing early on. At one point when there was talk about possible “rogue elements” in Pak’s security and intelligence apparatus Raza just couldn’t control himself. He told the Pakistani panelists – “The Americans have abandoned you, the Saudis have abandoned you, the Chinese have abandoned you, why don’t you abandon the people who embarrass you?”. But this is not even the highlight! The pièce de résistance was later, when he combusted into an angry monologue that made for rare drama with substance on TV screens. Watch.
Raza is someone who doesn’t often raise his voice in keeping with the decibel level rise on Times Now. So if he reaches such levels, you know that the discussion had reached asinine depths. We don’t know whether Times Now chose the Pak panelists to make India look good, or whether the two gentlemen actually believed what they were saying.
By the end of the long tirade, when Raza had reached Balochistan in response to Major Qureshi bringing up Baloch leader Bugti (Even we don’t know what relevance he had here?), Goswami was heard registering his agreement with Raza in between. Probably to remind the audience that the original Mr Combustible was still there! But this time at least, Raza stole that title.
At one point, Kasuri had these pearls of wisdom – “Being a cricketing country, we know only one Headley, he was a fine cricketer from West Indies, but this Headley, you know better.”
Go for him, Raza!