Hate Watch: Hate poetry that Zee News aired

Divisive and hateful language was made entertaining through Hindi poetry while audience members, including young children, consumed it with joy.

Zee News

Poetry meets or ‘Kavi Sammelan’ are a staple for Hindi news channels. Almost every Hindi news channel has one and they are consistently aired on weekends as special features. A poetry war on surgical strike was aired on Zee News last Sunday. The show called ‘Kya Kehta Hai India’ had poets who spoke about Kashmir, the surgical strike, PM Modi and other politicians who wanted proof of the strike.

The show was introduced with Hariom Panwar, a Hindi Veer-Ras poet, who began his poetry recitation with his polarizing views about Kashmir. He claims that he wrote this poem 28 years ago and had read it in front of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
In his poetry, he said that Kashmir gets its name from Saint Kashyap. He spoke how the problems in Kashmir can only be solved by the soldiers’ guns. “Indian flags are torn in Kashmir, the murderers of Kashmir are set free, traitors are sent food in the mosque, every house has an AK 56, Death to India is written on the chest of Srinagar. Tell Delhi to give the soldiers two days and whichever house doesn’t have an Indian flag will see the worst,” are some of the lines he read in Hindi.
Panwar is a regular face at these poetry meets also called ‘Kavi Sammelan’ and he recites this poetry on other Hindi news channels as well.
Dinesh Raghuvanshi, another poet, said that soldiers will enter Pakistan’s houses and kill them there, in his poetry. He challenged Pakistan to fight India and free the Kashmir land it took over in 1948. He added that all the people who are against the Indian army in Kashmir, those people will not just be taped to the bonnet of the car but all four sides. He questioned Kashmiri’s and asked if they have any respect for the country.
A Kashmiri shawl weaver who voted in the elections for India was tied to an army jeep with a piece of paper stuck to him which said ‘this is the fate of the stone-pelter.’ The army had tied him as a human shield and message against stone-pelters in Kashmir.
Dr. Anamika, a poet, had some of the most extreme views. She said that Kashmir breeds traitors who betray the country and bombs are grown in containers that store the saffron spice. She asks in her poetry that for how long the country will keep sending lions for dogfights. “Remove Section 370[i] and enter every Kashmiri house. Whoever doesn’t hoist the Indian flags, let the heads of those traitors roll,” she says in her poetry.
She aims at Arvind Kejriwal, calls him a coward and sings praises for PM Modi for organizing a successful surgical strike.
An elderly poet, Santosh Anand takes the stage and says that stone-pelters need to be taught the final lesson. Sudeep Bhola was among the other poets that were present but stuck to patriotic poems.
Most of the poets in the Zee News special have recited the same poems on different channels including Aaj Tak.
Many children were a part of this show, which can be seen clearly in the video. A young boy from the audience took the stage to read out his poetry on Indian soldiers. The poetry by all the poets was coloured by the mythology of Lord Ram crossing the sea and burning the Lanka. The divisive rhetoric worked like a charm for the audience which doesn’t know about the litany of crimes committed by the Indian state in Kashmir
Zee News claims that it has more than 150 million viewers and according to the most recent BARC data, Zee News and Aaj Tak are consistently competing for the top two positions in the TRP and viewership ratings in both urban and rural markets. These shows reach more than half the total number of Indian houses in urban and rural locations.
This hatred keeps growing its tentacles to reach every Indian living room without any opposition.


[i] Article 370 has been a favourite whipping boy for the right wing, Sangh Parivar. Kashmir’s Instrument of Accession (signed by a Hindu Maharaja!) articulated this special relationship with the Indian Union: its reflection in Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which laid down that notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, the powers of Parliament to make laws for the state shall be limited to those matters in the Union List and the Concurrent List, which, in consultation with the government of the state, are declared by the President to correspond to matters specified in the Instrument of Accession, and such other matters in the said lists with the concurrence of the state the President may by order specify.
By the way, Article 371G, introduced by the 55th Constitution Amendment Act 1986, provides that no Act of Parliament in respect of the ownership and transfer of land shall apply to the state of Mizoram unless the legislative assembly of Mizoram by a resolution so decides. This provision is identical to Article 370 of the Constitution regarding J & K. The BJP was a party to the above amendment.
Why then does the BJP apply double standards in the case of the Muslim majority state of J & K?.




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