A Facebook post has gone viral where journalist and anchor Ravish Kumar can be seen saying, “Concerning economy, are we getting overly sad or whining about it? It is important because, among all the growing economies across the globe, most of them are not even developing at the pace of five percent.”
“कहीं हम जरूरत से ज़्यादा, यह भी एक महत्त्वपूर्ण बात है, दुखी या रोंदू तो नहीं हो रहे हैं अर्थव्यवस्था को लेकर | क्योंकि दुनिया की जो तमाम अर्थव्यवस्थाएं हैं उनमें बहुत कम देश है जो पांच प्रतिशत की रफ़्तार से भी बढ़ रहे हैं |”
As soon as this ends, the other portion of the video in the split-screen starts playing. In this part, Kumar can be seen criticizing the recent economic slowdown. “The Indian economy is not in a good state. Despite the best efforts made to hide the real situation, today’s GDP numbers have finally exposed the wounds. GDP at five percent has confirmed that India is in the midst of a severe economic crisis.”
“भारत की अर्थव्यवस्था अच्छी स्थिति में नहीं है | इससे छिपाने की तमाम कोशिशों के बीच आज जीडीपी के आंकड़ों ने ज़ख़्म को बाहर ला दिया | पांच प्रतिशत की जीडीपी इस बात की पुष्टि करती है की भारत की अर्थव्यवस्था मंदी की चपेट में आ चुकी है |”
And as the video clip approaches its end, a different clip where he had said, “बड़ा मुश्किल होता है अपनी वैल्यूज़ को बचाए रखना” (It is really hard to keep your values) has been added to the clip for giving it a satirical end.
The social media has been flooded with the video clip since yesterday.
You can watch the Facebook post below and its archived version can be accessed here.
A few twitter posts below. Several right-wing handles have also been sharing it.
See the archived version here.
Access archived version of the above post here.
The same video clip was shared by Vivek Agnihotri, a filmmaker. The tweet can be seen below and for archived version click here.
A BJP leader Kapil Sharma tweeted:
Deepak Chaurasia, consulting editor of Nation TV, has also tweeted the same misleading video. He wrote, “Congratulations my friend Ravish Kumar for winning Ramon Magsaysay award. Sending you a video sent by viewers in honor. (मेरे मित्र रवीश कुमार को रोमन मैंग्सेसे मिलने पर हार्दिक बधाई । दर्शकों द्वारा भेजा गया एक वीडियो आपके सम्मान में भेज रहा हूँ ।(Sic) in the caption and took a dig at Ravish Kumar.
The first clip had been uploaded on the official NDTV website on February 27, 2013, i.e. six years ago. In the original video, Kumar starts with bytes of several leaders, businessmen, and economists. They are all critical about the economic slowdown that the country was facing ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in May 2014. The show focused on the crisis – drought, low foreign investment, high imports and low exports – all sectors performing poorly. Kumar’s show known as Prime Time on NDTV India, came on the day the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram presented the economic survey report 2012-13 in parliament,
What exactly were his words?
After the bytes of politicians, economists, and businessmen ended, Kumar started the show in his usual style and said, “The present condition of the Indian economy is not good. In the future, it is expected to be fine. On comparing past figures when India had been developing at the rate of 8 or 9 percent, present indicators of the economy seem like slow news.”…
“वर्तमान काल में देश की आर्थिक स्थिति ठीक नहीं है | भविष्य काल में ठीक होने का अनुमान है | भूतकाल से तुलना करने पर यानी जब भारत 8 या 9 प्रतिशत की दर से आगे जा रहा था अर्थव्यवस्था का हर सूचकांक धीमी गति के समाचार की तरह प्रतीत हो रहा है…”
This is the starting segment of the video. From the mark of 3 minutes till the 7th-minute mark, Ravish had analyzed the economic survey report and the measures that were suggested by the then government. Kumar also goes on to state the government’s claims on the steps they plan to take to resolve the slowdown. This whole episode was telecast a day before UPA’s last budget which was followed by 2014 LS polls.
Before the viral and misleading part of the video, he said: “Budget is going to be presented in the backdrop of the economic survey or will the government present the budget keeping in mind that they need 272 seats to form the government.”
“बजट तीन सौ पन्ने के सर्वे से बनेगा या सरकार बनाने के लिए जरूरी 272 की संख्या को ध्यान में रखकर”
Kumar then goes on to say what is now being quoted in the video: “Concerning economy, are we getting overly sad or whining about it? It is important because, among all the growing economies across the globe, most of them are not even developing at the pace of five percent. So, these all questions we are going to discuss in today’s Prime Time…”
“कहीं हम जरूरत से ज़्यादा, यह भी एक महत्त्वपूर्ण बात है, दुखी या रोंदू तो नहीं हो रहे हैं अर्थव्यवस्था को लेकर | क्योंकि दुनिया की जो तमाम अर्थव्यवस्थाएं हैं उनमें बहुत कम देश है जो पांच प्रतिशत की रफ़्तार से भी बढ़ रहे हैं |तो इस सब सवालों पर हम बात करेंगे आज प्राइम टाइम में…”
It is very clear that Kumar was setting the stage for a TV debate about the state of the economy and was not his final analysis. During the 45-minute-long episode, Kumar was also critical of the then Congress spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam, who had taken part in the debate.
Excerpts from the discussion between Nirupam and Ravish Kumar is below:
Ravish: Sanjay why don’t we consider this document as a result of failed economic policies of your [UPA] government, whichever sector you pick is in crisis? Calling it a global crisis not going to solve the problem, sir.
Sanjay Nirupam: Ravish, first of all, I would like to say that the booklet or book whatever you call it, you are holding in your hands of the economic survey report is not the policy statement. It is the documentation of the year’s economic situation… We are sailing through a crisis, indeed, but India will never become a goat from a lion.
Ravish: See, you have explained the broader perspective really well, but what I am saying, is anyone going to take the responsibility? Since 2004, a stable coalition government is running, you explained other parts well but why your fiscal deficit has increased then?
(The experts have been translated from the show above. Nowhere in the discussion, he seems to have been easy on Sanjay Nirupam)
BOOM contacted Ravish Kumar for a comment on the viral posts. He said and we quote him, “जब भी मुझसे जुड़ा कोई मौका आता है आई टी सेल बदनाम करने का मटीरियल ले आता है। दुख होता है कि जानते हुए भी पत्रकार और लोग झाँसे में आ जाते हैं। एक और बार साबित होता है कि मेरे पीछे कितनी बड़ी शक्तियाँ लगी हैं । उन्हें आज शाम का कोई शो देख लेना चाहिए जो गोदी मीडिया पर आने वाला होगा। पत्रकारिता की शर्मनाक स्थिति पर बहुत कुछ मिल जाएगा |”
“IT cell never misses a chance to demean me. It is saddening that journalists and people know the truth, still, they fall prey to such material. It is once again proved that serious and extreme powers are behind me. They should watch any program tonight on Godi media. They will find material on the poor and shameful state of journalism”
Second video clip
The original video was uploaded a week ago on August 30, 2019. This came after the government announced that the GDP fell to five percent again and a further slowdown is expected. You can watch the whole video below where he is talking about what the unemployed and businessmen (middle and lower-middle groups) are saying. The video was cropped and attached to the six-year-old one to project Kumar in bad light. You can see the cropped part in the initial thirty seconds of the episode below.
In the episode, where Kumar talked about figures given by the National Statistical Office, it is evident that the well-known anchor of Hindi news television was as critical in 2013 as he is now.