Tuesday, December 6, 2022
HomeOpinionPoVWinning a Pulitzer is not 'anti-national'. Photographs don’t lie or judge

Winning a Pulitzer is not ‘anti-national’. Photographs don’t lie or judge

Pulitzer awards the best in journalism. But many in India were troubled when three Kashmiris — Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand — won the prize this year.

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Guess what just got added to the list of things you could do to be termed an anti-national in India? Win a Pulitzer Prize. Or if we’re being specific, appreciate a Kashmiri winning the Pulitzer Prize.

After three photojournalists from Jammu and Kashmir — Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan and Channi Anand — were awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize, India’s Right-wing bandwagon was very troubled by people appreciating their efforts to bring out stories from the conflict zone. It seems that an international committee lauding the efforts of three Kashmiri photojournalists became too much for the Right-wing to digest.

So, the Right-wing did what it does best with things it doesn’t like — call it anti-national. But it forgot that the Pulitzer celebrates the best in journalism, not political positions and causes. These three photographers documented what was happening on the ground, they were not making political statements. That is the duty of journalists. Pictures don’t lie or judge — they capture a moment.


Also Read: Times Now, Republic attack Rahul for Pulitzer comment & Sudhir Chaudhary’s ‘sharaab’ woes


International recognition

But the problem for those critiquing the Pulitzer for three Kashmiri photographers perhaps lay elsewhere.

Modi’s Hindu nationalist army of followers loves international recognition when it comes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi – even Time magazine cover articles and The New York Times op-eds are celebrated. Even PM Modi chose The New York Times to write an op-ed on Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. Bill Gates awarding Narendra Modi is a good thing, but a Pulitzer Prize is an anti-India act. It tied itself into several knots – are these photographer Indian or Kashmiri? After all, they spend the whole day saying Kashmir is an integral, inalienable part of India. But clearly, in their narrow worldview, Kashmiris aren’t.

For all the loudmouths, I have one thing to say, pick your battles. Is your problem that these journalists chose to document the sorry state of affairs created in the Valley by the actions of your esteemed government? Or is it that you can’t stand other international committees recognising and rewarding people for documenting it?


Also Read: Times Now, Republic attack Rahul for Pulitzer comment & Sudhir Chaudhary’s ‘sharaab’ woes


‘Anti-national’ Rahul Gandhi 

The Pulitzer awarded to Kashmiri journalists was already a great hit to the Indian Right-wing ego. But things turned especially sour after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi stirred controversy, knowingly or unknowingly, by offering his congratulations to the ‘Indian’ photojournalists for their ‘powerful’ images of life in the Valley.

However, even that couldn’t save him from the wrath of the favourite spokespersons of the Bharatiya Janata Party and IT cell managers.

BJP’s spokesperson Sambit Patra, otherwise known for his vile comments on prime time TV debates, unsurprisingly took serious offence to Gandhi’s congratulatory comments. Patra referred to a particular ‘citation’ of the Pulitzer awards, which claimed that these journalists were awarded the prize for “striking images of life in the contested territory of Kashmir as India revoked its independence, executed through a communications blackout”.

Everyone could already sense the next question on Patra’s mind, “Mr Rahul, is Kashmir an integral part of India?” Naturally, many others, like BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya jumped on the bandwagon and asked Rahul to clear his stance on Kashmir.


Also Read: 3 photojournalists win Pulitzer for Kashmir coverage. Here’s list of Indians who won in past


A new level of ‘whataboutery’ 

‘Whataboutery’ has become the Right-wing’s favourite weapon to push propaganda on social media. But the Pulitzer announcement has taken it to a whole new level.

An unnecessary dose of whataboutery brings false equivalences and counterfactuals to the table. Apart from these obvious problems, the Indian Right-wing seems to have forgotten some of the lessons it has preached.

After the dilution of Article 370, Prime Minister Modi and his party members have gone to different lengths to assert that Kashmiris must be treated like our brothers and sisters. Apart from that, on many occasions, the Right-wing has claimed that all Kashmiris are Indians and must be welcomed like that.

Despite these stances in the past, the Indian Right-wing seems to have fallen into their own trap. It wants us to view Kashmiris as Indians generally, but not when they win a Pulitzer.

Some also demanded that India start its own Pulitzer Prize because they simply couldn’t agree with the choice of its selection committee. Others shared pictures of CRPF men with Kashmiris and complained that these won’t win awards because it ‘doesn’t fit a narrative’.

But before an Indian Pulitzer, let’s celebrate our awardees this year and the many more journalists deserving of such awards — the people who have set the standards of what free press should look like.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. What if a terrorist kill innocent Indian will that photo be given Pulitzer. It’s only west’s anti India mindset… What will happen guess.. If photo of a American custom officer ruthlessly inquiring a Muslim man . Mr journalist seems you are a…. MOPL(member of Pakistan lobby)

  2. Ms.Grewal,
    By taking your article into reference, you are trying to say that Indian Govt did a anti human thing after abrogating article 370.

    However, one of the picture which won the Pultizer prize was shot way before that.
    It was also featured in an article by Gulf News.
    https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2019/05/31/three-killed-in-kashmir-militant-gunbattle
    Would you like to say something about that too ?
    And btw picture is not lying but someone clearly seems to be misleading.

  3. People like Grewal would be happy if Kashmir is separated from India. That qualifies her to be termed anti-national. And any separation from India will lead to Kashmir’s distruction by the Pakis and Chinese. Hopefully she’s aware how they have sold parts of POK and Baluchistan to the Chinese and how they brutally repress the Kashmiris and Baluchis. So that qualifies her to be called anti-Kashmiri.

  4. Honestly the photograph looks very ordinary and seems to say nothing worthwhile. That apart, the citation is so grossly incorrect, factually. Without doubt, it smacks of a poorly done paid job.

  5. First line of your article clearly showed how misguided you are, The issue was is and will never be about a Kashmiri winning award or anyone being termed anti-national this is all rubbish.
    What you clearly did not understand is why does a photo that perpetuates violence, which depicts how misguided the youths are in Kashmir win a prize and not the photos from Kashmir itself depicting an old person expressing his gratitude towards our Army or a woman who is grieving because of the fact that terrorist had victimized her family doesn’t get a chance.
    Isn’t bold photography which gets featured in these award functions.
    In the picture, it was shown Indian Occupied Kashmir?? Kashmir is an integral part of India there is no occupation there

  6. The issue is not that the photographer’s won. The issue is that they depicted Kashmir as contested in the pic. The caption conveys meaning to the pic. The pic of a person jumping on an army patrol could also be depicted as ‘unlawful acts of citizens trying to stop officials from maintaining peace egged on by false claims and propoganda by Pak’. That would have given an entirely different meaning than one shared by the photographers. The claim that photographers do not judge is total BS. They do and are equal to or more influential than reporters – because a picture says a 1000 words

  7. We all know that most of these international prize are driven by politics, and nothing more than that. We know that Pakistani lobyy is currently on over drive to paint wrong picture of India and most probably they have some how selling their story via left liberal channel. We have seen Jermy Corbon and Bernie Sanders raising Kashmir issue under influemce of their Paksitani supporters. So this prizes are not just as simple as they look.

  8. its not that the RW is not happy that indians have won the pulitzer prize. its the biased narrative the Pulitzer wants to take and some indians (inclu. Rahul Gandhi) facilitate the process. its true that photos dont judge but they do VIRTUE SIGNALLING. and pulitzer, Leli gang want to herd the people into that narrative.
    There many RW who empathise with kashimiris families who lost their members , and equally empathise with the soldiers families who lost their members. A loss is a loss… these photographs dont show the other side. its like my pain is more importnat than your pain …
    It s unfortunate the Ashoka’s pass outs dont want to see this distinctions….we lost hope with JNU pass outs…

  9. They wrote that…
    Indian occupied kashmir and free kashmir
    They are anti national and this page is also anti national

  10. Miss Grewal this entire OPed made me chuckle a bit after realising that you resorted to those typical libturd gimmicks, one need to be a Right or a left winger to call out the Pulitzer committee who called J&K ‘indian occupied Kashmir’ and have disdain due to the same, maybe for you adhering to ideology is above the integrity of India or maybe passively you support the tomfoolery which Pulitzer was trying to subliminally to the World after they are on the same track ideologically as you are and it seems that your vested interests are above the nation, sorry that’s not what my culture and heritage taught me, you guys feel bad when someone calls you an anti national for your treasonous “reporting” which any individual with a clear mind and 2 braincells can make out then kindly tell us a milder substitute to it we will gladly call you by that, they literally had chance to portray the martyrdom of our soldiers and security personnel and what not but what message did they rather subliminally tried to pass on? Don’t act dumb you are wise enough to understand it’s an entire ecosystem which had hijacked the entire concept of morality since post WW-II era which you, the Pulitzer’s and various other institutions and bodies are a part of and sorry to say the BS they portrayed was a mockery of our defence forces and a false allegations which like minded people of yours keep peddling.

  11. The Pulitzer award this year to the 3 Indian photographers, was very political. It wasn’t just about photography. The Pulitzer committee used words like “contested” and “independence”. There is absolutely no need or justification to use that language. If the three Indians had any sense of patriotism, they would refuse the award.

  12. The objection by what you’ll the rightwing, as I understood, is to the citation accompanying the awards.
    “…. contested territory of Kashmir as India revoked its independence, executed through a communications blackout” . This is definitely contrary to the resolution adopted in the Parliament of India and the stated position of India
    Therefore, any Indian citizen accepting this citation is insulting the resolutions adopted by the Parliament of India.
    For Rahul Gandhi to congratulate the event, implicitly endorses the citation and is therefore an insult to the Parliamentary resolution.

    He would do well to clarify that he does not endorse the citation.

  13. My only regret is seeing that person, lunging in the air to hit security vehicle and then, may be still alive.

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