Friday, February 4, 2011

Patrick French on Aarushi

Yesterday, I was reading Patrick French’s writing on the ordeal of Aarushi’s parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, after the murder of their daughter. And that they have nothing to do with the murder of their daughter. If they are innocent, is still in the realm of uncertainty, a sinister travesty of justice is done to Talwars.

I agree with French that the media should have shown restraint by not speculating about the case. But is French here not doing exactly the same? This article is nothing but a bundle of speculation that adds up to give clean chit to the family. As if he is a hired lawyer preparing a brief on behalf of the Talwars. The factual premise of the essay, the hard facts, or in journalistic parlance what we call as the ‘meat’ is conspicuous in its absence. I wonder how French is so sure of their innocence? Of course, he knows something more than the CBI and the local police and everyone else who have investigated the case for the last two and a half years.

French’s essay on this issue is embarrassingly weak in argument. Rajesh and Nupur should take the credit of this essay, as half of it is verbatim reproduction of their version. That too is craftily selective to create the intended effect on the minds of the readers. He has asked no hard questions to Talwars, in fact he has asked no questions at all. He has a blind faith in them. Or as they say faith is often blind. He has conveniently ignored a huge pile of evidences that point to some role of the ‘insiders’ as a disgusting police conspiracy. He is trying to connect wrong dots to create a misleading 'portrait.'[The essay on Aarushi's murder is a chapter  Patrick French's authored book---India: A Portrait ]

He accuses Indian media of using their reach to malign the family, but to make this point he uses the same media, in the same manner that he is critical of: speculative, biased and misleading. Two media organisation batted for Talwars: NDTV and Tehelka. Talwars had hired agents who would brief other media house about their version of the story. I was contacted by one such agent.

Coming back to French, okay granted that he knows more than the rest of us that Talwars are innocent. Granted. But hinting that servants killed the girl without bothering to look at the case details or meeting the cops investigating the case or even the families of the three domestic help, is highly irresponsible. And seems this conclusion is very convenient to him. It is a classical case of an irresponsible writing. Big writers have a bigger responsibility. French would and should know this.

But by writing this essay on Aarushi, French has assured that people will buy his new book ‘India: A Portrait.’ If this chapter on Aarushi murder is any indicative of rest of the book (though I have a copy of the book sitting on my bookshelf, I will make it a point not to read the book as a protest for misleading a trusting nation).

There is no doubt in my mind; this book an example of lazy work is devoid of research, objectivity and understanding of dynamics of a complex country like India. The Portrait is of course going to be misleading.

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