Dainik Jagran

Dainik Jagran

cobrapost |
March 26, 2018

Launched in 1942 in Jhansi during the freedom struggle, Dainik Jagran is one of the most read Hindi dailies in the country. With a circulation of 3,632,383, it is published simultaneously from cities of Rewa, Bhopal, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Meerut, Agra, Aligarh, Bareilly and Delhi, with separate editions coming out from Uttarakhand, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. According to the World Association of Newspapers, Dainik Jagran is one of the newspapers in the world with maximum readership.

Launched in 1942 in Jhansi during the freedom struggle, Dainik Jagran is one of the most read Hindi dailies in the country. With a circulation of 3,632,383, it is published simultaneously from cities of Rewa, Bhopal, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Meerut, Agra, Aligarh,  Bareilly and Delhi, with separate editions coming out from Uttarakhand, Haryana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Jammu, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. According to the World Association of Newspapers, Dainik Jagran is one of the newspapers in the world with maximum readership. Over the years, the paper has grown into a multi-faceted group. Although the newspaper began its journey during those days when journalism was subservient to the greater cause of patriotism, it has come to be largely associated with Hindutva over all these years. Therefore, when Pushp Sharma approached Sanjay Pratap Singh, Area Manager for Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, he had anticipated a response on expected lines. However, meeting with Singh turned out to be a revelation in itself as we found him to be an ace several notches above the rest of the pack. Singh not only agreed to run the agenda in his paper but also agreed to work as an agent provocateur to help turn West Bengal into a Hindutva stronghold in coming years with a sustained campaign involving all dirty tricks. As soon Sharma had briefed Singh on his agenda, Singh suggests that the promotion of Hindutva could be done through advertorials which people read with interest and offers the services of his team. Says Singh: “Toh wo ho jayega advertorial form mein toh kya hota hai log parhte hain … aur agar hum pure product advertisement form se bachenge toh log shayad na parhein kahin bhi place kar dein lekin usmein ek attractive power hona chahiye (So, that will go in advertorial form only as people tend to read it … and if we avoid a pure product advertisement form, perhaps people will not read it, you can place it anywhere but it must carry an attractive power).” Tell me your team can help us create such advertorials, asks the journalist. Sure why not. “Kar degi … waisa hum product bana ke de denge (Sure it will help … we will create such a product for you),” assures Singh.

Referring to the mode of payment, the journalist asks Singh if he could pay them partly in cash as the money they have has come in the form of donations. Singh is ready to accommodate that as well: “Haan, haan (Yes, yes).” Paying in cash is always convenient, says Singh, as you don’t have to keep a record and then you don’t have to pay GST.

The second issue is promotion of Hindutva. But before the journalist fulminates on the agenda, Singh tells him reassuringly that his newspaper is a declared votary of Hindutva and goes on to describe how his paper has seen bad days both in Bihar and Jharkhand when hostile governments stopped giving them advertisements. Can you support our efforts in West Bengal, asks the journalist. Singh is ready to lend support: “Haan hum kar denge aap nishchint rahiye. Hum aapko Bengal ka bhi yahin se release kar denge … theek hai. Toh usase kya hoga? Hum jo aapko bolenge wo wahan par log likh ke article bhi de denge hum aapko time to time news bhi dete rahenge (Yes, we will support you, don’t worry. I will release your ad from here itself … okay. What will happen? If you tell us they will write and publish articles for you. We will also publish your news from time to time).” Do you hear? What Singh is suggesting is unmistakably paid news.

But his only condition is payments should be delivered in advance. That agreed, Sharma tells him that they are willing to become offensive in Bengal. Ready to extend help, he says his paper can support his client in perception building: “Poora rahiye … aur hum sab bhi saath denge aapka jo jo chahiyega jahan bhi perception building kee baat hogi hum rahenge aapke saath aap ekdum nishchint rahiye (You should fully … and we all will help you. Whatever you need for perception building we will be with you … you need not to worry at all).” Appreciating his forthcoming approach, the journalist asks him to deploy a couple of journalists to do investigative stories there. “Wo hum karwa denge. Aap humko clue de denge hum kar denge (I will get that done. You give me clues and I will get it done),” says Singh while assuring that he will complement these efforts with wonderful creatives to build the perception among the people there. We will pay you for this extra effort, says the journalist. Agreeing, Singh explains how this extra money will be employed to serve the agenda: “Kuchh toh stringers jayenge jo hidden agenda pe kaam karenge jo news nikalenge. Toh humara bhi aadmi dekhiye internally bhi ek layer lekar ke daudta rah editorial ko usko manage karta hai … koi bhi aadmi iss stage par bina vested interest ke … (Some stingers will go there who will work on that hidden agenda to dig out news. So, some will be internally working on another layer to manage editorial … nobody at this stage does work without vested interest).” Yes, what you say is true, the journalist tells him, we will take care of that.

Insisting that he can get anything anti-establishment published in his paper, Singh reveals more darker sides of his character. It is as revealing as it is shocking to listen to what next he tells us about his abilities: “Ekdum aur doosra hum aapko kahan help karenge personally mere itne saare log hain Bengal mein gents, ladies har form mein hain jo har tareh ka kaam karte hain har tareh ka … aap jaisa boliyega agar kisi ke saath so ke data lena ho toh kar denge (Sure and second I will tell you where I can help you personally. I have a network of people, of gents and ladies, in every form, who can accomplish any task … If you ask them to sleep [with a fellow] and steal the data for you, they will do that as well).”

We had heard and seen this to happen only in reel life, not in the real one!

Singh goes on to tell that even he can deploy people to keep an eye on anybody and come back with a dossier on him!

It means you can help dig out anything from the bureaucracy as well? Yes, why not. Singh informs us that he can collect information of their day-to-day activities for asking. Then can you deploy such spying skills of your network, now the journalist asks for another favour, to target and malign some ministers in the Mamata Banerjee government? Replies Singh with nonchalance of a spymaster: “Wo bhi ho jayega (That will be done).” To get deeper into the mind of Singh, the journalist asks him how best we can go about tarnishing Mamata Banerjee. Singh lays out a strategy which only a fanatically fecund and devious mind like his can fathom: “Mamata Banerjee tarnish ho? Sabse pehle toh apne jo stronghold hain jo Hindu holds hain wahan pe aapke log ghoomein wahan ke social life mein mix karein wahan pe dheere dheere dekhuye sara khel perception ka hai aaj ek player top player hota hai kal neeche chala jata hai aur perception rehta hai usmein media kya kart hai un cheejon ko reassess karti hai … barhati hai aur sath sath articles likhna ye sab cheej mein logon ko rally wally in sab cheej mein logon ko involve karna (Mamata Banerjee is tarnished? First, your people should roam around areas which are Hindu strongholds. They should gradually mix in the local social life. You see the whole game is all about perception. Suppose, someone is a top player today, tomorrow he may go down and there is certain perception about him. What media does is it reassesses those things … yes promotes [that perception], and then writing articles along with that, involving people in rallies and all such activities).”

Appreciating his analytical faculties, the journalist finally asks, tell me which area of the state will be suitable for provocation. Singh has his take on this issue as well: “Provocation wale mamle mein wahan par kariye jahan kam Musalman hain (Indulge in provocation activities only in areas where Muslims are lesser numbers).” Rioting strategy simplied! To see reactions of concerned person click here

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