Vaidik: 15 mins of fame vs indefinite infamy










Ved Pratap Vaidik meeting with    26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan

By Ashok Kumar

Did you know who Ved Pratap Vaidik was before his controversial meeting with JuD chief Hafiz Saeed or for that matter that he was part of the delegation to Pakistan? Vaidik claims he, as a journalist had all the rights to meet /interview Saeed. Yes, he is right that as a journalist he needs no permission from any one in India for the meeting.  But it seems impossible in Pakistan that he can get access to the controversial figure who  is wanted in US, India and the UN. His 15 minutes of fame soon transformed into indefinite infamy.

More than the meeting, it is the comments he made on Kashmir in an interview to The Dawan News that should be of more concern to India. No political leader in the country has ever talked about “independence to Kashmir” in clear terms.   Though Vaidik denies that he said so but he only talked about autonomy to Kashmir as a solution to end the rift between India and Pakistan.

In the light of the above was the statement in Pak media a trigger for the rushed meeting with Saeed? As Vaidik put it that it was organised on the spur of the moment and wasn’t pre-planned. That seems a bit odd and put doubt over his meeting with Saeed as a journalist.

Several controversial figures have been interviewed before.  Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Mao Zedong all have been interviewed when they were at the peak of power. Their interviews were published in the newspapers they were meant for. Interview with Saeed is no problem but where is it? The media articles on Vaidik suggest that he is not in the league of H R Knickerbocker of Chicago Tribune or Dorothy Thomson of Cosmopolitan who interviewed Adolf Hitler. Or well known journalist Emil Ludwig who interviewed Mussolini or H G Wells who could interview Joseph Stalin.

Eminent writers doubt the journalistic capabilities of Vaidik.  The above mentioned journalists won accolades in their countries for the interviews with their betenoirs. Vaidik also seeks the same felicitation from his countrymen. But did he ask Saeed about his role in Mumbai blasts or instigating terrorism on Indian soil??? There seems no indication of that. As a journalist, anyone who gets the opportunity to interview Saeed would have jumped at it and published the interview. But Vaidik did not do so. He instead, in his interviews, to media talks about his conversation with Saeed about  Modi’s marital Status or Saeed’s three wives or whether he would protest against Modi’s trip to Pakistan.

Now, this could hardly be the reason for Vaidik-Saeed meeting. There must be more than meets the eye. Given the past of Vaidik, his works in journalism speak of his political commentaries on issues like Afghanistan, spread of Hindi and how a Hindi newspaper should look like and on Lanka affairs. But notably nothing on Pakistan.

Why the Government is silent on the issue and simply washing its hands off the episode? Is it because Vaidik was handpicked by Modi tobe included in the delegation . What was the motive behind his inclusion? The BJO known for its sharp tongue on such issues is silent since he is a BJP supporter!!

The opposition has framed charges against  him of having links with RSS, his closeness with Yoga Guru Ramdev. But we cannot arrest him for that. The Government on the other hand has absolved itself of all the charges of assisting or knowing of his meeting with Saeed. There is need of thorough investigation of the whole episode or Mr. Vaidik himself can set the controversy to rest by at least publishing his interview with Saeed to prove his journalistic credentials.

(Ashok Kumar is a well known Hindustan Times journalist who resides in Sydney and  runs a reputed and a popular  website  The Indian Sub-continent Times  )


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