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With its Anti-India Smears, Forbes is Eroding its Credibility

Shivani Tripathi

Posted on October 5, 2019 17:56

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Forbes, like other mainstream media outlets, has jumped on the bandwagon of libelling India.

Forbes recently published a ridiculous hit piece on India, Prime Minister Modi, and Hinduism. 

Panos Mourdouktas, the author of the article, does not believe that Modi deserved the Global Gatekeeper award for his Swachh Bharat mission. 

The objective of “Swachh Bharat,” which translates to “clean India,” was to completely eliminate public defecation. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation recently awarded Modi for the initiative’s success. 

Back in 2014, 60% of India (550 million people) defecated in the open because they did not have toilets. In just five years, Modi’s government has built over 100 million toilets across the country. Now, 93% of Indians have a toilet in the home. 

The movement has transformed people’s lives in ways we cannot even imagine. In the developed world, we take toilets for granted. We have never experienced the degradation of dignity that comes with public defecation. 

“Swachh Bharat” has been particularly monumental for women. Fearing sexual assault, rural Indian women would wake up at 4 or 5 am to leave the home and relieve themselves. They would not go to the bathroom again until late at night, when most people had gone to sleep. The resulting health consequences and constant discomfort is why several girls dropped out of school. 

Through Swachh Bharat, Modi has uplifted the poor unlike any other Indian leader. However, the Western media continues to diminish his accomplishments. A prime example of this condescension is Mourdouktas’s article entitled “Modi Deserves Praise from the Gates Foundation, not a Prize.”

The first alarm bell is how Mourdoukoutas only references one source -- a professor named Udan Roy -- to make a sweeping conclusion about Swachh Bharat.

Roy believes that Modi warrants “some praise” for “generat[ing] awareness amongst the people for cleanliness.” In my opinion, building over 100 million toilets is a lot more than merely “generating awareness.” 

Roy is also unsure of whether the decline in public defecation “is due to Modi's efforts to build toilets all across India or whether the decline has happened for other reasons, such as progress in income and education generally.” This makes no sense. Even if education and income rates are improving, how would public defecation rates have decreased without access to toilets?

Finally, Roy alleges that public defecation has a religious basis. “Researchers have found that the rate of open defecation is much lower among Muslims because they do not have the outdated ideas of Hindus,” he said.

The article neglects to substantiate this claim -- there is not one Hindu scripture or verse that in any way encourages or condones public defecation. All societies, regardless of the religion, defecated in the open at some point for the same reasons: poverty and a lack of toilets. 

If Mourdoukoutas and Roy were to peddle such insulting falsehoods about any other religion, they would be ousted from academia. But for some reason, it has become acceptable in the mainstream media to malign Hinduism. 

In short, a magazine of Forbes’ repute should at least fact check its articles before publishing. 

 

Shivani Tripathi

Posted on October 5, 2019 17:56

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Source: NDTV

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