The New York Times Report Suggests India was Partitioned from Pakistan – Dumb Mistake or Insidious Mischief?

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NYT, the perennial purveyor of bad journalism, does it again…. by suggesting that India was “partitioned from Pakistan”

For far too long has the New York Times projected itself as some kind of self-appointed “arbiter of truth.” Lately, this carefully crafted image has begun to crumble as one insider after another has shone the light on the inside workings of this institution. [1,2] Here’s a telling excerpt from a May 28, 2022, article by Jinit Jain [3]:

“Factual accuracy and respect for truth are not among the strong suits of the American news daily, New York Times. For decades now, it has revelled in the art of peddling fake news, disseminating propaganda, and patronising countries it deemed deserving of civilising pontification, even to the extent of appearing prejudiced, arrogant and outright stupid.”

What has drawn Jain’s ire is a recent report published in the New York Times [4] suggesting that India was carved out of the “partition of Pakistan.” The NYT report was about the Hindi novel “Tomb of Sand” by Geetanjali Shree, which has been in the news for winning the Booker Prize. The book is about an Indian woman who decided to visit Pakistan, a country that did not exist until 1947, when it was carved out of India by the British colonial rulers. However, the article twisted the facts and suggested that India was formed by the partition of Pakistan! The relevant excerpt from the NYT article is shown in the accompanying image.

Under normal circumstances, one would tend to overlook a faux pas like this one as an unfortunate editorial oversight. However, given this paper’s long history of habitual misrepresentation of Hinduism, Hindus, and India [1,5], such misreporting cannot be swept aside as another piece of bad journalism. Partition was a major traumatic event in India’s recent history where some two million lives were lost, and more than ten million were uprooted from their homes. The partition itself was preceded by a series of religious riots instigated by one man, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, whose only motivation was to preside over a piece of land amputated out of undivided India. With such a traumatic backdrop, the twisted reporting of facts by the New York Times is tantamount to rewriting history and transferring the blame for the partition to India.

Here’s how HinduPACT, a US-based Hindu advocacy organization, looks upon NYT’s report [6]:

By claiming that India was partitioned from #Pakistan, the @nytimes in a recent article, endorsed the dangerous narrative of “Ghazwa-e-Hind”, an Islamist doctrine that believes in a historic war for the Muslim conquest of India.

This errant newspaper owes a big apology to India and the Hindus everywhere for such gross misrepresentation of historical facts. However, I will not be among the ones holding their breath for an apology to come any time soon…if ever!

Postscript: A rare admission of mistake!

As the saying goes, one should never say “never!”

After sustaining a barrage of criticism on social media, the New York Times finally decided that its version of the narrative about India’s partition was not selling well. On June 2, it issued a one-sentence matter-of-fact correction to the effect that its description of the partition of British India was incorrect. India was not partitioned out of Pakistan; it was Pakistan that was carved out of India.

For the New York Times, a correction on Indic matters is an extremely rare event. We welcome it, even if it was done under duress!


Citations
  1. The Deep Rot at the New York Times — Explore and Expose Hindudvesha
  2. New York Times: An Insider View of the Rot Within — Explore and Expose Hindudvesha
  3. The New York Times outdoes itself in stupidity, says India was partitioned ‘from Pakistan’ – Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (hindujagruti.org)
  4. ‘Tomb of Sand’ Wins International Booker Prize, a First for a Hindi Novel – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
  5. New York Times: A Icon of Agenda-Driven Journalism — Explore and Expose Hindudvesha
  6. HinduPACT on Twitter: “1/2. By claiming that India was partitioned from #Pakistan, the @nytimes in a recent article, endorsed the dangerous narrative of “Ghazwa-e-Hind”, an Islamist doctrine that believes in a historic war for the Muslim conquest of India. Popular only amongst designated terrorist … https://t.co/oodiAKwoGL” / Twitter

Dr. Jai Bansal is a retired scientist, currently serving as the VP Education for the World Hindu Council of America (VHPA)