ABC claims Ashoka “lost” for millennia
Mainstream media lying and censorship are major causes of the current global economic and climate crises. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (the ABC, Australia’s equivalent of the UK BBC) has, like the BBC, built up an appalling record of Anglo-centric censorship and mal-reportage by omission and commission. However in recent weeks it has exceeded itself in terms of hubris and insistence on publishing the absurdly incorrect. Ashoka is one of India’s most famous rulers but the ABC Late Night Live (LNL) radio program insists that he has been “lost” to the world for 2,000 years and has deleted 6 successive posts on its websites attempting to correct this absurdly incorrect assertion.
The ABC has a longstanding intellectual radio interview program called Late Night Live) (LNL) that is hosted by one Phillip Adams, a middle of the road, 73 year old Australian journalist, farmer and broadcaster who describes himself as a “leftie” while paradoxically also writing a column for The Australian newspaper, the flagship of the extreme right–wing, climate change denialist, pro-war, US-owned Murdoch media empire. One supposes that the ABC, LNL audiences are, like Phillip Adams, liberal, pro-Humanity intellectuals. However the ABC swung to the right under former conservative PM John Howard with LNL surviving as a rare avenue for liberal, pro-Humanity, intellectual opinion. Nevertheless LNL has evidently also been affected by this lurch to the right.
The horrible reality is that rich, prosperous, well-educated Australia like other Western democracies has become a Neocon American and Zionist Imperialist-subverted and perverted Murdochracy and Lobbyocracy in which Big Money buys politicians, parties, policies, public perception of reality and votes. The dangerous perversion of truth by Australian Mainstream media, including the ABC, involves extraordinary lying by omission, lying by commission and censorship that one would normally associate with totalitarian societies.
Similar censorship and blocking is also applied by the taxpayer-funded, Australian universities-backed and Australian academic-based web magazine The Conversation (see “Censorship by The Conversation”), and an organization that has the backing of the University of Melbourne, Monash University, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, the University of Western Australia, the University of Technology Sydney and CSIRO. Both Australian and overseas students should ask themselves why they should waste their money on education in institutions linked to egregious censorship.
On 25 July 2012 the ABC-LNL broadcast a program entitled “India’s lost emperor Ashoka” in which author Charles Allen was interviewed over his book “Ashoka: the search for India’s lost emperor”. Now Ashoka might well have been “lost” for some Western scholars and needed “re-discovery” but for ordinary Indians Ashoka is one of their most famous rulers and indeed a ruler who ruled over much of what became the British Raj 2,000 years later. Similarly, while Australian school children are taught that James Cook discovered Eastern Australia, a moment’s thought makes us realize that Indigenous Australians, who have lived in Australia for 50,000 years, would have been the first to make the discovery and that Australia hadn’t actually been “lost” or “disappeared” for 50,000 years...
As Samanth Subramanian stated in a review of Allen’s book in the UK Guardian (16 March 2012): “It is difficult to imagine a life as full of grandeur and drama as that of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, but it is more difficult still to imagine how such a life could ever have been lost or forgotten. From 270BC to 233BC, Ashoka ruled every part of the subcontinent except for India's southernmost tip, an empire larger than that of any Indian ruler before or since; his influence spilled even further abroad, into Sri Lanka and past the furthest border of present-day Afghanistan. He shepherded the rise of one of the world's major religions [Buddhism], and in a remarkable U-turn, he transformed himself from a callous conqueror into an intelligent and pacific ruler.”
My book “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (now available for free perusal on the Web) contains an avoidable mortality-related history of every country in the world since Neolithic times and devotes several lines to King Ashoka and the Mauryan dynasty: “Chandragupta of Magadha ousted the Greek invaders and founded the Mauryan Empire; 274-232BC, Ashoka extended the Mauryan Empire over nearly all India; 185BC, Mauryan collapse”.
Nevertheless the ABC, LNL program declares: “Emperor Ashoka was an advocate of non-violence and religious tolerance, credited with forming India as a nation state and with taking Buddhism to the wider world. Then his story disappeared for 2000 years.”
I posted the following comment on the ABC-LNL website but the ABC subsequently completely removed it:
“Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Dynasty was an immense figure in Indian history, was one of its greatest emperors, ruled most of India, facilitated the spread of Buddhism - and was hardly "lost for 2,000 years".
While Ashoka supposedly murdered all his 99 brothers (of Gideon's 71 sons supposedly only 1 survived), butchered 500 of his advisers, butchered 500 concubines and devastated Kalinga (Orissa and north coastal Andhra Pradesh in Eastern India) (100,000 soldiers and citizens killed, 150,000 deported) he evidently turned over a new leaf.
Unlike Ashoka who killed a mere 100,000 in the Kalinga War, the British rulers 2,000 years later were responsible for 1.8 billion avoidable Indian deaths from imposed deprivation over 2 centuries, with 10 million butchered in violent reprisals after the 1857 Rebellion (see Amaresh Misra, "War of Civilizations: 1857 AD"). Atrocities impacting Orissa in particular were the 1769-1770 Bengal Famine (10 million dead; Orissa severely impacted), the 1866 Orissa Famine (750,000 died) and the 1942-1945 Bengali Holocaust in which the British deliberately starved to death 6-7 million Indians in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Assam (Australia was complicit by withholding relief from its huge grain stores from starving India) (see my book "Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History" now available for free perusal on the Web).
Whereas Ashoka turned over a new leaf, the British simply whitewashed history and continued BAU with academic and media complicity. The WW2 Bengali Holocaust is absent from pro-Zionist mass murderer Winston Churchill's 6-volume "The Second World War" for which, in part, he was awarded the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature. Indeed 1950-2005 avoidable deaths from deprivation in countries variously occupied by the UK in the post-1945 era totaled 727 million (see my book "Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950", also available for free perusal on the Web).”
While deleting my comment, the ABC LNL did permit an extensive comment from Dr John Carroll of La Trobe University who commented: “Whilst this was a an interesting interview, the premise that Ashoka is unknown is a bit bemusing to travelers of India in general or many students ”
I posted again a further 5 times but each time my comments were completely censored by an ABC that insists on the utter absurdity of "India's lost Emperor Ashoka"- the ABC is evidently insisting that the truth is what they want or declare it to be and will resolutely censor informed, credentialed academic opinion to the contrary.
My comments that have been censored out by the ABC can be read under “On 25 July 2012” on the website “Censorship by ABC Late Night Live”. This website documents with chronologically ordered items how even the most liberal and progressive programs of the ABC is afflicted with the dangerous curse of censorship, with the ABC resolutely censorship out things that it evidently doers not want its audience to know about or think about.
The absurdity of ABC insistence on Ashoka having been “lost” or “disappeared” is quickly revealed if you talk to ordinary Indians – of course they know about one of their greatest rulers as you will quickly establish from talking to Indians from shopkeepers, waitresses, and housewives to nurses, teachers, librarians and doctors. Indeed the Ashoka chakra (Ashoka wheel) is central to the Indian flag, representing both motion and dharma, the natural law, Ashoka having spread Buddhist moral values throughout his Indian empire.
Several years ago the ABC re-broadcast a lavish BBC TV series called “The Story of India” that similarly re-wrote Indian history in the interests of Anglo reputation by completely eliminating any mention of 2 centuries of recurrent massive famines under British occupation. Indians and indeed any overseas students contemplating studying in Australia should have second thoughts about studying in a country whose national media icon, the ABC, is resolutely committed to actively and passively censoring out huge realities of history. History ignored yields history repeated and lying and censorship make the world a more dangerous place.
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|William A. Cook|