Monday, November 29, 2010

Vir Sanghvi's bad karma at play.

We are all familiar with this picture. This was in all the newspapers. So why is it on the blog? What is the purpose?

The man in the picture was a victim of circumstance, beyond his control, we sympathized with him. He became the face of the agony, an innocent victim of riots. He relocated to West Bengal and then back to Gujarat as per newspaper reports. This still does not explain why the picture on the blog?

Vir Sanghvi is doing precisely this through his latest column “Setting the record straight” He is pleading with the readers, that he be judged for his work, have we not judged him for his work? We have always done that. Read through the comments not just on the current article but also any of his previously published articles to get a sense of what the public had to say.

Personally I have agreed with Vir Sanghvi on a couple of occasions, mostly there has been no common meeting ground. You have openly mocked Indians who disagreed with you. You have in your arrogant way to denigrate us used term “Internet Hindus” invented by some other Pinweight individuals in the field of journalism. 

Vir Sanghvi you came through as the ultimate narcissist, intoxicated with the power of easy access to a platform of massive size which you have used to demolish, malign and tarnish reputations of individuals selectively at the behest of your political paymasters. Cannot recall the exact article yet do remember posting comment on your article where had stated that “listen by all means to your political paymaster but not with both your ears, place one ear on the ground to hear the rumblings gathering strength.”  

You ignored good sensible advice since you knew better than us. You were focused on creating the circumstances that have brought you to the present pass. “Why would a journalist seek refuge and retribution from the laws of the land?” I had written in response to that. “When the negative reactions are higher the payments will not be made since the desired results have not been achieved. The paymasters do not tolerate failures and this would lead to redundancy.”

The entire Journalistic fraternity is in the dock today because of the actions of a few. Is that not reason enough to fade away. There is nothing more repugnant than the sight of a man groveling before others in full public view. Retain what ever self esteem is balance if it is. Dignity must not also be sacrificed in defending the indefensible.

In conclusion did you judge the man on merit before calling him a “Mass Murderer” was it supported by any hard evidence? Nothing you have placed before the readers. This is the retribution of law of nature which is indestructible and infallible. Laws created by human are inherently flawed. 

I welcome a debate and discussion on this…As always, please keep your tone civil, your language polite…no sweeping generalisations please and no personal abuse.  Thank you.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Is this personal or professional issue??

There is a serious war raging out there on the micro blogging site Twitter. It is no holds barred.

Incensed Indians are taking on the media and it prominent faces. Fierce would be an understatement. Public is enraged that even now no television channel has, shown courage and the gumption to play the tapes in full.

CNNIBN has broadcast 2 programs, the only channel to do so; this also is after serious prodding from the twitterati. Other channels are still conspicuously silent this is raising questions or their credibility?
Blog posts on this issue are multiplying by the day. Indians are not willing to let go of this, they are demanding answers and accountability, trust has been betrayed, forgiveness is not being contemplated.

Guilty need to be punished and banished from this field! What is further fuelling the fire are tweets like these? Is this appropriate? Why instigate an already enraged public opinion? Is this journalism? Is this acceptable conduct from a member for the journalistic fraternity?
The entire community is in the dock for the actions of the few. Open public debate on this issue is paramount to cool tempers or this will rage on. How many it will consume is unknown at this point of time cynicism is ruling the roost.

This is what the public is demading from the media:

"Common sense wins” -Only for comments from readers who visited the Editorial get the sense of Public mood.

 Saffronizer @rwac48 "No Views, Only News" regime will go a long way in chastening the spoilt Indian media.


2.  sanjeevirao RT @KiranKS: Vir's column stopped. Sagarika gone crazy.Barkha should collapse soon. Power of getting exposed by #MediaMafia grilling on Twit

3.  sureshnakhua Prabhu - Prabhulila mein lag gaye ............... VIR - almost virgati ko prapt ho gaye ....... Barkha - Tum Kab Jayogi #Barkhagate

5. Dosabandit Ok @virsanghvi forced to take a break from counterpoint, now for @BDUTT to do the same. #barkhagate #mediamafia

6. Dosabandit The line of defense adopted by Barkha & Vir was the exact same thing they scoffed at in the Gujarat-2002 cases. #Barkhagate #mediamafia

7. barkhaoffair Tweeple requesting all to extend ur support our grp on Fb aswell called "Sack Barkha"Since we r planin on our movement in Delhi soon PLS RT

8. arvindsaraswat RT "@sksaran: If #mediamafia asks who we are,tell'em "we are TITANS" (Twitterers of India against Tainted & Arrogant News Service )"

I welcome a debate and discussion on this…As always, please keep your tone civil, your language polite…no sweeping generalisations please and no personal abuse.  Thank you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Are we more secure today than on 26/11/2008??

"During the first anniversary of the terror attack, I was on a TV show along with a prominent politician. I asked him what the government was doing to catch the real perpetrators of the attack. He turned around and asked me what I would do about it. If a politician in one of the highest offices can ask an emotionally rattled survivor what he was doing to catch the terrorists, it shows a great deal of distaste for public accountancy," said Bhisham Mansukhani who survived the siege at the Taj.
This was a comment which to me was the proverbial last straw. I lost faith in the government, congress party and the channel. This was on prime time television with a young audience. The host sat there without interjecting or insisting that a more satisfactory reply to the question was needed.
Last year the solemn day was observed more as a celebration than a day for homage. This time round, I have not watched Television since morning. I am not aware if we have again had that ritual of parading the equipment as a scarecrow.
We are aware that it is humanly impossible to guarantee a terror free existence in the environment that is prevailing. However we do not even get the feeling that we are safe. The NSG hub or The Force one.This is the video link to Force or farce one? may have been created but they will only come into action once there is an incident. Our concern is on a daily basis and that area has not been addressed the police at local level is as it was.
Now another year has gone by and I am back to square one. We had submitted a citizens charter soon after 26/11/2008 with much fanfare what happened to that? Below are a few questions which come to mind my answers are mentioned. I am hoping readers would come to their own conclusions as per their perceptions and feelings. Will not be surprised if most would concur with me!
As a citizen have I contributed?...................NO
Has my perception changed?.......................NO
How do I feel today?.................................Betrayed, helpless, vulnerable, and hopeless.
Has the government done anything significant in this regard?...........NO
Have we achieved what we set out?...............................NO
Have new policies, practices been formulated and implemented?.........Unaware.
Is there a perceptible change in policing?....................NO
Have we rearmed and retrained the police force?..............NO
Is the state machinery geared up to face the threat better?...............Unaware
Are we being too critical of our government?.............................NO
Is there a definite policy for terror related issues vis a vis Pakistan?...................NO
Have we identified and punished officials for their ineptitude or dereliction of duty?..........NO
Has the mystery of 26/11 been unraveled in full?.....................NO
Why is the terrorist caught in action still not punished? ………..This is something that the government should answer on an urgent basis. Along with this why the convicted terrorist who is on the death row still there? If the mercy petition is to be allowed then it should be done and if not then that also should be done.
Why has the Ram Pradhan Committee report on 26/11 not been placed in public domain?

To view 26/11as a terror attack would be the biggest travesty. It was a well planned behind the line commando type operation which is an open act of war. Have we responded suitably to that? Unfortunately No is the reply. Tough on terror, coercive diplomacy are all catchy slogan which ensured votes during the 2009 general election, beyond that they have achieved Zilch.

This morning out off curiosity  I used to Google to see what the results would be thrown up with this search “Articles on David Coleman Headley 26/11 Mumbai terror attack links in Indian publication”……………………………………. 51,300…India pages
“Articles on David Coleman Headley 26/11 Mumbai terror attack links in other publication”……………………………………………. 725,000……World pages.

Not surprised at all imagine the quantum of information that is in the public domain, and I cannot even imagine how much more must be with the Government of India and USA. Then why is it that we have still not been able to bring a closure to 26/11? Is it lack of political will power? Geopolitical reasons! Or is it that we just do not want to.

Contrast this with the Times Square failed bombing earlier this year. The suspect was apprehended, interrogated, charged produced before the court of Law and punished. We are still grappling with 1 terrorist caught red handed. It has been turned into a spectacle instead of justice for the victims he has become a sharp knife who pierces the hearts of the kin of victims and martyrs everyday. Two years we have not been able to close this chapter.

We have exchanged dossiers with Pakistan is that how we intend to bring perpetrators to justice? It is not going to happen. Have we exercised all our options? Again the answer is No. We have heard enough and more statements from our Union Home Minister they are repetitive in nature and shall yield no results. People of this country are waiting for past 2 years, and our government instead has tried to enter into a dialogue with Pakistan, as if cross border terror can be eliminated by this process. Government had to beat a hasty retreat from this path in the face of intense public pressure against this approach.

We just seem to be going around in circles with no end in sight. Justice for victims does not seem to be a high priority. Given the levels of corruption that we have unearthed recently in the present setup there is not much hope that we are well protected and safe in our own country from any and every marauding merchant of death.  

I would like to conclude with a wishful thought. I want to see that day in India when our political class is moving around without its accompaniment of Black Cat Commandos or roads being blocked to ensure their unhindered passage. That is the day when I would be able to say yes I am safe in my country. 

This link is for views from People of Pakistan on 26/11

Twitter @ sandybansal This is why I dont support Indo-Pak dialogue.Just look at what people of Pakistan have say regarding 26/11

Other recommended readings from this blogpost:

Is war with Pakistan a viable option?

I would like to share what I wrote on 28th December 2008 in response to debate on NDTV "Why War is not an option?"

Has anything changed after 26/11/2008?

What does America have to hide?

Do we have it in us??

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who is holding back the Prime Minister from working? Not us.

Bemused by this article, 2G scam: Let the PM work freely - Who has or is holding back the PM not us.  by Mr. Pankaj Vohra in Hindustan Times 22nd Nov 2010

There are broadly 10 assertions that are made by the author in the course of his write up. I will try and examine each one of them on their merit. Before we get down to doing that, there also another interesting article in the Indian Express by Mr. Mihir S Sharma "Less Mud Please" Once upon a time, India’s middle class seemed to have made a bargain with its politicians  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh does not speak to us other than on 15th August and 26th January. Maybe we are to be blamed for it, because we did not elect him to the parliament ultimately to the office of Prime Minister. He tends to speak to those who are responsible for him being in the seat of power.

Interactions of Prime Minister with the media are also rare, as it is since the last few day credibility of the media is under great amount of scrutiny and stress former on account of role of a few that have been exposed in allegedly murky dealing, latter on account of complete and deafening silence on the issue of role of its fraternity in murky dealings.

Now that we know where we figure in the scheme of things vis a vis our Prime Minister. It becomes that much easier to dispassionately deal with the issues raised by Mr. Vohra. “Let the P. M. work freely” we always thought as head of the government he was free to work, who or what is holding him back? Why and to whom is Mr.Vohra addressing? Surely it could not be the people of this country. Would it not have been proper if this plea by Mr.Vohra was made at the just concluded session of the AICC in New Delhi. We have our own complaint that the Prime Minister is not working.

“The possibility of a mid-term poll may arise if the Congress-led UPA government is unable to take stringent measures against those involved in large- scale corruption not only in the 2G scam but also in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games and the Adarsh Housing scandal in Mumbai.” I do not think we need to be employing any sort of rocket science to arrive at this conclusion. The moot point is nothing significant has happened in public perception to give us any hope. We do not want to see a few junior members being punished, people demand the entire range of individuals involved regardless of position, post or seniority be dealt with in an expeditious visible manner.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicated during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. That the guilty will not be spared.” We have been down this road repeatedly it is kind of worn out needs serious repairs. The mismatch between words and actions compels us not to take them at face value, we chose to ignore such rhetoric even when it come from the Prime Minister lacks weight and credibility.

“The credibility of the government is at its lowest and unless the PM is allowed to set things right by all the constituents of the UPA including his party.” This must surely rank  as the biggest understatement of 63years of independent India’s history facts are not just speaking they are screaming out not just at India, the world at large. We are the laughing stock of this world at this point of time.

“It is a crisis that has several dimensions.”  This is where conspiracy theories and the internal power struggle of the Congress comes into play. Sycophancy rules supreme, change of guard, all this is at the expense of India. We cannot be held hostage to these machinations of a party. Inaction on corruption cannot be justified on these grounds.

“Commonly felt that a no- confidence motion could put the fear of God into the government.” Why should such a move be contemplated at all? When the issue is corruption, the focus has to be on punishing those responsible. Why should we digress nothing would be achieved by such a move? It would self defeating, incase UPA sails through which it will given the tricks that it can employ for this purpose. Once that happens nothing will move on corruption!

“If the government and the party have to face the challenge and come out of it, the PM must be fully empowered to deal with various aspects of the issue.” This precisely validated the claims made by opposition parties that the incumbent Prime Minister is weak, it not on physical strength basis, the ability to act on issues which are prime importance to the nation.

“For that to happen, all the constituents of the UPA must stop putting pressure on him and allow him to take his own decisions and run the government the way he wants to.” Mr.Vohra what are you trying to tell us, that the national interest is being compromised for the sake of power that is available by virtue of being in the government. This is a very scary scenario that all constituents are working for thei benefit and not for the nation. What happened to the Aam Aadmi who was the main plank of this Congress lead government? Where does he figure in all this?

“The PM must also take a leaf from Indira Gandhi's experience in dealing with corrupt and irrelevant politicians in 1969.” Please refresh our memories on this. I am a little lost with this statement of yours. When and who has ever confronted corruption seriously in this country least of all is the Congress? Track record available with us speaks volumes contrary to your assertion.

“Manmohan Singh has started well by putting Kapil Sibal in charge of the telecom ministry.” The first interview given by the gentle man has anything but reassured us that corruption will be dealt with, with the serious intent and purpose. The impression gained is he was more concerned about deflecting blame from the government then tackling the issue head on. Let me state this candidly Mr. Sibal for all practical purposes told the citizen that his value is zilch when it comes to preserving the government. Pointer “The Prime Minister should have thrown the petition into the dust bin.” “Every common man cannot get up and ask for permission to probe.”

Does this leave any doubt with you as to where we are heading?

Face The Nation Sagarika Will You??

The constant chatter on the net and twitter in particular about the Radia tapes which the twitterati has christened as #barkhagate has been trending for last 5 days. In sharp contrast to this has been the deafening silence from our mainstream English media.

We are more accustomed to a sensational and hyper reportage from our electronic medium, which has disappointed us by not picking on this subject. Leave alone playing the tapes of the conversations which are readily accessible on the net, no mention has been made by any channel. Normally we are compelled to watch the recordings/cds repeatedly until we full up to our noses.

Last evening CNNIBN conjured up the required courage to host a show at 10PM Face The Nation “Is corporate lobbying undermining democracy?” This we believe was done under tremendous public pressure, who are visibly agitated by the conspiracy of silence on part of the media?

I returned to viewing this channel after almost a lapse of 2 years. Yes with a very smug feeling, that we did achieve a success, IBNlive is at liberty to deny the role of public pressure and can state it as an editorial decision, yet it came 4 days too late. How many would buy it?  

The points raised were valid role of corporate lobbyist per se is not evil, nor is it illegal, however the journalists involved in peddling influence or facilitating the corporate lobbyist in their endeavors is a totally different issue. This was the consensus among the panelists.

Host of the show did make a feeble attempt at trying to defend members of her fraternity. The right and choice is her’s. The point that I wish to raise is larger, we the viewers have been subjected to biased and opinionated editorials which have been presented to us in the garb of news.

It is not just the two journalists who are in the eye of the storm, the host Mrs.Sagarika Ghose is also guilty of being contemptuous towards us, our contrarian view have lead her to label us as “Internet Hindus” which was her way of hitting back at a vocal audience, who dared to voice their opinion/views via the net. Very often she would not permit comments from a large number of us to appear on her blogs.

Somewhere prior to Ayodhaya verdict she tweeted in the most irreverent manner about “Lord Ram being a Divine Encroacher.”  Maybe there was a minor uproar or it dawned on her that she may have overstepped the line and she deleted the offensive tweet. Not before it had been saved by many on the net.

The question that is being posed to her is, did she in the course of the discussion last evening at any point of time ever so fleetingly feel a tinge of remorse for her actions?
1. Coining the term Internet Hindus. (Which is derogatory in nature)
2. Tweet about Lord Ram.
Has she considered the possibility of tendering an unconditional apology to the viewers and the majority community of this country! No I am not a religious person nor a bigot, yet irreverence towards something or someone who is revered by millions not just in this country but also overseas, who have not taken kindly to her acts.

We do accept the fact that sensitivities, emotions are intangibles.
Ethics and Morality will not touch on these subjects since the words themselves are foreign to our mainstream English media. The concepts or meaning would not be known to them at all.
Let me address this issue from another perspective and that is the sales and marketing and corporate governance. Which business school in the world teaches and trains the sales and marketing teams for companies on the basis of a confrontational approach towards it consumers, clients and viewers? Which business school prepares us for being contemptuous towards our clients and consumers? Is it not repeated ad nauseum  that customer is the Master and King?
How come the sales and marketing personnel in your company have not raised this issue with the management? Which corporate would accept the conduct that you have displayed? Not even a family owned business. We are not the intruders; we are raison d’etre for your organization.

We will wait for your response.
I welcome a debate and discussion on this…As always, please keep your tone civil, your language polite…no sweeping generalisations please and no personal abuse.  Thank you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

From The Dizzy Heights of Kargil to Despairing Depths of Oblivion

I grew up in a time when we had black & white transmission and limited duration of Television broadcast. Colour transmission was introduced in 1982. Post liberalization a host of new Channel beaming an unending fare of programs 24 X 7. News channels competing for our attention, sitcoms etc!

The new high came in 1999 Kargil War. Channels brought this war right into our living rooms. While the men in uniform covered themselves with glory in the battlefield, a hero was born or should one say a Heroine of the small screen no not the glamorous kind. A news reporter who became the visible face of the 24 x 7 News Channels!

She won our hearts and ruled our minds. We became her slaves believed every word she uttered as gospel truth. Then came a minor shift in 2002, became a little more slanted in 2004, gradually the slant became more steep, which compelled me to scrutinize what was being said on the channel and compare it with others in electronic media and also with the print.

I was now convinced that all was not as it should be; I felt cheated, what recourse did I have? None other than move away from watching news on NDTV; I did precisely that. No not even once did I miss the channel, though I continued to watch programs like Big Fight, We the people and Buck Stops Here, used to post comments regularly on these show, also signed on NDTV Social which is their website.

I did e-mail and share a few tweets with Barkha Dutt around early to mid 2009. By now even the programs hosted by her had started to lose their sheen, it was becoming increasingly apparent that there was more than that met the eye. Slowly but surely I was losing interest in this News Channel which I had watched for almost 2 decades.

The on 2nd Dec 2009 an incident took place on the NDTV social site. Nidhi Razdan employed foul language towards a visitor, which I felt was reason enough for me to move away from following her. I enquired with her if she could block me since that option was not available at my end. The response from her is most forgettable. That sealed my dealing with NDTV. I stopped watching this channel completely 07th Dec 2009. Excerpt of the exchange of tweets with Nidhi Razdan on 2nd Dec 2009 and tweets posted Mr.Pannoy Roy on NDTV (cont)

I progressed from feeling cheated to now a position where there was disgust for this channel and its personnel. Since I did not watch the channel anymore it did not matter what they broadcasted or promoted. On the net post Ayodhaya verdict there were blogs which had specific references to Barkha Dutt excerpt of the conversations and the way she had conduct her show. Finally I ended up signing an online petition to NDTV in protest for what they were transmitting as being unacceptable.

Today what we see is that Barkha Dutt is at the receiving end of the same system that she engendered, do I pity her No! Do I empathize with her unfortunately No is the answer. Do I believe what is going around on the net to be true and authentic? I have no independent source for checking the veracity and would go along and accept it as being true. Do I believe Barkha Dutt is guilty of wrong doing?  My answer to that is it is for the courts to decide, I do not have the expertise.

It is due to the reportage and the extreme slant that is visible in the Electronic and Print media that I took to blogging and my main focus has been the role of Media. Today I do feel vindicated that, my suspicions were not unfounded. There is more than what meets the eye. Personnel employed by this industry must realize that they face the camera because of professional compulsions and not because they deserve the attention of those cameras. The sooner arrogance is shed by these individual the better they will be able to connect with the public.

Media is an important interface between the government and the people. This medium needs to be strong, independent, trustworthy and transparent. Any doubts on its credibility will mean demise of that channel for sure and a blow to the industry as whole.  The only advice that I can proffer to Barkha Dutt is how ever hard you may try, you take a million people to court the perception is not going to change. The sooner you move on the less hurtful it will be for you. Your continued presence will start to hurt the channel also and then it will ask you to leave before you reach that point take the tough step your ownself.

Rehabilitation is a slow process, once anyone falls from grace it is difficult to return. Public is not in a frame of mind where forgiveness can be expected or requested. Too many wrong have surfaced simultaneously.  More heads have to roll we need a clean system. You may just be the first of the many victims from the Media that these scams will claim.

Full transcripts of alleged conversations between Niira Radia, Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi and others 

Open magazine responds to NDTV’s statement on the Cover Story: X-Tapes (issue dated: 29 November 2010)

Barkha Dutta fighting back seeking to rehabilitate herself.

 Latest update as on 17th Jan 2013
I had to look three times to make sure I was seeing right. Balanced on one 
knee, in a tiny alley behind the army’s administrative offices, I was peering 
through a hole in a corrugated tin sheet. At first glance, all I could see were some leaves. 
I looked harder and amidst all the green, there was a hint of black—
it looked like a moustache. “Look again,” said the army colonel, 
in a tone that betrayed suppressed excitement. This time, I finally saw. 
It was a head, the disembodied face of a slain soldier nailed onto a tree. 
“The boys got it as a gift for the brigade,”
said the colonel, softly, but proudly.  [Archived at The Hoot]