Wednesday, February 24, 2010

“Chhodo kal ki baatein Part 2

The discourse in the media for past few days in particular is disturbing and distressing. There are sections of the media, who are willingly and pointedly attempting to provoke a sharp response from a political party, which has not obliged the provocateur. However it has indeed incensed the common man who is voicing his concern at what these individuals and houses are indulging in. Unity of this country is at stake, public tranquility is at stake, these self appointed caretakers in the garb of secularism are practicing the opposite.

Last 62 years of Indian history have been turbulent internally at times violent. Leading to mass murders! 1984 was an unprovoked attack on innocent Indians for the act of 2 individuals the entire community was made the target. 26 years on justice still eludes the victims. 2002 is yet another reprehensible incident in the history of India. These should never have happened. Were the administrations of the day complicit?

There are many more, yet these two suffice to highlight the present day discourse, not just between political parties/formations, the media, and the general public at large.

If we are to believe a section media then it is only 2002. 1984 did not happen.

The purpose of writing today is larger. It is not to discuss the above two incidents as they have been discussed adnauseam. As the literacy grows in India, the reach and impact of the media increases manifolds, the message is carried directly to homes in rural India. There is a growing need and demand for an impartial, unbiased and apolitical mainstream media. This demand is coming from the ordinary citizen of this country whose sensibilities are being exposed to violence 24 X 7. This verbal violence is affecting the future generation much more than the older. We see how the trivial trumps the important, the breaking news and the exclusive news culture, how journalists masquerade their political biases as profound analysis, years of hard study, yet without any supporting indices. How sensation is packaged as substantive news. Government has the opposition and the media to keep it in check. Who is going to regulate the media which shapes opinions but has now acquired the taste of money and gone berserk? To say the least.

Is there a cure for the hubris and the avarice among the editors of top media houses in the country? Like the politicians and the babus, the journalists are now burdened with the credibility crisis. This is a very serious issue, the impact is long term, and neither can the gravity be underestimated.

We are fortunate, that we have WWW which is an empowering and an extremely enabling tool, were it not for this, our opinions and views would be perpetual hostages to the neo mullahs and pundits of the print and electronic media.

This piece is focused on Mr.Vinod Sharma of Hindustan Times, whose preoccupation with BJP seems more as an obsession. His latest Blog “Gamesmanship Season” of 22nd Feb 2010 needs to be commented on. The following comments were posted which for reasons best know to the gentleman in question were found unsuitable for publication. Freedom of speech and expression cannot be selectively implemented. Mr.Vinod Sharma may believe that his vocation has bestowed him with a divine carte blanch to lampoon and ridicule the BJP sans restraint. He is a journalist, and not an evangelist.

Mr. Vinod Sharma,

Movies in this country are being released at gun point. Hockey world cup is a matter of national pride. The larger issue is our failure to protect our country and hence we witness what is on display.

Your angst towards IPL is unfathomable, why must business decisions be subjected to media, political or foreign country diktats? Pakistan has sent its national hockey team, which only that country could have selected to represent Pakistan, there is no parallel. Why do you lament the cricketers from Pakistan not being included in IPL? Anyhow these players would not have represented Pakistan, just like the 10 member team that visited us on 26/11, with their own brand of cricket, they were Non state actors and similarly in IPL all these are Non state actors. So why not take a chill pill. Difficult since “Modi” is the common thread, which excites all in your fraternity so what if it is Lalit and not Narendra.

Terrorists we understand. Who are their sponsors? You would need to elaborate, the intent and design we all know. True we face the terrorist threat from without, we debate how to handle the Maoist insurrection within. The enemy can be fought without moral qualms, not very sure that there is any morality on view, not our own people attempting an armed revolution in the land of Gandhi. I do hope you are referring to the Mahatma, yes his land has been defiled by many in the position of power, yet you will want to be singularly focused on 1 set and ignore the actions of the others.

The lament and depiction of our democracy as partisan debate on key national issues, is ducking the responsibility that you and your mates must share in a much larger quantity. The biased and motivated reporting that is indulged in by all of you is the reason for this partisan debate.

The Gandhari syndrome seems to have afflicted some of you rather grievously. The future generation of this country may end up being absolutely intolerant, because our media is not willing to perform its duty in an impartial manner. The onus of national unity is on each and every individual of this country and that includes the journalists also. It is high time you swallowed your own medicine to cure yourself first.
Why not start singing. “Chhodo kal ki baatein Vinod Sharma, kal ki baat puraani Naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani Hum hindustani, hum Hindustani”