Monday 21 November 2016

Demonetization, Demonization and the Day after Tomorrow

#Demonetization happened yesterday. Today, #demonization is taking place. And are we going to see #TheDayAfterTomorrow?

On a pleasant Tuesday evening, when people were just ready to have dinner or taking it easy, switching on their TV, glancing through the news channels in between their serials, some checking out their Twitters and Facebook account, being shown that #USElections2016 is taking place. #Trump is soon going to come out to vote, #Hillary might just turn up in sometime. Diwali, Dusshera had just gone by. #NDTVBan just got reversed. Hillary should be winning. I don’t know, it could be anything. Elections are so much fun. Let’s see who wins. Life in India seemed normal. Banal, some might add. Boring, as usual. Kicking along as always. And then #Modi just happened.

#Mitron, #MereDeshVasiyon, #BhaiyonAurBehenon,

#Demonetization #BlackMoneyOver

You just got #ModiFied

@narendramodi @PMOIndia

#AchcheDin #ThugLife #LikeABoss #OopsIDidItAgain

The Prime Minister was being aired live. He was explaining his move and how it was done in national interest. The immediate reaction that reflected on the social media was of joy, celebration, vindication, victory, ecstasy, elation and all things positive. But there was also another reaction reflecting on the ground, one of caution, despair, destruction, loss, doom, and all things negative. This sense on the ground was looming somewhere in the background, in the heart of hearts.

But the mood was set. So was the move. Notes are going to get defunct and so are some of the propagandas and agendas. Media as usual, nowadays, is stunned and taken aback. Modi made the news and did not even give them the time to frame a report. They, for once, were doing a diligent job of reporting and not opinionating. Media was as perplexed as the fragmented political opposition. Modi set the tone of the debate, i.e. national interest. #CounterfeitCurrency #TerrorismFunding #BlackMoney were cited as a reason for this sudden declaration. For the next two days, everybody is playing the wait and watch game. There is a strong reason yet naïve argument to believe that this wait-and-watch approach of the opposition was because they were perhaps buckled into working their options out. The other strong yet meaningful argument could be that they were assessing as how to how the nation would respond. To their dismay, they are left picking up the pieces of the #GlassCeiling that was shattered so fine, that they cannot find a piece big enough to bleed themselves and cry foul. That brings us to the aspect of #demonization.


So what are these opposition parties and critics doing? They are literally picking as many minute and small pieces of the broken glass as they can find and will eventually end up swallowing them. The counter demonization of the demonetization has such strong and deep rooted narrative, that the opposition would sooner than later succumb to it. The narrative that if you oppose the policy, you are a #Naysayer #AntiNational #Corrupt #SoldOut
#AgainstNationalInterest #BlackMoneyHoarder #HawalaDar has somewhere caught the imagination of the general public. They are standing in the long infinite queues yet not complaining about the demonetization. They know that it’s a scourge which has ridden this nation since time immemorial
and it needed to be addressed. The goalposts have been shifted. The politically correct thing to say is that black money should be eradicated, the truth, however, is that no one can openly say that they are ruined because their black money has suffered. One is only hoping and waiting that someone would break the shackles of this #PoliticalCorrectness and address the elephant in the room. If you do, the needle of suspicion points right at your misdeeds. Opposition, hence is not left with much. Opposing the policy without its understanding would be suicidal. The opposition and critics are only left with trying to fan the issues as to the dearth of liquidity in the market and inconvenience it has caused to people who do not have bank accounts or smart money.

It is pertinent to mention that one cannot blindly condone and justify the deaths that have taken place in this process. It is in fact something for the government to ponder over and introspect on. But one can only take a deep sigh of relief to the effect that these unfortunate incidents are not emanating as a larger riot like situation in a particular place with particular kind of people. Hence, it is somewhere safe to develop an understanding that the nation, by and large has accepted the policy of demonetization, despite being heckled and buckled by its implementation. The problems that middle class is facing is a fundamental one. In fact, propelling this shortcoming of easy replacement of notes and arguing giving sufficient time for people to prepare themselves for such a major change has not appealed to the public in general to take arms and declare this as a situation of financial emergency. Can the argument of the inconvenience of a common man cannot beat the inconvenience of quietly suffering and laying helplessly to the black money economy. Unfortunately, the reel that is being played out by the opposition is whether this #CrisisOfCurrency will ever end or not. Or is this the end of the world as we know.


The government seems to be monitoring the situation and the markets by every passing minute and are very dynamic in addressing any issue which they did not anticipate as expected. Be it reduction of cash withdrawal, acceptance of notes in the courts and other public agencies, extending the old currency notes for the farmers, opening the banks on a Sunday, some relief to exclusive day for senior citizens, in the end one cannot blame the government of being lackadaisical or laidback in its reforms of the implementation. Of course, one might question the whole #Surprise quotient that the government tries to raise its bar by every given incident of national importance, but better still no one questions the #Intent. The real assessment and criticism should be whether this temporary problem of cashlessness especially for those people who do not have black money is more grave than the parallel unaccounted black money economy which has denied those very people a fair and equal opportunity to employment, property, prosperity for as long as their memory serves them right.

There is no that shadow of doubt that a sudden and knee jerk reaction looks ugly. It is certainly painful. It will have its impact. It will indeed have its side effects. Just like chemotherapy. You are never mentally prepared as a human being to be ridden with a disease as deadly as cancer, let alone its treatment. The disease only spreads and the predictable inevitability of it is common knowledge. If at all there is any chance or hope of survival, Chemotherapy will be central to any such treatment. Chemotherapy is very painful, has very severe side effects, makes the patient weak, yet the patient quietly handles all of it for the larger picture. That this phase will soon pass and a ray of hope to live a healthier and good life is somewhere around the corner. Chemotherapy alone cannot do more than a personal hope and pledge to get better. One loses health, sleep, hair, energy temporarily yet no one complains that it is against their interest of silently dying to cancer. Demonetization, just like Chemotherapy, is sudden, will have its side effects, will make one weak, will give pain, and the only way to come out victorious through this battle against a cancer of black money would be to take this bitter treatment in right spirit and not lose hope. Our great nation is doing just that. No one is complaining that they were better off with cancer. Everybody is complaining that chemotherapy could have been less painful. That is where the opposition, critics and even the Supreme Court for that matter should be careful in its observations. Kindly avoid depressing the patient further with your narrative. The patient and the public of India have decided to live and fight. So pick those little pieces of glass and help the government in cleaning the setup.

Because till the time they see an effective and efficient redressal of the issues in hand, the policy is welcomed. The public has braced itself and are playing an equal romantic in the story. As the famous urdu couplet goes:

Ibtda-e-ishq hai, rota hai kya
Aagey aagey dekhiye, hota hai kya
                                                                                                               Mir Taqi Mir
(Translation :
‘Tis only just begun, this love,
So don’t be dismayed yet
There’re more trials to come,
More challenges to be met)

All the images used in the blog have been downloaded from Google Images. 

Wednesday 9 November 2016

The Truth Trumps Over The NeoLiberal Narrative

The Truth Trumps Over The NeoLiberal Narrative

If I were to sum up the underwritten blog in a tweet :
#NeoLiberal Narrative has been #Trumped over by the Truth. #ModiBhakts #Brexit #Presstitutes #NewWorldOrder #Democracy

Take This!
It was bound to happen. It was about time. It was long in the waiting. The beauty of democracy has actually picked the NeoLiberal narrative by its collar and kicked them out of the room. The children have outgrown the music of the Bagpiper and in fact pushed the Bagpiper into the sea themselves. The hegemony of the Liberalati has been toppled. The “Trump”et of the silent majority blew the cover of the Bagpiper. Neoliberal cartel of intellectuals are now as defunct as the INR 500 and 1000 notes. What is worse is that they cannot even be exchanged in the banks or post offices. They will have to be binned for all that we care.  The so called perception of Political Correctness i.e. Truth as it ought to be has lost over to the Truth as it is.

Through this blog , my intention is to highlight the bias and the prejudice this so called #TorchbearersOfFreedom #PublicOpinionShapers #Intellectuals #Liberalati etc tried to create, has miserably failed. Also a substantial question asked in the end is whether Media can recover from such failure of interpreting the opinion of public at large. This is a lesson long in the learning for the mainstream neoliberal media or as I would refer to them #Liberalati (Illuminati of the Liberals, to which Shashi Tharoor refers as #SoftPower in his tweets, Social media in India usually refers to them as #Presstitutes #Intellectuals).

You could be wrong once (2014 – India). Once bitten twice shy (June 2016-UK). But you cannot afford to be wrong yet again (November 2016-USA)! You may wish to justify that the Liberalati failed to read the pulse of the majority of the people. Else with such multi-billion dollar networks and data that reaches out to infinity, it is unfathomable for the mainstream media to not even for once figure out the simmering discontent within people.

It could be argued that the Liberalati started losing its plot in 2014 and a man who did not belong to the Lutyens (in New Delhi – Imperial headquarters of the Liberalati) came in command and quite literally made them invisible in their own smog. In India, the Liberalati has now started dying a slow and a painful death. They would now exile at times in London and New York, get rejuvenated, do their Vipasnas and come back to India, bring new trends and hashtags like #Intolerance #Bhakts #EmergencyIsBack etc. The Indian viewership has now made it perfunctory. 

Come June 2016, the UK referendum on #Brexit gave a tight slap on the face of the Mainstream media. Nigel Farrage and Boris Johnson, apparently the two most demonized people of the Europe and the English language comprehending world at the time, stood vindicated and David Cameron fell a victim to the narrative of an obsolete Neoliberal media. David Cameron seemingly was mugged by the Liberalati there. 

Now its November, and one of the most significant elections were contested between a woman with an incomparable political history against a man with zero political career. The Liberalati of the world participated in it! It was like a confluence and the world congress on the International Symposium of Intellectuals and Liberlati (ISIL in short!). It was as if the hopes of the entire neoliberal world were pinned on this election. A woman is contesting, for the first time! A woman should win! Why is that,
if one asks? Because she is a woman!! #NuffSaid #HowDareYouQuestion #YouMisogynist #MotherSisterHater #Feminism ! Quite literally anyone who questioned Hillary was either termed a Misogynist or a War monger. Supporting Trump became a blasphemy, a taboo of sorts. A serious stigma on you as a human being of the present day world. Trump was already trolled. Right from Obama and his annual media address to the Jimmys and the Olivers and God knows who ever came wearing a suit every evening and night on the American television gave it out. Trump was now a joker, One from You-cannot-be-serious! to the Why-so-serious? one. But guess what happened next? Silent Majority. The self-perceived infallibility of the Liberalati has now hit the ground face first.The liberalati should ask themselves what went wrong?

USA, UK and India, the three supreme democracies have come out and quite ferociously put across a point. It may be Right, Left, Centre or any weird ideological combination under the Sun. But for once, it is not a Neoliberal ideology. The point that I wish to make is that the mainstream media has lost its connect with the ground reality. The mainstream media became popular after picking issues from the ground and presenting it to the viewers. I believe that when they started out they did carry out their jobs without any sense of prejudice and reporting the news as it is with utmost sincerity was their goal. There was no parallel narrative of the news-as-it-should-be. An issue was picked, reported, analyzed and left for the viewers to decide. Once this happened, viewership increased, the mainstream media became popular, generated revenues, gained political and social importance with the elite, formed a group of intellectuals and decided to create a narrative. This narrative that they stuck to was neoliberal in nature. Because it is cool, exciting, sort of anti-establishment because democracy is usually a place where dissent is celebrated. Hence, the narrative stuck.  The narrative of the news-as-it-ought-to-be. Now this narrative overshadowed the ground reality of many issues, only to be reported with a sensationalistic sense of controversy, analyzed and dissected with a sense of bias and very smartly spoon fed to the viewers. And the news was being bought because the viewers believed in their credibility.  The focus shifted from the public at large to populism. Populism being, the agendas that the elite wanted in the market rather than what the public demanded. It needs to be appreciated that how this metamorphosis of the pyramid of the news where news went from bottom to top now quickly moved from top to bottom. It has for the longest time changed the whole outlook towards the news and information. News is now created, it is then marketed, and then propagated with sensationalism, making the viewer nothing more than a hypnotized news addict.

The impeccable credibility and the underlying trust was cracked open by the advent and the penetration of the social media. Social-media at first was considered as more of an offshoot of the mainstream media. The Liberalati was amused by these new tools of communication and information on the smartphones and considered them as nothing more than harmless toys. But as luck would have it, the people got access to it. Ordinary people. The hypnotized news addict people. They seemed to like it. The people started becoming aware of these independent blogs, later tweets, facebook posts etc where anyone could put forth a viewpoint. Viewers and readers were left impressed as they could not only relate to the issue and agenda, but more importantly openly questioned the credibility of the Liberalati and the Intellectuals. The Liberalati, out of its habit, still decided to play the news as it ought to be but thought it could still capture this new territory of infinite information. Sadly, or Gladly, this did not happen.  As any tyrant too ignorant and too arrogant to realize the strength of the unorganized dissent within its fiefdom, with slow and steady passage of time, was struck so hard and got disconnected with the masses, that it just did not know how to react or curb this parallel world of independent free narrative. The viewers could now see through the narrative of the Liberalati. The Liberalati lost relevance.

They may now call it a #Tragedy #EndOfTheWorld but the beauty of the democracy is they eventually get what they desire. In a democracy, one can do with dissent, but not with denial. The Liberalati must realize that this denial is making them as dangerous as a Dinosaur in today’s world. This earth survived longer than the media, and it still will. The threats and the mobilization without proper explanation and understanding are now seen as a bubble. The bigger they get, the more entertaining it is to see them burst. The amusement is not the burst, but how big can the bubble get! Sorry Liberalati, the silent majority did not burst the bubble. It just quietly watched you expand for as long as it takes.  Trump is not as charming as Obama, he is not as beautiful as Hillary. He might be a schmuck. But so is the majority of the world and guess what, they have identified with him and his promise. No matter how disgusting, derogatory, divisive it may sound to you, it is the will of the people. This was the will of the people which the Liberalati conveniently ignored.

To conclude, the Liberalati needs to now evolve, get humble, apologize and get back to the ground. Otherwise the incorrigibility will inevitably stand true. It won’t be as much of a #Tragedy to see the #EndOfTheWorld for the #MainstreamMedia.

Monday 7 November 2016

Constitutional Right V/S National Security. #BaagonMeinBahaarHai

#NDTVBanned is now the rolling headline of the week. The whole propaganda now is that the freedom of speech is being curtailed because the channel was asking uneasy questions which the Government was finding hard to answer. Hence, this whole Hashtag Ban on them. The poor, downtrodden, suppressed victims of totalitarian government who were penalized for unethical and hazardous style of reporting. #Emergency like situation, isn’t it. The problem is that they are not exactly telling why this ban was ordered at first place and this narrative which they are relying on is dangerously sensationalist especially by equating it with the dark times of Emergency. This narrative, not only misleading, is also a shoddy cover-up of abusing your duty as a journalist to apparently put national security at stake and then cry foul of discrimination for free speech. Kindly read the following link for further understanding of what happened.

Let’s just quickly glance through what has happened here. NDTV India #allegedly divulged critical information whilst the anti-terrorist operations were being conducted. And minutes after a crucial top brass meeting of the Armed Forces and the Government, the details and the discussions of the meeting is informed through the coverage. Also other crucial positions and targets sensitive to the on-going operation were reported during this coverage.  A show cause notice is issued by the concerned ministry of the government to which NDTV India properly responds. NDTV India did a good job defending their approach to the whole coverage and offered a defence as to why they should not be penalized. I am more than certain that they would go to the Supreme Court and contest the order passed by the Government.

So first things first, this is not an overnight arbitrary ban on NDTV India which they were shell-shocked and surprised to find out while the employees of the company were walking into the office on one fine smoggy morning. It is definitely not an Ex-parte order where the government without hearing the other party has passed an order. Proper proceedings were conducted, every part was properly heard, sorry the government did not agree, please appeal it further, it is your right, nobody can stop you. But, for the love of God, DON’T PLAY THE VICTIM CARD!

Let me (#Bhakt #Modifier #HinduBrigade #NaziFascist) give a factual explanation. This ban was ordered because apparently they flouted with the ethics of reporting an anti-terrorist operation (#LIVE) which could have potentially had a worse contingency due to the timing and the substance of reporting. Government thought of just giving a slap on the wrist. So, NDTV has two options left. Either to quietly comply with the ban and move on. Or appeal against the impugned order before the higher courts and fight their case for justice. But what they do is beautifully play the victim.

Unfortunately, the Oh-I-Was-Born-Yesterday-and-Why-Is-The-World-So-Harsh-On-Me attitude does not sell anymore. Not at least when you are facing a stiff and even more liberated and unorganized Social Media (Ravish Kumar refers to this as Troll) where these things dilute your real fight for freedom of expression. NDTV India was fighting and fighting so well, but because you know you cannot accept the truth of your misdeeds, that you have been mostly guilty of your coverage which doesn't "seem" always fair, probably money mongered, and maybe not always in the interest of the nation and its security, time and again, which might give you a right to gain sympathy and malign the image of this Government. And all this to try and hide your nefarious sense of reporting and preposterous sense of journalism only proves the point further. You should be penalized. #ChorKiDaadiMeinTinka
Is it an Emergency like situation? Are they being stopped from asking questions? Is their fundamental right of free speech being curtailed? Are they being gagged for asking tough questions? Any person of even ordinary prudence would disagree with NDTV. The truth is the government felt their coverage was a direct threat to the national security where an anti-terrorist operation was going live. My trouble is to fathom this as a fallback to the draconian days of Emergency. Any such comparison is trivializing the gravity of a period like Emergency. This could be due to their lack of knowledge or understanding of times like Emergency or this could also be to create a new sense (read Nuisance) of sensationalism because it could probably create pressure on the Government and it could withdraw its order.

Ravish Kumar is pissed that the Troll and the Authority have colluded and are dubbing his voice so that and his channel can’t ask tough questions. But the irony lies in the stupidity of this program. Ravish Kumar is seen questioning the mimes especially the question, “why are you denying us the right to question? “ , “Why are you suppressing our voices?” while the mimes are just miming. Here lies the irony. Instead, the mimes should have questioned and spoken freely while Ravish Kumar should have kept mum to prove his point. This episode of stupidity only laments the ghastly interpretation of the media’s understanding of key concepts like freedom of speech and expression.

#BaagonMeinBahaarHai #JabSirfTumBegairadHokarBolo

1. ( To further understand the whole order)

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Satanic Verses - Pimps of Power Pretending to be Prophets

This post is not an attempt to throw mud or stones at those people of the media, who were pretending to be prophets but were “allegedly” caught doing acts which are usually associated with those of pimps. More precisely, this is not a witch hunt against them. Rather, it is an attempt to understand how and why they acted and spoke so, and what can be done to curb such outbursts. A caveat: all of this is merely allegation, if you want to sue me for defamation; I only have 600 INR in my bank account!

The liberal world finds public hanging, stone pelting, and other such forms of punishment without being proven guilty by a capable and authorized body, acts that run contrary to human rights. This is despite the fact that they are clearly involved; as Jaswant Singh put it, the law actually is at times an 'ass'. Even I agree. To circumvent this state of affairs, there must be vigilant protection of law and order providing effective justice. This is only possible if you have unbiased and fair governance. In a country as expansive and diverse as India, the only source of national governance awareness is through a medium, plural of which is the Media.  The three pillars of the constitution (the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary) are accountable to the people of this nation, and there is a very clear separation of powers which holds them to keep a check on each other.

Yet what happens if these powers collude at the cost of the development of this nation? Who will check that? Well, 1.1 billion people can, but only if there is a very effective and credible Media. Also, though it is more than often said than believed, the media is the fourth pillar of our constitution. In the democracy that we are and that we aspire to be, freedom of expression and speech are fundamental and our constitution has blessed us with this right. The question arises, however, what if the Media then colludes with one of the three pillars?  Our constitution neglects to mention who will check and balance the media, nor does it provide any insight as to who the media is accountable to. As discussed above, if the faith is lost, stone pelting as immediate deterrence is the only way ahead.

The Indian English Media

Given the liberalization of India’s economic and social systems, not to mention globalization, the knowledge of the English language has been the biggest boon for this nation. To a great extent, even today knowledge of English is still treated as an indication of a superior level of education, not simply as another mode of communication. Hence, the credibility of the English language media is granted largely unquestioned. This can be well assessed by comparing Hindi and English news channels, even those of the same company. Anyone who speaks English would want to pick the English ones for they provide more relevant political and economic information.

We, the Indians (especially the English speaking middle class Indians striving for liberalism, because I don't think any other Indian has benefited so much as this class from liberalization), are typically preoccupied in the name of being "peace-loving". I don't blame anyone, with a population of 1.1 billion and a total scam of almost about 1.86 trillion Rupees (1.76 trillion Rupees of 2G scam plus almost 100 billion Rupees of CWG scam), we are definitely going to need money to survive and we are busy earning what is left. Any spare time we do have needn't be unduly stressful by further researching or critically analyzing Editorials, Opinions or Talk Shows; for that we are paying our newspapers and our news channels.
From that one DD channel that hardly aired English news, to a minute by minute development of who rented the toilet paper for $100 per hour at the CWG, and how will they return it to the persons in charge; from how many almonds and raisins were the terrorists carrying along with ammunition to burn the city; from how many Muslims were burnt alive in the Godhra riots; to how many hands Varun Gandhi has collected! Where do we as educated Indians stand other than to believe them? Do we have an alternative opinion other than what they think? And pelting stones - figuratively as well - how can we do that? We are ‘peace-lovingly complacent’.

The media today has capitalized on this preoccupation of some, laziness of a few others, and above all the flamboyance and flair of language, to become Prophets. Their reputation is saintly and their word is taken by the youth to be as true as that of the said Prophets. Out of numerous incidents which they have brought into focus, it was the Jessica Lal case that turned the whole thing about-face. Surprisingly, the media came out for justice. Apart from this case, is there any other where they have claimed victory? The media know what they say will shape the mood and the opinion of the people. Essentially, (most) people are not aware of what they want. The media picks up a story, if it likes it, makes it an agenda for the whole world by showing it again and again.

Now the media tries to emulate what Lord Buddha, Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Sant Kabir, Sai Baba did - although technology has made it little easier. They host shows, bring together the most knowledgeable from all around, and then sit and talk about what they think is important. They initiate the conversation, they speak and interrupt, listen to the pros and cons, they openly criticize what they think is wrong, and then most of them support their ideas. Those who don’t are booed. The final word is their final word, we just watch and hear. Our understanding and our arguments are hence started by them, debated by them, and resolved by them. The print media, for that matter, does not even give this opportunity. They put it out as the written word, to be blindly absorbed by the reader. Of course, the Letters to Editors are always there, but how many times has one prayer of yours been heard? These Prophets speaking and writing the holy words are here in society and we are governed by their word. But is their word the word of God or are they Satanic Verses and who is to judge? We the ‘peace-lovingly complacent’ people.

Narendra Modi, hated by the media, is loved by corporations and even more importantly, by Gujaratis (a love I don’t think is diminishing). Varun Gandhi quite comfortably won his election and is getting stronger every passing day. Advani is the Iron Man that has perhaps melted according to them, but what he fought for is slowly and steadily coming through. The Ayodhya dispute (so far, the High Court has accepted to 66% of what Advaniji worked for!) and the weakness in the intent of our Prime Minister (especially, when we have information of how A Raja had time and again discarded his suggestions and advice) are the two main agendas picked by the media against him. So my question is, what is the Media really representing and more importantly who?

Varun Gandhi is virtually crucified when he talks about the protection of Hindus and lambasts those who are exploiting the minorities, but the media does not make an equivalent agenda when Rahul Gandhi ‘wikileaks’ to the US Ambassador at a luncheon party that Hindu extremism is more dangerous than cross-border terrorism (I wish the Ambassador actually leaks why did Rahul Gandhi think so and I also hope that this does not soften the commitment of the international world against cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan). We the people do not have the time or the energy to think. We might ask why we let someone else make these decisions for us. Who has given them the right? We fund them with our loyalty to obtain unbiased and true information from all the sources possible. Yet we are betrayed.

We the Viewers

Viewers have become nothing more than the prisoners from Plato's Allegory of the Cave. They watch the shadows form behind them as if reality. The prisoners will have to believe these shadows until they have the courage and the thought to unshackle themselves by realizing what the images are and what the truth is. They will continuously remain in awe of the shadows because they do not have the courage to go out and explore, or they lack the will to venture out due to laziness, or they are simply not permitted to. Therefore, those philosophers who venture out and explore the truth build hegemony.

Is it that we will always believe them without any question or reason and live ignorantly until some honest men who have voyaged outside the cave, break their own pact and uncover the lies of other philosophers?

Like every other person, when you watch news coverage or read dailies, you tend to appreciate a certain style of expression, the depth, the analysis of issues, the interrogation, the courage, the fearlessness, the audacity of certain persons in the media- I was 17 years old when a friend told me that a newspaper's quality can be judged by its editorials; better late than never! Barkha Dutt is the same woman who reported on the Kargil war, becoming a brave new symbol of womanhood (I have nothing against womanhood having any symbols, many symbols of manhood have risen and fallen over the period of time, let’s get back to the issue) and was pronounced the star of Indian media. Vir Sanghvi, often seen on her television shows, started as a prodigy as one of the youngest editors in the country. His flair for and command of language, as well as his knowledge is widely appreciated.

Yet there is division in the guild, which usually happens when some people behave as though they are the ones who set the standards, or when some hold a larger cadre of followers: others want to bring them down. The infamous Niira Radia tapes were one such event. Had this not taken place, we would have still continued to blindly believe in the darkness and the shadows. During the night we sleep, our eyes are closed and when we open them, it is still dark. The tapes were indeed an alarm to stop being an "ullu" to such darkness, or a prisoner to such philosophers who are misusing their knowledge and courage, as arrogance and ego have taken over the better part of their character.

Barkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi claim they did all for the story. As ’political journalists’ they have to sometimes ‘go with the momentum’. How else would we, the innocuous viewers, receive the sensational news that they are delivering? So what if this involved negotiating with a lobbyist to get one of the most corrupt men in India the Telecom Ministry, then trying to create a bad image of a company in dispute when the matter is subjudice. Are we asking for it? Do we deserve it?

We forget they are here to voice our opinion. We forget that they are here so that we can live a peaceful and progressive life where justice prevails, not to push forward what they think justice is and what should prevail. The media wants you to believe that Modi is a mass murderer, that Varun Gandhi is a classical Fascist, that Bal Thackray is anti-liberal and that all of this is unacceptable by us, the “peace-lovingly complacent” people.

Now two questions arise in my mind:
          1. Amidst a storm of such nature, do we decide to take any action against this?
          2. If yes, then what should be our approach?


The Indian English media has been very quick to out-rightly criticize the involvement of two of the biggest names in their fraternity who have, to a great extent, shaped its very functioning. All other channels and their top editors out in the Open (pun not so intended) have elaborately discussed the link between the media and the corporate world.

NDTV 24x7 ran a show where a number of leading journalists questioned the authenticity of the revelations in magazines such as The Open and The Outlook. I thought it was nothing but a desperate attempt to save face in the wake of the shame that she has brought to the channel whilst trying to advocate that it remains ethical. Of course, she also brought many TRPs and controversies which somewhere were forces for change. Yet whether they were for good or bad is for those masses to decide, to whom she communicated without any questions from them.

Should we the viewers be appeased and move ahead with life until something more disastrous is revealed? This is the first time something of this sort has happened within the media and I don't think we may ever get such a second chance. Hence, this should be the last nail in the coffin of our ignorance and blind-belief: it is high time that we buried naivety and started afresh. 

In the modern age of Information Technology, if we are still waiting for the philosophers’ hegemony to break by a natural turn of events, then we are the biggest sufferers in the end. We will have no one to blame but ourselves if we wait as prisoners for one of the shadows to kill us!

If you do not have the time to go out of the cave and explore things yourselves, fair enough. However you do have the capability to analyze and comprehend what these people are trying to explain. The democracy that we live in is elitist by nature. The media is our only weapon but it is more for self defence than attack. It is for us to use in our time of need, and we cannot wait for it to rust through our own ignorance, looking forward to it to fail at the time of war. Time and again we must service it. Now is that time.

Media reporting is like brewing superior coffee: the aroma is strong, and the beans are being spilled. You as a brewer want to be appreciated for the end product; you want the taste to remain good till the last sip. You want them to come to you whenever they want coffee. But why poison it? Why adulterate it? Put simply, the idea is to get us addicted without us even realizing. We need to get this sorted immediately. We need to be conscious of what we want and more importantly who we want it from. We want the great tasting coffee we are paying for, directly or indirectly, it doesn't matter! We do not want to be begging for hooch, accepting an inferior quality, adulterated and reduced in quantity. Our addiction will render us always at their disposal. Yet it is not their privilege to present any bollocking story and hook us, but rather it is our right to demand only the truth and not what is portrayed to be the truth. It is their responsibility to tell us the truth, and our duty to be critically aware at all times of what part of the news to believe. 

It is exactly like those advertisements of "Jaago Grahak Jaago" and "Jaago Re" from Tata Tea. The media can never be held responsible for our own stupidity in blindly believing them, nor for our reactions towards certain events or people following the reporting of news. They are simply doing their job. Or are they? Generally, the media are not closer to the Prophets closely observing the words of God and conveying the Truth to us the viewers or the lesser mortals, but they are doing nothing but noting the minutes of meeting of Satan and his devils in a dungeon keeping us away from the truth. It is just that this time, some of them remained human enough to surrender to goodness. Thank our luck.

Luck, like lightening, does not strike twice. Otherwise, we would have continued as the same ullus, happily living in our own world of darkness. Mind you, it is not at all an easy job to spot the sun; it is to fight the taboo of staying up even when the darkness ends. We must not be afraid to see a new colour to replace that of night, or to break free from the idea of shadows as reality.

Sensationalism has always had a special place in our lives. Being a Punjabi, I can afford to take personal pride in that too. Eventually though, the biggest loser is us, the viewers. We who trust the media as the word of God may find ourselves at judgment day trying to prove our ignorance as innocence. Activism is necessary. You cannot give your busy and hectic metro lifestyle as a reason, because it is a very weak one.

Once sensationalism is put aside, we can think better and clearer. It is important to ask the same question Ram Jethmalani famously asked a media personality: "Who the hell are you to decide?” Second, kindly view more than two to three channels. Third, question the questions being asked. You will observe a trend of how sometimes easier questions are asked to one and harder questions to another. Fourth, give the benefit of doubt to the person who is defending the ‘bad’ news. You may not sympathize, but give him an unbiased hearing. After all of this, shape your opinion and make sure it is heard and shared not only on the channels that you view or the Twitter accounts you follow, but also by discussing and writing if you believe that you have found something more.

For injustice to be avoided, mudslinging and public humiliation are traditionally used for deterrence purposes. But the problem is that an act has already been committed, a person or a group is now suffering as a victim. Whistle blowing is the first way to control any further damage, but one’s own alertness will be more rewarding and peaceful.

Jai Hind.