This is journalism at its cheapest!
WRITE HAND BY AJAZ UL HAUQE
It was heartening to hear Mani Shankar Aaiyar in a television talk show Wednesday evening on Times Now. Such sane voices, though heard from the periphery, do have an effect. Mani can be a better Indian than many around him. You need not be frantic to be a nation-lover. Madness can be wisely divorced from patriotism. And that is what one could gather from the talk. Strongly condemning the killings in Kashmir, urging Indian troops to behave humanely is the natural response one can expect from a well-meaning individual irrespective of the political background he is from. Such voices broaden up the scope of hope. This Shankar can listen or can be listened to.
The next Shankar, Ravi Shankar Prasad is pained at the death of an Indian soldier who dies fighting `saving his country'. There are two angles to it.
Humanistic angle and national angle. Defined from a humanistic perspective the man in uniform dies simply doing his duty, like a trucker dies in an accident. From a nationalistic angle his country makes him die as he is used as an instrument to possess a land and a people. So once you throw your army as combatants in a territory to have it grabbed, your death is the cost you pay against the force you use. American soldier dying in Iraq does not die defending America. Death of a soldier in that respect can be equated with the death of a non-state actor. They are out to kill each other and they get killed in the process. But the life of a civilian demands protection from the state machinery. Ravi Shankar proved too cold to the civilian killings in Kashmir and like a typical mob-minded patriot saluted his soldiers without expressing a bare word of concern for the shattered families. This Shanker symbolizes an inveterate hate. Unfortunately this Shankar makes the larger part of Indian political landscape.
Well, that is about independent voices. But more pitiful is the role a section of Indian media is playing with reference to Kashmir. The academics of journalism do not allow you to be a party to the discourse you are only hosting. But the way some Arnob Goswami was conducting the show made it a treat to watch. Like C-Grade cinema which earns its clientele from the streets, this C-Grade Journalism too can excite a like-minded crowd in India. We would expect at least English speaking, middle class catering media professionals qualitatively different from their Hindi speaking counterparts who feed on spice. But here one Goswami puts all those showmen to shame. Moderating a discussion makes a comedy of sorts when you see moderator himself pulling up his sleeves against his own panelists who dare to disagree. Place Babu Bajrangi on Times Now, you won't miss Arnob Goswami. The captions on the screen `Kashmir versus separatists', `Valley rises against separatists' would kid all into believing as if the whole valley is protesting against separatists and that actually is the real trouble brewing in Kashmir. Deception is an art only if it's mixed with wit and wisdom. Here we saw an excellent example of deception but poorly mixed with a bizarre and idiotic sense of patriotism. This is lumpenisation of journalism to cut the story short. One can't imagine that TV hosts can be that shameless in their profession. Sajad Lone put it nicely. `Lunatic nationalism'.
Showing one policeman getting beaten by civilians is sure the part, but that does not explain the whole story. The way Amarnath Yatra is being reported as a peace offensive by the channel throws an impression around as if the whole separatist camp is against the very arrival of pilgrims in Kashmir which is not only a misperception, but misinformation.
This mode of journalism can only fan the fire and that is what they are there for. As Sajad rightly sees this as a bid at improving ratings. By supporting CRP, you gain TRP, but that is no honesty. One can't really expect a healthy journalism from these C Grade journalists who could have made it better as party workers, as banner-holders, as poster boys than as so called media professionals. The only thing missing in the show was a trident in the hand of the moderator. The rest was enough to introduce him and his channel.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Jul 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Jul 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 4 Jul 2010 00:00:00 IST
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