Indo-Pak, netas and the 4th Estate

The paranoia setting in on the current foreign policy of the government is dumbfounded. The hyper patriotic television today almost took out every claw to somehow make me xenophobic of Pakistan.

 Abdul Basit, the hawkish sound tempered high commissioner talked about no reciprocity and suspension of peace talks with India. Most people account it to be the spillover effect of an ‘Indian’ spy caught in Pakistan. It just looks like a repetition of history. Not many months back India called off the secretary level talks with Pakistan.

But can the Modi government be criticised for following a ‘fraudulent’ foreign policy vis-a-vis Pakistan? I doubt such a simplistic notion.

The media on either sides of the border always engage in pumping nationalism, to pressurize the government to follow a pattern where it will come across as ‘courageous’ , ‘brave’ and of course uncharitable to the counterpart. e.g? The 1999 Kargil war, The 1965 war in which both countries claim victory.

The theatrics play out amid raucousness and self righteousness with blinded vision to either logic or common sense. I remember, what Najam Sethi, a man who can be found everywhere- from dancing effortlessly in the cricket galleries to discussing politics on GEO News said about the Indian media’s 26/11 coverage and its effect on the Pakistani counterpart.

Najam is one of those who is severely criticised by various quarters for his “pro India stance.” He was also put behind bars by the I.S.I.

Sethi said,” The Pakistani media stood beside India after the attacks. But as the jingoistic histrionics gobbled up Indian media, the Pak media followed suit changing its tone and tenor.” 

This blind patriotism of media especially TV media tantalises the Anti Pak or Anti India feelings among their respective countrymen. TRPs and Nationalism behave as the long lost brothers of Kumbh Mela. But what gets grilled in the process is coexistence if not peace. 

The political parties like the television channels most of the times feels the need to come out as the beethoven of deshbhakti to make themselves appear to be patriotic.

In a recent statement, the Finance Minister of the country described the media as agenda setters who are digressing frequently from the original duty of the fourth estate.

The soldiers are getting martyred on the LOC. But one is not understanding even infrequently that the same is also happening on the other side. Someone who is sane enough to understand the situation is being seen as a traitor, or an apologist.

We have created a wall of falsehood where the other party is being seriously subjected to mistrust and cynicism. Indians are seeing the abortion of 26/11 investigation process as an evil design of Pakistan. 

Pakistan on the other hand is ‘falsely’ trying to show the world how India is involved in abetting Baloch separatists. But why? BECAUSE, there are too many interests involved. 

Both countries hold on to their ‘core principles’ with Kashmir bogey being raked up by one while Hafiz Saeed being the only issue for the other.

Bilawal calls for the capture of entire Kashmir, while the Congress Party which left its own PM Manmohan Singh alone after the Sherm-al-Sheikh ‘fiasco’ rants about the disrespect being caused to the Pathankot martyrs.

In many ways the relationship of enmity between the two countries will persist. Few handshakes and symbolic gestures here and there will not take away from the fact that the two countries will soon come to share the historical altercation of slugfest and mudslinging.

P.S- Well I am not a peacenik. The high decibels at my home have never allowed me to become one. However, I am sick of diplomacy which believes in placating a selective constituency of media and electorate first, oblivious about the interest of both nations whose prosperity to a large extent will depend on Khrushchev’s doctrine of 1956. 

The need of the hour is to understand that Pakistan’s martyr is being seen by India as its enemy and vice-versa. The value of a human life is much more than the army, the PM or the sovereignty of a nation!


Modi’s doom and Press punditry

The courtrooms are splurging in noise, so are the lawyers, the adjudicators as well as the mujrims. A death certificate has been issued. Twitterites as well as instagrammers have sounded the bungle. 2019 will be the year of Modi Mukt bharat. But we tend to overdrive as individuals, and more as political commentators. We make a mountain out of an invisible mole- more often because of the hysteria that media tends to create which indulges in both the pro and the con effect. The pro effect being political maniacs have a field day while self-obsessed mug “dikhaoing” news anchors of Noida can pursue their gossipy grapevine. The con effect remains that most of these punditry never materialise in a country of stark contradictions- saas bahu serials, Article 377 and MTV’s bold step to conceptualize lesbiandom. 2012 was a year which proved to be the most hilarious example of over punditry in the history of Indian state elections.

‘Akhilesh Yadav won a thumping majority against incumbent BSP. BJP came a distant third and the Congress under the “babalogs” fared in 6 more sits than its previous elections 2012. Privy to earlier year, everyone were abuzz about Rahul’s striking leadership in the General elections where a person called Salman Khurshid also won. The Congress backed almost 2 dozen sits. The Lutyens of the Capital was now considering the probability of Rahul becoming the next CM of Uttar Pradesh- UP was the ultimate rosy love of the anglophile PM of India in the 50s. 2012 UP elections showed the royal punditry had not come off age. Rather wilder possibilities were aired, greater coherence was shown in articulation, but what they missed in the full scenario were the installation to caveats-a must when someone discusses politics and politicians. Mulayam Singh Yadav was tamed down to be a possible PM of 2014 of a non-aligned political formation of 2014 with oddly 45-50 sits out of its catchment basin of 80.

The prophecies proved inaccurate, the intellectual allurements wrong. The Gujarat elections changed the mood of the nation 7 months later. I fear very strongly, the same mistake is being committed again, rather childishly and in an overtly thronging fashion. Almost every news channel is abuzz with the news whether there will be a tie up between the Dalit and the Yadav based parties in Uttar Pradesh – BSP and SP had been in alliance once in the 1990s albeit unsuccessfully. The fire has just got a bit wilder after a gossipy repartee came from the UP CM not denying the possibility altogether to counter the BJP. BSP has rejected even a modicum of a chance of such a bhaichara with the bhaiyaa of UP. But debates have gone ablaze in all political quarters. Few doubt the greatest onus to be put on UP elections waiting in 15 months. And it would also be the time when Modi will be directly challenged in the most populous and hence politically indispensable state where he held almost a 90% strike rate in 2014.

But are we predicting a Modi doom too soon? Yes. Because the BJP still is strong enough in its main bastions of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and a probable comeback in Karnataka and a phantomic rise in Kerala. Every political election is won by votes and arithmetic. So chemistry may be a factor in running alliances, but not in winning the festivity every 5 years. Bipolar states with Congress on the opposite table may be a cakewalk for the BJP even in 2019. And trends have shown that growing political conscience imply voters to ply in different ideological preferences between general and assembly elections. Delhi being the foremost example where three different political weightages were given on 2 different political parties in a course of only 450 days. 18 months earlier we had a vanquished Nitish, today a jubilant one-almost the apple of the eye in the secular brigade which by the way believes in communalizing elections not on the basis of religion, but through the identityof caste. Because in India, we have only been taught communalism on the basis of religiosity and not on the basis of any other factorisation.

So to call the shot even before the match started is more a gamble, less a picturesque prophecy. Rather, it is like those numerologists and astrologers who predict but seldom prove a theorem, not a geometric but a political one.

Modi’s tryst with the Media-a factual analysis

“Portrayal of negativity is fine. But optimism is the oxygen we require so much.”-a BJP sympathizer told me yesterday. The direct sources of communication which the Prime Minister employs to connect with the republic is not only a euphemism of articulated democracy, but it only shows how the view of Modi towards the media has only forged greater indigence and lesser empathy. The name of Modi got scuffled with controversies, as the inner party mechanism sabotaged him as a trouble maker within Gujarat in the initial 1990’s after the historic Rathyatra. Modi was packed off to the national capital where he resided along with other pracharaks and ate in a common mess.

Modi got what he likes and he was made the go to man in the media cell. Rajdeep Sardesai in his book on the 2014 elections show the affinity they shared while Modi was in Delhi and Sardesai in NDTV. “I would call Narendrabhai, whenever we were freed of the pleasure of spokespersons of the saffron end. And invariably he would turn up.” The bonhomie which Modi inculcated with the media flagged of humour and light heartedness . On NDTV, in the show “the Big Fight” Modi pitched for the title of Islamic Terrorism. He lambasted Rafiq Zakaria, eminent Islamic scholar and Congress leader.

But there is a caveat or a corollary. Modi even then irrespective of his bonhomie attacked the “pseudo-secular media”. He roared,”It has taken so long for the pseudo secular media of India to acknowledge the existence of Islamic terrorism.” Siddharth Vardarajan, then with TOI also seem to take on the future PM. But Modi, with his rocky eyes seem to come out as the macho speaker in the otherwise sensitive, volatile debate. The charisma only seemed to better itself in the years to come. Interestingly, though Modi had great inhibitions against the left of centre NDTV pattern of media, he approached a person who flaunted himself as nothing but a pseudo-secular.

His name is Vinod Mehta. Modi, to believe the enfante terrible Mehta supplied the editor papers against Keshubhai, who had reportedly failed to carry on effective administration and relief with the Bhuj Earthquake. “The next thing I heard, was that Narendra Modi has become CM in Keshubhai’s place” tells Mehta in his memoir sequel- Editor Unplugged. The conflict between Keshubhai and Modi was well known. But the way the media seemed to have engaged itself as a party to the situation makes an interesting read.

If you consider these initial years of Modi and Media, you will find it a bit mismatched to the reality in the present. Like most politicians on power, Modi is not cushy towards criticism. But the media with its own vigour has reposed little morality, to take a larger ground on ethical magnanimity. The Niira Radia scandal has only proved how hollow journalism as a profession has become. Barkha Dutt, Vir Sanghvi, Prabhu Chawla as well as Vajpayee son in law Ranjan Bhattacharya are interesting characters in convoluted, power struggle the journos are part of today.

But here lies an antithesis. No politician discovered #Barkhagate as it came to be known on a then relatively new nascent Twitter. It was Manu Joseph and Vinod Mehta who exposed the hurly burly of power broking to which a largely self-interest driven media honchos are part of. Media has always been arrogant. Take for instance, what Dileep Padgaonkar said about his profession. “I do the second most important job in the country after that of the Prime Minister” he said, with greater snobbery and lesser self-restraint. However blaming Arnab Goswami is like comparing apples and oranges.

A man who exposed the CWG, 2G, JijaG was threatened to be censored by the erstwhile political dispensation under the Congress. He never budged. So to expect him to stay mum, while our Shiv Sena supported PM candidate (who now is in charge of the Lalit Mess) fails to practise propriety which she preached as LOP is unconvincing. To be intrinsically frank, both the Media and the Modi Government have flaws and favours-both have had their honeymoon. Now, we should look for grounds of ethical governance rather than mudslinging at each other. The cyber army of Modi must also be taught to express restraint, rather than abusing specific journos and celebrities who fail to agree with the Government on a number of issues. To call the Vice President a “jihadi” has to be condemned in the strongest of terms. If the Government fails to do it, voices of dissent must arise. To quote the “Flood of Fire” author, “what is left of free speech, if there is no space of criticism?”

The fiefdom of sycophancy……

The idea of flattering is not a new born child.Eulogies for centuries have served as the idea of symbolism of the world civilization.Even Surpanakha in Ramayana flattered Lakshmana who rejected the live together proposal,raging Ravana,thus setting the perfect backdrop for the battle in Lanka.Abul Fazl’s Akbarnama only reiterates the view of a sympathetic history with a biased eye.

It is neither correct nor plausible to build dams amidst the flow of history. So the view of the past,reviews the outlook of the present.Like, Kamasutra and Grand Masti can be tied in the same knot. This policy of flatters always comes to establish the bias of sycophancy.Whether Roger Binny gained a place in the Indian squad due to the glitz of bowing down is a topic of a larger elocution.Though experts like Sunny Gavaskar rejected the argument.

The idea of eltism looms large on a majority of conceptions-from the Bengal Renaissance to the ideals of the principal party which fought for the so called freedom of the country. The Communists and the Hindutva parachutes can claim greater accountibility on the issue of DNA superiority.But is it about stardom of capability or simply the science of being better known?

A senior Congress leader had tears in his eyes when Rahul  was coronated as the de facto commander of the Congress party in the pre 2014 elections.“Rajiv would have been so happy today!” Accidentally on the same day,in the post coronation speech Rahul alleged that the opposition sold combs to bald people (reading from a pre written text as usual).One could only humbly question how Rahul could talk about ecological diversity and massive industriaisation at the same point of time? The Jayanthi Natarajan episode only redirected the question of Rahul back to himself.Rahul it seemed sold ‘combs’ to the tribals of Orissa while the direction of his view moved in an antipodal position in the FICCI meet.

Actually sycophancy is not only about dynasticism-it is a wider concept containing several sub categories.Take for example- the tantrums of Poonam Pandey in front of the camera.Any pervert alike myself will not miss an opportunity to strip down in front of the busty babe.So sycophancy is essentially a relative term.It holds social,thelogical,cutural,hereditary as well as personal values.

The lust of politics is so damn in the persuit of power that Shruti Seth playing a role of an optimist to get candidature selflessly disposes herself off in front of Arjun Rampal who plays a powerful politician in Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti.It also provides a greater insight of high testerone levels getting eventually matched with higher ambition.Sycophancy again proves to be an incarnation of reality.

Interestingly when Sunil Gavskar is asked by the policeman in Kolkata’s Eden Gardens to show his identity card, sections of the establishment persue the identification process as a grave insult to a legend.Now is that not supporting the culture of flattery?Well there is a marked demarcation between disrespect and differentiation. When,an immigrant official of an intenational airport asks sexist questions to a woman which even Kim Kardashian will find uneasy to answer,it is also sycophancy-of objectivity of female body.

Sycophancy is closely related to class divisions.Both sociopaths and sycophants have a similarity.The two master the art of deception to its maximum intensity.Lets end on a lighter note.Virat allegedly wearing his gf’s pants also shower sycohancy of love.Hence the topic does get welcomed in one of the rarest instances.The world is full of the art of cosmeticism,sycophancy forms only a part of that shared living……..


Media-‘maid’or self ‘made’?

From time memorial, two objects have always been targets of ridicule-body trade and the press.Invariably,both have also been an industry of profit-from the days of the Kamasutra to that of Priya Anjali Rai.The times of Kandukari Veersalingam Pantulu presented the contours of controversy which even today never escapes the world of digitalization.Pantulu, the Vidyasagar of the South raised the questions of dowry and casteist evils when the Hindu Reigion was as much repressive as the Church of the Vatican. 

In the contemporary era of 19th Century Bengal, Raja Rammohan Roy pubished two newspapers-Mirat ul Akhbar(Persian) and Sambad Koumudi.Bharatpathik Rammohan wrote articles denouncing the self immolation of widows.He had to face resistence of a regressive society.But that never deterred him from taking on the Lords when the Press Act of 1823 was passed by the alien rule. 

Sripad Amrita Dange published the communist mouthpiece called the Socialist in Maharashtra.The Madras Communist Singaravelue Chettiyar edited Labour Kisan Gazette.The  Kesari was published at the behest of the extremist patriot Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

The press then was neither rowdy nor timid.Well neither were they starmakers or presstitutes.But surely they were influential.The generation gap has been considerable,with the Indian media walking through the lines of transformation from the age of Ramnath Goenka to that of CNN. Rough anchors and primetime shows dominate today’s media.In the era of the Newshour the buck seems to stop with the News Today At 9. 

The rise of journalists from news readers to that of adjudicators is not demotion but the motion in the society suffering from patience paralysis.Consider the use of hashtags solely championed by Times Now.The NDTV hashtag #Q4Prannoy or that of #askRajdeep falls far behind than that of Arnab’s #ihaveaquestion.Incidentally the channel which gives widest mileage to its Super Primetime Anchor itself doesn’t mention his name on its hashtag!

Well but the role of the political media has been that of challenging the corridors of power in modern times. The coal scam,2g,jijaji have all come to light thanks to the endeavours of a vigilant press.But it is a bit misleading why most handles of the leading newspapers and channels in social media carry semi-erotica for sexmongers like me? Even Deepika’s cleavage becomes an object of speculation.

The Nira Radia tapes are pointed at by semi literate gyanis to show corruption within the universally Mudrochised media. But what they fail to decipher is the role of Vinod Mehta and Manu Joseph,from Outlook and Open Magazine respectively. Vinod had to resign from the post of Editor-in-Chief following the revealation.Similarly the critical role of Times Now behind A Raja,Pawan Bansal, Ashwini Kumar,Subodh Kant Sahay epitomised the birth of fearless journalism.Arnab,no doubt deserves kudos for that.

Well politicians have always considered the media as a slut,whom they can use and abuse at their own liking.But media is actually a condom whom many a times you need to buy to prevent unwanted pregnancy.Thats the reason why sting operations on Babri Masjid demolition come out on the eve of 2013 Delhi state elections.

Again there is the institution of affirmative media which asserts the belief of a whistleblower.Even if that demands the excavation of Nehru’s drain of records,the media will be ready to the build the burial.

That is the real image of Indian media-that of bias to unbias. Well there will be times when you will feel excruciating pain while having sex(perhaps because of oversized crotch) but the feeling of carnal pleasure will still play the dominant factor.

Is media a maid?-yah maid of the public

Is media self made?-of course.If that was not the case Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest would have eliminated her.