Monday, February 9, 2009
India is country of paradoxes. If it has generated some incredible spiritual thoughts in times when rest of world was walking around the planet naked and hunting deer, it has also at same time, produced some insanely stupid men in times when world has progressed from caves to computers.
One such men is one called Muthalik in Bangalore (or Bangaluru) . Now this Muthalik is a head of fringe group called Sri Ram Sene which nobody in this country knew until few weeks back. Until these guys walked into a pub in tow with TV cameras and beat up women present in the pub to protect Indian culture. Since then these guys have been making all kinds of comments on what they think Indian culture is and how they will beat anybody to protect this culture against any (perceived or real) corruption. Now I can analysis this logically and write a erudite piece here to explain this phenomenon, and how it is a tussle between India and Bharat, but that would be useless. Because neither these guys understand any logic or reasoning, nor do they deserve it. All they deserve is an answer in their own language which is one of violence and hatred. I hate people like Muthalik because he is as ugly as an asshole and he stink badly. He needs good thrashing. And that is what all of his so called supporters need as well. They need to be fought against in their own language. Using language of violence.
Muthalik is a pest. He cant be a Hindu because he is not even half a man. Just by wearing vermilion on his forehead he does not become a Hindu or its spoksperson. He is sort of guy who would not even respect his own mother. Because he thinks that beating women is Hindu culture, on one or other pretext. For me he is not any different than the Muslim Mullah who wants to marry 10 women and want to keep them covered in name of culture and God.
So I support all these protests against Muthalik and his fringe sex-starved (presumption but so be it) group of supports. There are women who want to send him pink chaddies this valentine's day, and I say, women, do it, by all means. There are people who want to hug publicly this valentines’ day and there are those who want to "pub bharo"... do all of this. But I say, go beyond it. If these people come in herds (like cowards usually come) to beat you, you retaliate. Beat them back. Break their heads. Hit them hard where it hurt the most. Don’t be afraid.
We need to do it now because these fringe groups, these Taliban like forces are spreading deep and wide and faster than we think. They are spreading like weed which needs to be uprooted now or else it will be too late.
So guys, stamp on them wherever you see them. Indian culture can do far better without these insane, half witted, men who use sacred vermilion to cover their own cowardice. So Mr. Muthalik , I am Hindu. I believe in God and I don’t. I celebrate Khajuraho as much as I celebrate messages in Gita. I will do all that which this country lawfully let me do. You keep out of my life, our life, and if you don’t like what we do, burry yourself in sand and if you coward come and want to fight with me, come like a man, alone, .........not with your cowards sena, not with your herd of impotent followers. And Muthalik did nobody tell you even that ...you look more like Ravana than Ram!!
Monday, July 14, 2008
That there is something rotten with law and policing in this country is not something unknown. This is a country where suspects can be kept in jails for years waiting for their cases to be judged, police can be easily bribed and investigations are often botched up and superficial. But in Arushi's case, the media had created an unholy alliance with incompetent Police to feed us half cooked stories and lies as breaking news just to keep their 24 hours channels running. Every news channel was trying to come out with its own version of truth and investigations. Investigations, done in studio rooms with graphics and animation and by hyper news presenters asking viewers to vote who they think were the murderers. An Entire nation was turned into detective. A new form of collective wisdom perhaps where murder mysteries would be solved in news rooms and by news polls and not by hard and objective investigation. All ethics of journalism were compromised on alter of one- up-manship and TRP race. Firstly, illiterate police officers leaked absolutely private details of Arushi to media and then Media did nothing but feed on it. Whatever happened to a minor's rights of privacy? Few things come out of this case for us a society to introspect:
police force is unable to do any investigation in a scientific and modern way. They are too prejudiced and biased to employ objective judgement to crack a case. They also appear virtually illiterate and have no knowledge of a person’s (dead or suspect) right to privacy. If CBI has to be called out in every other case, then what happens to all those cases which don’t get as much press and CBI involvement as this one did? And when police officers who botched up the case would be punished, if at all? Dont we need massive overhauling of our police force to bring them out of medieval mindeset and methods or is it that Police has forgotten how to investigate as it has beocme merely a coercise tool in hand of state?
News Media is fast turning out into a parody and circus of speculations and theories. It has forgotten all journalistic values and ethics and is high on its power and privileges. It thinks nothing about runing speculations as stories on a 14 years old girl's private life. It thinks that it is not answerable to anybody and can do anything in name of freedom of press. It is not able to self-regulate it and it is about time that someone else (State!!) did it. As my friend, says "you can’t really expect bunch of kids to self-regulate, they need bit of parental control". And presently, Indian news media, especially news channels are nothing more than quarrelsome bunch of kids. They need little rap on their knuckles.
There no privacy laws in this country. Anybody suspected of anything can be hounded by media, their names and pictures splashed 24 hours on TV. All kinds of insinuations can be mixed with fiction and drama to cook up a truth. Can Talwars now sue all those news channels which ran day long stories on them and had camped in front of their house? And why not!
A voyeuristic society ? As the case was unfolding "live" on news channels, there were reports of some production house planning to make movie or TV show based on Arushi's life , even before truth was revealed and investigations were over. That was clearly insensitive and indication of how voyeuristic we have really become . Afterall, if there is 24 hours coverage of a murder , trial by media and attempt to make TV shows on a tragedy, then there must be because many of us want to watch this on our TV sets. Is it an indication that we are becoming a voyeuristic society now where news , entertainment, gossips, halftruths are all mixed together in a heady concoction of 24 hours news sprinkled with advertisement breaks?
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
It is difficult to gauge where does India TV stand in plethora of Hindi news channels in India, which mostly cover nothing else than banal to Bollywood. Is it news channel or is it gosssip channel or is it live circus ? It frequently runs stories which verge on sensationalism, presented in most bizarre fashion by presenters who are TV equivalent of quacks. While browsing Tele for news, I came across two stories on this channel. One breaking news story was showing a video grab of dark, rain heavy, clouded sky and anchor was claiming that cloud was a giant demon (daitya) in sky. The cloud indeed vaguely resembled face of a man. Anybody who has ever looked at clouds in sky would know that traveling clouds can take many shapes. You can see dogs, cats, humans, war scenes or anything you can imagine. But India TV would have you believe that there was a Giant in sky in form of clouds. Story Anchor (are these guys worth calling journalists?) was repeatedly insinuating that cloud was a giant in sky and then it was asking viewers to call teh cahnnel and discuss if this was indeed a Giant in sky?
"Kya ye eak Daitya hai?"
"Kya apne kabhi aisa Daitya dekha hai?"
"Dekhiye kitna daravna hai iska chehra"
"ye deikhiye dataiya ke hoth, uski aankhen, kya ye hum se kuch keh raha hai?"
The very next day, in another breaking new, India TV ran another video which was sent to it by some viewer (picked from YoutTube as posted above) and which had Sai Baba moving his lips and ostensibly speaking. The Breaking story ran for good 3 hours and Channel was asking its viewers to call and discuss the speaking Sai baba video. What was most bizarre and ir-responsible was the way in which whole story was run with sensationalistic headlines, a ludicrous anchor and equally ridiculous voice over.
Dekihye , Sai baba ke hoth hil rahen hain. Unki Ankhe bhi hil
Rahi hain. Kya Kah Rahen hain Baba?
For an un-initiated viewer, the story would have come across as some sort of Miracle that Sai Baba was speaking in video. It was very obvious that Channel had clear intentions of grabbing eye balls by playing on gullible viewer's religious sentiments by hiding facts and presenting them in a way which would have a Sai baba devotee think that some sort of Miracle had taken place. In a country where large number of people can believe on anything in name of God, running such a story was tantamount to deliberately creating sensation. The height of stupidity was reached when competing news channel AajTak also picked the story and was keen to declare that it had reached the truth of "speaking Sai".
Towards end of the story India TV started claiming that it was showing the video in interest of nation and devotees of Baba and all it wanted to do was properly investigate if this was a real video. So is this what India TV finds worth investigating? An Animation posted on You tube? A video which anybody in first look would have said was work of an Animation? A video which is posted on Youtube with heading of "SaiBaba Animation" ? The very next day Channel again ran same story with "fresh claims" that after its pain staking investigation the truth was finally out and that India TV can now proudly say that it had found out the truth that Video was an Animation. And then it claimed that Saibaba is real and so is this video.
"India TV ko apni Tehkikat par garv " (India TV is proud of its Investigation)
What Investigation? If there was anything to be investigated, why did you moron showed the video before finding the truth? What was the urgent need of showing video? And why present a simple story in a way that it will sound fantastic? Why to run Animation with Sai Baba Bhajans in background? Would India TV show any video sent to it by any viewer and run it for 3 hours in name of investigation?
"Age bhi jari rakeha a jung" (Channel will continue this in future.)
Of yes. Grab animated videos from You tube and start investigations and run them as breaking news.
"karodon bhakton ne abhar jataya" (Millions of Devotees thanked India V)
This is as preposterous as the story channel ran. Do they know how much is one crore? How did channel find out that there were Crores of people thanking it? Did it talk to crores of people? And what were devoteed Thanking India TV for? Pointing them to YouTube?
"India TV ke tehkikat ka asar" (Effect of India TV's investigation)
What effect and on whom. Does India TV think that showing videos of vanishing statues, magicians, flying men and animations amount to Investigation!
"Sai bhi Sach or Video bhi Sach" (Sai Baba is real and so is video)
How did Channel reached on conclusion that Sai baba is real? Was that under investigation at all?
Rajat Sharma, perhaps its time that you retire or perhaps you have lost it. Otherwise how can you be in channel which seems to be infested with dementia stricken people in guise of journalists? But the malaise doesn't seem limited to India TV alone. Other Hindi News channels like Aaj Tak and even IBN7 are equally culpable. At time when India TV was showing Speaking Sai as breaking news, IBN7 had "messages from aliens" as breaking news.IBN7 claimed that it was doing "Duniya ka sab se bada khulasa", "world's biggest expose". Well. What next are we going to see as breaking news ...UFOs, invading aliens, Barmuda Triangle??
Shame on you India TV. Shame on your journalists. You don’t deserve privileges granted to Fourth Estate. If you don’t have anything worthwhile to show as news, you can do a little favor by not creating controversies and feeding on them.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Corrupt System: The fact that there is something rotten with our judicial system is hardly a secret. Poor who can't afford lawyers for themselves, keep lodged in jails for years for petty crimes, as their court cases keep piled up for years, waiting to he heard. Rich who do wrong "by mistake" easily buy their way out of legal system. Witnesses turn hostiles, or are bought, important evidences can be misplaced and entire case weakened. ”At almost every point where citizens are governed, at every transaction where they are noted, registered, taxed, stamped, licensed, authorized or assessed, the impressions of being open for negotiation is given" Pratap Bhanu Mehta, India's political scientist has noted in his book "The burden of democracy". We can easily include the whole machinery of justice dispensing in this list of "open for negotiations" label. In a city where majority of police force is over worked and under paid, and where bribe and hafta have become almost a legitimate source of income for policemen, it wouldn't be very difficult for a rich man to buy few policemen to weaken the case by deliberately ignoring vital evidences. Investigations could easily be made perfunctory and persecution could be slack as perhaps happened in Pereira’s case also. Why is it that some cases involving rich are put on so called "fast tracks" when other poor accused keep languishing in jails for years awaiting their cases to be heard, is a question which needed to be asked. Do we have different yardsticks for poor and rich when dispensing justice! Must it be that every case where rich and privileged are involved, justice can only be safeguarded and ensured when there is constant media attention and public outcry! Is it now required for public to constantly do a Rang de Basanti! May be yes, the reason is that corruption is not rotting the system, but it has become a system itself. Most of us from middle class who work in private sector and live their life mostly outside the sphere of governmental controls are not affected by corruption but that is not true for most of Indians who are at mercy of "the System".
Is Judiciary also to be blamed: In case of Alistair Pereira, fingers can be pointed at the judiciary as well. The judge convicted Pereira, of rash and negligent driving and handed him over just 6 months of prison. Was it of no significance that his "rash driving" had killed 7 people? Judge said that chemical analysis report mentioned alcohol levels in blood of the accused but no witness was produced to prove that accused had consumed alcohol! Wasn't the report itself proof enough that Alistair was driving under the influence of alcohol! RTO inspector had testified that car didn't have any mechanical failure and judge himself noted that if a car as sturdy as Toyota corolla had suffered such extensive damage where its engine was ejected due to impact, then it must have been driven at very high speed! Pereira was also accused of acquiring forged papers to obtain license when he as just 15 years old. People who were killed were not walking on the road but were sleeping in their huts along the pavement. Is punishment for driving drunk and rash and killing 7 people, mere 6 months? I don’t understand law in its nitty gritty, but the judgment defies the common sense and logic. This is a travesty of law and justice.
Media Trials: While speaking to DNA after the verdict, Pereira did not express any remorse about what he had done and almost blamed media for his 6 months prison term. "I will have to go in for six months, all thanks to the media." He said. It has been debated for quite a while that there has been a rise in cases where accused are tried by media and public and opinions are made about guilt even before cases are deliberated by court of law. This is obviously a wrong course for law and justice. Accused is innocent unless proven guilty, but the way so called justice seems to be dispensed when it comes to rich and mighty, it is quite easy to understand why media has to take up the cudgels and why punlic at large feels cheated. In Jessica Lall case, the accused was almost but hanged by public opinion and media outcry. Ram Jethmalani, one of topmost criminal lawyers of country fought his case in high court and was highly critical of media's role in the entire case. His point was that it is only law which can decide whether a person is guilty of a crime or not, not the media. But his arguments stood on tenuous ground by the very fact that he almost ended up showing how well this law functions and how law has been hijacked by black coats who use every trick possible to win a case. Where is the truth! Who fights for truth! Truth it seems can easily be fabricated by arguments. See what Pereira's lawyer told to the media after the verdict:
Pereira’s lawyers feel that the six-month imprisonment is too harsh and have decided to appeal against the order in the Bombay High Court. “He is a 21-year-old boy and an accident like this could have happened to anyone,” Majula Rao, his lead lawyer, told reporters.
Bollywood movies for all of their flaws, can be taken as indictor of reflection of our society. In decades of 80 and 90s it was a common theme in various movies where hero of the movie had to take law in his own hands and deliver the justice himself because courtrooms couldn't do that or justice was compromised by scheming lawyers and compromising Police. The images still linger on.
Justice for laborers :Are we going to see "Justice for poor laborers" campaign as we saw it for "justice for Jessica Lall"?. Hardly seem likely but I would be pleasantly surprised if it happens. Jessica Lall had her family fighting for her justice. In present case, poor and perhaps illiterate families of killed laborers were most likely already brought for few thousands of rupees. "Jo hona tha ho gaya, ye sab to unke karm the" They must have said. As for Pereira, his family would stand by him as he is a nice guy and whatever happened was just a mistake. "He is a nice guy, a gem of a person." Some of his neighbors have said in media. Unbelievable, but we do seem to have this logic where if a person is good and perceived as nice guy, we are tempted to pardon him for "mistake". Even if that mistake had caused death of 7 innocent people! As for family, family always stands behind you regardless how severe your crime be. In great epic of Mahabharata, King Dhritrashtra knew that his son Duryodhna was wrong and had caused the battle by insulting wife of his brother, but he opted to be silent.bk_keywords:India books, The burden of Democracy
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
We know that large number of masses like to know about celebrities and their lives, so recently when engagement of Abhishek Bachachan and Aishwarya Rai was announced, it was no surprise that all the news channels were on it immediately. But, what defeats me is the way it was covered. I don't understand why it was necessary to invite "pundits" and "astrologers" and ask their opinion about wheather marriage would be a success or not, or what chould be the date of marriage or scores of such stupid questions. In doing so, these channels are also indirectly promoting some superstitious practices and thier practitioners. The whole reporting on Aish-AB affair was nothing but tabloid news and channels acted like paparazzi. Why is it so important for nation to know what temples these guys went to and what pujas they performed or what pujari had to say!! Why should a new channel extensively report on how couple's new house is being done up and how many swimming pools it has!! How is it a news when Bipasha Basu is rehearsing for one of 1 million bollywood award functions !! And sample the news caption "Bipasha ke Jalwe"..."Bipasha ne bikhera husn ka Jaadu" . I mean there has to be some distinction between serious news and this kind of "page 3" , peripheral reporting which can be left to channels like Zoom.
There is no doubt that media as such and TV in particular has been largely instrumental in making people aware of various issues, keeping issues in focus (Jessica Lall for example) and forcing lethargic government agencies and institutions to act. TV has also made many corrput politicians and officials mend their way and has instilled a fear in their heart as nothing escapes the media these days. Media is one of 3 pillars of democracy and news channels have such an important role to play and they must not let their reputation and credibility sullied by irresponsible and amateur reporting. They need to move away from thier fixation with bollywood, celebrities and Cricket. They need to understand distinction between reality, triviality and sensationalism. May be it is just that this medium is new in India and has not yet reached maturity which is desired out of it. With great power comes the greater responsibility.