Blogs - Insignificant Pieces

RIP JOURNALISM; MEDIA KILLED YOU!

~ Insignificant Pieces

Little did probably Raja Ram Mohan Roy know, when he fought for the freedom of press in India way back then. For over the ages we have somewhere mistook television or media for entertainment and only entertainment. Sensationalizing news and information is the mantra for any established media organization in the country today. Not only this; but a majority of the media-persons today, are either involved in yellow journalism or subjective in their media approach. This reminds me of a short interaction with the star of Indian journalism currently who openly, even on a public platform, emphasized on the need of media to be subjective in their approach on issues pertaining to millions of citizens.

There was a time when media played an important role in changing the course of Indian history, when many a noble souls fought for its freedom and glory. It was not only for mere words that one would say, “Pen is mightier than a sword.” But alas! Gone are the glorious days of media when it would spark genuine debates concerning the goodwill of its viewers and worked for nation building. It seems that the learned circle today have mistook the freedom of press to be their key to project or use the medium for their own glory with utmost independence.

When the press was granted freedom in India, it meant the dawn of the new era and hence we would commonly refer it as the fifth pillar of our democracy. I, personally, prefer it to be called as a watchdog of democracy which helps but bring transparency and judicious following of the constitution of a nation. However, over the years of misuse, today in India media or news establishments having become either puppets of political leaders or a laughing stock for its mediocrity. It is the darkest age for press as today it is the very journalists who feel that media should be “subjective”, it should work in the best interests of its masters, it should be entertaining, above all it should work, act and be like an industry where the journalists have the freedom to manipulate viewpoints and super-impose their own judgments without any legality.

Television and print alike today follow the popular notion of glamorizing and sensationalizing news or information in a manner which incites an individual to whom it is fed. The headlines today are filled with bogus and baseless allegations over allegations, where the bad and the good are pre-decided by the weight of their envelopes. There are times when even the senior most journalists use the virtue of their wisdom and stature, to influence the mass towards his/her own ideological preferences. For an instance, there are numerous such shows and channels and column writers today who choose to be anti or pro establishments depending on the amount of revenue inflow in their accounts.

The very word unbiased has become the most biased word in the dictionary today. Most of the media establishments are directly or indirectly influenced, backed or owned by big political pundits or their close family relatives. The news content in our nation today has no head at all as people are discussing social media profiles of people, how did the statue drink water, how did aliens abduct some villagers, etc… Well yes, there are more professional and mature news organization who, but in their debates, start with the conclusion as they have to steer the entire hullabaloo to a concrete end either favoring someone, some party or their own self-ego. It does not end here; the other self-proclaimed journalists out in the streets have a mindset of their own. The ID cards dangling from their necks and the microphone boom in hand seems to give them a sense of utmost independence which makes them greater than every puny normal human walking beside them. The ID and the boom give them the right to break law in any and almost every situation. Be it the terror attacks in Mumbai when the perpetrators followed our army’s every move through our media, or the shameful GS Road incident where the journalists stooped so low to film the stripping of a girl. However, media hooliganism goes way further in, with redtapism and yellow journalism. Some of our fellowmen have indulged in extortions where news stories are either scrapped or released based on the negotiated amounts. Some have again become articulate journalists who can draw conclusions to any case of the nation from giving judgments in public to setting up media trial of people before even knowing the full story. This is a common scenario today. Such is the situation that one media organization is busy mudslinging with the other when the rest are busy gaining so called TRPs by augmenting the scene.

Incidents of journalists and establishment owners being implicated in cases of extortion, corruption and many such other activities is not uncommon today. The issue to be taken up in the prime time debate depends on the TRP and not the importance any more. It is the darkest age for the fifth pillar of democracy as its very foundation remains in tatters today. A major chunk of the blame has to be taken by us the viewers, audience or spectators as well. News article carrying a story of girl molestation or a gang rape has more views and shares than an article about farmer’s suicide. We tend to love reading what Bollywood stars love to eat in their breakfast than discussing about what should be the food policy of the nation. We have become easier to manipulate, to believe in things with prejudice, to be blind and deaf from one eye and ear when the other is busy focusing on glitter and bass.

What is NEWS? Subjective information which allows to judge any and everything by the bent conclusions it brings with it?  What is MEDIA? An agency through which all this biased information is being broadcast for the benefit of an individual or a party? What is a DEBATE? A discussion where we have already drawn conclusions and are least bothered with anybody else’s opinion or viewpoint? What is PRIME TIME? The time when agendas are fed to human through elaborate practice of glamour, entertainment, sensitization and force?

Minutely this is how our media stands today. Here everyone wants the limelight with a know-it-all attitude, biased opinions, big pockets, louder voices, wider sets and shinier coats. The carnivore predators who can tear down giants and eat their guts apart for TRPs and loyalty to their self obsessed egos. In midst of this jungle lingering in a corner is a group of herbivores very less in number running to fight for their survival, for their group’s identity. In this race for being the numero uno somewhere deep within everyone has forgot the great responsibility Media carries on its shoulders, a responsibility too heavy to carry any longer for only screams and entertainment was never journalism nor it shall be…!!!

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Blogs - Insignificant Pieces

Rise of Saffronization

  • Insignificant Pieces

It was great onus that the Bhartiya Janata Party took the nation with a storm, sounding the bugle that it was time for a change. After fifteen years of Congress led government and one extremely talented but silent Prime Minister, after several gates of scams and corruption, finally the people of India, one of the largest secular democracies of the world woke to a new regime. With massive digitization, a technology which the BJP used to its utmost favor, the nation voted mostly for development, peace, identity and economic freedom, Narendra Modi, an erstwhile ‘chaiwala’, a perfect rags to riches Bollywood script, swept the country’s mandate to his favour, and thus the saffron reign began.

Little did the learned know, which the masses did, that the mandate was but for ‘saffronification’ of the country as much as it was for development, economic freedom, etc. No doubt some of the most ambitious schemes were taken up during the first couple of years of the BJP-led regime. ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘LPG for all’, ‘Make in India’ and a few more are the stars of this category. However, gradually the government run by majorly BJP, which is again run by majorly RSS started to unfold its cards of revamping the so-called ‘plagued nation’. It is for dunces to not know the key agenda of RSS, which is to and only to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and hence the word ‘Hindutva’ is doing the rounds do oftenly these days.

‘Hindutva’ as some of these RSS and BJP leaders point out – is actually not about religion but the way of life. However, there actions and speeches in some Hindu dominated regions speaks otherwise. For an instance, the star leader and now the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath may by far be called as the most honest leader India has seen in the recent past. For he is the only one, if I recollect who has intermittently accepted the fact that he has openly spoken about Hindu Rashtra and intolerance for other religions in public platform. However, he has always maintained that he has never instigated people (read Hindus) to deliver the first blow.

Not only UP but many other states have been going through saffronization lately. Some have accepted it like UP some are still struggling to keep up. One such state is Meghalaya tucked in a peaceful corner of Northeast, having fun with the clouds as always, until the Saffron bug stung it. For ages now we have known this beautiful touristy hilly state of having a lot of rainfall, women here rule the household, it has lot of waterfalls; NH7 happens here, rock capital, Lou Majaw, CHRISTAINITY. Oh, wait did you forget that Meghalaya is pre-dominantly a Christian state. This fact that Meghalaya has always been a Christian, beef consuming state seems to be a bit illusive to the saffron political leaders.

The BJP which is now in the open with its ‘Hindu Rashtra’ agenda have somehow been coming with certain activities of its which knowingly/unknowingly hampers other religious practices. Let me recollect firstly it was the Good Governance Day which co-incidentally was declared to be celebrated on 25th of December (Christmas), then the visas of Christian Missionaries in India were cancelled which co-incidentally affects the various missionary schools and hospitals, etc in Meghalaya; we also have the Digital India Day which again coincides with Good Friday. There are many such instances in this context and only a fool would be stupid enough to not be able to connect the dots.

The saffron camp, however, has always denied of such intentions and very cautiously terms all of it as mere coincidence. Recently a RSS leader from neighboring Assam went to the extent of commenting, on record, that the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya use to worship Cows in the past. Now, desperation of these sorts seems to be hilarious as the saffron brigade will go to any extent blinded by the dream of Hindu Rashtra and probably cows in order to prove that India has and will always be guided by Hidutva. For a fact, the tribal communities in Northeastern region of India mostly belong to the Mongoloid origin descending from Indo-Burmese, Indo-Thai, Indo-Bhutanese, Indo-Tibetan, Sino-Indian, origins. Most of these communities have been consuming meat of many animals and cows alike for centuries now. So making imaginative stories about the Khasi is not only hilarious but also stupid.

In a nation which is reeling under various issues such as scams, corruption, law & order, rapes, etc it is these handful of leaders who find banning food choices and strategically targeting religion as the need of the hour. This is but a very dark phase for the nation which dreams of soaring high above as the golden bird it once was. There have been many debates about intolerance, religion, caste, creed but when we ourselves have a mindset bend on; nothing and I say nothing can bring about a change. There are many a people still dying of hunger, there are many a villages still bereft of water, there are many a children still without knowledge (read education) and a time like these we have our leaders who believe that religion or cows are the driving force for this great democracy.

India today has become a nation where cows are safer than our girls, where moral policing is greater than our judiciary, here the dreams and aspirations of a million youth dies every moment, here the cries of that unborn girl child is silenced every second and yet we believe that only killing cows is a crime. It is about time for the people to awake from their deep slumber and decide. For in the end it is us who make her a great democracy and not some narrow-minded leaders blindfolded by agendas and intolerance.

Blogs - Insignificant Pieces

Meghalaya in a political soup, heading for yet another hung assembly?

by Insignificant Pieces

With the assembly elections knocking at its door, the political circle has been very busy lately in Meghalaya. The strategic take-over of the saffron brigade in Northeast one state at a time, has surely created a ruckus at other political camps particularly the Congress. It is noteworthy here that, the Congress enjoys a stronghold in Meghalaya given its performances in the past. But with the current trend and the emergence of lotus in the region, it seems that the state, if not least, is headed for yet another hung assembly?

We have seen how the Chief Minister and the Opposition Leader have danced to the tunes of rock classics recently in Meghalaya. But the good old days of fun & frolic seems to be far over as only a year is left for the assembly elections in the state. Given this fact, all the political camps are seen having hectic parleys and meetings to chalk out their game plan for the coming elections. This year, however, it would not be wrong to expect major changes in the election strategy of many a parties, as the recent saffron wave in the region seems to be giving nightmares to the state’s political giants.

Over the years, the state which once saw turmoil over non-Khasi, education board, land acquisitions, uranium mining, and many such issues; is today one of the most peaceful and touristy attraction of the region. It is but a fact that the Congress played a major role in the last decade to re-shape the young state towards development and peace. Congress off-late however, has been, in headlines for all the wrong reasons. The debacle started as it firstly saw the clash between two giants the current Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma and his predecessor Dr. D D Lapang. The party has always denied about this riff between the two; however the turn of events was enough for the people to make the right guesses. That was not all Dr Sangma who ultimately succeeded Lapang to the throne, could but only muster controversies in the short regime he has enjoyed. From he being a non-tribal to his policies on key state issues has gone drastically wrong. Given these facts the Congress that enjoyed a full majority, at one stage, today have been reduced to run a coalition government with the help of some party-jumping leaders and independents. After years of it enjoying the mandate and the cabinet, the anti-incumbency factor also creeps in for the Congress camp to haunt it day and night.

As if all these were not enough, the rise, fall and rise of Conrad Sangma is another factor that all parties will not be taking lightly. Son of the political stalwart, late Purno A Sangma, Conrad who is an MP and also the chief of National Peoples’ Party is one of the key candidates and leaders to watch out for in this election. Off-late his proximity to the BJP camp at the center is also indicative that something might be brewing for the upcoming Assembly polls. Conrad, who belongs to a deep political family enjoys quite a good rapport among the Garo Population and is also seen as a young dynamic leader of the state. It wouldn’t be wrong to mention that Conrad Sangma might become the frontrunner in upcoming elections if all his equations fit right.

Having said all this, how can one not talk about the saffron brigade which has gained quite a good rapport among the people in the state post ‘Modi-fication’. However, it will be interesting to see BJP’s strategy as it does not have much impact on the seats tally in Meghalaya so far. Given the fact that some of its policies, which have been monitored by the people of the state, during its other campaigns such as beef ban, Hindutva, strategically placing Government feature dates on Christian ceremonial events, banning the visa of Missionaries have not gone down so well with the common mass. This makes the rise of the BJP more spicy in the state. But given the current trend of its neighbors it seems that the party is ready to rope-in political giants from its camp during its campaign which might turn the tide to its favor as it has in the other elections across the nation.

In between all this, it is worth mentioning that a huge uproar is being created by the regional parties who might act as the king makers in this election. As all the major parties do not enjoy a full majority rapport among the masses it will not be wrong to say that the smaller regional parties with its star faces might just steal the show this time over. With most of the regional parties, or at least a handful of them, coming together under a pre-poll alliance it might just work its magic in getting close to the throne.

Be what be, what is sure for a fact is that currently the state stands divided in its mind about its mandate and only time will tell who rules the roost. As the politics in this state has always been interesting and unpredictable, yet again, it seems it will live up to its name. With the state going in elections next year not only the political camps but even the masses are gradually getting ready for its mandate.