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There’s a reason why we learn to read before we learn to write. As a writer, we’re expected to read other writings. We can choose not to, and that still doesn’t make anyone a lesser writer.

As a reader, we can disagree with the content – but surely we can’t criticize a writing or the writer. So, it’s either agree, disagree or ignore.

Can’t stop anyone from writing. That’s taking away the basic ‘freedom of expression’, which is everyone’s favorite three words, in India these days.

But how about writing lines that pry open the basic fabric of our constitution? Instead of burning papers, perhaps we should just criticize like mad. But remember, that not everyone criticizes by writing. Neither can writers take the moral high ground of being better people because they criticize on paper. All kind of people, at every level, are allowed to criticize in whatever way they find suitable.

So I take deep offense when some journalist, like Barkha Dutt or the very articulate Congress man, Shashi Tharoor – ridicule those who may not be educated enough to do it in a certain way and use a different language or process of criticism. Do they really think only the English -speaking people (with the correct accent) have the copyright of ethical protests. I have seen more lies coming out of the intellectual class than many others!

And yes, I am talking of criticism, not threats.

Judgement

Its not as if the judicial system is not good enough, but social justice finds a place in all countries. Moreover, look how frequently we ourselves sit in judgement over everything that we believe is the right thing to do.

Some days back, all Indians were busy judging each other over how secular/communal/tolerant/intolerant/pro-pakistani/anti-national/Hindu/Islamic (the list is endless) etc people were. It was a bit too crazy.

Each to his own, they say. Your own life must be very sorted if you can really bother a lot about others…well, good for you. But let’s just leave it at that.

“Where do these people find the time to judge others so minutely, I wonder?? Have they themselves achieved nirvana?! ” – is what I should say but instead…

I find I’m judgmental too.

This country specializes in intolerant/communal/anti-nationalist paid journalists. Under the blanket of freedom of expression, facts are distorted- outrage created, to the extent of promoting disharmony amongst us Indians. And what do we do, we let them go scot-free. Not one wrong report is righted. Not a single apology issued. This has taken hazardous proportions, much like the Delhi air.

I’ve come to accept the TV journalism for what it should be – Entertainment. Any sane person will not let it determine his/her action on the streets, or with other people.

If you really want hard facts about the steps taken or not-taken by the Government, dissent by serious individual with the know-how of assessing the material – read the print media. I think any government should be kept on its toes, but not at the cost of marginalizing a few and creating chaos. There will be no exaggerations in the print media. And neither this unfounded need to blow everything to larger than it ethically needs to be. With the kind of reach TV journalists have, they desperately need some classes on ethics in journalism. Even a lay person like me, can probably teach them some. Yes, they are THAT bad.

Government bashing is our national sport. 

The funny part is that few even know whether the governance itself is better or worse. Or whether the country is heading in the right direction. Or offer serious comments or thoughts on policy decision. Forget about that – policy decisions are not even discussed in the Parliament (directly thanks to the opposition) , let alone on TV news channel (indirectly thanks to the opposition). You see, Congress has infiltrated the minds of enough people in the country in so many years that it can survive on past glory, inherited epigenetically. 

Of course, I detest the Congress – it stood for nothing when in power. Kept the poor, in poverty and illiteracy, so that they got the votes in the next elections. The favorite vote hunting ground of the Gandhi’s – Amethi, is a classic example. And now in opposition, it stands up only to halt work by the government chosen through a mandate. Though, I admire Sonia Gandhi for personally achieving what she has.

Do I love the BJP? Not really. I’m willing to be open and give it a chance. Anything is better than Rahul Gandhi and his dynastically cronies who sit around him in the Parliament. I admire Modi for having a vision that no other PM has had in recent times. His ministers work hard, like him. Something that Congress ministers have done only for increasing their personal wealth. The Coal block allocation is a scathing reminder of how much they are capable of lies and deceit.

Apart from acquiring a sense of entitlement, the Congress has done little else. This pretty much hold true for most intellectuals and the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Oh yes…

Thankfully, daily newspapers are still the trend in this politics-crazy nation. Half our population will die of boredom if not for these.

I wish everyone would switch off their TVs at the prime 9-11pm every evening, just to teach these guys a lesson.

I was happy to read that a small village in our nation has finally got electricity in 2015, after 68 years of independence.

For instances such as these, I’m ready to leave my cynicism behind and stand behind a government which works.

 

 

No point

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Dogs always know best.

Whether we are conservative or liberal….the moment we acquire a self-righteous, self-proclaimed right to make a judgement, we contradict everything that we probably set out to rant on.

It could be any hot topic of the day: Political leaning, economics, religion, climate change, morality or any social movement.

If nobody has the right to criticize an opinion, who are we to criticize the critic?

What is best and who are you?

How vocally should you denounce those opposing YOUR freedom of expression?

So here’s my 5 paisa worth of opinion: The last wo/man standing, with trampoline for a skin, wins it all.

And that’s all that there is to it.  

 

 

Burrow

Politics is so damn loud in India.

It percolates into work and fun, a dark heavy cloud. Everyone is expected to have an opinion and an answer to the hotly debated questions. Thrown up, stretched to the skin, cooked in a fire and served hot like a roomali roti..on your favorite ‘Breaking News channel’ (and there are many). Dare you form an opinion different from what the channels serve you. Why blame the Government, even the media feeds me what they want!

Most of the problems of this country are because different walls of a home or office, hear different opinions from the same person over the same issues.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the audio we produce, acquire teeth and bounce back on us.

Things will be quieter.

Until then, wondering where and how to hide from the noise, and form an opinion of my own.

Bad Journalism

Today I’m watching the journalism and media in India at its lowest. I’ve been watching TimesNow evolve over a period of many years now. The main protagonist is now Arnab Goswami, who struts about claiming to be the best news anchor in the best news channel. And the channel now promotes all news anchors who are equally loud. I’ve seen him conduct some good programs in his earlier years but now he has taken over all investigating agencies in the country, pronounces a judgement and the rest of TimesNow does the propaganda. So here is how it unfolds…and I leave it to you all to decide whether TimesNow should be booked for instigating violence and negative propaganda, after all they are constantly blaming EVERYONE for doing so.

I am as disappointed as anyone else that India went out in the semi-finals, a tame loss against a mightier Australia. Atleast today. Scrolling through news channels, here is what I saw…HeadlinesToday, discussing the game, lamenting the loss BUT criticizing those who were burning posters of the Boys in Blue and TV sets. Knowing that, very often, the public reaction gets violent against the sportsperson, isn’t this what all of media should do? This is a game, and not in the time of gladiators. Losses will happen. As a sportsperson, every cricketer will feel bad. The Times Now group, instead of keeping up the spirit of the game, are analyzing each syllable said by a cricketer, putting him on the same pedestal as that of a scamming politician. The game has ended, we have a captain who did what he could, a team which played badly on the day. That’s it. So what does TimeNow do? Well, it gets a couple of anchors and treats the game equivalent to all other outrage that it does. It seems equivalent to CAG scam, protests against rape and its recent anti-VVIP racism outrage.

TimeNow, are you stupid? There are flames being projected with tag-lines such as #ShamedInSydney set to appear for Arnab’s prime time in the evening. Arnab, have you lost it?? When has there ever been shame in representing your county and losing a match? Is that what you would say to all sportsperson who lose a match? These are sportspersons who do not measure their words like the politicians do…tired of media speculation, they decide to banter back in a press conference. And to counter that your anchors claim that it is the media who has made Dhoni who he is today! Aren’t you ashamed of the crap you rant out?! Is TimesNow group going to claim responsibility and shut their stupid channel if any of these players’ homes are defaced or families hurt, emotionally or physically?? Because from where I’m sitting, TimesNow seem to be instigating all this.

Changing gears

Some of the oldest memories of entertainement of most people my age and maybe more, would be a half hour indian film musical program, Chitrahaar, which came once a week on Delhi Doordarshan. Doordarshan means ‘viewing something which is far’ in Hindi. Even in those comparatively innocent times of actors exchanging kisses behind lily, hibiscus flowers, umbrellas and bushes; parents kept a watchful eye to see we didn’t show any more interest on the scenes than their keen eyes on our expressions. Many of us who got to watch it freely at home where truly enlightened and envied upon by lesser mortals from neighboring homes. Incidentally, it is the longest running film based show in the world (or so Wiki tells me). hqdefault

The news was of no particular interest to us kids, although the news-readers remain unforgettable. I remember almost all of them. As the country’s representative, it sets the bar high on the information it broadcasts, but not its presentation. It remains the only channel which gives advice to farmers, in changing times and weather, everyday. Even the parliament channels, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have always had well thought out programs on economics, governance and great panel discussions. It remains the only channel which gives a chance to regional musicians and artists to showcase their work. Having said that, I really hadn’t watched any of the DD channels much over the years. Neither have my parents. Glossier channels with overdose of news, said at many decibels higher, proved to be no match to the calm, sepia tinted DD. Come to think of it, while the others of the likes of Times Now and Headlines Today cry themselves hoarse to be heard, DD remains the only channel which continues to use sign language in its main news, for the deaf. A few days back I was pleasantly surprised to see a revamped DD, making an attempt to regain its followers while still retaining its outreach. A zippy background, some chrome furniture, nice camera angles and lo, and behold…the DD seems ready to take over the Indian news somewhat like the BBC. While other channels continuously stuck out on one rampage, based on their own Twitter hashtags, making politicians answerable on entirely inane issues, the DD news calmly told me of a fantastic program launched by the Modi government in allocating 33,000crores of rupees into afforestation and this being the first time that this money is that which has come from corporate penalties. Undoubtedly, being a government’s channel one would not find too many dissents, however, in this age of half baked news and fast-flowing tag-lines, its nice to be able to see what the government has been up to and be allowed to make our own judgements. I also hope to see more global news which is almost completely missing from all other news channels in India. I actually had to catch the details of yesterday’s A320 plane crash on BBC and CNN. Here’s hoping that DD comes out with global colors.