On Thursday, August 18 NDTV’s programme, the bullshit never stops, started off with a tagline question ‘India Interrupted?”. The second headline was if Anna Hazare has brought “Indian democracy to its knees” (quoted needlessly from an other media report). The subtle but sly mischief behind such headlines can usually be missed by viewers who may be focused on the discussions. There are many times TV channels try to push and peddle a statement posing it as a question to deliberately spread falsehood. For instance, if I were to make a statement: “Is Anna dying?” You cannot accuse me of lying but at the same time you can recognise the mischief I am trying to spread through what may appear to be an innocent question. The NDTV programme by Barkha Dutt also credited wrong captions to the Washington Post which was later corrected by their reporter, Simon Denyer, who was fortunately there as a panellist. So watch out for questions like, protest or blackmail?, Lokpal bill only solution?, ‘Anarchy or Democracy’. All of these are NDTV questions. You will find similar ones on other channels too. And the best title of all has to be – ‘Anna-tommy’ as a commenter on this blog points out to suggest he is being projected as a US stooge.
Simon Says: India’s democracy has not been brought down to its knees but maybe the Indian government has been brought to its knees. That is more truthful than the headline that NDTV chose to use as the starting point of the discussion. In fact, Simon went on to say that actually these protests reflect the vibrancy of Indian democracy. The real shame of our democracy happened when the govt wrongfully arrested Anna Hazare and others and imposed the most foolish of conditions for protests and fasts. If you look up the history of democracies, it is usually never the people who murder democracy. It is usually the governments or armies that murder democracy. Our armies have always been respectable, that leaves only one criminal. I would go one step further and suggest that when the government is repeatedly flouting the constitution, indulging in corruption, looting the nation then people must take up the responsibility of protesting and fighting back.
If a Congress member like Rashid Alvi states that the protests are a US conspiracy our media rushes to him for more sound bites. Unfortunately for the media there isn’t enough substance in Alvi’s crap which they could have built on and turned it into a larger discussion. In desperate times like these the govt should have put out their best and moderate spokespersons to ease tensions. Instead, who do they put out? Renuka Choudhary! She is a politician quite well known for intemperate outbursts. So naturally when someone asked her about Rahul Gandhi’s response to the protests she came up with something as lame as “he is not a parrot”. If I were Rahul Gandhi I would actually take statement as an insult to me rather than great defence. I think even someone like Satyavrat Chaturvedi is a lot more sensible and should have been speaking for the govt.
And why is the media so desperate to hear from Rahul Gandhi? If past record is any indication the man really doesn’t have a sensible view on anything and even if he speaks, he is neither eloquent nor articulate. In times of distress it is not kicking and screaming spokespersons like Renuka Choudhary who should be thrown at the media and people. The highest official must directly speak to the nation. Now, given that the PM himself is totally lost and those who were in charge caused more harm to the situation, it is a particularly bad pothole for the Congress. This is the situation that some media channels are somehow trying to retrieve for the party. Still, some saner voice from the Congress has to step up to the crease, show humility and try to ease the situation instead of appearing to be more provocative in defence. If you want to make a bad situation worse you will surely want the Renuka Choudharys to speak for you.
At a different level there are reports that the Congress is now trying to run a campaign to counter Anna Hazare’s protest through social networks. Here’s a piece from DNA about an SMS doing the rounds : “One SMS doing the round reads: “I am strongly against corruption but I am NOT Anna! I am NOT a dictator saying MY BILL OR NO BILL.’ I believe in the democratic process through Parliament. I do NOT belong to any opportunist political party who have selfish concern in not letting the Parliament function. I am proud India and would like to do my bit by being honest. YOU DECIDE WHETHER U WANT TO BE ANNA OR A PROUD INDIA! Forward this message and let your friends decide who they want to be. We are the ppl of 21st century and we can think.”
Has the Congress think tank totally lost it? This is not a battle on twitter or facebook! This is a battle on the grounds right at their doorstep. This is not a battle by nameless and faceless people. This is a battle by real people right in the heart of Delhi. If the reported SMS is true then the Congress is suffering from a serious poverty of brains. What does it say about the party when one of its staunchest supporters, Sanjay Jha, calls it all a comedy of errors? This is a guy who runs the ‘Hamara Congress’ page.
Protest or blackmail? Recently the Gujjars, agitating for reservations, blocked railway tracks for weeks. Trains had to be cancelled or diverted. The media reported it but not one channel had a discussion condemning that illegal agitation. That agitation was illegal since there are already High Court orders preventing the blockade and also the reservation demanded. Every protest that demands something and threatens an extreme action may also appear to be blackmail. But in the case of Anna Hazare’s protest he has not threatened the govt with blockades and bombs. He is simply willing to lay down his own life. There are people who have killed themselves over issues of reservations and even Telengana. It is some in the media who simply cannot stomach the fact that these protests have come about because of the stupidity of their own darling Congress. The question is why is the media so desperate to paint this as blackmail? Politicians in power have often proven to be anti-people, what spurs the media to behave similarly?
The worst of the lot has to be the ones who will ask you “why don’t you idiots vote”? Ever heard Suhel Seth ranting about that? Really! This is the funniest of arguments you will get. As if getting out and voting for someone once in 5 years is the eternal solution. In a post about Mumbai I had outlined why the Mumbaikar’s vote really doesn’t count as far as Mumbai itself is concerned. NDTV or CNN-IBN doesn’t need middle class audiences. Their segment is clearly those you would find in a bar or in a fashion show when the country is burning. Sometimes you will find them vacationing abroad while the nation burns. Do you think these channels give a damn about India? I seriously doubt. All that matters is whether they are able to rake in money. And even at that NDTV is doing badly. If their main priority is money you can make a guess whose side they would be on. And that is why Lewis Caroll visits Barkha Dutt’s head everytime there is an agitation by the lowly assholes. They are all mad, aren’t they? The only smart one is Alice! I am the only smart ass alive these channels would suggest. And then bring on the misleading headlines posed as questions. Unfortunately, the media team of Anna Hazare seem to be much smarter. How else can you explain a term like ‘jokepal’?
And the Congress has now started advertising about the Lokpal bill inviting suggestions from public. If they really cared about public opinion they wouldn’t have brought the silly Lokpal bill they made. That is like setting a thief to catch one! Are we done? No we are not, watch out for more misleading headlines, rotten statements and dirty tricks. The full monty is yet to come!