Monday, June 4, 2012

CNN-IBN: The Greatest Indian Farce

First a confession from CNN-IBN: “Based on an internationally acclaimed format by BBC held in 22 countries, the initiative is to select that one great Indian after Mahatma Gandhi who is the most influential, iconic & inspirational and has impacted your life”. So it’s not CNN-IBN’s idea but something the BBC had done many years ago to find the greatest Briton. So after sham awards like “Indian of the year” CNN-IBN has now come up with this new gimmick to pick the Greatest Indian since independence. After Mahatma Gandhi! More of all that later.

First, it’s not so long ago that CNN-IBN picked Mamata Banerjee as the ‘Indian of the year 2011’ and since that it has been downhill for them with her. From trashing MamataB at every possible opportunity to the infamous walk-out at a public interview with Sagarika Ghose nothing has gone right with them and the Bengal CM. And two years prior they picked Rahul Gandhi as ‘Indian of the year’ only to consistently lament they knew nothing about him. Such petty past times are fine with say Cosmopolitan or Filmfare or those page-3 type magazines. Why would a supposed national news channel indulge in such nonsense? Oh, the BBC did it so they should do it too. And as they say “BBC’s internationally acclaimed format..”. What they don’t mention is that the BBC is loathed as much in the UK as the MSM is in India.

And why leave Mahatma Gandhi out? What gives the channel the right to decide on behalf of people that he is above everyone else? There is no denying his great contribution to India’s freedom movement but typically the media continues to create a myth around the man as if he is beyond any evaluation by normal people. This is what politicians have done but not expected from news channels. Or are they scared that MKG might end up being voted 10th or 20th in the list and that may be a great embarrassment for them and others who put him on an extra-ordinarily high pedestal? In Italy the most prayed-to person in times of crises is not Jesus Christ, it’s St. Paul. Jesus Christ is sixth on the list of most prayed-to holy persons. (Watch the second video in this post). That’s not me saying it, that’s a Vatican priest confirming it. Does that make Jesus Christ any lesser revered or any lesser the Son-of-God as Christians believe? Why this strange obsession and madness to put MKG over every other person who has made sacrifices for our freedom? Are we to believe that we would have never achieved independence had it not been for MKG? That remains a serious topic for another discussion though.

What then is the motive behind such silly greatest lists? There’s no other motive than some fun and trivial, meaningless pursuits in times of economic strife. Entertainment at best! There is no denying the final list of 50 eligible Indians for the vote has the most extraordinary people this country has produced. Some have dramatically changed the course of events through their expertise and some have not. How in the world do you fairly compare a B.R.Ambedkar to M.S. Subbalakshmi?  How do you fairly compare JRD Tata to Bismillah Khan? The list also contains 9 movie personalities and 6 sportsmen. Their contributions are immense but their impact is surely not the same. Of the current generation not many are likely to know MS Subbalakshmi’s work that well as they would A.R. Rahman’s. The British list was topped by Winston Churchill and at No.8 is John Lennon. Now, Churchill may have inspired a nation to victory in a war with his leadership but Lennon has the credit of changing the course of pop-music across the world forever. How would one make a comparison?

The BBC itself realised the folly of such rankings and later simply listed all the 100 Britons just alphabetically. All the 100 are special and there is no way there can be any fair comparison of their contribution and impact on Britain or on the world. While claiming to be inspired by the BBC format, CNN-IBN does not reveal the fact of BBC changing the rankings to merely listing the Greatest alphabetically. And what if B.R. Ambedkar ends up 50 th in the poll. Umm… that is sure to set off a juicy controversy, wouldn’t it? For that bunch of people who couldn’t tolerate a cartoon on Ambedkar, his ending up 50th in rankings would be absolute blasphemy. Well, that is exactly the motive and purpose of this farce. Stir up some unwanted debates and unwanted controversy. After all, nothing makes a media outlet grab TRP or circulation like a controversial episode. Not surprisingly, several people who appeared on the list of Greatest Britons also appeared on a parallel list of 100 Worst Britons. (Includes Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and the current Queen Elizabeth II) That’s the very silly nature of such a poll. Read the 100 Greatest Britons for the story.

Do you remember? When the Olympics allowed professionals into the games the Americans came up with the term ‘Dream Team’ for their Basketball players. All of them were big names. That’s not bad at all. One can always dream of a dream team in any sport. Football usually has the Peles and Maradonnas, Cricket has the Dons and Sachins. As against the greatest Indian it wouldn’t have been bad to have a dream star-cast in a movie with a great director or a dream concert with the greatest musicians. And yes, a dream Cabinet in a dream govt wouldn’t be bad either. So what would one of that look like? Let’s see…

Sardar Patel -Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee – External Affairs Minister, Indira Gandhi – Home Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru – I&B Minister, B.R. Ambedkar – Law Minister etc. and top it off with Mahatma Gandhi as the President. Go ahead, make your own dream team.

I’m not the gambling types but I can hazard a wild dream for CNN-IBN. Jawaharlal Nehru voted the Greatest Indian after Mahatma Gandhi. Then follow three rounds of debates that would include all the 28 member jury that CNN-IBN has conjured up, conducted, of course, by the stuttering Rajdeep Sardesai. Then a grand ceremony to award the Greatest Indian award… Oops, Nehru can’t be there, so Rahul Gandhi, the latest of the Nehru clan will receive the award on his behalf. Mission accomplished. Enjoy the Greatest Farce on TV!


  1. Boss, take a bow. I would have loved to write such evocative prose. Deification of MKG has done a great disservice to this nation. His role in independence and vivisection of India was never analysed critically. This greatest business is a trivial attempt to digress from real issues.

  2. Very true. The bullshit people of bullshit channel are trying to do bullshit things so that they can make the bullshit of the people.

  3. Your Analysis is Cent percent True buddy....
    Its All Rajdeeps new game for fame. He wants to give credit to some Fake Gandhi family. Even people vote for Vallabhai patel or Abdul Kalam sir, they can do a small tweak to reflect the votes with big numbers to give the credit to Nehru family(Its all software/technology game).

    Did anyone notice onething, the first name to appear was of Mr.Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the website according to votes/some initial strategy and his dial-in number is 08082891001 and then the name was of Dr.B.R. Ambedkar (08082891002) and so on. Now they have changed that with different strategy so that they intensionally dont want to give credit to these guys..

    WTF you want to do Rajdeep. Shame on you. You are a hypocrite..

  4. I wont hazard a bet against this prediction of yours at all (as always). How I wish the dream team was a reality. Maybe HM and I&B could be replaced ;) Morbid hatred of that family makes me say this.
    Great post

  5. Desi leaders like gandhi,patel,shastri,desai,rao has realy contribute to Indian democracy but nehruvian dynasty only copy & paste lenin & stalin policy in india.These journalist are pet dogs of nehruvian family.They are fooling indians in the name of india will recongnize its true desi leaders i don't know

  6. I wish Shashi Tharoor, Rajdeep Sardesai, etc (of the jury & management of CNNibn) read this and either modify this #TGI format, or, better still, scrap it altogether! Ravi, had they sought your advice they would have probably saved some embarrassment for themselves, and quite a bit of sponsor's money.

    I agree with you that the end game may be to "promote", somebody through a proxy selections.

    The stalwarts are great in their own areas, and, are incomparable. IMO, CNNibn has goofed up big time. And its in a class by itself! If there is an award for #TheGreatestGoofup its got to be for this one in recent times! Rajdeep wins it hands down!!

  7. Dear Ravi - As usual - very well articulated

    There is a deliberate effort to maintain the Halo around Gandhi. Reason being it legitimizes Nehru as we know Nehru was his choice rather than Patel. Further, it also legitimizes Indira's marriage to Feroze since Gandhi adopted him as foster son (Feroze was actually a Muslim with his father's name being Nawab Khan). The foster son part created the much needed acceptance for Indira down the line.

    Please read this article

    it is very well put and much in line with what I always had believed that Gandhi may have a nice person but was a very impractical politician and is always given undue credit.

    Well for CNN-IBN nothing much to say apart from much repeated one that they are Congress News Network

  8. The result is obvious. I can predict it. Indira Gandhi. Why a poll is needed?

  9. It is not surprising that they did not shortlist Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar.

  10. Frinds; guess what Rajdeep Sardesai would say after reading such a blog by Mediacrooks " its a badge of honour to be rated so highly by right wing loonies"..

    BTW really well analysed and written..keep exposing the nexus.. BTW shall we not do a survey of our own here " INDIA WORST 50" ?????

  11. I like the dream team idea ... my dream team -
    Sardar Patel -Prime Minister
    Lal Bahadur Shashtri - Home Minister
    Subash Chandra Bose – External Affairs Minister
    Indira Gandhi – Defence Minister
    sarojini Naidu – I&B Minister
    Dr Rajendra Prasad – Law Minister
    Jawaharlal Nehru - President ( he could have used the privileges, perks and time of this post for his escapades romantic & otherwise and not make colossal blunders country is still suffering from)

    1. We prefer Law minister of india Dr.B.R. Ambedkar only.

    2. I would have put Jawaharlal Nehru as P.A. to Sardar Patel, the P.M.

    3. Excellent team Shivani.... Maybe Law could have been given to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

  12. excellent analysis...
    I was off late very much irked by this paid media and wrote a fictional satire on them, coupled with congress..
    here's the topic, you would love to read

  13. You have unraveled the plot before it could be actioned. It's impossible for this brain dead team to think of plan "B".

    Waiting for the grand finale which you have already placed in the public domain.

    There will be some sanctimonious quotes about honesty & fairness of the process.

    Results will remain unchanged.


    Another crooks story... Every time before Bihar and UP elections, NIA arrests some ex-RSS folks as the ones who participated in Malegoan/Mecca masjid blasts. The national CON media shows it 10 times an hour "NIA arrests RSS activists for blasts" msotly to polarize Muslims voters. Dogvijay attacks RSS which is again showed 100 times a day.

    1. On June 1, a Hyderabad court granted bail to Bharath Ratheshwar, an accused in the Mecca Masjid blasts, on the grounds that the NIA had failed to file a chargesheet even after being granted 180 days to do so.

    This despite the CrPC making it clear that a chargesheet should be filed in 90 days after the arrest, failing which the accused is entitled for bail unless the investigating agency is able to give sufficient reason for the delay.

    On Tuesday, Lokesh Sharma, another accused in the 2007 Malegaon blasts secured bail on similar grounds.

    And these are not stray cases. Earlier, the court had granted bail to three other accused in the Malegaon blasts -- Sham Sahu, Shiv Narayan Kalsanghra and Ajay Rahirkar.

    2. While granting bail to these accused persons, Justice AM Thipsay of the Bombay high court had virtually held that there was no evidence against them. They were granted bail after spending three years in jail.

    3. While the NIA says that these are complex cases and need a lot of time for investigation, many others feel that the evidence is not coming by because the investigation/re-investigation started off as a witch-hunt for political reasons.

    NIA sources blame the current situation on the lack of cooperation from local cops, who form the backbone of any investigation.

    4. It is definitely under pressure. It was set up with a great deal of hype, and we had all welcomed the formation of a central agency. However, when one looks at the Harshal Vasani case, it becomes clear that the NIA is desperate. Vasani, a Rajasthan resident, had filed an affidavit stating that he was offered Rs 1 crore by the NIA to name a couple of senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders in these attacks," he says

    5. However, there are other opinions. Ganesh Sovani, who represents Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, says that this is a result of a witch-hunt.

    "It is nothing but an artificial investigation in furtherance to fix people for political needs. When then basis of an investigation is such, the NIA is left with very little choice but to fabricate evidence. But that won't stand for long, because courts these days are cautious while dealing with such cases," he says.

  15. Hello Ravi, Thanks a million for this hard hitting post. The Dream Team??? Let it stay there - in Dreams I mean. Your observations on silly all-out efforts of maintaining Halo of Greatness around MKG is superb. It is anathema to Indians to evaluate MKG and his so-called contributions to India's Freedom Struggle. Because, fact of the matter is, in spite of MKG accepting his Himalayan blunders - though, as strategically adopted modesty to inspire his followers to obediently continue Demi-God worshiping at a colossal cost to the exchequer. And CNN-IBN's farce is part of this whole drama. It is politically incorrect to consider MKG worthy of any critical evaluation in spite of his agitations / decisions in fact being detrimental. Ditto for the Nehru clan and their actions. That's the reason I say ... let the dream team be in Dreams. It's time to wake up to realities on the ground and act sensibly, and not emotionally. But we Indians are sentimental fools...sadly though. Dear Ravi, by writing this post, you have tried your best to awaken us from our stupor. Regards - K R Vaishampayan

  16. Hey Ranvir I am with ya.. A list which doesn't have RP Singh, Lal Bahadur Shastri etc. and meant only for the Nehru family as they are every where on the list. Bow to every Indian who votes for the same; dunno when you all are going to be free-"Slaves". Open mind also calls for the nomination of M Gandhi. Don't you agree? I don't wanna write much as it ain't gonna affect you all. Jai Hind and do something for the country apart from this voting.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Even I feel that this is not a fair and unbaised poll. If it were then Mr Gandhi would have been in the nominations list. I still dont get it- on what basis were the judges selected. Seems like they want to make M. Gandhi the greatest Indian when he is not.
    Looks like a political stunt. Media is very cunning when it comes to these kind of polls...

    Rajat sharma(india tv)
    Prabhu chawala (ibn7)

  20. Thanks Ravi. This is aonother brilliant peice of writing and analysis from you...!

    However, more coordinated and more intensive attack is requisite for paid media by other nationalist Bloggers.

    Because no surprise, if Congi clan play more dirty games via their paid channels before and during the 2014 Election. You may see surge in their recruitment process on social media as well in coming days.

  21. IF mahma Gandhi is nationl father
    then Dr BR Ambedkar is National creator

  22. please add a paypal donate button on your site.... and lets see if we can put food on your table and let you do what you do best....~

  23. Chill man...someone doing something somewhere which doesnt affect you in any way and still u r so perturbed!!!

  24. Out of curiosity I logged on to site and voted for JRD Tata after watching the show hosted by Rajdeep on a couple of occasions. But after reading your post here, I am wiser off. There's truly no way one can compare stalwarts like these. On the point of excluding Gandhi from the list, it is Indian hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness that is at full display again.

    Great work Mr Ravinar.Along with The Hoot, I think your blog is a good place to get some perspective on Indian media.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. hi,

    punch into google search CNN IBN SHAM AWARD - VADAKAYIL.

    what else do you expect from a zionist funded ,desh drohi TV channel.

    capt ajit vadakayil

  27. hi,

    i found it very difficult to pick any one person from the list provided as each individual has his own contribution in his field. Finally i voted for none. But reading your post made is wise enough to know that this a a media gamble for TRPs or for any selfish biased motto.
    Thanks Ravi... brilliant analysis....i found a good place to find critical perspective on the events in indian media


Comments are welcome and are now being moderated due to excessive spam on older posts. Genuine comments by readers will not be blocked. However, comments that are off topic, abusive, defamatory or slanderous may be deleted. Comments disclosing personal information of individuals/entities will be deleted.Comments appearing here do not imply endorsement by author of this blog.