Thursday, June 7, 2012

Vinod Sharma, Shobana Bhartia - Dumbing Down HT

Even Outlook has celebrated Serena William's rump, Padma Lakshmi's cleavage and more. Almost every newspaper has plunged into the war of colour supplements. In a Hindustan Times (HT) story, "Who will dare to bare at LIFW (Lakme India Fashion Week)?", the reporter writes: "Last year, Jesse Randhawa walked out in a nipple-revealing top which Randhawa says slipped, but what a slip—this time's lifw promises a lot more transparency on the ramp and lots of T&A." (If you don't know what T&A means, read no further.) Shobhana Bhartia, vice-chairperson, HT, when shown the story and the accompanying photo of semi-nude models, said, "These pictures and language certainly upset sensibilities. A decision was taken that we shouldn't have such pictures as our paper caters to the entire family, not just adults. However, sometimes things slip in." When informed that some paper vendors in east Delhi had been instructed by families to deliver HT without the supplement, she asked: "Is that really true?"

….Says Bhartia, who has been trying to jazz up HT, with some success, "We want to develop a bond with our readers, especially the younger ones. We have the best analytical minds for our op-ed pages. We want people to grow with us so we have a mix of national and world news along with reporting from the mohalla (neighbourhood) level." ...The secret is out: the Fourth Estate, like real estate, is up for sale. It's the numbers, stupid, not the news. Most papers and magazines today work to the marketer's 3F formula of Food, Fashion and Fornication. The first 2 Fs, editors openly admit, is a part of success, the third one they say doesn't play a part. But how do you explain a news agency report about Madonna turning to spirituality accompanied by a picture emphasising her cleavage?  

…But then the media's priorities have never been more stark and candid: feel-good "news positive" stories are in; and feel-bad stories have no place. Says P. Sainath, journalist and author of Everybody Loves a Good Drought, "While the total number of correspondents covering poverty at a national level is zero, the number of articles by journalists on the LIFW this year was 400. This makes for a 1:1 ratio between journos and buyers…. The average Indian remains unconquered by the cheap-fantasies mafia ruling our culture and media who want to seductively trap us in the Page-3-ness of Life. But how much longer must we suffer these daily brutish insults to our intelligence?

In case you’re still wondering what T&A is, it’s simply ‘Tits & Asses’. Something you can expect to routinely see in any MSM outlet. What you just read above wasn’t written by me and it’s not even new. These are excerpts from a decade old article on the “Dumbing down of India”, a cover story by Outlook in October 2002. The article is titled “Degeneration-X”. The emphasis on certain points is mine. I recommend that you read the full article. And yes, this is the same Shobana Bhartia who still runs Hindustan Times. This is the same Shobana Bhartia who passes off sheer nonsense written presumably by Vinod Sharma (VS) as editorial. There is no limit to the crap that VS writes but his latest one, “It was no mean feet” can even be termed Gutterorial. In one stroke he heaps scorn on both, people who are fat or obese and those in saffron clothing who are known as Babas or Swamis in Hindu culture.

In the article VS ridicules Nitin Gadkari for bending to touch Baba Ramdev’s feet. That VS is a spokesman of sorts of the Congress party and can throw mud at any opposition leader is not even an issue here. Of course, the great Shobana Bhartia did talk about sensibilities in that Outlook article, didn’t she? Does she really care or give a damn? Okay, let’s see what the foul-mouthed VS has to say:

The cynical and the misled may have baulked at the sight, or may even have been shocked, that Mr Gadkari was actually willing to bend so low to extend political support for the Baba's renewed campaign against corruption, and show how pliant he is willing to be…. So next time you hear Mr Gadkari rambling on about how his mark of respect for those in saffron robes was in perfect harmony with our culture and tradition, do remember that something within him is dying to flaunt that slimmer waistline, in much the same way a spoilt child wants to flaunt a new toy. For one who has suffered the ignominy of having a stage collapse (under his watch, not his weight), there can be few better paybacks than to display the malleability of his muscles. We say there is fat chance that any political mileage will be sought from this humble gesture. Keep looking out for more displays of agility from those quarters though”. Shobana Bhartia cares for sensibilities!

The sly rant against an obese man is not in bad taste for Shobana Bhartia. Oh wait! It’s just a co-incidence that Gadkari is obese. What if Gadkari had lost both arms? VS would then had probably described how the fat man went out of his way to touch Baba’s feet with his head or shoulder. What’s the implication? Those without limbs are stupid and idiotic just as VS implies certain things from Gadkari being obese. Imagine, if Gadkari had lost both legs in an accident and were on a wheel chair! What would VS’ arguments be then? He would probably say “Here is a fat, lame man somehow trying to prove he is pliant by falling at Baba’s feet”. And, of course, Shobana Bhartia cares for sensibilities! Who knows if Gadkari had been on a debate with VS the guttermouth would have probably argued “What the hell do you know, you’re a lame man who doesn’t even have limbs”. Swell! You’re fat so you’re stupid. You’re lame so you don’t have brains. These are the sinister implications that VS is drawing from his rant. Have no doubts, Shobana Bhartia takes into account ‘sensibilities’ of readers. Bravo!

Mr.Smirk, Stick to 3Fs and "Tits & Asses"
Now let’s come to the Baba part. It is common knowledge that Hindus touch the feet of elders, parents, gurus and swamis. The Dalai Lama was enthroned at the tender age of 15 yet even much older people would touch his feet and seek blessings. Obviously, Shobana Bhartia and Vinod Sharma are lost to Hindu traditions. I don’t need to go into issues of all the people touching the feet of Sonia Gandhi or other mere mortals in politics or even the infamous “Madamji at your feet” ad. My guess is if VS ran into Sonia Gandhi he might consider it a privilege to touch and wash her feet as one TRS leader once proclaimed. Holy men, even if their secret evil intentions are unknown, are treated with respect. Let’s see, by his logic VS would have stinging comments to pass about Sita Devi who crossed the “Lakshman rekha” to serve a saffron clad Raavan. Maata, Pita, Guru, Devam is an old Hindu saying. They put parents and gurus even above the Lord. Ah well, these Hindu traditions must be stupid for Vinod Sharma and Shobana Bhartia and they can continue heaping insults on some of the most valued customs and traditions of our society. That’s HT sensitivity!

VS is not alone. In the ‘feet touching’ controversy as they claimed it was, there is the journalistic-bimbo Pallavi Ghosh of CNN-IBN who tweeted if this is how India’s going to get foreign investments. And yes, any Hindu tradition is always a controversy for NDTV. Not surprisingly HT, CNN-IBN and NDTV are all close relatives.

The best part is where HT claims they are No. 1 in Delhi. They even warn us: “Make no mistake, HT is ahead of the times” in telling us they are ahead of TOI in Delhi. Well, Ms. Bhartia, we get the message clear. And we also get how HT got there, it’s quite well explained in the first paragraph of this post. It’s going to be tough staying at No.1 though. So I have a modest suggestion, instead of rubbishing Hindu traditions and insulting physical attributes of people stick to the 3Fs and ‘Tits & Asses’. That’s what got you to No.1 in the first place and that in dumbing down India HT has managed to dumb-down its own credibility doesn’t matter.


  1. Its all about money,Honey.Media is acting as congress tout.Washing hands in free flow of Corruption Ganga,they look for their share of loot making day & day out.
    Total cult given by this Media HT Birla House since beginning bend backwards to please Congress.Shobhna Bhartiya is no surprise in the package Yes! her contribution is increased nudity,Sharpening attacks on Hindu Cultural organization through people like VS,Khushwant Singh,Veer Sanghvi,Pankaj Vohra etal.

  2. When a poor most backward dalit went to receive an award then Prime Minister Vajpayee despite his dicomfort took blessings of the woman. That is Indian culture repecting the elders and those who work for others. How will Morons of media will know all these?

    1. Ravinar: Great post.
      Robin: Thanks for the link.

  3. Received on Email from A.Tiwari:

    I really love going through your blog and I think that your blog is one of its kind. I would really love to read a post on how the Indian media has been bought by Cong. politicians to run down Team Anna and Baba Ramdev, like
    today's fast event at Jantar Mantar which was hardly covered by any news channel, resulting in a measly 2500 supporters turning up for it.

  4. Ravi - As usual, great job.

    Disgusting. VS has the talent to find new depths when you think he cannot go down further. Working hard for Rajya Sabha technique. Hope he can detail his way of touching his Madam's holy feet (they are Italian hence holy)

    The likes of Vinod Sharma and ilk represent NHR (Non Hindu Residents) eventhough they have Hindu sounding names.
    Such anti-national hindus (or communists - same thing) in key positions are the reason why we are forgetting our age old traditions and believe what ever nonsense is dished out in name of history. Nonsense like Aryan Invasion Theory, like muslim rulers being benovalent, like hatred for lower caste hindus, all hindus being castiest, all our scriptures propogate superstitions, hindu rulers did not achieve anything, no science technology development in pre-muslim rule era .. and the list continues.

    Robin - Thanks for the link

  5. Another thorough scrubbing for Hindustan Times & vinod Sharma. Despite the Nature's law exacting its retribution, this man has still to learn his lesson.

    What visited him was due to his Karma. Hope he learns to mend his ways fast.

  6. Raviji Why is BDUTT appearing more like an angel these days? Everyone trying their best to outdo each other to demonstrate their loyalty. Vinod Sharma thinks only place he should stoop (or bend) is at Sonia's Feet. Any place else is too low ;)

    What I loved most in this post is the references to our culture. It pretty much says a lot about where these VS'es of the media stand vis-a-vis anything that is Hindu.

    And regarding what took them to the top. I had tweeted once during my travel. As a parent I would never allow this parchment called HT near my children. Playboy is a holy bible compared to HT. Since it is secular to call anything holy as bible, my reference. Excuse me if it is communal this one time ;)

  7. How readers reacted to VS's edit can be gauged by the comments posted on the blog.Most were highly critical of "It was no mean feet" and disappointed with falling standards of HT, once edited by stalwarts like Durga Das.Mercifully, a few beacons still shine to show way to 'way ward' journalists like VS.One such is Media Crooks. Thankss for your efforts.chander@jambokaka



    Take a look at this article. Look at the sick media crooks. This crook laid open the secrets of Sonia without any fear of repercussions. He suggests that Pranab might be too constitutional and hence wants Singh to President so that he can violate the constitution and call Sonia to Govt.



    Her becoming PM would be the ideal solution for three other very important reasons. First, it will solve the problem of who the next president will be. It can be Dr Singh.

    With the SP voting with the UPA, provided its needs are satisfied, it seems pretty certain that any UPA candidate will win. Besides, Ms Gandhi owes him a debt of gratitude for taking all the public flak on her behalf. He is 80 and can justifiably look forward to some rest.

    But most critically, if he is in Rashtrapati Bhavan, he can be relied upon to invite Sonia Gandhi ahead of other claimants, in case there is some doubt about the numbers in 2014.

    Indeed, that was the only reason why the current incumbent was chosen over Pranab Mukherjee in 2007. She knew what was required of her.

    Second, it will solve Ms Gandhi's apparent reluctance to make Pranab Mukherjee the President — or anything at all. He was always defiant of Dr Singh and never really acknowledged him as PM; now, from all accounts, he has started defying her also.

    From a purely party point of view, the time has therefore come to send him into retirement. Besides, as President what is the guarantee that he will invite the Congress to form the next government if the numbers are ambiguous?

    Third, and very important, Sonia Gandhi will halt Narendra Modi in his tracks. Sonia Gandhi cannot also be unmindful of the fact that Rahul is no match for him. Only she is.

    That he will be the BJP's candidate is now almost certain. Only the timing of the announcement has to be worked out.


  9. Raviji brilliant piece as usual. As part of the school prayer everyday, we used to recite "Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru devo Maheswara, Guru sakshat parabrahma....". This translates into "Guru is the three aspects of life-cycle of creation, sustenance & destruction, & Guru indeed is the Supreme Being". As part of this ancient culture, it is normal for people to bow down before Gurus/Swamis/Babas. The problem is VS, PallaviGhosh & their ilk are not only ignorant of these practices but also hold these in contempt. Recently we had ShekarGupta mocking & ridiculing Baba Ramdev, as a buffoon, entertainer, & a quack. He was challenging the panel members if any had the courage to take Ramdev's medicine. Ramdev's ayurvedic medicines are being used by thousands of people all over the world, and people are not fools to buy these if does not benefit them. Yoga/Naturopathy are increasingly being accepted by allopathic hospitals as part of the holistic treatment. Kerala is a good example where people cutting across religious divide use Ayurvedic medicine for their ills. The strategy is to discredit any one who takes on the misdeeds of this regime, through character assassination/slander/misinformation.

  10. Is there any point in discussing this VOID Sharma? He is the first among the equals of the crooks. He is a shame on the human race. I wish some one goes and shove a red-hot iron rod into that smirk mouth!!!

  11. Vinod Sharma has no moral right to remark on the weight on Mr. Nitin Gadkari. If anything he needs to look in the mirror and try to find his Beer Belly still reflected in the mirror or not

  12. Give VS a break. :) after all he is the only earning member of the family. (watch his news laundry interview). The line he said to Madhu Trehan in his defense.

    So you can make out how retarded the man is.

    PS: Just FYI Being a buddhist i know, we don't touch feet of the elder or gurus. Its just we bow the head way low. whichever way it is, its a way to pay respect to elders.

  13. "My guess is if VS ran into Sonia Gandhi he might consider it a privilege to touch and wash her feet" ...and drink the anointed water filthy water!

    My ode to VS

    The word politics is in my twitter handle,
    I appear every evening on Primetime TV
    To defend this government’s every scandal
    And hope to be appointed Rajya Sabha nominee!

    Right or wrong…is none of my business
    My allegiance lies solidly at 10 Janpath….
    From loyalty to my queen I will never digress
    Even with a trashy CD, much doctored and cut.

    My “relative” truth is what I call my lies
    Which i publish in my paper with undue haste
    The mysterious lab came up with the advice
    That the Bhushan CD is kosher, not cut n paste..

    Trash Anna and Baba Ramdev was my limited brief
    And bring down this anti corruption spiel
    Or else my queen n her chamchas would come to grief
    If with this genie we did not quickly deal.

    But oh! what a unpredictable genie it’s turned out to be
    Even with the paid media firmly on our side
    It’s morphed from Anna, to Anna, Ramdev and Swamy!
    Seeming more and more difficult to put aside…

    “Ramdev steals initiative from Kejri & co”
    Was my random effort on twitter today,
    To declare the fast at Jantar Mantar a flop show,
    How could such a group over masses hold sway?

    I’ve silenced my conscience and sold my soul
    Nation last.. Madam, myself come second n first.
    I’ve shoved those two irritants down a black hole
    And am now free to quench my avaricious thirst.

    My competition is wily Shekhar Gupta and Ketkar
    Wizards at defending and concocting many tales...
    For example the Army Coup fairytale by good old Shekhar
    After all we are responsible for robust circulation n sales

    I pontificate about “my” country and “my” parliament
    And talk down to other panelists and people out there
    What the hell do they know about statecraft and government
    I know it all…can’t u see my jet black grey hair?!

    1. Hey Rati, that was a nice read. Thanks :)

  14. Great post, Ravinar. Point blank! This dirty symbiosis between politicians and journos needs to broken and you are by far the biggest contributor. But what worries me more than this slimy ecosystem is the consumer himself. Despite the fact that most people don't trust the media, they pretty much buy the garbage dished out. Put a newspaper on a coffee table and what most ppl try and grab first is the glossy toilet paper inside. Hope that changes and good reporting (pretty much non-existent now) is rewarded so as to offset the corrupt govt. dole to the media. High hopes, I know.

    1. That is why I stopped newspaper 4 years back. Now I read online news and articles like this.

  15. Can u gyzz name some honest media in india. According to me DNA is one of them...
    Am i right?

    1. DNA no way. to some extent.

    2. check, if you read hindi. it has a english version as well, you can get it by a google. it has explosive stories in it. also watch interviews by manish kumar of chauthiduniya

    Must see this link
    Modi literally raped Rajdeep sardesai by words

    1. Thanks Sherlockh. Great reply by Narendra Modi Ji.

    2. Great Stuff....NaMo Rocks..but RiggerDeep Sad-desai is a 3rd rate won't make any change in him.

  17. have you guys checked the twitter profile of this moron vinod sharma? Most of the time he is abusing the people in vilest of terms. and these people talk about abuse and filthy language. the extent to which these secular brigade spreads falsehood as news, it is much worse than any abuse in words

  18. Dear Ravinar,

    In reference to your comment on "Everybody loves a Good Drought", its clear that their is a extremely active lobby of bureaucrats,Industrialists & Politicians in each state to ensure that Drought hit areas never recover from the famine situation, so that the farmers could easily sell off their lands to big corporates for a few bucks.


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