Thursday, July 19, 2012

Raging Women & Guwahati

Images of the Guwahati molestation have shocked every television viewer. Fury erupted on the safety of women, the role of the police and the role of journalists. Then the National Commission of Women (NCW) woke up. An NCW representative, the glamorous Congress member Alka Lamba, arrived in Guwahati with superbly blow-dried hair. She swept into a press conference. She posed for the cameras. She then announced the name of the victim. Ahem! “Glamorous, blow-dried hair”! That’s not me. That is eminent Telly-scientist Sagarika Ghose in Firstpost in her opening shot on the incident and aftermath. Nothing wrong with the rest of her article though.

Imagine, if I had said ‘fashionable, westernised, journalistic-bimbo, heavy lipstick and jet-black haired’ Telly-Scientist Sagarika writes on Guwahati. That would be considered uncharitable. But oops, I just said it. So while writing on women, trash her first for her glamour and her hair (as if Sagarika is any different) and then try to fit in some logic and outrage. Alka Lamba may be stupid and may have bungled terribly but what’s it got to do with her glamour or hair? Well, that’s how we approach journalism these days. That partly explains the mindless statements from some women on the Guwahati incident. I am not going into the incident itself or any legal aspects of it. Let’s just read what the very women who were foaming with rage had to say themselves.

Let’s start with Sagarika herself. A nice place to start! By now most people on the net and elsewhere have already read her tweet on the left. From “sickening, disgusting video” in just over 24 hours she went to “Courageous of cameramen to shoot the horror”. The guy who popularised the statement “measure twice, cut once” (Stephen Covey) died a few days ago but he must have had exactly SG in mind when he wrote about it in ‘7 Habits’. So what’s the count? We have dealt with two women, Alka Lamba and Sagarika. I never critique writes by bloggers or tweeters but here’s a list of interesting statements from some more women storified by @BarbarIndian: “Girl stripped, then the cover-up began”.

Then there’s this NCW chief, Mamta Sharma, who summed it up neatly by suggesting women should dress carefully. Oh! That is surely a veiled warning to the Poonam Pandeys and Sherlyn Chopras. Well, maybe even a warning to all the item girls and the bikini actors in movies. All of them, including Sunny Leone, better heed Sharma, else they are tempting fate. Then Sharma goes on to recommend special police at pubs and spots haunted by women. What? Only yesterday I heard a group of policemen raped a woman they had actually rescued from somewhere. Alright, maybe she meant police-women. From all the videos of the Guwahati incident I can’t really conclude the victim was dressed badly or temptingly in anyway as Sharma means. But once the molesters did their job, some channels (I did see Headlines Today) managed to expose her cleavage and tits, her shirt having been ripped off. So next time Ms.Sharma I suggest you recommend women wear armoured vests under their clothes. That should fool those criminals at least, if not teach them any lessons! Am I finished? No, not yet! Patience, the beast is yet to come… I mean the best!

You can’t possibly understand atrocities on women or girls without Barkha Dutt trying to get in her last word. So on July 17, on her program on Bucks, she ran the headline “A thousand cuts” which then turned to “sensitivities” and became a “million cuts”. If time had permitted it could have been a ‘billion cuts’. But before that, on July 13, she tweeted about the incident and how not to lock up daughters but teach sons better. There’s nothing wrong in principle with that tweet considering that she’s the mother of a 16-year old daughter. No? She’s not? Okay, I thought that could only come from a very courageous mother. She’s not alone though. Other celebs to publish the same quote are Rahul Bose, Bipasha Basu. Ah well, I guess parenthood is easy when you’re not a parent. (Google that quote and you’ll find more celebs who tweeted that without ever parenting a girl). Motherly advice! The first cut is the deepest and the victim must have felt that. Trust a raging Barkha to accuse others of adding a million more while she herself does no different.

So during the exciting discussion Barkha was a bit amused to find a couple of panellists not generalising but specifically pointing fingers at Youth Congress goons. What is wrong with these people? Don’t they know they can’t accuse Congress members on NDTV? Don’t they read the script before they come on the panel? In the end Barkha, as always, pontificates on whether journalists should get involved in such incidents or step back and shoot and report. In case you forgot, the discussion was on “media ethics”. And what does she pull out? She pulls out pics from war-zones and conflict zones.

Take the pic of the Vietnam Napalm girl she pulls out. Should the journalist have helped her? Incidentally, she’s not the only one fleeing. There are many others. The journalist in this case has to step back simply because it’s a major war-zone. He doesn’t have options. Who does he call? The police or Halle Berry? True for other pics she put up from conflict zones. Supposedly a journalist with a great sense of understanding of situations it is one more example of outright stupidity that Barkha pulls out these war-zone pics in a story of violent molestation of a woman by a criminal mob. Guwahati is not a warzone or a conflict zone. Guwahati wasn’t under siege by a dictator. Yet, reports clearly indicate that the journo who filmed the incident was actually encouraging the mob and instead of helping or calling for help, he actually called for more cameras from his news channel. And then, to complete her agenda, Barkha pulls out the pic of Ansari from Gujarat riots. Regardless of the merits or truth behind that pic a riot still remains a conflict zone. That photo has been disputed for authenticity but that is hardly the point in this whole discussion.

The worst part is hearing Barkha Dutt sermonising on ‘media ethics’. That is surely a laugh. So what really riles these so called journalists? I have no problems with their raging and venting over Guwahati. Most of it is genuine too. I believe what also riles these media celebs is that it’s one of their own who’s done immense damage. One from their own ‘Hammam’! Those who shout vociferously about ethics in journalism are usually the ones breaking the code all too often. Let’s see, there is this Society of Professional Journalists. Membership is voluntary and they have some codes on ethics. Take a look and decide how many of our news channels and newspapers would pass the test on ethics.

Here’s the real tragedy: A bunch of goons engineered and executed the shameful incident at Guwahati. But the ones who made it worse with their writings or utterances are women. Mamata Sharma, Alka Lamba, Sagarika Ghose, Barkha Dutt… the list can go on. Raging Women


  1. Media, particularly English News channels, have lost it. Particularly the ones who proclaim themselves liberals are going bonkers. They have taken their liberal tag too seriously. For them "liberal" means free from any sort of moral or ethical compunction. Barkha doing show on media ethics is height of absurdity.Watching their "un-biased" shows is turning to be quite an entertainment. But most disturbing aspect is they have handle over most of opinion making space in India. Their disproportionate influence on powers that be needs to be dismantled permanently. Only way out is to end their political patronage. No option but to elect a strong non-Congress PM. Most preferably Modi. I am afraid to say history had given the chance to do so between 1998-2004 but ABV's pacifism defeated the cause. Now there is no scope for mercy to these thugs next time.

  2. Exactly! There are some avoidable metaphors almost always resorted by the journalistic cacafonic bimbo and the "secular" Diva. Reminding me of phrase - "Hunt in pairs" - Of late we see these journos tweet in pair but timed apart - an opinion first and a retraction. An example is already in your blog.

    The pity is in the Television media's pursuit for breaking news, the issues take a backseat (or as in this case, an issue is stage managed, videographed and telecast too). Today none care to follow up on the any of the actual incident but either focus on trivias related to the incident or altogether a new incident.What happened to the responsibility of being a watchdog ensuring fairness and following through an issue to its logical conclusions. I thought that was what 4th Estate was supposed to do? NCW, Newslive editor resignation, fake journo raising alarms of life threat etc is what is the rage today. That is Media for us.

  3. I am sure that any of these channels like CNN IBN or NDTV or TimesNow would have surely taken great credit as an "expose" if their journo had shot it. They are jealous because some journo of an unknown channel shot it & hence this lecture on media ethics.

  4. Yes - Guwahati is not a warzone or a conflict zone. Guwahati isn't under siege by a dictator...except may the siege by Media - MSM Telly News that is. 'Cause, this a powerful media that sends graphic details right into your drawing rooms. To call the over attention and pious perorations by TV News - Shocking is being too charitable. The malaise is too dangerous and serious. And stronger the disease, it's time for a stronger medicine. Least said about the TV luminaries is better; it saves us the double whammy of anger and frustration. KRV

  5. Agree!! I was astonished after seeing tweets from Sagarika Ghosh. She couldn't stick to her single opinion. And one should learn from Barakha Dutt to show off .. couldn't control laughing after reading how she finally came to Gujarat Riots. I think everything is linked up to Gujarat Riots in her books of ethics .. isn't it?

  6. What is happening in India saddens me a lot. All the systems are under stress. What took Queen Victoria and her four generations of descendants to set up in 90 years has been destroyed, pillaged in last 9 years by Politicians, Babus, Business persons and lastly the Media. Does India has any chance? In my view no. It is going to rot further. The only thing left now is for all of us to sell our woman folk for a few rupees. Whether that woman is Mother India, mother, sister, daughter or even wife. Most of the educated class want money and more money, while the poor and helpless are at mercy of rich. Very depressing.

    1. Your comment saddens me a lot. What took our rishis and ancestors thousands of years is systematically being destroyed by the Macaulay system of education of last 200 years but there is still hope...and all you can think of is Queen Victoria's glory of last 90 years...what they took away from us is far far more than what they gave us..don't add insult to injury by your comments.

    2. I am sorry that you read my comments wrongly. What I meant was destruction of system of governance, which was set up by Britishers. I fully agree with you that if we followed our Sanatan Dharma to its core, our problems will be less. Please look at my comments from that angle. Thanks.

  7. Good one Ravinar...On a separate note, do you also want to write about the lack of media coverage on ABVP activist killed in Kerala by a student islamist organisation? If it had been a muslim or christian youth killed by VHP in say Gujarat, media would have been up in arms...they are totally quiet and no one has covered it.
    Tried to send a mail to you but for some reason the contact link does not open in my browser at all.

  8. Dear Ravi,

    I don't know what's happening in India right now...

    - ABVP Activist got killed in Kerala
    - Balkrishna got arrested by CBI
    - No evidence against Sadhvi Pragya still she is being tortured and kept in jail? She needs medical attention and still court is not granting bail..!?

    - Imam Bukhari hasn't been arrested despite having arrest warrant? Who are protecting them?
    - Looters are roaming free and getting HIgh level post in Government

    What’s going on..!

    Where is BJP? Why BJP is quite? Where are those BJP leaders who only speak to get media attention? has BJP lost the plot? This type of attitude by BJP is useless and shameful.

  9. Nice article Ravi

    Strange - it is ok for Sagarika to say "blow dried hair" but her likes took offence at Sharad Yadav calling pro women quota bill as "parkati aurtein"

    How is Saagarika's remark different from that of Sharad Yadav

  10. Why no updates on your blog? Eagerly waiting some commentary on the situation in assam

  11. Did you know how the following are inter-connected?

    -These unseasonal rains
    -Global warming
    -Race to consume
    -Women's exploitation


    For the sake of the women in your life, help spread the message!



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