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!