Like any other ordinary Indian I am fond of movies. Some of the posts on this site have used movies as analogies or to demonstrate a situation. The best directors and screen writers tell a story amazingly well when the plot is simple or even if there is no plot at all. Something many of our media celebs would do well to learn. For once I will borrow from Nidhi Razdan, and we can look at the “larger picture”.
Aspiration and passion drive people. Passion drives them to live, to fight for justice, to fight for freedom, to power and to greed and corruption. Redemption comes in many different ways. History hangs on tiny chances. On the left is an iconic image of a man who has found liberation and redemption. Heavenly rains clean the shit off his body. At Shawshank everybody is “innocent”, they joke. Everyone, except ‘Red’! He sucks up to the parole board many times but is never allowed parole for a murder he committed as a stupid young teenager. Red had already served 20 years in prison when Andy Dufresne arrives; sentenced for murdering his wife and her lover. Andy is sentenced to two back to back life sentences for each murder (life sentence means “for life” in the US and not 14 years).
It’s a corrupt system, a corrupt prison and headed by an equally corrupt but religious warden who welcomes Andy and his honourable colleagues to prison: “Put your trust in the Lord; your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank”. Sounds like someone in the news lately, doesn’t it? The ‘man-for-everything’, Red, is “institutionalised”; he grows to the idea of prison. The cold and aloof Andy is a problem-solving banker by profession. He helps the prison staff with their tax returns and saves them money. Being a banker he is also an expert in money laundering and he provides that service gladly to the warden. First Rita Hayworth and then Raquel Welch adorns Andy’s cell. Turns out Raquel revealed more than her sexy poster did. An incident that could have changed his life from prison brings out a profound message from Andy to Red: “Get busy living or get busy dying”. Watch an excerpt (6 mins):
The Shawshank Redemption is a movie about crime, innocence, friendship, human endurance and redemption. Andy Dufresne didn’t kill anyone; he was wrongly sentenced to prison. The one witness who can establish his innocence arrives at the prison and the warden kills him because that witness would mean the end of his money laundering. Dufresne finally escapes; with all of the 300 thousand dollars of the warden’s money he laundered. Some sort of severance pay for 19 years of wrongful imprisonment. The warden’s safe of loot is covered by a very profound religious quote about the lord: “His judgement cometh and that right soon”. Red finally gets a parole when he stops sucking up and tells the board he doesn’t give a damn. Both friends unite and live a free life in Mexico. The warden shoots himself when his corruptions and crimes are exposed by Andy. “Geology is a study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes, really. Pressure and time!”.
Power and passion play a double hand. Power and corruption are also a study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes, really. Pressure and time! Ask Tarun Tejpal (TT) all about it. The ‘senior’ inmates at Shawshank had a practice of laying bets on the new inmates; on who will crack on the first night in prison. Red spots Andy as a “tall drink of water with the silver spoon up his ass” and places his bet on him to crack. Andy never cracked. At Tehelka some employees are coming out and probably saying “we were all just prisoners here of our own device”. TT may have won his bets in the past but this young 23-year old lady (V) didn’t crack. She stood up for herself and redemption for a “fearless” coward is at hand. Today TT hides in a hole but he’s not the only fearless coward around. If ordinary laymen like me could see the crimes of Tehelka since the first THINK in 2011 and their politically-motivated articles and stings; how is it that his fellow fearless cowards in the media couldn’t see it? Hammam?
There’s Hartosh Singh Bal who was associated with Tehelka at the resurrection in 2004. We shouldn’t forget that resurrection was on personal intervention of Sonia Gandhi. Bal tells Firstpost: “It didn’t last. As soon as funding issues starting cropping up, editorial compromises followed. What happened with my story in the media was in keeping with how events unfolded in the magazine once a fund crunch hit the organisation. I witnessed stories in other departments being killed after advertisers came and directly spoke to Tarun. And I had seen attempts made to slant political coverage not out of commitment to a certain set of values, but out of an obligation to a particular political party”. Any surprise why the Congis are very upset and will go all out to protect TT? They are behaving as if one of their own was caught in a sting operation. V only happens to be the latest but a courageous victim. What about others earlier?
There’s Sayeema Sahar, formerly of StarNews (now ABPNews). She claims to be sexually harassed by the bosses at StarNews (Avinash Pandey and Gautam Sharma). On protesting she was harassed and finally thrown out of the company it seems. Her complaints went unheard and even the “we-cry-for-all-women” NCW did not respond to her complaints. The NCW did nothing. Sahar is a Muslim woman but she hasn’t claimed being harassed because of that. Maybe she made a mistake. Maybe if she claimed she was harassed because she was a “woman and a Muslim” she would have got the attention of the NCW, the Congress, Minorities Commission, the AIMPLB, Digvijaya Singh, the Babri Committee, Teesta Setalvad, Barkha Dutt, Mulayam Singh, Nitish Kumar, Vrinda Grover and Javed “SAAB”. NOTHING! She was just thrown out and no one still wants to talk about it. I believe both Avinash Pandey and Gautam Sharma should be questioned by the NCW and the Police. Sayeema was pregnant when she was thrown out of the company after being harassed. (Read here, here, here, here).
Then there is another case at AAJTak. A letter from Rukmini Sen (read here) to Aroon Purie, the plagiarist-head of IndiaToday group, makes astonishing reading. She claims harassment but even as she is quitting her boss has odd questions on her reasons for leaving: “So Are you leaving this job for that man? Where does he live? Oh I know because you changed your FB status! Why are you in a long distance relationship? Will you marry him? Boyfriend waala maamla bekaar hai. Oh but I am sure you have many boyfriends. Which number is this one? Will you never get married? Live like this? with many”? I wonder if this boss wanted to discuss her resignation or write the story for some movie of a multiple-boyfriend heroine. Why don’t the grand pontificators of media like Rajdeep, Barkha, Swapan, Rahul Kanwal notice? What did they do about this? These editors are prisoners of their own selfish, greedy devices. Everybody is “innocent” at Shawshank. Let’s hear a sermon from Numero Uno Rajdeep Sardesai:
Imagine CNN-IBN without Rajdeep. Imagine TimesNow without Arnab. Almost every channel has promoted a personality cult rather than the news organisation. Yes, it is good to have stars but dangerous to allow them to grow so big that the organisation’s survival is put at stake with them. TT reflects the disease with most media outlets. NDTV’s credibility has been permanently damaged with Barkha Dutt’s Radiagate episode. Rajdeep is 3 years late. Here’s what I wrote when I responded to her self-righteous and shrill protests in her self-defence:
“Barkha is also extremely fortunate that NDTV has chosen to respond to this expose in her support. Does it mean the conversations Barkha was having with Nira Radia was approved by or in knowledge of NDTV? Any major organisation would have typically stated that the conversation Barkha was having was in her “individual and private” capacity. This is also a warning for all media channels not to have their brand names be so heavily associated with "personalities". A media channel needs to be bigger than personalities. Else, one flawed celebrity would be enough to bring the house down”.
Following the TT scandal everyone is now talking about the trail of Tehelka’s finances and the maze of its funding. Why now? Where were Indian Express, TOI, India Today and the latest FirstPost and many others hiding all this while? Even prominent columnists are now left in a quandary over their silence. The culture of vague and ambiguous writing must now come to an end. Honest journalism requires writing with names of offenders and not innuendos. The media is still shielding the former SC judge who has been recently accused of sexual harassment by two interns. Rajdeep did wonder why it takes outsiders to write our story (The Siege 26/11) but he doesn’t want to even talk or write about stuff that is so easily in front of him and doesn’t even need any great investigation or huge research. The extortion and blackmail tactics of Tehelka were visible since 2011 (and probably earlier). And how much cash has flowed into Tehelka from dubious sources is anybody’s guess. Take a look at the sponsors of KINK2013:
There’s BHEL, a PSU, there’s DLF whose chairman calls bribes as “payment for speeding up” service, there’s govt departments like Maharashtra and Kerala Tourism (in Goa??) There’s RIICO, the industry promotion organisation of Rajasthan. Every media celeb knew how Tejpal & Co. got their funds and how their severe loss-making magazine survived. It’s more like an under-hand “Ponzi scheme” without the promise of returns. Why would anyone believe that many other media houses are any different? Tehelka wasn’t paying salaries for months while the top management was enriching itself. Exceptional greed for power and wealth!
NDTV isn’t done with their “Hammam” behaviour. Shoma was their “darling” frequent flier on their panels and NDTV’s “victims” being part of Tejpal’s corruption-ridden THINK escapades. The filthy minds at NDTV pour nonsense into the public domain. Here’s a tweet by their ‘Social Network’ crap which discusses “Voyeurs” of the Aarushi & V case. I do not recall anyone slandering Aarushi or V on SM. If there is a stray moron it is probably from NDTV itself. After all, these are the poisonous channels that got psychologists on their panels to discuss the “sexual habits” of teens because 14-year old Aarushi was allegedly having an affair with the family’s domestic hand. How sick are these people? When Shoma resigned today, their “Ethics” head Sonia Singh tweets another silly message. Sonia doesn’t realise that people aren’t delighted at just about “someone” falling. They are delighted a corrupt bunch of people and a corrupt media house is falling. It doesn’t occur to her that TT, Shoma & Co. as a group enjoyed a perverted thrill at entrapping people with stings and then gleefully celebrating their fall. Till their last day they were plotting the fall of “one” man. Unfortunately for them, fate and justice exposed their slimy character. Bad luck for NDTV!
A word about the “The Shawshank Redemption”: As with injustice in life the movie was nominated for 7 Oscars but went without a single one. A lesser movie like ‘Forrest Gump’ won a few. Shawshank has touched people across the world so deeply that since its release in 1994 it has permanently remained in the Top-10 of many charts of popular movies with viewers. Even this week it remains the No.1 choice of best movie of all time with viewers on the IMDB list. Knowing his fate after being exposed, the warden at Shawshank kills himself. Red observes: “I'd like to think that the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne ever got the best of him”. TT must be similarly wondering in his own literary style: “How the hell did a 23-year old chit of a girl get the better of a crook like me”. Tejpal isn’t the only one in trouble. The consciences of many others have been rattled too.
“Andy Dufresne crawled through a river of shit and came out clean”. V came out clean from the shit in the lifts at the Grand Hyatt. Tejpal and Shoma crawled through a different river of shit and didn’t come out clean. They ended up in an “ocean of shit’. Andy didn’t destroy just the warden; he destroyed the entire corrupt prison system. V didn’t destroy just Tejpal, Shoma or Tehelka; she has destroyed whatever credibility was left of the MSM. Many major media houses are a Shawshank with “prisoners of their own device” and corrupt wardens and innocent victims. It’s time the fearless cowards changed their ways.