Monday, November 28, 2016

Black Eyes

Normally, people would be anti-Govt at the slightest inconvenience caused to them by any policy or decision. It is truly amazing that a vast majority of Indians have stood by ModiSarkar and the PM, personally, in the demonetisation move. There are problems and those will remain for a few more days or weeks. But the ones creating the loudest noises aren’t the ordinary people. It is mostly the Opposition and some politicians in particular and the usual suspects in media. Of the lot, the two most badly hit by demonetisation appear to be Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal with Rahul Gandhi and Mayawati in tow with fake dramatics and anger. People are laughing at the way these politicians have made a comic stock of themselves. In a previous post we saw Rajdeep Sardesai going to his bank to fish for anti-Modi soundbites and getting none. The eternal anti-Modi hate-monger Ravish Kumar of NDTV spared no effort to instigate people standing in Qs at some place in Delhi (video 2.08 mins):

Frustrated and angry – Ravish tells the crowd to write down what documents are required for exchanges for the benefit of public. People standing Qs are supposed to be doing that or the media guy in the middle is expected to do such public service? More frustration follows as the groups chant in favour of Modi. Eventually, like a hyena that didn’t get its left-over meal, Ravish quietly slinks away from the scene cursing under his breath. The Opposition refused to debate the issue in Parliament unless the PM speaks. Their poor logic is that PM was the one who made the announcement. So what if the RBI governor or Shaktikanta Das had made the announcement? They would ask these gentlemen to answer in the Parliament? Kejriwal has more or less had a psychological breakdown. He even thinks banks have become rich and will run away like Vijay Mallya:

Vijay Mallya is not a fugitive over black money. He escaped from India after allegedly defrauding many banks and is accused of hawala transactions. And who were the ones who doled out all those undeserved loans to Mallya even when his ship was sinking? The Congress, of course. NPAs of banks saw a dramatic increase under Congress. Here’s  a small opener from a Moneylife article from February 2014:

Non-performing assets (NPAs) of the banks, especially public sector banks (PSBs), have been going up sharply recently.  According to one of the estimates, the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of listed banks rose 35.2% to Rs2.43 lakh crore during the first three quarters of the current financial year. In absolute terms, the 40 listed banks added Rs63,386 crore to their gross NPAs during the nine months till December 2013, with State Bank of India (SBI), the largest lender in the country, leading with an accretion of Rs16,610 crore”.

Mallya is only one sample. Now, imagine if ModiSarkar had to raid all those suspected to be hoarding black money. Many of them would be top politicians of all hues. There would have been a massive outrage. Cries of “vendetta” would have polluted the air for days. That’s the reason the Opposition has a sudden, new-found love for the poor and farmers. Never seen so much love for ordinary people by these parties as they fought over each other to show who cares more for the poor:

People queuing up for water didn’t bother Kejriwal. People dying through dengue or chicken guniya didn’t bother him. He ran off to Gujarat during the epidemic and never attended office or an emergency meeting when people were dying. Dozens of deaths and suicides over the Sarada scam didn’t bother MamataB. And the scamsters are still at large. The less said about the Congress the better. They sucked the blood of the poor like mosquitoes with their monumental scams. The CAG even pointed to massive scams in the much-touted farmer-loan waivers.

Mayawati too has been ranting like crazy. Wonder how much she lost. Some politicians have been savagely inconsiderate towards the poor they claim to speak for. More than once Mayawati has been garlanded with large numbers of currency notes on her birthday. She reportedly lives in a house worth 200 crores with over 13 rooms and vast bedrooms and multiple TVs all over the house. And when Modi pointed out her garlands in a speech she was quick to use the only tool best known to victimhood specialists – she played the Dalit-card. She claimed Modi had insulted a Dalit’s daughter. Only, this time nobody was buying such crap. Everybody knew where the black money was. Instead of raiding hundreds or thousands of people Modi just turned their black money into garbage in one stroke. If the Dalit card was played, would the Muslim-card be too far? The Congress guy was quick to follow-up with demonetisation being “Anti-Muslim”:

They are simply too predictable. Mamata Banerjee has called for a “Bharat Bandh” for Monday, November 28. Oh yes! She understands the problems of the poor and therefore, to help them she and others have called for a Bharat Bandh so that their suffering can be alleviated. The Congress quietly backed out of the Bandh call but has stated it will carry out protests. There are people who are angry at the inconvenience and the problems caused but none is willing to stand with the Opposition. The only ones standing with them are the usual Modi-haters and nobody gives a damn about them. Mamata’s statement calling for the bandh is laughable to say the least:

Nobody will support BJP? Even their own workers will abandon them? In which case Mamata and other Opposition agitators should be dancing in the streets in sheer joy instead of calling for bandhs. We know who has really got a Black Eye now. And Modi did this without punching anyone directly. Black Money and corruption are not diseases to be cured slowly and steadily over the years. They have only grown to become a bigger cancer. Incrementalism would not have cured this evil and still a complete cure is not accomplished. A dramatic decision and action was called for. The guys on the street too know who’s got the black money and he’s not going to support any bandh:

The Opposition would be wiser in getting their silly heads together and not rant any further against a decision that is largely popular with the masses. If this wasn’t so, there would have already been many riots in this country as so desperately desired by some politicians who repeatedly threatened law and order problems. Nothing happened. I am certain they are the ones will end up with a Black Eye in any forthcoming elections. Modi will use their support of black money to the hilt in his campaigns. They fell into the trap he cleverly laid for them. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Why Arnab Quit

If you haven’t read TOI-Story I recommend you do – Part-1 and Part-2. The Jains at TOI group have admitted that they are NOT in the business of news. They are in the business of advertising and PR. They learned from Sir Richard Branson that publicity is what sells and no publicity should ever be given free. And that is how “Paid news” was partly born in India. For years now, the front page of TOI is masked with a full-page ad sheet that is stuck to the paper and most people tear out the irritating thing before reading anything they want to. Giving front page coverage for major news that measures the pulse of the nation, public figures or celebrities pays far less. So TOI’s front-page is now an advertisement page. And a newspaper in India is statutorily obligated to cover only 33% of its total space with news items.

So if you understand the philosophy of the Jains – politics, ideology, nationalism and such things are secondary to money that flows from ads, entertainment, smut and sensationalism. Seriously, TOI carries blogs by that Radio Mirchi guy Prashant Panday and other garbage writers like Sagarika Ghose or Shobha De. You get the picture. Corruption is no stranger to TOI or their reporters either. Thus, you will find fake stories like “Rambo” or the recent death of an old man due to demonetisation at a non-existent ATM of HSBC in Mumbai. Everything Arnab Goswami did was fine as long as it did not affect any of TOI’s cash-cows.

When TimesNow started off in 2005 it was more a mix of everything. More like the redundant “Illustrated weekly of India” by TOI that died some 25 years ago. Then Arnab realised that drama, theatre and decibel means a lot. He learned this from the hate-mongers at NDTV. People don’t remember that Barkha Dutt’s “We the people” and Rajdeep Sardesai’s very noisy, bickering nonsense called “The big fight” were very noisy, bitchy shows. So Arnab did what he thought it best to beat his erstwhile colleagues at their own game. He turned TimesNow into a high-decibel show but with a passion and nationalism that was uncommon with his former colleagues. He added a good dose of entertainment and humour which is in keeping with TOI’s basic business. He also treated politicians and political parties as “accused” with pompous statements like “nation wants to know”. The crowds just loved this. And soon Arnab would have a whole cricket or football team as panellists for all his debates.

The other thing that Arnab did well was Paki-bashing and his demonstrated contempt for Lutyens crawlers. Being the most watched English news channel for a long time also got him prized interviews like that with PM Modi in June this year. This too burned a lot of hearts. In October, this year news broke that Arnab had resigned from Timesnow. After 11 years! It shocked the news world and the audiences alike. His detractors must have thrown a party – especially burned hearts like Barkha, Rajdeep and others. Many reports indicated there was a problem the Jains had with Arnab’s increasing right-leaning conduct of debates and the reporting by the channel. But that is not entirely true.

Arnab has hounded Nitin Gadkari for 19 consecutive weeks over an imaginary scam and corruption that turned out to be false. He also hounded Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje over LalitGate as he called it. It compelled me to write “ArnabGate” because of the targeted hounding of these BJP members without genuine cause. ArnabGate trended at the top in India on Twitter and also worldwide. That must have upset the hashtag king that Arnab had become with his channel. Anyway, post the Uri terror attack in September there was uncontrollable anger against Pakistan in India. Pak and those “pseudo-liberals” (as Arnab called them) who were Pak stooges in India were dead meat for Arnab. And night after night for nearly a month he tore into them with all the swords and daggers at his command. The audience applauded. Arnab even got threats from terror-operators and had to be provided security by the GOI.

Arnab was also critical of Pak actors and those employing them in Bollywood for not speaking up against the terrorists and against Pakistan. In particular, Karan Johar and some of his Paki darlings in a movie were caught in the storm. Arnab and many in India (including me) demanded these Paki clowns should exit India if they do not condemn killing of our Jawans. This was a line that Arnab had crossed that would not be tolerated by Jains no matter what the cost. The kind of power Johar and his gang have over TOI should not be underestimated. And Vineet Jain let it be known too:

Why was it the end for Arnab? Because Bollywood is a BIG cash-cow for the Jains. And to antagonise that industry was very damaging. Let me explain. TOI has a certain set of Bollywood stars that it will NEVER write against. No criticism will ever be made, their worst movies will never be trashed. I am not giving you gossip. I am giving you the inside story of how TOI operates with Bollywood. Paid promotion of stars, paid promotion of movies, paid promotions on TV all adds up to a huge business that runs into hundreds of crores. Those glossy pages you see with TOI, often with Bollywood stars who also double up as product endorsers, means phenomenal money for them.

There are desk reporters in all branches of TOI who can ring up a top or low level star for an instant interview over phone to fill pages. These stars are like “empanelled stars” obligated to give interviews and TOI will always write positive stuff about them and in turn those stars will promote their movies through TOI’s media empire. And now TOI is present in all major film domains – Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai etc. I cannot put a finger to it but even a rough estimate of anywhere between 500-800 crores from Bollywood alone per year would not be a bad estimate. And no Arnab Goswami can stand in the way of that kind of money.

Other than that, TOI also has its Filmfare magazine. I don’t think the magazine sells all that much anymore but their Filmfare awards are prized by the film and acting community. The awards, the award function survives on enthusiastic participation by the film community. Without their support, it would flop. It is probable that many Bollywood hotshots would have called up Vineet Jain and complained about Arnab’s tirade against Bollywood. Maybe some even threatened consequences. And that was that. Arnab’s quitting Timesnow has nothing to do with news or his way of conducting debates or the political stands he takes. It doesn’t have anything to do with Pakistan or terrorists. It’s just simply – Bollywood and money for TOI.