Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The circus!!

I frigging hate the Indian media, more so the ones based in Mumbai and Delhi.

Having lived in this city of dreams for 21 years now, I still fondly remember the days when the TOI was still the Old Lady of Bori Bunder and the newspapers had a lot to look forward to early in the morning.

Compare this with what we have today: reams and reams of newsprint talking about news which is possibly irrelevant to a majority of the public.

Well you say this is what the majority of the earning populace (read: yuppies) want; well you are mistaken. I am sure not all of today’s youth is so interested in seeing blown up photographs of nubile young ladies who possibly don't have a living or a moral or both. You call me boorish; well may be I am, but more than that I am concerned about where we as a society are being pushed to by these so called partners in nation building.

Is it necessary that any developed society be unabashedly hedonistic?? Materialism is alright but does it include narcissism too?

Maybe I am confused as always but I am getting increasingly confident that it's the truth.

Consider the newspaper and media reports of the past few days. (To admit the truth, I have been kind of insulated from the news channels for the last month or so as there isn't much time for TV in a 'Top Ten B-School' but I do follow their websites regularly (oh by the way we have a great IT infrastructure in place in here J ...)

The main preoccupation of the ToI and HT, Mumbai seem to be freeing their demi-god Sanju baba...He is innocent they say. He erred then but has more than made up for it. Poor Sanju baby can't eat jail food and sleep on the floor there. And the restaurants in the city are so very excited that they have a chicken sanju baba on their menu. How truly innovating!! And another article goes on about how so much publicity is actually bad for his case...Guys do you even think outside Bollywood? What about all the others who were also held guilty and hence given heftier punishments than him? Do they not have a family? Don’t they repent? And to top it all someone says Gandhiism (and not -giri) has gone to jail... Bapu (God bless his soul) must be turning in his grave.

Another article that came in today's paper was how the chief minister of Maharashtra is coming to Cafe Samovar's rescue. What’s so imposing about it you ask? Well apparently this hotel or lodge or whatever it is, is just outside Jehangir Art Gallery and is where our film luminaries have spent their worst and best times mulling over coffee and hence is important, the Gateway of India restoration plan be damned. Also this was the place where AB and his wife dated for the first time...Think about it guys, replace the Unknown Soldier’s gun and cresting helmet at India Gate with AB's bib... after all he is our national hero right?

I am not personally against the film stars or their hedonisms... but I can't take the media making a hue and cry about it.

The function of the media should be humanitarian. Consider the continuing floods in South Asia. The UN calls it the worst flood in living memory. 1200 lives lost in India alone, 11 million affected, 6,000 villages flooded and at least two million living outdoors. The BBC, the UN, Reuters, all major international media houses cover it with a sense of urgency that is palpable. And our glorious world's No. 1 English daily doesn't find it worthy of mentioning in its first six pages. This is nothing short of a pathetic and ridiculous attitude to titillate the senses of the common man, so what if Bihar becomes an antithetic Atlantis?

The Economic Times (same media house as the ToI) reports the same tragedy on its front page.Why? Is it that the economic effects of a flood are much higher than the human loss?? Or is ET a better newspaper in terms of news content?

This attitude represents the highest form of apathy to a tragedy that is unimaginable in magnitude. And I am sure that these media houses are going to come out with a national donation program to help the flood affected once all is hunky dory…After all you are contributing to a natural cause... imagine how much public frenzy can be worked up... after all aren’t we a caring corporate?

As long as such short sighted media centric issues continue to dominate our psyche through the media, it is very difficult to build a proactive public opinion on issues of national importance.
I have this sinking feeling that they are taking us back into the western culture of the late '80s when the world grooved to the sound of money. Well money is still important and pleasant and will always be but what is not is the attitude of voyeurism that prevails in here. If such newspapers are to play their self-proclaimed role of nation building through the idea of building public opinion, then we are way off course. Who do you think will have the courage to steer this rocking ship back to its charted route?? To unquote Queen,

“God save the people”!!!
At night 12.00 'o clock with a nose that is overflowing like the Bhagmati in Nepal... this is all that I could manage. Maybe I'll correct the errors later...

1 comment:

Bhu said...

Could not agree more with you... TOI is National Trash....