Saturday, February 25, 2006

 

What has the Indian Public Done to Deserve This?

The Indian media is one of the most mediocre parts of the Indian society. The word MEDIA and MEDIOCRITY owe their origin to the same latin root, and the Indian media obviously takes this relationship very seriously. But nothing else.

The reason is not hard to seek. Most of the media belongs to Lalajis and now also to journalists trained in the Lalaji school of journalism, where the motto is a selection from SLANT IT IF YOU CAN; DON'T THINK; DON'T LOOK EVEN IF YOU CAN; and THE PUBLIC IS DUMB; to HOW CAN WE DO US A FAVOUR? Take your pick, in figuring out which is whose. Some, like TOI have all.

And yet, with everyone - the politicians, filmwalas, businessmen and bureaucrats all depending on largesse from the media, it gets away with its atrocities on Indian public's intellect all the time. There's a self censorship in the Indian society in this regard and the result is the daily and now hourly exhibition of mediocrity.

Today's (25/02/06) TOI has a picture of rioters in Kashmir throwing stones at police, for what our national paper says is against killing of Kashmiri boys by the Army. Yep. Just like that. TOI knows more than what it reported the previous day about how some boys had been killed in crossfire between militants (what a nice word - wonder when our media will use freedom fighters for these terrorists) and CRPF. Now going by their past record, the terrorists would have had no qualms in killing the kids to get the heat off their backs and win moral high ground at the same time. This also puts a spanner in the talks with the Kashmiri separatist leadership at a crucial juncture.

[The destruction of the mosque at Samarra is an identical action that took place the same day in Iraq. There was Charagh Shareef in 1995 when the terrorists had set fire to the holy mausoleum after they had been trapped there. All the blame went to the Indians. Thank you. That interestingly was again just before an important dialogue was to take place between the Kashmiri and Indian leadership]. Is the Indian media concerned? Is it fighting on the side of the Indian boys who are dying for their country and keeping the country connected to the real story and the important events. The answer is NO.

What is gettting coverage all the time these days is CRICKET, BIRD FLU(without a single confirmed outbreak), JESSICA LAL etc. The typical response from the media is that this is what the public wants. The public does NOT want this; this is a lazy unthinking media saying it because it can get away with it, by doing almost no work. Public wants MORE issues, in-depth understanding and tenacity from the media. It needs to start earning a living like the rest of the people.

You may say that JESSICA LAL case is something we all want to hear about. We do. But the question is what was the media doing all these years? After all they are the ones who were tracking this story from the beginning. Why didn't they raise a stink about this as soon as things started going awry in this and the Mattoo case(and probably many more which we do not know about)? How long before they drop this ball once again?

One can keep on at these examples that are relentlessly churned out all the time by the Indian media. But when...when will we get media that we need so desperately?

Monday, February 20, 2006

 

Castegating India

New Battleground In Textbook Wars

I do not see why Hindus are so defensive about the caste system. It was not an unusual practice in the ancient world. Rome had it with Patricians and Plebians. Plato would have liked all societies to adopt it. It was an efficient system in India and its essence was non-hostile interdependence and specialisation.

As soon as you start viewing it with the occidental glasses of heirarchy and domination, caste appears to be something negative. Traditionally the highest caste, the Brahmins were usually the poorest and depended on public charity, as they focused on teaching and intellectual pursuits. The so called lowest caste Shudras were relatively better off service providers and had well established and independent trade guilds. They were the powerhouse of craftsmanship and skills that made India the world's wealthiest country till the middle of 18th century when the advent of the British and the Industrial Revolution demolished its old ways.

Then a new western lens was used to try and understand an inherently complex and interdependent society by oversimplifying it. The caste system was seen from the heirarchical, domination and power oriented world-view of the west. From being a categorisation that led to specialisation and success in its chosen vocations for all sections of the society, caste started getting viewed as a heirarchical power system. The westernised intellectuals of India, including the Dalits, have inherited this western epistemology, without looking within and trying to understand their own ancient ways.

The same goes for Untouchability, which "shames" all westernised Hindus (including Gandhiji). The important thing about untouchability is that it was fundamentally restrictions on oneself in order to survive. There were restrictions on food, water, cleanliness and contact which become understandable when you start viewing these as ways to avoid contagion and survive in a tropical climate, where disease and death could strike suddenly out of nowhere. All this came out of observation and empirical evidence. It was not a practice to assert one's domination or superiority over others, but was more about self control. There were tribals, foreigners and others who did not subscribe to this code and were therefore "untouchable". Modern societies do exactly the same when confronted with a contagion. When you avoid shaking hands with someone with a cold in times of a flu epidemic or decline that glass of tap water offered at a wayside Indian restaurant, you are practicing "untouchability", in its essence.

Monday, September 20, 2004

 

Reservations on Job Reservations in India

"Job Reservations in the Private Sector in India will Soon be a Reality"

While examining the issue of job reservations in the private sector in India, the Group of Ministers will do well to also consider the following:

1. Reservation for the SC/ST/OBCs in the Indian Cricket team, which is currently completely and hopelessly biased towards the well off upper castes and muslims (former rulers).

2. Proportionate reservation of a certain number of seats in the parliament and ministerships for the backward classes. The existing democratic set-up, while good in principle, has been unreliably returning a disproportionate number of upper caste and other (democratically)undeserving candidates

3. Reservation in the Armed forces and the Judiciary, which have been allowed to get away scot free from any obligations towards the backward classes. There should be a quota amongst the officers and judges too.In case of war, there should be a specific provision disallowing participation of such officers as there may be fatalities and this may then be mistakenly deemed an anti-backward class ploy.

4. Continuing with the same spirit of setting right similar failures in the sports front internationally, the government should make a strong representation to the international community for a population based quota of medals for all Indian participants, as our country was oppressed for a thousand years and the international community should accept this broadminded proposal keeping in mind the universal ideals of fairplay and justice for all.
5.While participation of the backward class workers in management is being considered, there is an urgent need to come out with a law preventing participation of such workers in Work, as this oppressive demand has raised its ugly head in many private sector organisations

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