So it was with much expectations that I, surely alongwith many like-minded all over the country, dipped into his recent pronunciations on Mr Kejriwal and the AAP. ( http://www.rediff.com/news/column/ls-election-column-tvr-shenoy-keriwal-is-walking-the-path-to-destruction/20140319.htm ) The quote from the Bhagavad Gita at the beginning prepared the reader for a balanced judgement upon the erring (according to TVRS) AAP boss. But unfortunately, despite a typical assemblage of supporting facts, the rather shoddily and hurriedly constructed argument soon came to a facetious conclusion -- that Mr Kejriwal should better have second thoughts before "..ranting and raving against the very media that propelled him to fame" and success in December, 2013. And the author is sure that the end of it all is going to be a replay of the grand Kurukshetra spectacle.
|(pic courtesy --web)|
Kurukshetra was the scene of the mother of all 'Black-against-White' battles of history and lore. And most of us would know that the Bhagavad Gita is the wisdom of life's philosophy as preached by Lord Krishna with which he persuaded Arjuna to shed his queasiness and gird up for the battle. So far so good. But was that not about the quintessential defeat of evil, and the triumph of good? Ah, yes, now we get it. In spite of being projected as "Mr Good" by the condescending media, and pushed onto a gilded seat in December last, Mr Kejriwal, the thankless villain, is now showing his true colours as the personification of evil.
Now, let us see, who are the "forces of White", the good souls who have arrayed themselves against this 21st century Darth Vader? The pristine white of Khadi on the one side is matched by the saffron of the massed patriots, and even joined by the crimson of the socialists, the green of the minorities -- all strung like beads on a strong nylon/mylar Corporate thread, courtesy of a few top business houses of the country. What more do you need to assure victory? Once that classic victory is at hand, the media are ready to trumpet it to the far corners of the world! So, blow the conch, and let the battle begin...
This is verily laughable.
I have no qualifications to preach in a Lordly manner to TVRS about the media being the stout Fourth pillar of a civilized society and all the related stuff. But the fact being such like, it is prudent to examine what the media was doing in the past decade or more when the Nation was going through a slow and steady slide down a slope in all spheres, and God forbid, it appeared to do that according to a well-scripted scenario. It would not be far from the truth that, apart from occasional barks of some of the 'watch dogs', the "cushy" quietude of the media scene was seldom disturbed through these long years of nepotism and undisguised graft.
The media, as is taught in better media institutions, has many roles to play. The first and foremost is to report to the "aam aadmi" (the "aurats" too are included, automatically!) what all is happening in the country and how it will affect his life and fortunes. Another of the tasks is to 'educate' him about issues about which he may have little knowledge or time to brush up on. The "watch dog / whistle-blower" role too is an important one, given the nature of politicians to choose greed and graft as their bedfellows. The operative question here is how well did the Indian media --and its respected stalwarts-- play these roles in the troubled decade in which the "aam aadmi" could do with a hefty dose of "being wised up" and hand-held. Apart from the national headlines of this scam or that, which kept surfacing with alarming regularity (and which soon died a natural death in the amnesic public mind), what concerted analysis and moral onslaught did the keepers of the media's conscience mount on this erosion of honesty and integrity? Pretty little. The visual media, even sunk to the nadir of media responsibility when it wore kidgloves to interview a mumbling head of the nation in the post-scam days.
Now the veteran journalist TVRS speaks of the media that had "propelled (Mr Kejriwal) to fame". Had he himself portrayed Mr Kejriwal as perhaps a righteous answer to the rot in the polity? Had the media undertaken any such campaign to project his anger and frustration at the colossal graft that had engulfed the society? All I could say is, I don't know of any such media blitz. It doen't need a PhD in media studies to know who owns and runs most of the media that matters. Indians are second to none when it comes to perfecting the fine art of "media gate-keeping", all the while shouting themselves hoarse about their openness and impartiality. When a frustrated and angry Kejriwal "ranted and raved" against the corporatized media, the journalistic pundits in the North all exhibited a knee-jerk reaction. It was left to the more honest and media-savvy practitioners of the art from the South to issue a sound and studied response to Mr Kejriwal's protestations.( http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/why-overreact-to-kejriwals-criticism-ask-journalists/article5789153.ece ) All I wish to do now is to plead with Mr TVRS to spend some time in honest self-examination.
Even today, the Indian media remains by and large "filtered", and whatever unfiltered news that gets around is mostly via the social media -- which again is victim to the draconian powers of the rulers. This is particularly so when the news makers happen to be "persona non grata" so far as the ruling class, the opposition, the other "stake holders" and the media barons are concerned. How could this fact be "white-washed" and hidden anymore?
Coming to more "serious things", TVRS says "...whether it is foreign policy or defence strategy, sharing river waters or nuclear energy, the AAP refuses to have a coherent policy on anything..." So unfortunate. Yes, these are all big things, more serious issues, and perhaps life-and-death matters for the country as a whole. C'mon, what are the pronouncements of the major parties on these issues? What do they say about such issues in their election manifestos? (Not that manifestos are sacrosanct documents to be followed in letter and spirit post-elections!) Not much, except make vague noises about vague things.
TVRS continues to analyse the many shortcomings of AAP: "... (it) has no policy framework, no declared ideology to give it a structure.... no record of governance.." I know the author is old enough to answer the same set of questions factually if he were to ask those about Nehru and his cohorts when they took over the reins of government from a seasoned Mountbatten. Still India did not sink into the oceans, and thanks to the Five-year Plans and such like, even progressed to a degree of self-sufficiency in many areas. But thankfully in those days "development" meant other things, and not a squeezing of the common man and siphoning of the Treasury into ever deeper pockets.
Let us go back for once to the pre-election days of UPA-1. Did they release a 'road map' of what all they were going to do as regards the above key areas once they came to power? Did they once let the people know that once they came to power they would let FDI flow in unhindered and would sign various nuclear agreements and such like, with no indemnity clauses offering protection to the Indian citizenry?? Did the UPA-2 (or their "standard" adversaries) even mention that it was their plan to slowly and steadily erase the 'losses' of the petroleum companies by giving them autonomy to decide prices? Did they telll us they will permit companies to bring in genetically modified seeds and foods? Did they tell us they would give corporates heavy subsidies so that they would look after the "aam aadmi" with love and affection? Did they tell us about the Andhra bifurcation??? A thousand questions beg for answers. Election manifestos are good for providing laughs -- in the post-election scenario for the victors once they go over their clever skulduggery.
Sir, who are we trying to kid? People now have a "united front" against them-- a united front of the ruling class, the opposition and the corporates. They were helpless. But when a slim opportunity presented itself, the worm turned and that is what you saw at the Ram Leela Maidan. In the chaos of the moment, something emerged, and Mr Kejriwal, as I see it, realized that in order to change the system, one has to be part of it. There is no argument that in a short few weeks, it is not possible to organize a well-oiled party machinery as the "standard parties" had done over the past many decades. There is likelihood of many imperfections coming to the fore in the functioning of the AAP and its cadre. As everybody knows, an absolutely 'democratic' crowd simply deteriorates into a mob, with expected results. God forbid...
But in the dark polity of present day India, Mr Kejriwal offers a glimmer of hope for the voiceless multitude, whose voices have been suppressed and manipulated. For once, after 1947, the crass confidence of the major parties have been shaken somewhat and there is trepidation in the air. What if ...??? Mr Kejriwal is a symbol that represents that million-rupee question for the average, honest, good at heart, law-abiding, tax-paying "aam aadmi" of this great nation Don't blame him if we wants to try a new button or two in the EVMs this time round. Remember though, Destiny has very funny ways of getting even with very clever people...
On second thought, it appears that we must once again head back to the Bhagavad Gita:
"Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana,
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani "
["You have the right to perform your actions, but you are not entitled to the fruits of the actions.
Do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions, and therefore you won’t be attached to not doing your duty."]
In his infinite wisdom, the Lord is sure to have intended these timeless words as a reminder to the "aam aadmi" too, particularly before the cruel month of April!
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