Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Media needs to Introspect on why they believe that they are 'not out of touch with the news'!

  •  An interesting article published at 06:52 PM on Jun 19, 2017 by Mayuresh Didolkar  at www.myind.net. The article is reproduced from the mentioned website, as it makes a lot of sense to me. Sharing.

Modi does a Modi and picks Ram Nath Kovind as NDA's presidential nominee


Earlier today, BJP President Amit Shah announced the name of Bihar Governor and two time MP Mr. Ram Nath Kovind as the party’s nominee for the Presidential elections due next month. This was a completely unexpected move that no major media house could even hint at in advance. The reaction of the same media houses and their representatives, however, was completely on the expected lines.
 “BJP’s Patil moment?” one asked. Another tweeted “And you thought Pratibha Patil was the worst choice yet”. Off hand, I don’t remember either of the two ever criticizing Mrs. Patil before. Rajdeep Sardesai called it “Uninspiring but strategic”. Shekhar Gupta called the Bihar Governor ‘an unknown’.
The people who are using sarcasm and scepticism to welcome the person who is probably going to be our first citizen very soon, are, largely, staunch opponents of the NDA government. Therefore, their cynicism about BJP’s choice should occasion us no surprise. But if you scratch beneath the veneer of urban snobbishness and elitism of the media elites, I am certain you will detect visible signs of unease. Unease about a model of business that is rapidly changing around them.
I have often said, that since 2014, media’s ability to control narrative has been at its lowest in the history of modern media. BJP’s victory in 2014, Brexit and Trump’s victory last year being just three examples where media went all out to pitch for a certain outcome and that outcomes was rejected in overwhelming numbers.  And now, with Modi government at least, their insider access and ability to stay ahead of the news is completely lost. From successor to Dr. Raghuram Rajan to the surgical strike and from demonetisation to the Chief Ministerial choice for Uttar Pradesh, the mainstream media has been largely clueless about the eventual outcome.
While it is easy to give credit to Modi and his team for the tight ship they are running, I also suspect media hubris has some responsibility to this embarrassment too. A few days back, a columnist in USA had written about how the media bubble that is the geographical and ideological concentration of journalists along certain lines is causing them to lose connect with the masses and how the ‘groupthink’ was partly responsible for their inability to predict Donald Trump win in November. The problem is not too different in India too. If you are part of the mainstream media, you are likely to be located in one of the two large cities, you are likelier than not have similar thoughts on issues such as terrorism, secularism and economic development. Even worse, the stories you are chasing are likely to be restricted to the so called Lutyen’s circuit and thus while an IT raid on the house of Pranoy Roy becomes a cause of much alarm, a fellow journalist being burnt alive in a small town is almost not a news.
If you see the names being thrown around as potential presidential picks, you will realize that cutting through the ideological fault lines, they all had one thing in common- they were all big names that one could imagine being the talk of the cocktail party circuit. No wonder the name of the former chairman of the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation never came up.
 The reaction to Mr. Kovind’s nomination points to a surliness of sore losers. To dismiss him out of hand just because he was not well known indicates an arrogant refusal to deviate from the narrative. Media’s take on this can largely be summed up as – if we were not tracking him then he must be somebody not worth tracking.
Can we instead ask our media houses what kind of tracking they did on this important news item and in light of the spectacular failure, what corrective action they plan to take? Can the media absolutely, in good conscience, assure us that there were no signs whatsoever of Modi-Shah duo considering Mr. Kovind’s name? If there were, why those signs were not read and reported more prominently?
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Every time Indian media gets a development about this government’s actions wrong, their typical response is either mocking the action or raising alarm over it.
This insanity has to stop!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Citizens of India - Some Random Thoughts

1.     What comes first for us as members of a society - the nation-state that sustains us and facilitates an organised life with other human beings born in the same geographical area; and that which provides us the wherewithal required to live in the material world

OR

Religion, which provides us individual sustenance in our personal spiritual quest, based on certain belief systems. Belief systems that have been inherited based on our birth in a family, in a geographical area, and at a certain time in history. A majority of us had no say in our belief systems, except for a miniscule minority that took the bold step to convert on to another belief system.

In case we were living secluded in a jungle with no one else around then the answer would be pretty obvious, but living with other human beings, each with his own set of beliefs, the answer is not so obvious to the unthinking mind.  

The law of the land in which one lives should take precedence over any of our personal beliefs, I believe, else there will be conflict on a daily basis.

Constitution of a nation is the guiding force for all our laws, and has to be above all personal belief systems.

2.    As a proud member of the defence forces of India, I swore to protect the integrity of the country, even at the cost of my life; the lawful orders from the lawfully elected government of the day was all that mattered. Political parties in power were of no consequence. It was always, 'nation first'.

So, the question is, Is India more important than which party is in power? What is the role of political parties when in power, and when in opposition?

I find hardcore Congress politicians finding fault with everything that the present NDA government is doing, and every person who supports the Congress, even from outside the political party support that. The Congress is hard pressed to find a leader from within 1.3 billion Indians and is bent upon imposing some one who does not even understand or comprehend India as a prime ministerial candidate, and there is not a single politician from the party or supporters from outside the party who can voice this concern of the people of India. Being born to the family which has made many sacrifices cannot be the sole criteria for leading the nation in the 21st century. No wonder the Congress is in a serious decline; it has lost credibility with the people of India. Only introspection can save it from permanent decay, like the Communists.

The BJP on the other hand has not been able to control the ultra nationalists; who are so only in slogans, and raising tempers of the gullible people by mouthing half truths. There is a law of the land and every one has to follow that irrespective of who is in power. No one has the right to take the law in to their own hands, not even the 'gau rakshaks', as they do not have the constitutional mandate to do so. The governments, both at the national and state level, has to send a message with its actions that the law of the land is supreme.

Political parties come and go, but the nation and its citizenry should prosper - that I think is the whole aim of the political process and the systems so designed by us, under our visionary constitution.