Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai terror and the Media

Watching TV after the Mumbai events has been a pain beyond words. Listening to Arnab Goswami or Barkha Dutt has been like watching an old Manoj Kumar movie. May be those films were better.

The way media comperes have sought to play on peoples’ sentiments has been truly atrocious. They have invited the worst of Mumbai’s already mutilated “civil society”, asked them the most provocative questions and obtained the the most reactionary answers.

See the samples below:

Prahlad Kakkar, Adman: “we need someone with strong political will to govern the country. If the BJP puts up Narendra Modi as a PM candidate, it will win hands down because he seems to be the only politician with strong political will.”

Glenn Saldanha, CEO, Glenmark: the way we should deal with this problem is with the power of capital. We should join hands with the capitals of the world in the developed countries, and confront Pakistan (not exact words, but close).

Saldanha’s words were truly eye opening for me. I had not thought at all of that angle. The less said of Shobhaa De, the better.

However, there have been honourable exceptions. The dancer Javed Jeffrey and theater personality Sanjna Kapur have been bold enough to confront the nauseating comperes by integrating Ayodhya, Mumbai riots and Gujarat into the discussions on terror attacks. Sanjna was bold to say on screen that the Home Minister should resign. Poignant was when she told Barkha Dutt against her question “Has Mumbai changed forever for you?” that “Barkha, for me, Mumbai changed forever after 1993, not yesterday”. The indigestion was most evident on Barkha Dutt’s face. Of course, most channels avoided uncomfortable guests like Teesta Setalvad.

The best incident of the day has indeed been Mrs Hemant Karkare’s refusal of Modi’s “compensation”. Hats off to the woman! As one of my friends SMS-ed me today: “Great man, Great family”.

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