Indian Media has lost their conscience: No talk about Indian Emergency of 1975

On 25 the June 1975  was the unfortunate day when President Fakhrudin Ali Ahmed  declared a state of emergency under article 352 of constitution of India upon the advise of prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Election’s and Civil liberties were suspended and suspension of article 352 effectively bestowed on President to rule by decree. In the history of Indian Independence Indian democracy was derailed for the first time.In 1977 democracy was restored and since then we are fortunate enough that our democracy has evolved and following the right path so that it could evolve.

 

I am not writing this post to glorify the resistance against government in emergency and they established democracy again in 1977. I am writing this article to convey the current status of one of the most important pillar of Democracy of the present era. This pillar is know as “MEDIA”. After visiting almost all the websites of Major Digital Channel and print newspaper in English and Hindi one point has astonished me no one is talking about Emergency of 1975.

One of my observation about Media is one part of their content strategy depends on what is trending on Twitter. All the English and Hindi website of Print media will write when Google will honor any one through a Google Doodle but their editorial framework don’t think that they should talk about “DARKEST PERIOD OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY” today as a significance to tell the story of history to the current generation. Why Indian Media don’t think that the current generation need to know the importance of the hard earned democracy in which they are living? Media is avoiding looking towards history and asking many question’s which is needed to answer is a dangerous trend for India and Indian democracy.

There is a Saying  when we start avoiding or telling lies about history history never forgives us. We are not telling lies but we are seriously avoiding our history. Since morning Emergency 75 is trending on Twitter India but not a single conventional media has come up with a story. On Twitter all the famous Editor of major digital news channel always present their views but today no one showed up with their enlightening views.

Two important characters of Indian emergency which is Emergency itself and Indira Gandhi were trending on Twitter for a long time. #Emergency75 is still trending on twitter India.

Rajdeep Sardesai who tweeted in defense . This is the sate in which Indian Media has reached when Editor in chief of a national news channel has to defend themselves. I have no right and knowledge to say anything about Rajdeep Sardesai and I prefer to believe what ever he is saying is true. on a personal level I believe people. There is one question I want to personally put in-front of him and all the editor in chief why people perspective towards media is not right.

 

What I have observed on Twitter is general public of India is surprised as emergency in 1975 didn’t get any importance or coverage from conventional media. I think the main reason behind this issue can be central Government which belongs to Congress didn’t want people to remember emergency which was imposed by Congress Party only. The story ahead you can easily guess. (This post was published by Rai, in http://videathink.com on June 25, 2012)

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Hunger strike of Aseem Trivedi and Alok Dixit from Save Your Voice

On 11th April 2011 Government of India notified the new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 in order to have a significant monitor and control over the vicarious web world. The act will allow government agencies to have access to each and every activity of ours on the internet. Let it be your facebook profiles, twitter accounts, blogs, YouTube, gtalk, Skype calls and even data stored via cloud computing, they can trace them all. If the government finds something obscene on the ministers or disagree on few issues, they can shut down site or blog on its own. Basically the IT Act 2011 will lead to;-

1. Lead to a clamp down on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution of India by providing for a system of censorship/self-censorship by private parties;

2. Adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens by allowing Government agencies to access their information;

3. Will severely hamper the growth of internet penetration in India, and consequently lead to a slowdown of economic growth;

4. Limit the growth of various IT related industries and services (in particular cyber cafes, search engines and bloggers). Courtesy (Save your Voice).

The Protest

On 2nd May Cartoonist Aseem Trivedi and Journalist Alok Dixit from ‘Save Your Voice‘ started open- ended hunger strike at Jantar Mantar to support the ANNULMENT MOTION against IT Rules-2011 in the Rajya Sabha.

It started with the Anna Hazare agitation against corruption; he went on “fast” from 27th December, and cartoonist Aseem went all the way to Mumbai from Kanpur to attend. He made few cartoons which were later on published in Hindustan Times and Prahar a leading Marathi newspaper. And the next day his sitecartoonsagainstcorruption.com where he uploaded the same poster was shut down by Mumbai police on a complaint being filed by the local Congress leader. After checking up with the lawyers he found that the action taken by the police official is not covered in the IT Act.

So, Aseem and Alok decided to take an action and started protesting against the various loopholes and freedom of speech held by IT Act 2011 in the gandhian or Anna way by fasting. The protest was started quite peacefully and they gathered support from a Rajya Sabha MP, Sh. P. Rajeev., and theatre personality Arvind Gaur, Director of Asmita Theatre (New Delhi) and other associates.

The protest was gaining momentum and on 6th may the duo decided to quit water as well. But later in the evening Delhi Police came on spot and on their persuasion, Aseem and Alok were admitted in Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. However, they are adamant to continue the protest.

Recently Mamta Banerjee got Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra behind the bars for making cartoons on her! Most of us were shocked on this lame news, but if the IT Act 2011 gets approved than people like Ambikesh will lose their voice and there can be a monarchy similar to Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s regime where only a government run channel was allowed to show what PM wants to show.

However, there has been an increasing need for an IT regulation, as Cyber crimes are increasing at an alarming rate, Pornography is highly accessible, Piracy has been adding new channels and the worst part is Terrorism is make a full use of social networking sites leading to high risk for the country. But the current Act is of severe loopholes, which can lead to an adverse effect on the freedom of speech and expression provided by the World Wide Web.

Courtesy:  Madhav Gupta & Youth Ki Awaaz

Poli(tics)wood, like Bollywood

Shombit Sengupta an international creative business strategy consultant writes in The Indian Express

Electronic media has made Indian politics more and more entertaining. It’s beating Bollywood’s clichéd storylines of love, hate, fight, prison, poor man becomes rich man. Indian politics has more or less the same storylines except the love affair bit, making it Poliwood. Wonder why our political journalists are avoiding love affair diagnostics?

We’ve got enough titillating stories where politicians invoke celestial powers to get jobs done. Even Indira Gandhi had visited Ma Anandamayi with daughter-in-law Maneka. A few months ago, instead of inviting investors, a yagna was held in Bengal for getting business into the state. Did it work? A believer pointed out, “Didn’t Hillary Clinton come to Kolkata last week to promise American economic partnership?”

On issues of governance, we seem to witness Bollywood-style histrionics or banana skin slips, where the banana skin can be clandestinely put in front of a politician by anyone with a vested interest. In a one-party majority Presidential system of government where the whole nation elects the leader, there’s less of a chance for Poliwood drama. 

In India, from being colonised by a gun-toting monarchical British political system, we chose our current Parliamentary politics. This democratic government process seems to match the diversity of our Hindu-dominated, multiple God culture where all politicians are perforce wary of banana skins, from voters and opposition alike. In trying to escape banana skins, how much attention are elected politicians paying to keeping their electoral promises? Only when the quality of politics is at a higher ground can there be better governance. Instead of giving us Poliwood stories of corruption, divisive politics, managing caste equations and allies, can we have our elected representatives resolve our many economic problems, and provide employment, education and health for the masses?

Read the full column : Poliwood

Book Review: The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh

The Shadow Lines is the second novel written by Amitav Ghosh and is considered to be his best work till now, for which he was also awarded the Sahitya aAademi Award in 1989. The novel was begun by Ghosh after the assassination of Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then PM of India. This can be clearly made out in the novel as the entire text consists of undercurrents of political vendetta and is splashed with the idea of nationalism.

The major characters of the novel are the narrator himself, his dominating grandmother, his eccentric uncle Tiridib, and the two women in his life, Illa and May Price. Novy Kapadia says, “It’s basically a memory novel, which skillfully weaves together personal lives and national and international events. The circle of reason, the interest and the focus is on story telling. Coil within coil of memories unfurl in the narrator’s story.”

The book is divided into two parts, the first is given the title, “Going Away” and the second part is “Coming Home”. The central character is strangely not given any name and is portrayed as a mirror image of his uncle Tridib, giving his nationalist and internationalist views. The novel is made of lives of characters living in three different countries namely- India, Bangladesh and England. Ghosh in his novel uses a complex pattern of going forward moving backwards and going zigzag in terms of narration of the time and space.

(courtesy: Youth Ki Awaaz & Madhur Gupta)

The novel all in all is a parallel drawn between war and riots, India and Europe to show how all violence whether committed in the name of nationalism or freedom is to be given no other color. All in all it is a must read for people who want to enter into an era long forgotten and who have a zest for nationalism and modern contemporary history.

Dynasty dilemma – Gandhi mystique quizzically unimpressed !

The fabled Congress party is finding that the past just doesn’t sell anymore

It was 1999 when, in the midst of a heated election campaign, the granddaughter of India’s beloved late prime minister Indira Gandhi told international media, “I am very clear in my mind. Politics is not a strong pull. I have said it a thousand times: I am not interested in joining politics.” At the time, Priyanka Gandhi was adamant her presence on the campaign trail was not an introduction to political life. She simply wanted to help the Indian National Congress, then run by her mother, Sonia, regain control of the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament.

Congress, one of the world’s largest and oldest political parties, had lost the house to its rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party, in the 1998 election. It was a chaotic period in Indian politics: from 1996 to 1999, the nation had gone through three general elections and three unstable governments characterized by fractious coalitions and alliances of convenience. For Congress, the 1999 vote was a chance to reclaim its political dominance: since India’s independence from British rule in 1947, it had governed the nation more or less uncontested for three decades. Priyanka Gandhi, then 27, was Congress’s secret weapon, seen as the future of the Gandhi political dynasty. But the strategy didn’t work. Congress lost and the BJP gained a near majority in a defeat that was a sign of things to come. Congress regained control, but only as part of a shaky alliance. Priyanka Gandhi left the public arena, opting instead to work behind the scenes.

Recent crises, though, have brought her back into the spotlight. During last month’s state assembly elections, she took to the campaign trail, joining her brother Rahul in key states like Uttar Pradesh.  Priyanka’s return prompted frenzied speculation among India’s political pundits. Was this a sign of desperation? Internal tensions within Congress inspired talk of impending collapse and a last-ditch effort to bring unity to a party that had previously been the defining symbol of Indian democracy.

The strategy failed again. Among the five states where voters went to the polls, Congress managed a majority in only one—Manipur. In Uttar Pradesh, considered a litmus test for India’s national elections, scheduled for 2014, Congress won a dismal 28 of 403 assembly seats, garnering a meager 11.6 per cent of the vote.

So what went wrong? Congress strategists were lambasted by political observers for relying too heavily on the Gandhi mystique to garner votes. Rather than inspiring people, the return of Priyanka left many quizzically unimpressed. “They tried everything,” says Salma Mirza, a 25-year-old resident of Mumbai. “Priyanka looks like Indira, she talks like Indira, and this time, on the campaign trail, she even dressed like Indira.” But an Indira doppelganger wasn’t what the Indian electorate was looking for. “It was too funny for us,” says Ravindra Patel, a voter in Uttar Pradesh. “We wanted to hear what plans politicians had for improving our lives. Instead, we got Priyanka telling us about how great Congress is.”

Congress’s history may have served the party—and the Gandhis—well at one time, but not today. India is a country of more than 700 million voters, with real GDP growth of around eight per cent annually for the past 10 years and an increasingly robust role in the global economic market. All that has contributed to a more subtle and perceptive electorate. “Change was inevitable,” says Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president and chief executive of the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. “India’s political parties are now operating in an increasingly vibrant democratic environment. But party structures remain closed and reliant on opaque internal decision making.” Mehta faults Congress for not adapting to the new reality. At a time of “India Rising,” the catchphrase for the last decade, a reliance on dynastic nostalgia simply won’t work anymore, he adds.

However, Tom Vadakkan, a spokesperson for Congress, defends the party’s dynastic inclinations, pointing out that state-level elections are not the same as national elections. “People will think about their immediate needs when they vote for the state assembly,” he says. “But when it comes to national elections, they will vote for the party that has a long track record in governance.” Dynasties, he adds, are a natural phenomenon in India. “It’s a system that runs throughout the country,” he says. “A doctor’s son will become a doctor himself. This is the way Indians think.”

Recent studies on the career aspirations of Indian youth tell a different story. “Earlier, there were limited career options available for Indian youth,” says a 2011 report looking at the growth of the Indian IT sector. “Those fell in government/semi-government organizations like civil services, engineering, medical, management, etc.” But during the course of India’s economic surge, “many new career avenues have emerged which are more promising, challenging and rewarding,” the report notes.

India’s youth are increasingly thinking for themselves, weighing their options and deciding on careers best suited for them. That thought process also extends to political choices, adds Mehta. “When choices are available and there are no barriers, these transitions happen,” he says. “Economic diversification opens up options to people; it gives them economic capital, which then translates into political capital.”

But India still has some way to go before its democracy reaches full maturity, he says. Political families will remain a force in Indian politics for the foreseeable future: they have the contacts and the wealth to maintain their positions. Until political parties themselves are democratized, Indian democracy will struggle. Moreover, corruption remains a major problem. In the recent state assembly elections, one-third of the politicians elected to office have pending criminal cases against them, while two-thirds are millionaires, according to a joint analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch.

Nonetheless, Mehta, for one, is hopeful. A variety of Indian institutions, from the family to the bulwarks of a democratic system—judicial, political, and economic—are undergoing rapid change. The political parties cannot ignore this trend, he says. They do so at their peril. (courtesy: Adnan R. Khan & macleans.com)

How a small newspaper registered its protest

Stories of newspapers running blank editorials and news columns during the censorship era of the Emergency in the mid-1970s are legion.

But in this day and age, when space is calculated in square centimetres?

Star of Mysore, the 35-year-old evening newspaper from Mysore, ran this front-page on March 3 to protest the murderous assault on journalists by lawyers in Bangalore.

A front-page editorial noted grimly:

 “The Fourth Estate is the new target.

“In the new resurgent India, the media has played its role in exposing the wrongs done to this nation by its own people and has given voice to the weak. The Press, the fourth pillar of democracy, has so far kept check on the three other powerful pillars—the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary—and has done so in the interest of keeping the citizenry of this nation informed and to get it involved in national issues.

“This success of the media in getting people involved in issues that concern the nation is what has made the other three pillars uncomfortable…. A media that helps create awareness among the citizenry making it pro-active is not in the interest of the powerful in the other three pillars of democracy. And so, on March 2, while a certain section of lawers went on a thrshing spree on media persons, the police stood like helpless bystanders.”

Image: courtesy Star of Mysore

A blank editorial, a black editorial & a footnote

When Indira Gandhi introduced media censorship as part of the Emergency in 1975, Indian newspapers ran blank editorials as a form of protest.

The Kannada newspaper Vijaya Karnataka, belonging to The Times of India group, runs a blank (and black) editorial today, in protest against what happened in the State legislative assembly on Monday, during the trust vote moved by the chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa.

And in white type set on 60% black, editor Vishweshwar Bhatwrites this small footnote at the bottom:

“The unseemly occurrences in the assembly on Monday should make every citizen bow his head in shame. The manner in which our elected representatives behaved is unpardonable. They have dealt a deadly blow to democracy. While criticising this, we symbolically represent the silent outrage of the people in this form.”

 

 

(Courtesy: Churumuri)