Didn’t get time to write. Now that I am set to write I realise that there is not much to be written either. The Sniper is quiet. Not subdued though -while we continue parading our senselessness.
After all that pomp and show and show of ritual obeisance to ‘journalistic spirit’ etc on Goenka Memorial Debate yesterday (more on this later) as shown on NDTV, everybody is back to playing the sales guy's games.
Yesterdays CNN- IBN 's evening news (this is on a day when eight protestors, demanding land for the poor at Mudigonda village in AP were killed by police firing and documented brutality in blood and gore and more was available to all channels) ok... the news started like this -- “The big story this evening is that Dr Haneef Whatever is returning to India from Brisbane”....wow!! The world belongs to and exists only in the metro's middle class concerns or perhaps it exists only in the advertiser’s sales strategy. Subdue the viewer in passivity and let encoded messages be decoded in dead brains. When the moment to face the truth arrived, nonchalance was amazing. The swollen faced, somewhat haggard and tired looking anchor read detached, condescending sentences (who wrote the anchor script btw), which seem to be coming out of another world, a world -Where the mind is without fear and the booze bottle is held high. Where poverty and struggle for survival exist only in books. Where, for each hungry voice that dares speak, there is a bullet bought off my tax returns.
The approach, the words, the emphasis - insensitivity and utter failure in situating the news item in its immediate or wider social context or in realising the meanings of events within the matrix of a democratic order, was really insulting. After much condescension and confusion, he wrapped up the story like this “Ok, I hope everything is under control now”. And that patronizing smile on a very patriarchal face – beautiful! splendid!! He moves on.
Great! Good show.
The mystery behind recruitments in media is over. Pick the right kind of people and you reduce the possibility of news interfering with sanitary pads and shaving cream advertisements and their target audience’s affectionate attention.The BIG story THAT EVENING was about national indignation – that the police in a distant land were trying to question an Indian cousin of two UK terrorists. Unfairly, of course. How dare their police act like this? CNN - IBN was hurt and worried and its nostrils flaring in rage and challenge. What? What did u say? Eight Indians were killed, shot dead by the police in our own country and many more injured, bullets lodged in their bodies …oh! That! There is always trouble there with these peasants and their lands –aren’t you sick of their fights? That keeps happening. If police didn’t kill them- driven by hunger, debt and hopelessness, suffocated by oppressive weight of more agony and bleaker future, they would have killed themselves. Don’t you read newspapers? Or are you one of those who only watch news channels and believe the world is about sex scandals, glorified petty crimes, personal micro issues discussed 'live' for hours, extremely skewed story angles, one-sided truth-go-to-hell narratives, aspiring models throwing 'revealed-rape' charges which - we are told - shame the nation, society, god, aliens, everything and everyone; naïve anchors advising and sermonising the world on just about anything and everything. The world, you think, is about a vocabulary-less, content-less exhausting narration that exasperates you into tired passivity, chases you channel after channel until finally gored, molested and tortured you submit your judgments to the painted faces and obscenity of the wordless sounds.
Suddenly, an idea overtakes from the wrong side --- No, No. There is more to the world than that. There is ‘news’ beyond the media (or besides it). There is a world beyond this manufactured cosmetic hyper-reality, twisted and manipulated to manipulate an unsteady
class with an aching conscience and lost in conflicts of meanings and conflicting signs.Swift. But rash driving. Its gone. The path ahead is clear now.
You see this Dr Haneef Whatever issue is different stuff altogether. Dr.Haneef Whatever was questioned and kept in detention. He was asked questions about his relations and relatives, questioned about his bank accounts and his trips to London. Abhorring! Imagine the cruelty, trauma and pain that Dr Haneef Whatever had to suffer.
These streaks! A memory wafer sails over.Have you seen the footage? The scene of the firing incident, it was along a road that curved slightly.
Cut to - Mudigonda in AP, the peasants, dead woman and children. Twisted and motionless. Frozen in morbid terror as if afraid to speak out any more. Bodies lying still on the bloodied streets where once life roamed; where till the other day were songs of protest and hope, and gathering of village folk. Men and women deliberated on their concerns while keeping a watchful eye on their children who played nearby- huddled in groups, they discussed their daily toil, about land usurped by builders and miners, about another famine and high prices of kerosene, missing schools and doctors ….tchch! You are missing the point. The point is that there was no questioning, they were not detained and none of them had ever even gone to London, most of them never had any bank accounts.
What questions can you ask them anyway? You see, how can you compare the two news items? Ridiculous, to even raise such queries. Unlike Dr Haneef Whatever, none of these peasants –these fathers and mothers and wives and husbands and children, who lie dead today, silenced - were ever questioned. Silenced, but never questioned.
If you don’t ask questions where is the need for answers? And who cares as long as…well…as the CNN-IBN anchor hoped “the situation is under control”. (Noticed something? There are too many as’ses in the last line). Whatever. Whatever it takes.