Friday, September 14, 2007

CRITICISM: NDTV'S WESTERLY 'RAIN'

I have been receiving a lot of criticism for my post ‘NDTV’S WESTERLY ‘RAIN’ OF ADOLESCENT ARROGANCE’. This has mainly been about the importance that has been given to Barkha Dutt. Who is she to merit such attention? That has been the question most asked.

Well Ms Dutt may not mean much to most of us, including myself, as an individual. But the problem arises when you see her occupying prime national media space and time. Due to that platform alone, what she says becomes important. In this age of instant everything, TV has become a major learning medium and young impressionable minds of the country are being misguided and misinformed even about serious matters concerning the country in a flippant, casual and almost I-don’t-give-a-damn manner. This apart, the platform provides Ms Dutt an opportunity to nationally propagate her own personal agenda and value system, part of which might be fine for the very few, privileged kids of liberal parents living in Delhi/Bombay, but is often totally alien to, and disruptive for, those living in smaller towns.

Take just one example. We all have watched her many programs from and on Kashmir. Despite many years on the job, Ms Dutt has not taken pains to do any serious research to get to the genesis of the Kashmir problem. So, she believes and says that it is a political and not religious problem which has arisen only because the government alienated the Kashmiris in the 80’s. How, she doesn’t know and doesn’t bother to find out either. That is why she says that terrorists do not have a religion and trivializes the issue. Then, she uses this stance to report on and analyze the developments about the problem. When the basic understanding is so completely off the mark on so important a matter that has engaged the nation for 60 years, how can the addressing of it be correct? Thus, young minds soaking up information from television are picking up serious distortions, which can gravely distort public opinion to the detriment of national interest and national response.

I have also been criticized for limiting myself to Ms Dutt and Vir Sanghvi, while remaining silent about many others who are much more prominent. While I may have written specifically about these two in isolation at some length, those who care to read my other posts will notice that I have not flinched from saying what I believe, no matter who the person is. Of course, I can’t possibly be energized about all issues. There are many others who write about them, I’m sure.

As to the comment that I should speak positively about some people too, I shall certainly give a serious thought to it, though there is always the risk of being pilloried even more for that. OK, say if I say something good specifically about Rajdeep Sardesai sometime, know that it is because I believe it to be true in a standalone mode!