Indian Republic Post Emergency Part Two
January 29, 2010 2 Comments
Media – Hits
a) Awakening the Giant : Electronic Media : NDTV : Prannoy Roy : Change Agent – For long electronic media in India was enslaved by the diktats of the I&B Ministry. The barely visible Doordarshan had news “readers” who would just “read” news which was strictly edited and almost had no analytical content. Anyone with some basic language and proper pronunciation skills could anchor news in Doordarshan. New Delhi Television happened at a time when election coverage was still in it’s infancy ; infact the conduct of elections itself was a jamboree with the result announcements stretching to 4 days. NDTV through it’s talismanic Prannoy Roy and his hindi counterpart Vinod Dua (*) brought news coverage in a form and manner which was never experienced before by Indian viewers. Suddenly the politicians were faced with the prospect of having to tackle informed, intelligent and well-read broadcasters which they clearly were not prepared for.
(*) Thanks to Venky
b) Paradigm Shift : Investigative Journalism : Media was not content with the role of just letting people know what happened. They wanted to move beyond ; to uncover the reasons ; the urge to get into the “whys” rather than just reporting “what happened”. Chitra Subramaniam, the Hindu Correspondent who blew the lid on the Bofors Scandal set in motion something which is today the reason why atleast some politicians keep their corruption in check.
c) Unveiling the Holy Cows : India is a land where cows are considered very holy. It is even true of the Indian Govt that holy cows were created everywhere, in every aspect of governance – The Judiciary, The Army, The Police – every thing considered innocent unless proven guilty and sometimes innocent even if proven guilty. Media has played a significant role in breaking the veil of secrecy and questioning the hitherto unquestionable. If we desire a clean house, the linen, however dirty has to be washed somewhere, why not in public.
Media – Misses
a) Overdoing sometimes the undoing : A vigilant media is welcome but not an over indulging, rat racing media. Beyond the quality of coverage, electronic media unfortunately got embroiled in a rat race. Growing advertisement outlays of large corporations meant that the channels became a slave of the 3 magical words – TRPs. And in their race to garner more TRPs morality sometimes took a back seat ; logic took a back seat and sometimes even national interest took a back seat. The overindulging media beaming live coverage of the 26/11 attacks helping the handlers is a stark reminder of the need for media to play by some basic rules.
b) Reality TV : Selling Faked Emotions : Channels hit a golden jackpot when they realized that faked emotions could help them boost sales. A nation of emotional fools took to “reality shows” like fish to water and the slide commenced. It has now slipped into an abyss with channels hawking every emotion putting them up for sale.
c) Print Media : Tabloids : With the print media unable to compete with live 24 hour news channels, they resorted to skin show. Break-ups, tie-ups, smooches, kisses, parties got identified with news content. There was a Page 3 in every news paper before, now we have a news paper strung together on a bunch of Page 3.
Sports – Hits
a) Payyoli Express : Belief of a nation : India’s participation in Olympics was largely reduced to just being there, especially after astro-turf Hockey. An Indian competing in Track & Field event in Olympics would not have caused any eyebrows to raise till Payyoli Express P T Usha blazed the tracks during the semi-finals in LA, 1984. A 4th place photo-finish caused a revelation in the country. Suddenly some Indians atleast started believing that they could also be in a group of world beaters.
b) Lion Leander : His heart beats for India : Harsha Bhogle famously wrote once that he would include Leander as the 13th man in the cricket team in every match. Leander’s infectious national spirit and pride fetched him great respect and even greater wins in Davis Cup culminating with a Olympic medal. His exploits on the doubles arena with another match winner, Mahesh Bhupathi would directly go into the annals of Indian Sporting history. The year 1999 when the pair nearly won the Doubles Slam is to me the proudest moment of Indian sporting history.
c) Mountain of Runs from Amchi Mumbai : The Bombay Bradman retired in ’86-87 only to be reincarnated as the “Little Master” in 1989. ‘Sachin Go Home and Have Milk’ the caption read when a 16 year old man-boy stepped on the cricketing field at Pakistan to face Akram, Imran and Waqar. 20 years later, he is still among the top cricketers of the world and among the very few icons of the modern India. The day he hangs his boots, Bharat Ratna awaits him.
Sports – Misses
a) Chuck Diya India : Hockey : While Indian exploits on the fields of Cricket, Tennis and Chess were happening and Indians making their mark in other sports such as Cue sports, Shooting, the one which has gone down ever since the Moscow Gold is Hockey. Sadly the national sport of India is poorly managed, poorly coached and poorly supported. Indian Hockey, I fear, is now spoken only in terms of posterity. We have chucked our opportunity in Hockey.
b) All Eggs in Cricketing Basket : The success of the World Cup event in the sub-continent coupled with the boom in number of channels meant that Money started chasing cricket. From a mere sporting body, the BCCI is now almost a parallel government – respected, feared, loved and despised. The influx of money into cricket left other sports starved for support and encouragement. Cricket got yanked off Sports and now is a separate category by itself.
c) Sports Administration : We continue to run our Sports just like our country – full of corruption, chaos and confusion. Merit is continuously ignored and powerful connections do the trick.