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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

A ‘Clip’ on a Journalist’s ‘Shoulder’

“Uttarakhand: Rain, floods and landslides hit rescue operations, thousands still stranded”, read the headline in a popular go-to-for-everything website, I have trusted all along my academic life.

Little did I know that the devastation of the floods and the heart breaking visuals of falling buildings and faces of the miserable trapped and desperate faces would soon give way to something I wasn’t really expecting. Another one of those viral-yet-comical, brave-yet-insensitive amusing little guilty pleasures we all crave for came in a time like this.

This morning, Youtube, the boiling pot for all the good, the bad, and the funny on the Internet gave me just what I needed- a dismissal of almost everything that I learnt in undergrad level Journalism. If not everything, well at least this was a clear dismissal of lessons in Journalistic Ethics-101.

Click to watch video

Click to watch video

Recent Internet sensation, Narayan Pargaien, is a man of high stature. Well, at least that’s what he apparently likes to portray. The video of his report on the Uttarakhand flood is now viral on the Internet, not because he did a remarkable job of it, rather because he did what most politicians and self-righteous moral police would kill to achieve- deviating from the main issue.

Not only was his report a wee bit of an exaggeration, it was also a wee bit distracting, and a wee bit annoying, and a wee bit comical, okay fine, it was certainly more than just a wee bit comical. What do you expect out of a flood report video, which is high on ‘video’ but has little or no ‘flood’. And ‘reporting’? Now that’s just asking for too much. If you haven’t seen it yet, the video is of reporter Narayan Pargaien, doing his job (which as much as I’d like to disagree, is ‘reporting’), atop the shoulder of a man, presumably a flood victim in Uttarakhand. The flood and victims, government support and rescue operations are just the few things he said that most people who’ve seen the video just once have conveniently overlooked. Because well, you cannot blame the man on the shoulder to not get through to you, he tried his best on his part… It is all your fault you person with a short attention span!

Okay now I sense too much bashing happening here. Let’s cut him some slack and give the poor man the benefit of doubt (I was talking about the man who’s carrying him, who did you think? I said poor).

Anyway, so why do you think the man resorted to what the Internet has termed as ‘inhuman journalism’? Who knows? Maybe Mr. Pargaien was ahead of our time or a literary genius for all you know, metaphorically depicting the ‘burden on the shoulder’ of the man via journo… ahem… floods, yes floods, that took away everything from him. Poetic isn’t he? Or maybe it was just humour he (unintentionally I suppose?) wanted us all to see in a situation where that is the last thing one can offer. Well, whatever floats your boat Mr. Pargaien, or rather, whatever ensures you float.

Now, time to cut Mr. Pargaien some slack, after all everyone does not have the luxury of a Yellow Submarine, like the Beatles. The man did do whatever he could to save himself from the still unpredictable flood. Of course, it would’ve been an ounce better if our shoulder man could’ve also saved Mr. Pargaien from the flood of Internet commenters. But you can’t have everything you know.

All said and done, we are still in a deep, dark, dingy place where the country’s media is concerned. There is still an enormous amount of growing up that the media needs to do. And when it comes to a tiny droplet of a mishap like this one, the Internet will make sure the ghost of your mistakes shadow you forever.

I just hope that journalism one day becomes what it’s supposed to (wishful thinking, I know). Fair, and free, and ethical and all that jazz.


Effects of Western Culture on Indian Youth? And so the ‘Youth’ Speaks…

I recently read this article on an online newspaper. It was about the ‘Effects of Western Culture on Indian Youth’.

It got me all worked up and somewhat resentful, about the fact that a youth himself had written this. You can read it here and see for yourself. A very narrow minded approach, I must say. Here’s the article. And here’s what I have to say about it. My responses in red.

CHEERS”, and the party starts. With booze, fags and skimpily dressed girls who move their bodies to be the cynosure and to attract males.

~You sound like one of those people who’d prefer if a woman is jailed in a burqa.

Come to think of it, then even a sari should be known as a non-conservative clothing, since the midriff, arms, back and neck of a woman are shown while wearing it.

And if women moving their bodies is so sexually provocative to you, let me tell you that ‘Bharatnatyam’ has evolved from a sexual dance form itself. The Mudras in it are actually sanitized versions of sex-positions.

Moreover, in the early Mughal era, as well as the vedic period in Krishna’s kingdom, women dressed up in just a piece of cloth and nothing except that, not even a bra! And when the western civilisation did come to India, women started dressing more modestly. So yeah, by dressing skimpily, we’re actually going back to our roots, and shunning western influence.

Everyone is wearing branded clothes, imported watches, designer accessories and what not. These things have become the necessities of the Indian youth and even the older generations.

~Maybe you should go back to the prehistoric era, where early man wore clothes simply by killing animals and acquiring their hides or just didn’t bother to wear clothes at all. Probably you’d fit there much better.

A father-son duo sitting together and enjoying their drinks, women going to pubs and discos and getting involved in obscene acts and girls taking their boyfriends to their homes to have a jolly time with parents and otherwise too.

~Well, half the suicides in the country were happening due to parental pressure and parents not understanding their children. How can you even call this a flaw? The fact that parents are more understanding and empathetic towards their children is half the battle won. The only way India can progress is by the youth doing what they desire most to do. And in this case, if their parents are broadminded enough to let them have their way, who are you to have a problem with that?

What can one infer after reading the above lines? I guess, the first answer would be that India is changing over the course of time.

India, as the name flickers, one thinks of religion, traditions, art and culture and it’s apt to think so because India is the country which is famous for its diversity in these aspects.

~True, you do think of those things, but if that is ALL you can think about when you think of India, then you have serious issues. And then you talk of diversity, ironic isn’t it? Maybe you should get some language training first and then think about writing at all.

The land where the great Raja Ram Mohan, Tagore, Gandhi transformed the thinking of people and removed the social stigmas like sati pratha (the practice of widows being forced to sit on the pior of their husbands), untouchability and many more.

~Maybe I should give you a little respect. Because if you can write stuff like this, and these are the only people you can think of as the do-gooders of the country then you OBVIOUSLY don’t belong to the youth (at least not in this century).

And the same Raja Ram Mohan who emancipated women, travelled the world with a Brahman cook.

India was known as “Sone Ki Chidiya” (The Golden Bird) but the shine has faded away gradually with the change in I, YOU and WE. Indian society has evolved into a mixed breed of Western and Indian culture. People are becoming too much casual in both their personal and professional lives, how a “Good Morning Madam” has now become “Hi Diksha”, how a “Namaste Daadu” has become “Hey Grandpa”, courtesy the western culture. The western culture has proved to be a setback for Indian culture, its rituals, its traditions and mannerism.

~First of all, grammatical error. It’s ‘much too casual’ and not ‘too much casual’.

And ‘Good Morning Madam’ is ENTIRELY a western statement. And thus, you’re contradicting yourself, because if you find this gesture polite and becoming, the conception of the statement is due to the very western influence you are criticizing.

And again, what problem do you have if this Grandpa is emotionally secure enough to be friends with his grandchild?

The Western culture may have been a setback for a few things, but definitely not its rituals, traditions and mannerism. I myself am well-versed with the Mahabharata, Ramayana, The Bhagwad Gita, The Koran, etc. and I know almost all the history there is where our country is concerned. I am the best of friends with my mom and dad, and I share EVERYTHING with them, but I still hold an immense amount of respect for them as well.

The Indian morning which used to begin with bhajans and kirtans now begins with the rock of Metallica and the punk of Greenday.

~Now seriously, which retard listens to Metallica or Greenday as soon as they wake up? Moreover, is there anybody (in their ‘youth’) who ever woke up to listen to Bhajans or Kirtans EVERY morning? Let alone the youth of today, I don’t think this even happened in the yesteryears.

The age of losing virginity has gone down to teens — following the western culture, these days it has become a casual and usual trend to lose virginity as teenagers.

~So, you’d rather have a girl of age 5, who’s been wedded under one of the flawed traditions we did away with, lose her virginity unwillingly, than have a girl of age 18 lose her virginity willingly. The age of consent has been LEGALLY accepted as 16 years, without Western influence, mind you.

The way in which Hollywood movies have created an impact on our society is blaspheme. The Indian movies are now more vulgar and obscene as they try to imitate the western trends and it is one of the major reasons that India’s youth is changing.

~Hollywood movies have always been this way. It is due to the brainlessness of some Indian filmmakers that they can’t come up with an original plot. And then they start blaming Hollywood for influencing them in such a way that they end up becoming vulgar.

But the coin has its other side too.

The effect of western culture has been a boon in the field of education and technology. From the time of the British, Indians inclined themselves towards education for betterment of their lives. The education system has improved with the course of time and this was all because of the western culture.

~Loud and clear now, one of the reasons why this Western culture has improved the field of education is due to the fact that it has also taught parents to be more understanding towards their children (which you apparently have a problem with) and let them do what they want to and hence let them excel in it, without driving them towards killing themselves.

The way in which the homosexual community has been accepted in most parts of India, is a result of western culture coming to India. The western culture has given us the liberty to think beyond the somewhat prejudiced culture towards certain aspects of our society.

~The Western culture HAS definitely given us the ability think out of the box. But the very fact that you make a statement like the ‘liberty’ to ‘think’ make it clear that these things are completely lacking in you. Like, Hello? You don’t need any ‘liberty’ to think at all. Thinking is a basic human trait, which people like you, obviously wouldn’t know about. This entire write-up is an example of that.

Plus, the very fact that you’ve bracketed homosexuality into a ‘homosexual community’ goes to show how narrow-minded you are. They are individuals and completely normal beings and have the utmost right to live without being bracketed into being called different such as you did by stating that they’re the ‘homosexual community’.

India’s culture has influenced many countries, many people and many souls, a foreigner dancing to the melodious and religious bhajanhare Rama, hare Krishna” and a foreigner coming to India in a boeing and carrying with him memories of a rickshaw wala and then missing them in their homeland.

The western culture might have brought obscenity and disrespect but it has eradicated a lot of the social evils and has helped India in transforming into a better and progressed nation.

~Foreigners also have taken with them the ‘Kamasutra’, something that is an inevitable part of the Indian cultural heritage. And which foreigner do you know of who missed a rickshaw wala in their homeland? Plus the ‘ISCKON’ or the ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ foundation, which was a conception of Srila Prabhupada was set up by an American.

A word of advice, please get your facts clear before keying them down and getting them published.

I guess the reason this bothered me so much is because this was written by someone who’s almost the same age as I am. I really can’t understand why he has a problem with certain things we all have embraced with open arms as a welcome change.

We’re a Racist Nation which Hates Racism

My aunt came storming across the room. She was fuming, after reading the paper. “How could he? Stupid racist New Zealander!” She said. I asked her what had happened, when she told me about the whole New Zealand journalist, Paul Henry and the controversy with Shiela Dixit.

In a flash I myself felt a bout of antagonism towards the man in question. Of course, what he said wasn’t really acceptable. And for most of us, wasn’t acceptable at all. It was offensive, no doubt.

But after a while I couldn’t help but think about it. I tried thinking about instances back home, here and there, and practically all over, and all I got from that spur of the moment contemplation, was, ‘Who are we to say anything about it? Aren’t we equally (or even) more racist ourselves?’

We’re a blatantly racist nation. We live on racism. Most of our jokes are made on either, Sardars, Biharis, Jats, or Nepalis, hence, racist. Our old hence supposedly wise aunties, judge everything from their future employee to future daughter-in-laws on the basis of colour.

Our racism is not just limited within our own country. If you’ve seen the movie ‘Fashion’, the moment where she does realise that she’s ruining her life is when she wakes up to notice that she’d been sleeping with a black man. Now tell me if that wasn’t racist?

One of our favourite comedians, Russell Peters (of Indian origin), lives on his oh-so-racist jokes. And the best part is all of us laugh at his funny imitation of the Chinese accent and jokes about Jews and Arabs.

And haven’t we all laughed at those numerous ‘blonde jokes’ and the Nepali who will be doomed to be a watchman forever.

One of my relatives once told me how ‘unsafe’ it was to live in this particular colony in Delhi because there were so many ‘Negroes‘ living there and hence it was not a safe place because they are supposedly ‘dangerous’ people.

The point I’m trying to make here is that we (Indians especially) are innately racist. And thus we have no right to condemn anything which we can remotely call racist.

Of course, these are racist generalisations we all make. Whereas, what Mr. Paul Henry said was outright offensive, but bad-mouthing him for passing a racist comment may have been somewhat hypocritical on our part.

Hopefully we’ll stop being racist someday. But I guess that’s just too much to ask for. But the least we can do is stop being so intolerant towards racist comments when we ourselves are an outright racist nation.