Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jayabrato's poem on politics....and more on media's glam-sham

This poem was sent to me by my Bondhu, Jayabrato Chatterji from Kolkata.....

We are children of our era;

our era is political.

All affairs, day and night,

yours, ours, theirs,are political affairs.

Like it or not,

your genes have a political past,

your skin a political cast,

your eyes a political aspect.

What you say has a resonance;

what you are silent about is telling.

Either way, it's political.

Even when you head for the hills

you're taking political steps

on political ground.

Even apolitical poems are political,

and above us shines the moon,

by now no longer lunar.

To be or not to be, that is the question.

Question? What question? Dear, here's a suggestion:

a political question.

You don't even have to be a human being

to gain political significance.

Crude oil will do,

or concentrated feed, or any raw material.

Or even a conference table whose shape

was disputed for months:

should we negotiate life and death

at a round table or a square one?

Meanwhile people were dying,

animals perishing,

houses burning,

and fields growing wild,

just as in times

most remote

and less political.
This appeared today....

Writers Bloc…. Journos go where angels fear to tread!
Is journalism going glam –sham…?

Come on, guys, let’s cut the crap and say it like it is - we are up excreta creek! By ‘we’ I mean our tribe. Journos. Hacks. Commentators. Opinion makers. Thought leaders. For once, the shoe is on the other foot, and it is pinching like hell. We are not used to this. Us!! Self righteous and smug! Lofty creatures, who are forever sitting in judgement over the world and puffing out our chests for saving it! Suddenly, we find ourselves on the other side of the fence, at the receiving end of serious flak, and we don’t like it at all! In fact, we can’t handle the heat, and we are in a state of either defiance or denial. Guess what? It is time to square our shoulders and take it on the chin. Same as we expect others to, when we run our explosive exposes. Are we mature enough to do that? Are we ready to turn the searchlight inwards and ask ourselves the one question we have been dodging : What went wrong and why?
Something is clearly amiss, and the time to address that ‘something’ is now.

Let’s get a few things straight : Journalists are not demi-Gods, even if they like others to think of them like that. They are as human, as vulnerable, as greedy as the next person. Some more than others. Journalists have always brokered power. Always. Not just in India but all over the world.As power brokers, they have frequently played a key role in exposing corruption, mainly because they’ve had access to privileged information. Morally upright journos ( and they do exist!), have used this information towards a greater good and not as a means to either blackmail others or enrich themselves . The line is thin – most don’t realize they have crossed it till it is too late. Sure, power is an aphrodisiac ( thank you, Henry!), and some vain journos have taken the aphrodisiac part literally, to errr…. screw their detractors ! Others have limited themselves to soaring high on ego trips…. but strictly sans price tags. Either way, it has made a lot of heads swing… and swell. Being close to the centre of power in Delhi has been both, a curse and a boon to scribes who live there. Capital cities are like that ( think Watergate and Washington), and nobody remains immune to that heady proximity to politicos – not even self declared, hard bitten cynics. Delhi journos are a breed apart. Gone are the days of the slouchy jholawalas pounding the pavements, or prowling those corridors of power in search of a scoop. Delhi has spawned a generation of super glam Designer Journos – they dress sharp, talk sharp, are sharp. Well traveled, urbane and sexy as hell, these hotties are as much in the limelight as the people they grill in print and on television. They have their counterparts worldwide – the nature of today’s media business is such .We love our celeb journos… we are their devoted groupies. These people are legitimate stars .Why not? They write well, look great and party hard. Nobody grudges them their perks . Their lifestyles rival those of Bollywood stars – but then again, they have as vast a fan following, too. It’s all good.
Or…. is it?
Readers and viewers were in for a shock last week when the Fearless Radia tapes revealed more than was anticipated. The biggest jolt was not about the lobbying per se. It wasn’t about money either, since there is zero evidence of any financial gain. It was the unbelievable naivete of the main players. They sounded alarmingly amateurish as they discussed their modus operandi with Radia. That such seasoned journos would blab so much over open phone lines ( given how porous every aspect of personal security is these days), was the absolute shocker. Political lobbying is an entirely legit career and Ms. Radia was only doing her job. That job involves courting friendly journos and getting them on board to influence public servants and public opinion. It’s about working ones buddy network. Journos are used to being approached by touts whose job it is to plant stories on behalf of their clients. This is the tricky part : How a journo responds to such overtures is the acid test. There are those who show touts the door, and then there are those who let them in. Canny lobbyists are quick to zone in on the latter - like minded scribes - and get down to business. Big business. This is how the game is played, folks. The rules are known to all.

Who benefits?
That depends. Broadly speaking, everybody in the food chain. Manipulating policy , pushing agendas, blocking rivals, disseminating ‘news’, misinformation and even blatant lies – it’s all a part and parcel of the game. Non-alignment is only a theoretical concept. All opinion is necessarily subjective. Often prejudiced. Sometimes mischievous and frequently malicious.A good journalist knows when to step back from landmines. And frankly, every journalist knows the difference between compromise and the truth. Either you are on the make and take or not. Either you are one hundred percent honest or not. Either you display professional integrity at all times or you don’t. Unless the person is dumb. Seriously dumb. In which case, journalism is the last place to be in…. though , going by the latest revelations, it would appear some of journalism’s best and brightest may have been had.
Ab hamara kya hoga, Samba???


ameya said...

for once I feel you were scared to take names here.
highly disappointed.

Nilu said...

Loved the poem - especially the line : "You don't even have to be a human being
to gain political significance." So true!

goodluck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
goodluck said...

This cannot be called poetry in the first place.
The question haunting the media is their double standards. The suppression of news which is not favourable to them and their colleagues while baying for the blood of politicians, civil servants etc. etc. And the way they deal with any rumour regarding filmstars real or not.
Why cant they apply the same rules for themselves. Now their rantings about CWG sam, Adarsh and other scams sound shrill.
The media, the entire media, lost its credibility at one stroke.
Now the media calls for understanding, context and restraint which they never show when they are in the driver's seat. Thanks to twitter, the regular media's mask is off. As someone has said that now it is trial by twitter.

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