Sunday, May 1, 2011

The outburst at India Gate…. Untold Story

There are ripples of awareness spreading in wave after wave in the middle class urban India  …. The wake up call has been given…The people are waking up to their rights. The candle light protest at India gate saw the mood of this post-Anna  public…..The message was loud and clear …..Do not take us for granted…. there is no reason to believe that the India which has risen against corruption in bureaucracy, politics and judiciary, would tolerate it in media, And their message to the journalists is also loud and clear.

Saturday, Apr 9th  2011
Teachers,Lawyers,Students,Doctors,Actors,Engineers,and more all stood together  in the aura of the monument that enshrines  the memory of the unknown soldier…This is the India Gate which stood as a mute spectator  to the post-Anna period of India’s history. Yes, the public from all classes, professions, regions and religions can come together, without a mêlée. Some who were  witness of all the five days and a couple of nights at Jantar Mantar, can vouch that the so called masses, have demonstrated to each other and to the government, that united we stand.

This is a period when there was a presupposition I the powers that be …that the public is ‘ignorant’, ‘passive’ and disposable.The pathos left them to think the fire had depleted….Log bhool gaye hain who din…..They have forgotten how to take to the streets’.All that is laid to rest now….

 If the cause afflicts them……
 If they are given a platform where they can express their plight and register their protest….
If they trust the integrity of people giving the clarion call….
They shall flock…..
There is a new found confidence in the public that when they decide so, they can compel an entire government to bend over.
 And it is this very public sentiment which explains what occurred at India Gate on the evening of 9th April.

People had assembled for a candle-light vigil and for celebrating end of Anna’s fast. It was purely a victory of the people that the obstinate government was compelled to concede to all the demands of the campaigners. Barkha Dutt, group Editor of NDTV had come to the spot to record a live show. Typically the people are in a tussle to appear on the camera of a national media channel.
 But events were to take a different turn…..Whispers started….And they gathered speed in the flickering light of the candles….

Somebody mentioned that ‘Isn’t that Barkha Dutt……? 
Why ? Barkha herself is corrupt.!!!!
 She is an accomplice of Nira Radia. .... 
What moral authority she has to do this show of anti-corruption.?
People around nodded, each telling tidbits from Radia tapes. Then the murmurs gave way to anger,which erupted and one of the voices shouted – “Barkha Dutt dalaal hai” This was taken up as a chorus of voices   in thundering unison . 

The crowd was angry and animated . People, who were until now shouting ‘Inquilaab Zindabaad’ in no time shifted to ‘Barkha Dutt, Go Back.’The atmosphere was electric. There was a kind of an aggressive and determination. Barkha was forced to pack up from the spot and was escorted to the OB Van hastily. Other staff from NDTV tried to pacify the crowd in the hope that people would calm down or be dispersed and then Barkha can resume her show. But people continued to holler in unison, long after she had left.

People actually just wanted to assert their morality. Just like the public didn’t allow Sharad Pawar to chair the committee making the anti-graft law, similarly they wouldn’t allow a tainted journalist, no matter how famous or senior she is, to do the show essentially on anti-corruption. The protest stopped only when NDTV staff began picking up the chairs on the stage, dismantling it all for complete pack up. And gradually there was a transition with a trough of anti-barkha slogans and the thumping rising crest of ‘Inquilaab Zindabaad.’

For obvious reasons, despite many cameras being present there, this scene was not covered anywhere. But it is not so easy to push things into oblivion now. By the next day early morning, videos of the episode were up on Youtube thanks to somebody’s proactive and earnest efforts.
 Barkha tweeted about the incident calling the people as ‘lumpens and rowdies’ only depicting that she isn’t sensitive, rather indifferent to public’s reactions. Now she doesn’t seem to care a hoot about the very same public opinion which had made her into a popular icon.

This is the post-Anna public. And their message to the journalists is also loud and clear.

Appearing on TV screens might make you a known face but doesn’t make you a popular person. Being at a high position in a national media might fetch you handsome salary, but you still have to earn your credibility. Sitting in studios cannot insulate you from public scrutiny. And there is no reason to believe that the India which has risen against corruption in bureaucracy, politics and judiciary, would tolerate it in media.

Congrats at Anna's victory - its India's victory... 
The battle has just begun .. towards making India a better nation... keep up the good work ♥
Thanks for all support who-ever did.. in little or big way :)
 Jai Hind!
Inputs By my Facebook Friend…..Sneha

Let us cut to April 21, 2011…Swami Agnivesh stumps Barkha Dutt
A champagne moment of live television, 39 minutes and 48 seconds into NDTV's Buck Stops Here show on Wednesday, April 20, the year of the lord 2011.
Star-anchor Barkha Dutt goes on and on about whether  Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan should continue to stay as civil society representatives on the Lokpal drafting committee given the charges they were facing.

Barkha Dutt: "Swami Agnivesh... you will see that the number of people who had to resign from public office---and many people believe this is a good thing---just because of suspicion or allegations or accusations, I mean, from Shashi Tharoor to Ashok Chavan to Sharad Pawar, there are so many different examples where legally, the allegation has not been proven, but even before the trial has begun, these politicians have stepped aside. Now some people are making the argument that those drafting the Lokpal bill must do the same. How do you respond? Do you believe the same standard must be applied as they are applied to politicians?"

Swami Agnivesh: "Well, Barkhaji, let me put it to you this way. Supposing there is an accusation of corruption on some mediaperson who is an anchor of a very famous TV channel, and if that person is initiating debate after debate on corruption and such [a] person is asked, first get yourself cleared of all these allegations and then only you will have a moral right to start or initiate a debate on corruption, should that person step down? What would be your answer?" 

Barkha Dutt: "My answer would be very simple. My answer would be that we all must answer to the same levels of scrutiny that we subject other people to, and that is exactly what we are debating, whether that should take the shape of answering questions, whether that should take the shape of stepping down, will vary from case to case. And that remains my position.