November , 2018
Surviving the topsy-turvy world
16:53 pm

Buroshiva Dasgupta

Today we are living in a topsy-turvy world. We are not sure what role one is supposed to play. We see the French President awarding citizenship to a refugee youth who dares to save a child who slips and hangs precariously from a four storeyed building. On the other hand, we see the US President ordering to shoot tear-gas at Mexicans at the border this, in spite of his losing at the Court in the mid-term polls.

Closer home, we find one bureaucrat accusing the other in court of bribery and other wrongdoings, when they themselves are entrusted with the duty of keeping the system clean. A bureaucrat in Kolkata is seen writing in the social media how the government has now decided to teach "artificial intelligence and coding" to school children from class five. Such “positive stories” are expected from the media that is busy writing and interviewing the city’s ex-mayor and his family embroiled in a social scandal, which cost him his chair.

Times are such that we seem to be questioning all established social values. Some needed to be changed – like the triple talaq or the ban on women at Sabarimala. But we seem to be questioning even the Supreme Court rulings on the issues. Media, however, has been vocal on these issues but perhaps not strongly enough to quell anti-reform movements. In some cases it is the ruling class which becomes rigid; while at other times, it is the rigidity of a social prejudice that hurts.

In order to demolish established ideas, we have seen how a respected journalist/author wrote about the ‘eminent historians’, where he mocked the leftist historian’s view of Indian history and their ‘double-faced’ lives. That strain continues today and along with that we see the rise of the ‘rightist’ historians and their excesses. They seem hell-bent on proving the Nehru clan to be the source of all evil. Our whole sense of history is going upside-down. The attempts to change established concepts may be deliberate; but care should be taken not to turn the entire mass into fanatics. The same author/journalist is apparently now backing the opposite political camp; and much like loose cannon, through his new book “Loose Pages”, is trying to knit together “the court cases that could have shaken India”. This can put his ‘past masters’ – now the ruling party – in deep trouble.

Earlier, we used to talk about ‘illusion’ and reality. Today, we talk about ‘the fake’ and reality. There has always been an attempt to mix the two by manipulating facts. Historians have done it; now the politicians and the media do it. Faizabad becomes Ayodhya. It is not just changing names; it’s an attempt to change history, change facts. The belief system is going through turmoil.

In such troubled times, we had expected a balanced media guiding us through a maze of contradictory ideas. But unfortunately it is not so. Former journalists crossed the border of sanity and joined politics and then changed sides. Not one, but several. Whom do we believe? In the game of awareness-making, we are fed with misinformation. Whose agenda are we serving? It's time the media asks itself the question and amends itself. After all the media serves the people, not the politicians or business. Others may piggy-bank on them; but the media, for its credibility’s sake, cannot deviate from its goal.


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