Arnab Goswami lost the support of his fellow journalists, but won the support of his countrymen
When I was in college, one day I, along with a group of friends went to discuss, come on – as was the norm with all students in Andhra Pradesh – to fight with one lecturer, who happened to be in the laboratory. The argument was shrilling between me and the lecturer. Suddenly I noticed one of my classmates has started doing an experiment and was busy in handling the equipment. My fury touched the zenith and the argument attracted the attention of few more senior faculty and eventually moved into a bigger room. I don’t remember what exactly the argument was on, neither who the lecturer was. Still, I remember the name of that student who broke away from our group.
When I watched Ravish Kumar lambasting Arnab Goswami, for his treachery on fellow journalists, I could empathise with him. Of course, the similarity ended then and there itself. And then, I laughed. I laughed at the futility of his attempt, for he was speaking from heart. Yes, he was really believing what he was talking, fully taken over by his emotions. Then, he was contradicting himself, and that was the reason I laughed.
What Ravish’s line of thought was? Students of JNU should have freedom of speech – even to the extent of commemorating the punishment handed over by the highest court to one man, who was part of a terrorist attack. What any state would do when someone raise slogans of sedition? Time and again, irrespective of the party that was in power, anywhere in the world, the action by the state was the same, if not harsher than what the current union government had done. Journalists have a right to support the innocent students who grow old enough to raise grandchildren while living in hostels on subsidised education (and food). Journalists have a right to report the happenings – either in the university or in the court. Now, few lawyers prejudged the case and felt they should take the job of delivering justice into their hands. Adhering to the philosophy of ‘behti ganga mein hath dhole’ – they beat some students and journalists who happened to be around – doing their duty. And the illegal act by those who provide legal support was wrong. Journalists protested the next day by holding hands and forming a chain. And Arnab Goswami did not join them, leaving Ravish, along with many unspoken ones – aggrieved.
Now, there are few points worth pondering here. When a journalist is attacked they do hold a protest march. In the same way, should not doctors, clerks, auto drivers all other kind of people classified by their profession do protest on daily basis – for they were beaten by someone?
If Ravish and Co., can pre-judge and try many cases based on their expertise on various subjects ranging from the dress that women should wear to effects of nuclear reactions, how the lawyers are wrong in prejudging the JNU students, from the available videos?
As Ravish empathises with the beaten journo, can he force Arnab Goswami to support the protest? Can’t Arnab Goswami have an independent opinion – which may not be necessarily the same as Ravish and other hand holding journos have? Is this free speech?
And if Arnab Goswami doesn’t toe their line of thought (for that matter, I don’t think Arnab would toe others’ line of thought), he is called traitor and not those who wanted to break India! Lol! Frankly, this is not expected from Ravish, for whom I have high regards, even after this episode.
In fact, it was the business sense that prevailed in the Times now and Arnab Goswami ’s brains that rattled the other media houses. Sensing the change in the mood of the ‘proletariat’, Arnab started playing the nationalist journo’s role and took a great lead over fellow journos, who failed to see the writing on the wall. Now, the grouse of these journalists somehow sound like the case of sour grapes. But, claiming moral high ground? I think all the journalists who lived what they thought have become extinct.
Even the great Arun Shourie, who famously took on the Dhirubhai Ambani had to confess the way Dhirubhai run his business was way ahead of his times! If Dhirubhai was correct, it is explicit that Arun was wrong. Do we need to discuss the ethics of the current generation of journalists? I don’t think so. I still remember reading the news about riots in Hyderabad (a bi-annual affair before the days of NT Rama Rao), in which religion and caste of dead people was never reported. Compare this with the way Barkha and Sardesai reports, showing visuals and helping to fan the flames of hate in the minds of all communities. In fact, this is one reason, why nowadays hatred was spread so much in the minds of common citizens.
Can any of these prestitutes – now I am forced to use the word; explain why journalists stuck stickers with “PRESS” written in bold on the back of their cards? How come none of the media houses could unearth the allotment of many flats by MHADA in the heart of Mumbai and the entire society was named “PRESS ENCLAVE”? Is it not amounting to misuse of position? How come some individual journalists could become billionaires and start their own news channels?
How many media houses display the source of their funding in the websites they do maintain? There were so many allegations against media houses that were never addressed fully. When the Tarun Tejpal’s incident saw light, it also brought into light how the sexual subjugation happens in this industry. Why these journos didn’t held hands on that day, supporting that lady; victim of Tehelka’s founder? The story of Indrani Mukherjea had exposed the deep fault lines that crisscross the media business and I am yet to hear anyone talk about the disease affecting the business, in general. And all media houses raced to gain TRPs from even her story! Too much to take a higher moral ground.
And what did these journalists achieve from their protest that could not be achieved by adapting the regular course of law? They simply diverted the issue from the students’ right to have an opinion against the state – to whether a news reader can dare to have an opinion against the union!
Ever seen a fight and then one was calling names? The stronger hits and the weaker one wails and call names. This was evident when there were tweets saying “You are Powerful Arnab Goswami”. That summed up everything.
I am not against journalists and media houses. But, vexed with so many VIP classifications, if someone demands they shall be treated separately – yes, it is common in this country to get beaten for nothing (especially in Delhi) – I only want journalists to be treated like any other ordinary citizen. Nothing more, nothing less. That is all.
PS: Last heard Smriti ordered a 135Kg (really huge!) flag to be hoisted in all central universities. Flag is symbolic. Even an A4 size would have been sufficient. It doesn’t matter whether the flag flutters or not , if it does not flutter in the heart.