When the media challenged KCR, KCR imposed ’emergency’ in the state. Arun Shourie was sound asleep then.
The Editor’s Guild may be surprised to read this column now.
What Kabir said long ago, but very relevant in the present political scenario.
Rangi ko narangi kahe, bane doodh ko khoya
Chalti ko gaari kahe, yeh dekh Kabira roya.
Seeing the hypocrisy of the world Kabir cries
They call an orange, non-colorful (na-rangi),
they call a delicious milk cake lost (khoya)
they call a moving object stuck (gaari)
For the intellectuals like Arun Shourie, the most performing PM Modi appears like a
non-performer; the most happening country India still appears like a third world; Three years of clean and fair administration looks like a disorder.
All, due to one narrow reason ‘Aham Brahmasmi’
When K Chandrasekhar Rao took the reins of the newly formed state of Telangana in June 2014, there were several TV and print publications in place, reveling in routine smear, fake news, slander, character assassination, mocking regional dialects, making and poking fun of people of Telangana region by the people of Seemandhra and vice versa. All these lampoon isms were diligently hosted by the TV anchors, without hesitation, day after day, non-stop.
There were about 20+ Telugu channels in the undivided Andhra Pradesh then. Among the few private TV channels, TV9 and ABN were enjoying high TRP among Telugu speaking people of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Many of the popular Telugu TV channels were owned by cash-rich communities hailing from Seemandra Pradesh. Their clout in local politics was well known. They hold huge properties in the twin cities of Hyderabad -Secunderabad. From the beginning of the movement for separate Telangana, this section has been vehemently opposing the very idea of splitting the state of Andhra Pradesh. Hence they almost drove a campaign against TRS, KCR and other activists. So far so good.
KCR assumed charge as first Chief Minister of the newly born Telangana state on 2nd June 2014. The harangue on TV shows regardless continued even after seizing the power of the state by KCR.
These channels started spreading panic on the safety of Andhra citizens living in Telangana districts including the capital. However, it is the Telangana dialect of Telugu language that has caused all the heartburn among the TRS leaders, particularly when mocking the Telangana region’s dialect of Telugu on TV debates that has caused widespread heartburn. This dialect has been widely used on TV pun shows, to poke the native people. Also, many Telugu films loaded with dialogues of Telangana dialect of Telugu language, were blockbuster success at the box office, as the very Telangana dialect echoes simplicity, sincerity and down to earth persona. Two actors from Andhra region, Tanikella Bharani, and Kota Srinivasa Rao were very popular in delivering this dialect of Telugu language, (though they belong to Seema Andhra region ) which easily makes the audience burst into laughter.
On June 12, 2014, the Telugu news channel TV9, aired a critical debate where the anchors mocked the newly elected MLA’s of the first TS Assembly, as ‘village type nincompoop’s (who used to watch village touring talkies) but now sitting in a modern multiplex theatre’ (referring to the Assembly Hall). No doubt this is a direct dig at the Telangana people in general, MLA’s in particular. In fact, such a derogatory mocking of lawmakers would amount to ‘privilege’ issue.
Predictably KCR while speaking in the Assembly the next day, read out the TV9 channels derogatory remarks on the state legislators and warned the media and said he may not hesitate to take over the entire private operated MSOs in the state, as his counterpart Jayalalitha did in TN.
On June 16, 2014 in a diabolical move, KCR tactically ordered the MSOs of Telangana region to block the two channels namely TV9 and ABN. Not one day or one week, the blockade lasted for nearly 4 months without respite, despite the then Union Minister Sri Prakash Jawadekar‘s repeated censures to the State Government and orders to lift the ban.
TV9 and ABN channels were banned and blocked over 5 months that was passed off peacefully without any nationwide outcry by media houses or Editors Guild or News Broadcasters Association.
Finally, in November 2014, MSO had an amicable settlement with the Channels and blockage was lifted.
Though the errant channels had committed all possible crimes like breach of trust, chicanery, display of racism, regionalism, what is relevant here is, KCR ‘s use of iron hand on the ‘freedom of the press’ and the rest of the media’s disgraceful silence. There were no nationwide protests, no meetings in Press clubs, no signature campaign against KCR and no word of condemnation by the Intellect fraternity.
There are other counterparts to KCR too.
But, compared to the tyrannical KCR, PM Modi has maintained his strategic wisdom, and never gave any scope to the world, so as to dub him as a despot. Because Modi never issued any gag orders on the telecast or publication of the NDTV house, never employed thuggish tactics to silence NDTV. If at all, it’s a CBI raid on the NDTV and Prannoy Roy as a promoter of the company for his financial mismanagement of the company. Nothing intended to silence the free writings, telecast of news by the NDTV.
Nothing more Nothing less.