Here’s a question for you. Without any context, if you read the following line – “Pallava has done more for ISRO & India’s science than all the ghastly trolls put together.” – who would you think Pallava was? An eminent scientist? An eminent scholar? An eminent teacher? Or an uncouth journalist?
My bet is that you will choose one of the first three options. But since this is the age of information, by now you are well aware that Pallava is an uncouth journalist (from NDTV) who shouted at the Director of ISRO, Mr. D.P.Karnik; called him a “junior” person; and boorishly demanded why the ISRO chairman isn’t addressing the press conference.
What marvels me though is the confidence with which high eminences of the journalistic fraternity have tried to tell us Pallava is the next best thing to happen to Indian science, and one bad day shouldn’t take away his achievements.
I agree. It’s absolutely sick. Yes, Pallava made a mistake, a terrible rude mistake and NDTV has said so. Pallava has apologised – sincerely. He has apologised to NDTV too. That’s it. Pallava has done more for ISRO & India’s science than all the ghastly trolls put together. https://t.co/gr1QkVtZxt
— Prannoy Roy (@PrannoyRoyNDTV) September 7, 2019
Executive editor of NDTV, Nidhi Razdan tells us that “Pallava Bagla is one of the finest, most experienced journalists in the field. His passion for science has been reflected in his body of work over the years.” It is to this tweet that Prannoy Roy added that “Pallava has done more for ISRO & India’s science than all the ghastly trolls put together.”. Not to be left far behind, Shivam Vij tells us that Pallava Bagla is “India’s best and senior most space journalist”
Neither of them, nor anyone from NDTV nor anyone from the WhatsApp group of “Eminent Journalists” have shared with us atleast one single link that will give us a sneak peek into the “body of work” of “one of the finest” and the “best”.
So I did what any lazy person would do – google “Pallava Bagla science articles”. This link came up where all of Pallava Bagla’s articles have been collated. I was looking for articles where he is the sole author. I first stumbled upon“ How ISRO Bounced Back To Launch Chandrayaan 2, An Inside Story”. Wow – an inside story. This must have crazy technical details on how ISRO bounced back. I read this article twice. I would also earnestly request you to show to me any exclusive detail that has been sourced by Pallava Bagla. The only key point in his long piece on an “inside story” is this –“It was a simple to fix problem that got sorted by simply tightening a component,” explains Mr Sivan without going into the fine details of the problem.” Surely, India’s finest can do much better?
Or take a look at this report on an ISRO connection for a satellite image of the Balakot camp. Is this what we expect from the “finest in the field”? I stumbled upon his report on the “unusual move of postponing Indian Science Congress of 2018”. He attributed it to fears that students of Osmania University would protest against Narendra Modi and therefore the event was moved out of the University. The reality being that Chief Minister KCR doesn’t want to step into Osmania University. The fear of protests were for the CM and not the PM. But then if you are with NDTV, then there is ofcourse only one reason for anything wrong in the country – Narendra Modi. So much for India’s “finest” and “best”.
He has an article on “ScienceMag” titled “Thorium seen as nuclear’s new frontier”. Since I have no membership, I did not have the good fortune of reading this report in detail.
In 2011, India’s PM has asked for a safety review of India’s nuclear reactors. NDTV then claimed that the Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission for a “sat down for a highly combative interview with Pallava Bagla.”. First of all, I do not understand the need to be “highly combative” with soft spoken scientists. But that’s NDTV and Pallava Bagla. Second of all, I’d urge you to read the “combative” interview, because it had earth shattering questions like this – 1. “Can you keep your hand on your heart and say Indian public need not fear Indian reactors?” 2. “People don’t inherently trust the Indian atomic energy establishment”, 3. “Most people think that the Department of Atomic Energy is secretive about what it does. It is not transparent. It does not give out data?”. Is this what we would want to ask the Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission? 2 questions related to the subject and 20 “combative” questions make you India’s “finest” and “best”?
Am currently checking out material from 2011 articles. Am yet to come across what he specifically did for Indian Science. Looking at his “body of work”, it looks like he has done what he is designated to do – report on developments in S&T. He is a science journalist, not a scientist! A journalist reporting on science doesn’t automatically assume the mantle of having contributed towards Indian Science. The arrogance of the WhatsApp group of “Eminent Journalists” is simply astounding, where they only intend to use the power of language to either spread falsehoods or praise themselves.
The boorish behavior of Pallava Bagla has left a bad taste. Pallava Bagla has subsequently apologized. Maybe the matter would have ended there, but what made it worse is him being certified as some savior of Indian Science who was just having a bad day. We don’t need a Prannoy Roy to tell us about “ghastly trolls”. He can find them aplenty in his news studios.
PS: Maybe she was feeling left behind or was simply jealous of all the attention Pallava was grabbing, The Print’s Jyoti Malhotra tells us today that “think I know the ISRO story better than many…”. Again, I did the lazy thing – google “Jyoti Malhotra ISRO”. And came up with zilch. Isn’t is simply astounding how journalists think that they know “better than many” on pretty much any topic and any field?