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Showing posts from May, 2012

AN OPEN LETTER TO SONIA, RAHUL AND MANMOHAN

Five very important things happened in the month of May for India. They have actually made an impact on our destiny. I will write just in a while about what those events are and how they affected India. Two words seem to have become very popular in popular media: governance and leadership. From America to Greece to Venezuela to India, the big journalists that I know and the media that I read and watch seem to complain that the world faces a crisis of governance and leadership. Even during my recent trip to America, I sensed a public cry about great leadership. I think almost all of us will agree that there is indeed a crisis. People across continents are angry and the media is doing a wonderful job of highlighting that anger. Frankly, I am more concerned about India. In my last editorial, I wrote that the Indian media seems to have forgotten its purpose and mission as the fourth pillar of our democracy. In fact, I often call it a demonocracy! But perhaps, it is also time to remember

Rekha and Jaya Bachchan's Silsila, and the complete decay of Indian media

While the media demands special privileges because they claim that the press is the fourth pillar of Indian democracy and serves a national purpose, the sad reality, especially over the last two decades is, social conscience and pursuit of public good have been replaced by total commercialization of media. “As Rekha takes oath, the camera kept focussing on Jaya Bachchan’s priceless expressions”... Thus went the first few lines of articles on the first pages of all national dailies the day after Rekha took her oath in Rajya Sabha, and that is exactly what TV channels had done the day before! Add to that the shameless gossip about Amitabh and Rekha.What national purpose does this story serve? And that too as headlines in the front pages of respectable dailies? Or even as the key stories of TV channels? Yes, Rekha is a big star, and her swearing in makes news. But is this the way to cover the event? Aren’t there enough Bollywood shows on TV and entertainment pages in newspapers where such

Where are our Etan Patzs and Charles Lindberghs?

Continuing my American series from my previous editorial, I must admit that my American tour didn’t start so well. On my flight to the US, I saw three films which symbolized the epitome of boredom of made-only-for-Oscars and Oscars nominated stuff! First, I saw The Iron Lady; then I saw another forgettable movie whose name also I have thankfully forgotten; and finally I saw the movie J Edgar – each outdoing the other in trying to be slow, boring and almost meaningless. But then, when you want to win at the Oscars, a boring biopic is often the best way! Nevertheless, in the most boring J Edgar, what struck me was the fact that perhaps the biggest achievement of the iconic Hoover, the man behind American intelligence, was his investigation of a case of kidnapping of a little boy called Charles Lindbergh. The film and the American society, way back then in 1932, made such a huge issue around the kidnapping and disappearance of a kid – so much so that a famous newspaper writer called the k

The shameful case of Fair and Lovely Indians!

Just back from a lecture tour of American universities, there is so much to write about. But what I wanted to share this time is something about which I have had strong feelings quite a few times in the past, but never as strong as I have now! Crisscrossing the US of A twice from the West Coast to the East Coast, I met one after the other Indians and their families over lunches, dinners and other meetings. And I do feel sad to say that perhaps the only thing that I found common between most of them was their hidden bias against the Blacks in America. A number of times in the past, I had heard my friends from the US speak derogatorily about the African-American population, often even pejoratively referring to them as Negroes and saying that they wanted to stay in a locality which had no Blacks. I couldn’t really accept this sentiment as a normal phenomenon, and rather used to wonder whether it was mere coincidence that I had so many friends with such an unabashed bias. But after this Am