04 May, 2013


If only our crazy electronic media had not gone to town screaming conspiracy, and fanning jingoistic nationalism when Sarabjeet Singh was attacked, today we would have less egg on our faces.

Sadly the matter did not end there. Sarabjeet became our Hero, India’s brave, martyr, and what not, with leaders queuing up and dolling out grants. It was an astonishing undermining of the rich sacrifices our soldiers, factory and dam labourers, fire-fighters, electricians and drivers make in the line of duty, every day. This was an utter insult to our selfless whistle blowers, and activists who completely voluntarily take grave risks to make our society a more just and equitable one. Their work is constructive and their conduct far, far more responsible. And what do they get in turn? Nothing virtually. They are ignored, and remain uncelebrated, much less rewarded posthumously.

And what did Sarabjeet do? At worst murder and terrorism - as the Pakistanis want us to believe - or at best behaved like a wayward drunkard who sneaked into the alien country completely irresponsibly, violating laws of both the lands. How does this qualify him as India’s hero? What act of heroism or selfless sacrifice did he perform or made any constructive contribution. But, oh, yes, Pakistan’s villain must be our hero, alright!

So, Sanaullah Haq, who was attacked by a fellow Indian prisoner, Vinod, in a Jammu jail, now becomes Pakistan’s hero and their brave? And our RAW must have conspired, in the wake of the impending 2014 elections [or may even be due to the Karnataka’s ongoing elections] and decided to have a go at him. That was how we conjured up the causes for attack on Sarabjeet.

It is this same media which had hailed Anna and Arvind as virtually the only messiahs of India, the only anti-corruption crusaders, just a year ago, undermining the monumental work of persons like Aruna Roy, Harsh Mandar et al. Today it doesn’t have a minute for either of these. Arvind’s nearly two week long hunger strike went almost unreported.

I am appalled by the cheap patriotism and destructive jingoism even our educated young display at the behest of an utterly irresponsible and unrestrained media, that has often bathed in shame due to over-selling and exaggeration. If it had its way India must have gone to war with China by now, or with Sri Lanka a few months ago, and remained perpetually at war with Pakistan.

Friends, we do not have to believe all that the media tells us, nor to buy all it sells. It competes for TRPs and we play its pawns. Lets not surrender our better judgment to their suave and articulate anchors. Since they are performers we must be discerning audience and spectators. No more.

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