There is a devotional poem named Jnanappana in Malayalam. It is a wonderful work by a poet Poonthanam in the 16th century. A few lines can be roughly translated into:

(What was there till yesterday, I didn’t know;

Neither do I know what beckons me tomorrow.

It’s you almighty who can take us

From rags to riches or otherwise…)

This is the case of all celebrities in India. Take the case of Sourav Ganguly. From the enviable position of the best captain India has ever seen, he fell into the dungeons of embarassment in a matter of weeks. Based on his performance, he was stripped of captaincy and was sent back to domestic cricket. Though he was awarded the treatment he deserved, I still feel the media treated him shabbily. What followed his exit was a string of articles vehemently criticizing and questioning the ability of a person who has more than 10000 runs in his kitty. Sure, for every crest, there is a trough, and one had to accept Sourav was having a bad patch. But the critics who praised him once started singing elegies for him. It was for sure, an emotional torture for Sourav. The same is the case of Sania Mirza. The wonder girl of Indian tennis, who rose to the celebrity status due to her diligence and talent, has been discarded off by media, and vehemently criticized for her inability to be consistent.

Leave sports for an instant. Let us take the case of Bollywood. Sanjay Dutt was a spoiled brat with underworld connections. He made the life of Sunil Dutt miserable by his irrational acts. Post Munnabhai, Sanjay is a “transformed” gentleman, who needs to be pardoned. The Sanjay, who got ammunition from Dawood was an immature, high adrenalin kid, and is not the Munnabhai whom we know. What would have been the situation had Munnabhai never occurred in Sanjay’s life? Whatever the court verdict is, the Indian media and public have forgiven him. What happened to Salman Khan? He shot a blackbuck, then a couple of other endangered animals, and the case is still alive. According to the media, he has been taunted enough, and the time has come to condone his actions. This essentially transforms to Salman leaving Scot free.

Politicians are no different. What happened to Lalu Prasad Yadav? His cases of bribe on cattle feed is a forgotten chapter in India, except for the poor judiciary. What we have today is the new Lalu bent on reforms. He indeed has resurrected the railways. But, is that enough to forgive him also? Another instance, what happened to Godhra incident? Where are the reports? How is Narendra Modi left out without even questioned? Looking at all these, what message should the youth of the nation take? Commit any unforgivable sin, to compensate that, change your image, and do some charity stunts. You are not crucified anymore. Nice way, isn’t it?

Now, take the case of media. I am not questioning their integrity. But the sad fact is that, no one knows about it. They are the ones responsible for feeding information to the public. Now, the question is, are they justified for their actions always?

Take for instance, the case of Princess Diana. She was followed by Paparazzi in a high speed lane, before she crashed inside a tunnel. Why weren’t these paparazzi questioned? They were running around for a scoop, and they ultimately ended up killing the golden goose. Nevertheless, they devoured enough on her public image, had enough news to fill their column for months. How about infringing into the privacy of celebrities? We get the photos of Agassi spending his honeymoon with Steffi from these photographers.

Are these actions morally correct? If one feels these are the only questionable acts of the media, boy! you are seriously wrong. Consider Iraq and Afghanistan. How many news papers/channels have been bold enough to report about the number of civilians who had to fall as victims of this unfortunate war? I have read somewhere that the satellite images published in the worldwide media were administered and censored cleverly by the US government, concealing the act of barbarism committed by soldiers. A few on the atrocities done on the prisoners of war by the
US troopers created an initial furor, which later got subdued. Why didn’t the media enquire what happened afterwards?

In the Indian scenario, I remember the incident of Karunanidhi getting manhandled by police at 2 AM, five years back. Jaya TV (owned by the then ruling party) showed it as Karunanidhi being un co-operative, where as SUN TV (owned by the then opposition) show cased the event as an act of inhumanness by the cops. So, if the logic is anything to go by, who is wrong? And if one of the parties is wrong, who will punish them? Is this what we call power of media?

I am not trying to undermine the wonderful acts that the media persons have done. Sure, they did a brilliant act when they campaigned for Priyadarshini Mattoo and Jessica Lal. This commendable act showed the power of media. The question is, can media do something better? When will the dream of unbiased media come true? How do we know if they are fabricating data or news? And, at the end of it, who will punish the faltered ones in the media? I am sure that there are more glasses to shatter, than the ones so far.

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