Media, Politics and other lies


I picked up two magazines during my last visit to the newsstand: Outlook [Anniversary Special] and Frontline [of which I never miss an issue].  While Outlook elaborates on the degeneration that has gripped the Indian media like a cancer, Frontline features in its characteristically detailed cover story the depravity that the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] finds itself in.

The media used to be the watchdog of society.  It is both a critic and a guide; it questions or exposes the wrong as well as gives direction to the society’s progress.   Outlook articles argue that the Indian media by and large has relinquished both the duties and embraced the crass commercialism of the globalised world. 

Noam Chomsky says that even the New York Times [“maybe the world’s greatest newspaper”] has the concept of news hole.  That is, the news is merely meant for filling the holes or gaps between advertisements.  The newspaper is primarily meant for advertisements. 

Sumir Lal, who quit journalism because he was incapable of swimming with the commercial tide or “go guerrilla like Tarun Tejpal of Tehelka,” writes that the Times of India, under the tutelage of Samir Jain, led the new trend in India.  And the new trend is: “sell the media platform to commercial clients, not news to readers.”

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta lists the strategies of Times of India: 1. it charges film producers, fashion designers, actors, celebrities, sportspersons, corporate captains and socialites for featuring them in newspaper supplements.  2. It initiated the ‘private treaties’ scheme by which certain benefits other than monetary payments [such as transfer of equity shares] are made to the newspaper in return for good publicity. 

Quite many prominent newspapers in India have aped the strategies of Times of India.  Consequently what we read in them is not the ‘real’ news, but paid news.   Patrick French argues in his article that the crisis in the Indian media today is the “trivialised reporting, predatory press owners and stories that are paid for by politicians and others.”

The only value left in the globalised world is wealth.  Anything can be sacrificed for its sake.  Anything – “credibility, integrity, impartiality” [Sumir Lal] – can be put on sale for the sake of wealth creation.  What matters is only whether you get figured in the Forbes list of billionaires.  Times of India leads and the rest of India follows.

Even the BJP does.  That’s what Frontline seeks to show.  The political drama that was staged recently in the BJP Kingdom of Karnataka shows that politics is the most lucrative business in India today.  An MLA can earn as much as Rs 50 crore [Rs 500 million] just for ditching his party.  Skulduggery cannot be more enriching anywhere else! 

Of course, such deceptive measures are not the prerogative of the BJP only.  When H D Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal (Secular) says that his “party has been unable to give such funds,” and reiterates that “we are not in a position to (monetarily) help our legislators to this large extent,” the implication is loud and clear: he would have bought the legislators if his party had funds.  In still more plain words, his party’s crime is that it is not wealthy enough. 

Frontline has chosen to highlight the degeneration of BJP for two reasons: 1. the recent drama in Karnataka, 2. to show how low the party that came into the limelight with the shibboleth that it is “the party with a difference” has stooped.

The list of the BJP’s sins in Karnataka, as given by Frontline, is pretty long. 

  1. a series of attacks on churches in 2008 and 2009
  2. Sri Rama Sene’s [sibling of the BJP] assault in a Mangalore pub in the name of culture.  [We may recall the Tehelka sting that proved that Pramod Muttalik, founder of the Sene, was ready to sell riots for a price.  What matters, again, is wealth.]
  3. polarisation of communities along religious lines
  4. Corruption and scandals – There’s a very long list of them in the magazine.

Frontline quotes H S Shankaralinge Gowda, a four-time BJP legislator.  He remarks about his party: “Only lafangeys (loafers), thieves, liars, looters and land-grabbers have a place in this party, not honest workers.”

The media or the politics – both are focused on one objective, the noble objective of Globalisation: wealth creation. 

Where do we go from there?

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7 Responses to Media, Politics and other lies

  1. Siddharth Gupta says:

    Here is something about the Congress, the so called flag bearers of Indian politics !!!

    At the very beginning of his book, “The Nehru Dynasty”, astrologer K.N.Rao mentions the names of Jawaharlal’s father and grandfather.
    Jawahar Lal’s father was believed to be Motilal and Motilal’s father was one Gangadhar Nehru.
    And we all know that Jawaharlal’s only daughter was Indira Priyadarshini Nehru; Kamala Nehru was her mother, who died in Switzerland of tuberculosis.
    She was totally against Indira’s proposed marriage with Feroze.
    Why? No one tells us that!

    Now, who is this Feroze?
    We are told by many that he was the son of the family grocer.
    The grocer supplied wines,etc. to Anand Bhavan (previously known as Ishrat Manzil)

    What was the family grocer’s name?
    One frequently hears that Rajiv Gandhi’s grandfather was Pandit Nehru.
    But then we all know that everyone has two grandfathers, the paternal and the maternal grandfathers.
    In fact, the paternal grandfather is deemed to be the more important grandfather in most societies.

    Why is it then, no where, we find Rajiv Gandhi’s paternal grandfather’s name?
    It appears that the reason is simply this. Rajiv Gandhi’s paternal grandfather was a Muslim gentleman from the Junagadh area of Gujarat.
    This Muslim grocer by the name of Nawab Khan, had married a Parsi woman after converting her to Islam.
    This is the source where from the myth of Rajiv being a Parsi was derived.
    Rajiv’s father Feroze, was Feroze Khan before he married Indira, against Kamala Nehru’s wishes.

    Feroze’s mother’s family name was Ghandy, often associated with Parsis and this was changed to Gandhi,sometime before his wedding with Indira, by an affidavit.

    The fact of the matter is that (and this fact can be found in many writings) Indira was very lonely. Chased out of the Shantiniketan University by Guru Dev Rabindranath himself for misdemeanor, the lonely girl was all by herself,
    while father Jawahar was busy with politics, pretty women and illicit sex;
    the mother was in hospital.
    Feroze Khan, the grocer’s son was then in England and he was quite sympathetic to Indira and soon enough she changed her religion, became a Muslim woman and married Feroze Khan in a London mosque.

    Nehru was not happy; Kamala was dead already or dying. The news of this marriage eventually reached Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (better known as Mahatma Gandhi).
    Gandhi urgently called Nehru and practically ordered him to ask the young man to change his name from Khan to Gandhi. It had nothing to do with change of religion, from Islam to Hinduism for instance.
    It was just a case of a change of name by an affidavit. And so Feroze Khan became Feroze Gandhi.

    The surprising thing is that the apostle of truth, the old man soon to be declared India’s Mahatma and the ‘Father of the Nation’ didn’t mention this game of his in the famous book, ‘My Experiments with Truth’. Why?

    When they returned to India, a mock ‘Vedic marriage’ was instituted for public consumption.
    On this subject,writes M.O. Mathai (a longtime Private Secretary of Nehru) in his renowned (but now suppressed by the GOI! ) ‘Reminiscences of the Nehru Age’ on page94, second paragraph: “For some inexplicable reason, Nehru allowed the marriage to be performed according to Vedic rites in 1942. An inter-religious and inter-caste marriage under Vedic rites at that time was not valid in law. To be legal, it had to be a civil marriage.”

    It’s a known fact that after Rajiv’s birth Indira and Feroze lived separately, but they were not divorced.

    Feroze used to harass Nehru frequently for money and also interfere in Nehru’s political activities. Nehru got fed up and left instructions not to allow him into the Prime Minister’s residence Trimurthi Bhavan.
    Mathai writes that the death of Feroze came as a relief to Nehru and Indira. The death of Feroze in 1960 before he could consolidate his own political forces, is itself a mystery. Feroze had even planned to remarry.

    Those who try to keep tabs on our leaders in spite of all the suppressions and deliberate misinformation, are aware of the fact that the second son of Indira (or Mrs.Feroze Khan) known as Sanjay Gandhi was not the son of Feroze.
    He was the son of another Muslim gentleman, Mohammad Yunus.

    Here, in passing, we might mention that the second son was originally named Sanjiv. It rhymed with Rajiv, the elder brother’s name.
    It was changed to Sanjay when he was arrested by the British police in England and his passport impounded, for having stolen a car.
    Krishna Menon was then India’s High Commissioner in London. He offered to issue another passport to the felon who changed his name to Sanjay.

    Incidentally, Sanjay’s marriage with the Sikh girl Menaka(now they call her Maneka for Indira Gandhi found the name of mythological Lord Indra’s Court dancer rather offensive !!) took place quite surprisingly in Mohammad Yunus’s house in New Delhi.

    And the marriage with Menaka who was a model (She had model for Bombay Dyeing wearing just a towel)was not so ordinary either.
    Sanjay was notorious in getting unwed young women pregnant. Menaka too was rendered pregnant by Sanjay.

    It was then that her father,Colonel Anand, threatened Sanjay with dire consequences if he did not marry her daughter. And that did the trick.
    Sanjay married Menaka. It was widely reported in Delhi at the time that Mohammad Yunus was unhappy at the marriage of Sanjay with Menaka.
    Apparently he had wanted to get him married with a Muslim girl of his choice.

    It was Mohammad Yunus who cried the most when Sanjay died in the plane accident.

    Nehru was no less a player in producing bastards.

    At least one case is very graphically described by M.O. Mathai in his “Reminiscences of the NehruAge”, page 206.

    Mathai writes:
    “In the autumn of 1948 a young woman from Benares arrived in New Delhi as a sanyasini named Shraddha Mata (an assumed and not a real name). She was a Sanskrit scholar well versed in the ancient Indian scriptures and mythology. People, including MPs, thronged to her to hear her discourses. One day S.D. Upadhyaya, Nehru’s old employee, brought a letter in Hindi from Shraddha Mata. Nehru gave her an interview in the PM’s house. As she departed, I noticed (Mathai is speaking here) that she was young, shapely and beautiful. Meetings of Nehru with her became rather frequent, mostly after he finished his work at night. During one of Nehru’s visits to Lucknow, Shraddha Mata turned up there and Upadhyaya brought a letter from her as usual. Nehru sent her the reply and she visited Nehru at midnight…“

    Suddenly Shraddha Mata disappeared.

    In November 1949 a convent in Bangalore sent a decent looking person to Delhi with a bundle of letters. He said that a young woman from northern India arrived at the convent a few months ago and gave birth to a baby boy. She refused to divulge her name or give any particulars about herself.

    She left the convent as soon as she was well enough to move out but left the child behind.

    She however forgot to take with her a small cloth bundle in which, among other things, several letters in Hindi were found. The Mother Superior, who was a foreigner, had the letters examined and was told they were from the Prime Minister.

    The person who brought the letters surrendered them…”I (Mathai) made discreet inquiries repeatedly about the boy but failed to get a clue about his hereabouts. Convents in such matters are extremely tightlipped and secretive.

    Had I succeeded in locating the boy, I would have adopted him. He must have grown up as a Catholic Christian blissfully ignorant of who his father was.”

    Coming back to Rajiv Gandhi,
    we all know now that he changed his so called Parsi religion to become a Catholic to marry Sania Maino of Turin, Italy.

    Rajiv became Roberto.
    His daughter’s name is Bianca and son’s name is Raul.

    Quite cleverly the same names are presented to the people of India as Priyanka and Rahul.

    What is amazing is the extent of our people’s ignorance in such matters.

    The press conference that Rajiv Gandhi gave in London after taking over as Prime minister of India was very informative. In this press conference, Rajiv boasted that he was NOT a Hindu but a Parsi.

    Mind you, speaking of the Parsi religion, he had no Parsi ancestor at all.
    His grandmother (father’s mother) had turned Muslim after having abandoned the Parsi religion to marry Nawab Khan.

    It is the western press that waged a blitz of misinformation on behalf of Rajiv. From the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, the big guns raised Rajiv to heaven.
    The children’s encyclopedias recorded that Rajiv was a qualified Mechanical Engineer from the revered University of Cambridge. No doubt US kids are among the most misinformed in the world today!

    The reality is that in all three years of his tenure at that University Rajiv had not passed a single exam. He had therefore to leave Cambridge without a certificate.

    Sonia too had the same benevolent treatment. She was stated to be a student in Cambridge. Such a description is calculated to mislead Indians. She was a student in Cambridge all right, but not of the University of Cambridge , but of one of those fly by night language schools where foreign students come to learn English. Sonia was working as an ‘au pair’ girl in Cambridge and trying to learn English at the same time.

    And surprise of surprises, Rajiv was even cremated as per Vedic rites in full view of India’s public.

    This is the Nehru dynasty that India worships and now a foreigner leads a prestigious national party because of just one qualification being married into the Nehru family.
    Maneka Gandhi, though Indian, herself is being accepted by the non-Congress parties not because she was a former model or an animal lover, but for her links to the Nehru family.

    Saying that an Italian (or any foreigner) should not lead India will amount to narrow mindedness, but if Sania Maino (now Sonia) had served India like, say, Mother Teresa or Annie Besant, i.e. in anyway on her own rights, then all Indians should be proud of her just as how proud we are of Mother Teresa.
    Saying that any other party which comes to rule India is better is again equally worse.

    The point is Indians who nominate the people to stand in these elections; and the people who vote their rulers (i.e. the authorities) must know that truth eventually come out some day.

  2. dawnanddew says:

    Media can go to any extent in invading the life of common people. Earlier it used to inspire people to fight for freedom. There was a dignity about the career in journalism. Today almost all such careers lost their values. Law, Education, Art, anything and evertything is corrupt. Cancer is a widespread phenomenon now. New birth is possible only after a cruel death of all things affected with the pestilence!

    Apart from what is discussed in the blog, I mean the phrase ‘cruel death’ a lot. They teach me forbearance. Jesus’ cross is watermarked with a big question mark for me. Is there anything called infinite patience? I don’t believe in that religion of ‘infinite patience’. If there is a beginning for any evil, then there should be an end for it through destruction. That’s why I adore Shelley for his Ode to the West Wind.

    • Matheikal says:

      All change need not be violent, Dawn, let alone cruel. Systems outgrow themselves quite gracefully sometimes. Let’s hope the present system based on an absurd value called wealth-creation will grow out of itself gracefully.

      • Rishi says:

        hello sir,
        what let u think so that system will grow gracefully? and what time, according to you, will it take to grow?
        looking at the change in scenario in short and long run, its going to be worst. what makes you so optimistic about it?

  3. Matheikal says:

    Well, Rishi, thanks, first of all, for asking the question.
    Primarily, mine is an irrational optimism, the kind of optimism that arises from frustration.
    Secondly, there are signs that countries are getting tired of liberalisation policies. Even America which led that system has started to reign in liberalisation. In South American countries we see the rise of Socialist governments. Welfare measures are being contemplated in some of the capitalist countries at least. There is much protest in England, France, Greece and Spain against the policies implemented by pro-liberalisation governments. Let’s hope…

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