The Fourth Estate abdicates its duty

August 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

The media acts as though it has a prize catch the BJP in disarray! And hence page after page-channel after channel is zealously and studiously utilized to exhibit this prize catch! Its rumblings and infightings are to be dissected during the prime time-flashed across the front pages and ‘Walk the Talk’ complemented with dissent and discordant notes with supplementary talks between and asides making it all the Talk. Some grist for the media and with what enthusiasm and media savvy the public is served with this spicy news. This is an internal matter of the party and the best would be to allow it space to sort out its differences. On the part of the BJP too much time is spent on Jinnah business-something of the past which the present day people are not really interested. That’s history and best left with the historians. Why not move forward. Jinnah can never become the hero to true and patriotic Indians-irrespective of their religions. So Jaswant Singh coming out now with a book which almost makes him one will not go down well and will be rejected by the people. Even Arun Shourie has castigated Jinnah.
Yet there is a basic principle to agree to disagree. But there is also party discipline which compels the party members abide to function and stay well within the party discipline parameters- even in opinions. This is not against freedom of speech but adherence to a party discipline. If Jaswant Singh asserts that within the BJP it is ‘free for all’ then he too is one who is using that kind of free for all freedom which is detrimental to the party to which he belonged.
At the same time one must appreciate that there is no clash of ideology. No political party in India today has any ideology worth mentioning or worth standing by. It is a question of personality clash.
The media should remember that the Congress party was not free of such infighting and rebellion. Shukla, Karunakaran, Pranab Mukerhejee, V.P.Singh,Sunil Shastri, A.K.Antony, Chidambaram are some of the bigwigs who rebelled and left the Congress The media was rather sullen and subdued in reporting this. Chidambaram started his own party in Tamilnadu. Indira Gandhi with her anti-democratic mindset and her political cunning saw to it that those who were opposed to her were quietly shown the door to work towards strengthening the Party-even the great Kamaraj under the Kamaraj Plan. While she held the reins and stuck to power to convert the Congress party into a family affair and a dynasty .Though we all swear by democracy we are not even embarrassed that democratic parties do not last! The Indian mindset is such that dynasty and conversion of the party into a family fiefdom suits the mentality of the Indian. The Nehru-Gandhi family, Karunanidhi -his sons and his extended family, Samuel Rajesekaran Reddy and his son and family.All indicate that the feudalism is deep rooted in the Indian psyche, and political parties are family centered. So one voice-one throne-one High Command-one Supremo and one way channel-that’s the process. No dissent, no discussion, no airing of views. That’s how it works, such a system does not throw up rifts,no infighting, no second opinion.It breeds subservient, gutless individuals with no opinion and no ability to take on the leadership. It grooms a class of coterie and sycophants. The typical example is the Congress Party-because no Congress State President /Congress State Chief Minister will dare to utter anything which has not been approved by Mrs Sonia Gandhi. Why even the Prime Minister of India has all ears to Rahul Gandhi and acts accordingly. No 10 Janpath is the route for all even for the PM’s thought process! It is entirely another matter if Mrs Sonia Gandhi is right or wrong. If right she takes the credit if wrong the front liners are faulted. The arrangement suits both, as long as heads do not roll and power is concentrated in one Hand. We term this democracy and there was Rahul Gandhi wanting internal democracy! What a dichotomy when his very ascendancy to General Secretary was not through a democratic process!
Ultimately it all has a price-power and power positions. Margaret Alva went to the media to air her opinion on the Congress’ selection of candidates in the last General Elections She was sidelined and even suspended. But now she has been given a governorship All those who count-men and women of substance and opinion makers are quieted with the carrots. What else does a politician look for? Are they prepared to stand up to be counted, to be trampled later-stand for principles but are there any principles in politics-stand up for an ideology-but are there political parties which are anchored in ideology?. What is the difference between RJD and JD (U) and JD(S)? What’s the difference between Congress and NCP? One can cite any number of examples. The proliferation of parties depends on the number of moneyed persons who want /leadership power. So we have Chiranjeevi,Vijayakant,Sarath Kumar,et al. In Kerala there was a variegated Congress with different alphabets tagged on.
A party which is truly democratic will have occasional shakeups, tremors-this is to be expected. It is unfair for the media to create a tsunami out of this. The media-the Fourth Estate need to be vigilant-sift through and while reporting present both sides-that which needs to be condemned and that which needs to be commended. Did the Congress not impose Emergency-stifled the voice of the people-gagged the media. That’s history but it is the Congress’ legacy and the political baggage which it carries too. The media of recent times seem to be terribly biased and project a very partisan view. Most of the media are pro-Congress for reasons best to know to it. This is a great disservice to the people because it abdicates its role of nurturing a vibrant democracy and a healthy multiparty system.
Dr Mrs Hilda Raja,
Vadodara

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