G for Gandhi…H for Hungama!!!
More noise, less light... the state of television news.
First things first. I'm a news anchor and therefore cannot absolve myself of the visual mimicry. I am a significant part of this on-air buffoonery. And now for the confession. I'm a normal human being and therefore subject to torment when I switch on my TV. And like any other normal human being I sleep and have dreams too. One day I had a dream... and I didn't need a Sigmeund Freud to interpret them. It was straight and blunt. Ghulam Ali came and threatened to..... Ghulam Ali: I will sue you Me: Why sir...I've been a... Ghulam Ali: yeah I know...a great fan of my gazals...but you have taken over my Hungama... Me: taken over Hungama...what exactly is that Mr. Ali..
Ghulam Ali: Shut up! Don't pretend, you've taken over Hungama... Me: Yeah.. i mean I do listen to it.. and often sing it...my wife thinks that I'm a good singer.. Ghulam Ali: and you are a good plagiarist too...you used the word 120 times during your on-air performance!! Me: On-air performance!! .. I thought I was a television journalist... not some performer... Ghulam Ali: whatever.. but how can you do this.. don't you know that I've been doing Hungama for more than two decades...that wherever I go there is a cry for Hungama.. Ali Saheb.. Hungama ek baar phir ho jaye.. Me: Yeah sure sir..i know this has been your source of Kakori Kebabs and Korma's ,if not your bread and butter.. Ghulam Ali-Yes...so do I have a right to patronise this word... Me: ummm!!! Ghulam Ali: No..no..no..don't think...you can't think for nuts.. Me: arre Ghulam Saheb... badi acchi angrezi bol rahe hain... slangs n all... Ghulam Ali: Shut up.. this is serious.. i'm almost suffering a crisis of identity (in tears now).. Hungama is me. It's me and only me.. I made this violent word so fashionable.. I made it edible for all and sundry... from paranthewali gali to India Habitat Centre, from from Lahori gate to Ajmeri Gate..from the banks of Indus to... Me: Ok.. ok.. I don't have any doubts about your Geography. But your logic! Ghulam Ali: no more arguments Mr. You cannot use my Hungama.. I have an intelluctual property right over it...you have violated it.. I will sue you.. See you in court Mr. Anchor.. Dissolve, swoosh, swipe.. and whatever effect you can think of happened.. and Ghulam ali vanished. I got up a bit terrified and amused. Thinking. It's an age of sequels and makeovers. So Dream2 Yuppie..this time it was bapu.. aree bapu bole to.. arre baba..Mr. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi... Bapu---yes son.. what are you doing? Me-Dreaming bapu.. Bapu-no you are not dreaming... you are giving me nightmares. You are killing my philosophy.. Me: What? Me ((suddenly I was so important...kal Ghulam Ali.. aaj Bapu..)) Bapu-Beta.. my philosophy of non-violent struggle and demonstrations... Me: Bapu.. I think you are mistaken... I'm a peaceful news anchor, a neutral news man.. I read whatever is there in my tele-prompter.. and speak whatever is not...I don't even participate in any peaceful protests and agitation.. leave alone any violent demonstration...I only sermonize bapu and speak whatever is politically correct...Actually you should symathesise with me for I suffer from dysentery of words and constipation of ideas. Bapu---and show violence, blood, fire, lathi's... Hungama.. Me: oh no.. not again... again this Hungama.. Bapu tum bhi... Bapu---Beta.. From Petermaritzburg to Pratapgarh... I followed, practiced, preached non-violent struggle... Me-Oh yes.. I know this bapu... have read about it a lot...I scored A+ in my Modern History paper...u came all the way from heaven to tell Me this!!.. Bapu----No.. I'm not here to test your Modern history skills.. but don't you think that by only showing violent images in your TV you are actually undermining the effect which a non-violent struggle could have! Don't you think that by only showing gory pictures and images of violence you are in a way participating in this mob frenzy... Don't you think that you have made violence so camera-friendly.. so to say more TV in your language...think about it...who will go for a peaceful demonstration when one knows that the camera's are violence friendly...they will only show images of killing, stone pelting, effigy burning ...Hungama...think about it... what are you doing... Then a dissolve,swoosh,swipe...((can't think of more effects)) and Bapu vanished.. No there is no third sequel in Bollywood made so far..so no dreams today but...an eye-opener. Ghulam Ali on a lighter note and Bapu on a somber note made me re-think what are we showing. And no this write-up is not a media critique ((can't be one)) but a confession certainly is. Sample this. A truck runs over a boy in Rajkot creates Hungama. Truck burnt, driver beaten.. sometimes to death and it is 'On-Air' students angry over being caught cheating are breaking furnitures and discipline.. and it is On-Air.. angry citizens of Gaziabad romping into the Municipal office, beating the office staff to get the water connection in their locality..(( what an uncivil way to sort out a civil problem)).. teachers being beaten, doctors being thrashed, buses burnt, offices burnt...and every piece of this violent emotion is on-air. Wow.. what a Bloody On-Air. The other day a reporter collegue of mine told me that at Jantar-Mantar there were at least ten peaceful demonstrations happening at the same time... yet what we showed.. ((no prices for guessing that))...Dera Saccha Sauda. The darling of a protest for visual media.. the (step)mom of all meaningful protests.. brandishing swords, pelting stones, effigies burning, sloganeering...all in the name of 'religion'... visual intolerance at it's creative worst on TV.. All heat and no light. And if you think by any chance that such violent images creates 'consciousness' in society about the cause which they claim to endorse.....then stop thinking. Sample this again Justice for Jessica Lal and Justice for Priydarshini. Think again. Remind yourself of the visuals shown on TV during these demonstrations. No lathis, no sloganeering, no fire, no blood... only candles and Justice for a cause... all light, no heat. And yes you have to accept it (with due respect to our courts) that Television did played a part in creating an atmosphere from where 'Justice' can be delievered. Justice was delayed but not denied. The silent protesters (and they came from everywhere), had candles and posters of Jessica and Priyadarshini.. that's it.. and that was a powerful image. ..it said it all.. and not even once did me and my anchoring bretherens used the word 'Hungama'. Lathis give orgasmic pleasure... candles creates awareness.. and you don't need a social scientist to understand this.. Now for that truck in Rajkot which was burnt coz it ran over somebody... that truck is still burning, students are getting more angrier and more teachers are being thrashed.. more furnitures being broken.. the water connection in Gaziabad's locality is still not restored so the office attendants at the municipality is going Black to Blue...dust, lathis, joota, chappal. So much heat and no light that your sensibilities melt and you become your own Zombie. No. I don't belong to Modi school of thought that post-Godhra genocide happened because of media. That's rubbish and much ink has been used by journalists all over to counter Mr Modi on this. Showing Godhra and post genocide was perhaps our maturity. It triggered a dialogue between the 'Right' and the 'Central' forces.. ((no I don't believe in Indian Left))..and forced us to think. But what are we getting in showing teachers being beaten by unruly students, patients attacking doctors, or Tom, Dick And Harry's of Rising India being permanently in a default mode of tension.. And have you ever observed these pictures of so called agitation..there is always a smiling face behind every banner and a display of Gutkha stained teeth under every lighted torch. Ask them what they are agitating for. No answers. Perhaps the question is wrong. It's not agitation but mob frenzy and rowdiness. It is anger which is directionless. But we give them 'channel'. The Anchor calls it Hungama. And the 'Hungama' continues. But I don't want to sleep now. Ghulam Ali and Bapu might visit again.