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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Television: Why Doordarshan Is Always On Peoples Radar!

When private channels break a news that has no factual basis and withdraws it after sometime or make some obvious mistakes people just laugh it off or make a mention about it to friends. The matter ends there. When Doordarshan, run by India’s Public Service Broadcaster Prasar Bharati and the electronic media of the Government of India, does so the matter begins there. If Doordarshan (DD) makes a mistake or shows something or does not show something, big or small, there is a nationwide outrage with people from all age groups decrying mocking and what not. The universal dictum of ‘to err is human’ gets entirely forgotten in such outburst of genuine feelings or derisive pleasure against the national broadcaster. It is also a curious fact that newspapers always highlight high ad revenue generating glitzy and glamorous shows of private channels, but criticize DD without end if the latter missed to show an event or a news of the people. Why?

People from all possible communities of all possible cultural or social or religious or linguistic lines expect DD to represent them and showcase events or news related to them most positively and without fail. This expectation is irrespective of what DD could be trying to do at that particular time—maybe it is planning an excellent coverage of a very big national or regional event or trying to launch a serial of huge national or regional dimensions. Nope! Their news must go. Else face a national outrage again. Why?

People get easily impressed by the all techno innovations and gimmicky shows done by the private channels and go gaga over it helping the channels to earn huge ad revenues. And they expect the same from DD failing to understand the responsibilities of a Public Service Broadcaster and the consequent constraints of resources or generating revenues. Not getting it, people indulge in deriding decrying demeaning DD. Why?

Because, Doordarshan that celebrated its 50th Anniversary on 15th September, 2009 still runs in the bloodstream of every Indian—old, middle aged, young or child. Irrespective of what they tend to utter about it. They just cannot ignore this huge reserve of quintessential Indianness—the cultural or social or religious or linguistic bond of unity that is India. It is because of this bond that they expect the world from DD at any eventuality, at any cost. If DD does very well about something they take it granted and do not bother about appreciating, but if DD happens to make an error they cannot take it or tolerate it. On DD News they take every news as word of God once it is shown and at the same time castigates it for being slow failing to understand the pains it takes to confirm every possible news first. Similarly, if one particular community does not find a news that it considers to be of paramount importance they go berserk.

Basically, it all plus for the Public Service Broadcaster and it is something only to be proud of. The pains or efforts that go into the process of setting things right are just part and parcel of being Doordarshan. In short Doordarshan is of the people, for the people and by the people.

Doordarshan Zindabad!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

India Vs Pakistan: Warring Neighbors Share Peace Nobel!

If you feel angry, disgusted, exasperated, and indulge in a spirit of jingoism at the repeated and persistent ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LOC) in the state of Jammu and Kashmir you rightfully have a bewildered look of amusement and hope at the unique happening on Friday, the 10th of October, 2014. While you relish and celebrate the news that took you unawares you still wonder how. You know little about one and less about the other. The only conclusion you finally arrive at is the perfect timing of this wonderful news.

Child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi from India and child rights plus women’s education campaigner Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan have been jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on that historic day. The 60-year-old Indian has been fighting relentlessly for freeing children from the slavery of child labor, trafficking and other traps for the last three decades and the 17-year-old Pakistani school-girl has been campaigning for right to education and women empowerment since she was just eleven. The Indian has been a silent crusader and is little known in the country till yesterday afternoon. The Pakistani had hit the headlines worldwide when she got a bullet in the head from the dreaded Taliban in October, 2012 and survived. The Nobel committee has been forthright in selecting an Indian and a Pakistani for the Peace Prize saying that they are recognizing the dedicated struggle of both for a noble cause. The Committee finds it a significant point that a Hindu and a Muslim from two conflicting neighboring countries dedicate themselves for a common struggle. The perfect timing could just be coincidental at this juncture when Pakistan continues its unprovoked firing across the LOC. Even after the unique achievement yesterday the neighboring country kept up with its ceasefire violations today.

Kailash Satyarthi thanked the Nobel committee for recognizing the need for freeing millions of children from modern slavery and dedicated the award for the cause. He also hoped to join Malala Yousafzai to carry the movement forward. Malala while expressing her gratitude to the Nobel committee said that India and Pakistan should focus on peace and development and has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief to be present when both of them formally receive the award.

India has produced a Nobel laureate for Peace for the second time. Pakistan has also proved that it is capable of having a Nobel laureate for Peace too. Then Pakistan must understand that it is inherently capable of achieving peace with its neighbor who has consistently showed generosity  and tolerance after every outrage over the years.

Why not give Peace a second chance? At this wonderfully poignant and fulfilling moment!
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