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The Great Indian Mega Media Circus! August 12, 2010

Posted by Gomathi Reddy in Desi Indian, General, News and Current Affairs, Politics, Uncategorized.
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We are mega – in everything, undoubtedly.  We shout from roof tops on our supposed leadership.  We scream that we’ve  arrived. We even want the rest of the world to believe that.  We make a hell of a lot of noise, through all forms of media – breaking sound barriers, both figuratively and realistically, day in and day out.  But, we all know, we don’t make sense.

Take for instance, our by-now-infamous 2010 Common Wealth Games.  You can expect the unexpected – right from:

the falling structures – considering that we’ve been at the job for almost 10 years now and well, since most construction works have a life time of less than a decade, in India – it is understandable.

the failing rentals – considering that the treadmills, the sports equipment, the air conditioners et al are supposed to have been billed along with German support personnel who supposedly will stand by the equipment, anytime they fail and explain to us why they failed and since, the poor Indian tax payer can only afford to hire foreign staff, to pay for the Indian pride – It is tenable.

the dry swimming pools – since water is a precious resource, and it is meant to be pumped in only during the games, and so what’s the fuss all about? – It is self-explanatory, swimming pools are meant to be dry, until they are used, so that workers don’t fall and drown themselves.

the inundated and pot holed synthetic athletic event tracks – which again only goes to prove that there could be many reasons apart from a faulty swimming pool connection having found its way here, by mistake.

But the biggest surprise to me comes from the colourful media band wagon.

Anyone with a small desk and half-a-cell phone in working condition, living in New Delhi would’ve noticed the status of the games, at least for the last 5 years.  When Times  Now, CNN-IBN and NDTV can do sting operations and journalistic scoops in the remotest parts of the country, it surprises me that the biggest of goofs was in a dare-all-bare-all kind of drama, right at the capital city and not even one journalist, found it worthy of making a serious story out of it, baring a few fillers, until now.  It is a no-brainer to see that the International Olympic Committee(IOC) comes into play only during the Common Wealth Games,  and some explaining to do for the success or failure of the event will fall on the Indian Olympic Association(IOA) and other sporting federations of India.  And the accountability of these institutions will be conveniently brushed under the carpet, by a Government backed three-member-panel, which expectedly will submit its report only if any future Common Wealth Games get hosted in India.

While Kalmadi, Chief of IOA seems to be the right scape-goat for the occasion (for all the scape-goats he would’ve made out of the many officials, politicians, players and coaches, in all his years as a politician and king-pin of the many Sports federations in India, it is time he got to the receiving end, but he is sure to come out of it unscathed, as many a head will roll even before his, and Smt. Sheila Diskshit – the poster CM of the Congress, would be a good bet for now), it is so obvious that there are many more governmental agencies that need to do the explaining.

The structural part of the games, the run-up towards it are all manned, planned and executed by a host of bodies viz., Delhi Development Authority, Sports Authority of India, New Delhi Municipal Committee, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, including the ruling government at the Centre and at Delhi, not withstanding the fact that this whole CWG exercise started when the Vajpayee-led BJP was at the centre! So was this journalistic scoop planned to happen, just before the games, for maximum mileage and shock value?

Down south, take the TV9’s “Save Tirumala campaign to save the holy shrine Tirumala, from corrupt day-to-day practices that are apparently destroying the cultural importance of the place.

You must have a great sense of slapstick humour wired into you head to believe that only now it descended on a popular sting operation television channel like TV9,  the political big wigs viz., Chandrababu Naidu, Chiranjeevi and on CPI(M) too, that corruption is rampant in Tirumala – and they’ve finally decided to do something about it.

As a visitor to the temple, you can experience corruption as part and parcel of Tirumala – Right from the place where you get your head tonsured, to the entrance tickets, to distribution of laddus, this Vatican of the Hindus is also an abode of petty money laundering, all the way to the sanctum sanctorum.  If you can’t beat them, join them is the slogan by which daily life goes on at Tirumala.

The Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) board is constituted by members appointed by the government and the ex-officio members and the Executive Officer of the board are IAS officers, serving the current government. So, is this a backlash on the current Congress-led State Government, by the all-too-revolting YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of Ex-Andhra Pradesh Chief Minster, late YS Rajasekhara Reddy(YSR)?

Does Chandrababu Naidu, the ex-CM of Andhra Pradesh, not know the day-to-day political tugs at the Tirumala?  Isn’t controlling Tirumala all about controlling the annual average of Rs.800 crore offerings, the overflowing treasury of 11 tonnes of gold, ornaments, precious valuables and the clout to be rubbing shoulders and doling out darshan favours to the Who’s Who of India?  Did anyone question the pan-Indian reach of the Lord, across mafia and corrupt politicians? Did anyone question if the Lord needs another crown on his head, when Karnataka’s Minister of Tourism and Industrialist Gali Janardhan Reddy placed one, estimated to be over Rs. 45 crores?  Incidentally, Gali Janardhan Reddy and his brother are now in the eye of a storm for wrongful mining of the Bellary region of Karnataka, as ministers, King makers and remote-CMs of the BJP government in Karnataka.   Surprisingly none raised their voice when YSR donated another crown (crowns galore!) along with his partner in Kodur Barytes, Goenka, when he was the Chief Minister, though YSR was a practicing Christian – Is this cultural impudence  at Tirumala or all-compromising secularism at power-play?

Is the campaign all about “Saving Tirumala” from corrupt officials, or just a retro-action of the media, since something was denied by the Executive Officer of TTD, to one of its personnel?

While this blog is not condoning corruption, it beats me to think that the media which is supposed to question the wrongs of the society, has convenient ways of “breaking news” only to increase its own reach, TRPs, viewer ship, sensationalizing everything – right from discarded cradle babies, to national security.

Can there be any journalistic ethics left in our country when News Channels are either party mouth pieces, or are aligned to some party or the other, at the regional or national level, on the sly?  They have to  live it up 24 x 7 to dole out content, make news out of anything and everything, and earn their advertisements.

So if you can’t break the news in an ethical journalistic style, then “make the news”, in mega style, to feed The Great Indian Mega Media Circus!

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