2011 Ganesheshotsav in Pune was marked by heavy rains and a river in spate for over 3 days in a row. That is not something fresh in our memories. Inflation, security issues, poor roads not withstanding people celebrated with gusto either by bringing home the Ganesh idol or in a community celebration in their neighbourhood.
Corruption in our daily lives…
Any newspaper, TV channel that we currently turn to is in an reporting -overdrive about Anna Hazare’s fast and the youth ‘involvement’ that is sweeping the country. I am not qualified to comment about the Jan Lokpal or its government version. However as an ordinary citizen I have faced situations that demanded ‘Laxmi darshan’ or similar to expedite any work I may have.
Does this sound too simplistic? Probably yes. But small wins will add up to huge gains. Else it will be like having beautiful house thats being eaten up from inside by white ants. Or a lovely attractive physical body being eaten up by diabetes and heart disease.
And the Sun will shine…
Difficult as it is to say this, one has to accept that the present governance situation in India seems to have reached its nadir. What with one scam after another, soaring prices (to name just a few problems) the only people who seem to be doing well are politicians irrespective of which cap they don.
The Son Rise
While political analysts may have felt slightly deprived at the speed with which our new government was formed- they had a field day in speculating and counter speculating strategies, names and potential situations if the Congress ‘allies’ had decided to support the government from outside.
Three cheers for the Indian voter
A vast majority who had geared for a long suspense about our new government were pleasantly stunned. By us of course, the Indian voters!
This 26 January was marked by many of the highest peace time gallantry awards being awarded posthumously to Armed Forces or Police personnel. Their sole aim to defend the nation even at the cost of their lives.
There have been several bravehearts in the operation to end last week’s attack and siege in Mumbai.
Touch the Sky with Glory
Air Force Day
An important period for us a few years back as it meant weeks of hectic activities and preparations for this week that usually had several events.
The big one usually was the Officers Mess function. Ladies were kept busy preparing an entertainment program, decorations, food etc. All our postings were in far flung regions so outsourcing food to some hotel was never an option.
Its our cooks who did the honours and always came out shining. Ladies too put in their bit with special recipes or decor.
An important effort during the party was to look after ‘veterans’ who were invited to this annual do.
Today we are on the other side of the fence….
From my experience last year, this party is still carried out with the same zest as before only I looked at it from a different lens.
We had lived in dilapidated ‘bashas’, read freshly delivered 2-day old newspapers, stayed connected via trunk calls then STD PCOs, accepted snakes, leeches and scorpions….
We lived in clean fresh air, our kids had plenty of space to play… The friends we made are for life. The lessons we learnt still stand by us. The skills we gained come in handy even today in the urban jungle that is now our home.
All the very best to the Indian Air Force.
Happy Landings to all the men in blue.
Kautilya to Chandragupta
Following is a letter to Emperor Chandragupta Maurya by Kautilya which is mentioned in the ‘Arthashastra’. This was part of the Joint Armed Forces Memorandum to the 5th Central Pay Commission, in 1995 but in an abridged form.
“The Mauryan soldier does not the Royal treasuries enrich nor the Royal granaries fill. He does not carry out trade and commerce nor produce scholars, littérateurs, artistes, artisans, sculptors, architects, craftsmen, doctors and administrators. He does not build roads and ramparts nor dig wells and reservoirs. He does not do any of this directly.
The soldier only and merely ensures that the tax, tribute and revenue collectors travel forth and return safely; that the farmer tills, harvests, stores and markets his produce unafraid of pillage; that the trader, merchant and financier function and travel across the length and breadth of the realm unmolested; that the savant, sculptor, maestro and mentor create works of art, literature, philosophy and astrology in quietitude; that the architect designs and builds his Vaastus without tension; that the tutor and the priest teach and preach in peace; that the rishis meditate in wordless silence; that the doctor invents cures and medicines undisturbed; that the mason and bricklayer work unhindered; that the mother and the wife go about their chores and bring up children in harmony and tranquility; that the cattle graze freely without being lifted or stolen.
Pataliputra reposes each night in peaceful comfort, O King, secure in the belief that the distant borders of Magadha are inviolate and the interiors are safe and secure, thanks only to the Mauryan Army standing vigil with naked swords and eyes peeled for action, day and night, in weather fair and foul, all eight praharas (round the clock), quite unmindful of personal discomfort and hardship, all through the year, year after year.
While the citizenry of the State contributes to see that the State prospers and flourishes, the soldier guarantees it continues to EXIST as a State!To this man, O Rajadhiraja, you owe a debt: please, therefore, see to it, suo motu, that the soldier continuously gets his dues in every form and respect, be they his needs or his wants, for he is not likely to ask for them himself.
The day the soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha for then, on that day, you will have lost all moral sanction to be King!”
Let us not forget the brave men and women who give us the luxury of security.
Indian news channels need to rise above economics
The topic for today is “Why are Indian news broadcast channels not as mature as their International counterparts?” My first thought is are international counterparts mature? Are they responsible? Is news not leaked out for ulterior motives outside our borders? Princess Diana died as the couple tried to evade paparazzi. Is this mature journalism?
In India, journalism has played an important role in our freedom movement and the profession is not new though the new media definitely are. Lokmanya Tilak founded the paper ‘Kesari‘ way back in 1880 to portray ground realities in the country. All India Radio (AIR) too has been around almost since the time we became independent. Television began in the form of ‘Didi’ Doordarshan around 1975. Being state run obviously meant there was some ‘filtering’ of news to suit the governing party. As economy opened up we got a taste of ‘private’ media and what was said to be ‘unbiased’ news. In reality market forces gradually took over and news could be ‘sponsored’ or used to influence stock markets.
Business news channels in India have recently asked begun asking their panelists for disclaimers. This clearly indicates some hidden interests existed earlier. This change is one for better.
Tragedy of any kind and our cameras are there like vultures to capture tears and grief. I can only compare our news channels to BBC or CNN that we can easily watch here. Compared to those channels our reporting is definitely mediocre and unnecessarily sensational. Body language and speech intonations of our news readers too are not up to these standards. More maturity is definitely required here.
Human minds and behavioural tendencies are the same globally. Just like westerners are fond of reading what celebrities do or eat or how and whom they live with, we too like that. That would explain increasing importance to Ash-Abhi or other similar invasions of celebrity lives or grief and tragedy.
As the number of players increase, money is pumped in and economics takes over, it is important for concerned news editors to remember what Lokmanya Tilak has reportedly said, “Be sure of your facts. Let your words be clear as day light.” That should be our standard. If news channels continue to focus on gaining advertisements, eyeballs (viewers) and playing one up over rival channels then we cannot expect much progress. Viewers and readers will definitely separate wheat from chaff sooner or later. Those who can rise above this will certainly emerge better and more mature journalists.