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.

Archana Pande

Use your power

The world is talking of the awakening elephant. Yet Indians themselves are pessimistic and almost fatalistic about things going from bad to worse. Look around and what do we see? Vocal and violent protests about outsiders in Maharashtra, caste based reservations in educational institutions etc. The main instigators are politicians and they succeed because we let them do so. We get what we deserve.
Once a politician is elected he is not interested in the people of his constituency till the next election. That is the time to make an unbiased assessment and ask tough questions to them and ourselves. Does he/she deserve your vote? Merely saying that things will not change and not voting actually adds to the problem as thousands of thinking and intelligent votes are lost out. So make it a point to vote- it is your weapon of change. It is one that still holds some power to elicit change. Get people around you to do so as well, make them think and choose correctly.
Of course things will not change in one election but it will surely send a message to the contestants that the time to take the electorate for granted is over. Money or muscle power cannot buy votes.
Again I come back to the same theme that it is for us citizens to sift through political diatribe and get on with work. If India has to progress economically and make a mark on world stage, this has to be put behind us. We have several grassroots and infrastructure issues that need to be handled urgently. Farmers are dying, basic healthcare is pathetic and village schools do not have teachers or buildings. We still hear of dowry deaths and female infanticide. Clean drinking water is a problem in many areas. Corruption is rampant.
Of course we will face difficulties in overcoming them. It needs perseverance and patience and determination. Do we have it in us? Are we only capable of talking and not of acting?
Make a difference. Use the power given by our constitution.

A reason to give up dieting..

Yes you got it right, the title does say give up dieting!
Experts have advised those of us that are curiously referred to as the ‘baby boomers’ (what is the origin I wonder) that dieting is not the best way to go…
Some dietitians often “advise women to get off their diet roller coasters because losing weight cannot guarantee happiness.” An article in the Times of India on Sunday 30 March 2008, gives ample reasons to support this. So follow this link to know how much ice cream and kulfis you can gorge this summer!
My advise put on your sports shoes and exercise regularly! Weights too – they will not make us into Arnold look alikes rest assured!

Dont Forget Her!

Its 8th of March again. I don’t know who started this business of Women’s Day or when, but it surely is a big business proposition today. Card shops go berserk with special cards, beauty parlours and obesity clinics offer special packages, apparel, car sales, the list is endless and more innovative each year.
We all forget the one important lady who takes care of our home chores so that we can go out to work, enjoy these ‘special‘ days and be there with a cup of tea or glass of water when we return. That’s our domestic help of course. She may not even get a chance to read this blog or any other such forum, yet we must not forget that she too deserves something special today.
My views on this subject have been published at 4IW. Click here to read on.

Don’t forget her!
Happy Woman’s Day All!

Wonder world of 150 characters!

Being of the 60s vintage I along with many others like me have the unique privilege of exposure to simple and relatively uncomplicated communications methods in our growing years and modern state of the art means. I am referring to what is today referred to as ‘snail mail’ – namely inland letters, aerograms, telegrams and long distance phone calls made from post offices all courtesy good old Post and Telegraph department. A money order too had a small space to put in a note; many a brothers’ have sent ‘Bhaubeej’ gift money this way! Today’s youth may not have much reason to enter the Post Office except probably to mail forms for entrance exams!

As with all other things, technology has revolutionized communications. The cell phone after making a tentative and expensive entry to India is now almost omnipresent. It does more than just allow two people to talk. I was introduced to a unique feature ‘SMS’ with my first cell phone. I soon became a huge fan, communicating with family and friends only by text. It seemed rather like an instantaneous wireless letter one that could be read at leisure whenever one was free or if one did not want to respond, just claim not having received it! But I soon realized the catch. Every message had an upper limit on the number of characters (150 by my service provider). Exceed it and I was charged for 2 or 3 or more depending on how eloquent I was! Before I realized it I was paying exorbitant mobile bills without talking much. Picture messages, which looked so good, were great guzzlers of these ‘characters’.

That’s when I further explored this wonder world, in a bid to get the most out of every message. With plenty of help from my younger friends, I soon got the hang of SMS lingo. By simply removing all vowels from my text, I could enter more words and send more information (that should be info)! One could also maximize characters by just removing spaces between words. English teachers must shudder at this language, which bears a pale resemblance to our British legacy. All unnecessary alphabets were simply done away with. Forget long words, even short ones were further shortened as in you became u and OK became k. Then there were these emoticons, which so beautifully conveyed all I felt.

Today my inbox is full of web links, ring tones, picture messages, jokes, news alerts, cricket score and stock updates, advertisements etc, some by choice but mostly unwanted. TV channels and newspaers often conduct polls and audience opinion through SMS. The tool is so powerful that it can have political and criminal implications.

I am told that the first ‘text message only’ book about a business executive who travels throughout Europe and India has been published by a Finnish author. My search revealed the existance of the world’s ‘first transl8it! dxNRE & glosRE’ (dictionary & glossary) , a comprehensive SMS and text lingo book. There is also a website dedicated to this new language!

This has spawned a specialised message writing career for those not wanting to walk on the well beaten track.. There are speed typing contests for SMS and but getting maximum info into 150 characters can also be a great challenge. Relevant organisers must think about this one!

Need I + NEtng? wot r u w8tng 4? git out yor fone & stA n tuch w yor fRnds & foes. snd DIS msg 2 10 prsnz 2 brng gud luk 2 U & me. 🙂 msgN.CU L8R.

Phew! And that’s less than 150 characters!

Untidy rooms are healthy…

I have come across this story that actually advocates leaving beds unmade!
Yes you read that right…

Open the link below in a new tab to read the entire write up.

In case any of you has some information on the results of the next stage of research by scientists at the Kingston University mentioned in this article then do drop a note here. This article is dated 18 Jan 2005 but will be welcome news to many…


Ganesha in our Lives

The Ganesha festival is currently being celebrated all over the country albeit with some minor regional differences. The entire period of 10 odd days is filled with intense joy and happiness. In Maharashtra, the cities dress up and light up to transform themselves almost into a fairyland.

Here is popular sms doing the rounds currently:
Lord Ganapati says, “Care for your head. Wear a Helmet. Not everyone gets a replacement like me!”

All those going around without one, do you get the point?



After a long period of debates and arguments I have finally come to this point and have this forum to share my e-thoughts…

What do I feel?

Free Independent

Free of undependable editors

Ready to soar into the blue sky

Blue black white grey – clouds of all colours

Free to bring out gems glittering in the daily grind we call life

Free to enjoy Life

Enjoy the Fine things in life

Every tiny moment matters

Like a spate of green signals on the way home from office

Unexpectedly finding a Hundred rupee note in the pocket of your winter dress

Daily garbage clearance

So many things

Lets ruminate on this for now

Dream of the big blue sky