Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mend your speech a little...

Critique on the Indian Media

There is nothing more frightening than active ignorance.”

-Goethe

I have always believed that the Media representatives are a class apart, because they are the lifeblood of a thriving democracy. However, it is regrettable to note that, today, the quality of journalism is declining. The News is dwindling slowly from the ‘important’ to the ‘seemingly important’ and finally deteriorating into the ‘Trivial.’

Independent India brought with it a ray of hope and gave us a medium that could reach out to the people and would dwell on active but Constructive Criticism. “Free Media” was meant to be one of the Fundamental Pillars of a Progressive Democracy. This meant that the burden of spreading the “good word” lay on the media because its reach was far greater than any influential leader or Political Party. Furthermore, emphasis was laid on accuracy and objectivity.

The scenario today is different with the media delivering news like a fast-food restaurant. My generation maybe young, but definitely not na├»ve to understand when a ‘puff – piece’ is blown out of proportion and given the title of ‘Breaking News!’ Efficiently delivering news that is fair and more importantly accurate is the responsibility of a ‘Responsible’ media representative.

Interestingly not one, but many celebrities have voiced their angst against mis- represented facts and mistaken names. The journalists thus land up getting involved in defamation suits.

The active ‘inactivity’ of the media at times, frankly proves a turnoff for the Aam Admi.

Maybe the Media needs to re- think its stance. “The public is not a bunch of non- thinking entities.” They too have some expectations. Freedom with responsibility is the least one can expect!

This blogpost is only a reflection of a viewer and hence could be debated upon. But, I strongly believe that, it is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable. A few weeks ago, the media frenzied over Anna Hazare's fast and every minute we flipped the news channels, we encountered only two words “BREAKING NEWS!” What was actually ‘breaking’ and in fact crumbling to pieces was the ‘Patience’ of the Audience, forced to see the same visuals again and again until it was perfected to an extent that one could easily answer a three- hour paper on it! My point here is that, over- sensationalising a news- piece with the word “LIVE” plastered at a teeny- weeny corner of the T.V screen is in reality killing us.

Another glaring problem that we face is that although there is no paucity of issues to be dealt with, undue importance is given to only one news-piece throughout the day. This in turn not only overshadows the other news items, but also ensures that the viewers’ refrain from watching the news. A friend of mine remarked, “News today is like Television soaps, watch it twice a week and we’re sorted!” Another stated, “Yeah I read the newspaper, from the last to the first page, it’s easier to read that way!” These students are straight A’s students, by the way. As a member of the youth community keenly interested in politics, I watch the news with a hope of learning more, but, for young people dis- interested in politics and current affairs, the media is doing a great job keeping them that way!

When we study the law we follow an interesting theory, “Justice must not only be done, but, must also appear to be done.” Equivocally, “Quality journalism must not just be done, but appear to be done!” The murder of Mr J Dey, an excellent reporter was indeed a loss for the entire country, but in the last couple of days apart from the Secret Seven being caught by the Law Enforcement Agency what was projected was a more orchestrated attempt to get a ‘separate law’ for protecting journalists! Imagine, if all professionals took to the streets in order to get separate laws passed!

Clive Barnes once commented, “Television is the first truly democratic culture -- the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want!” But, the question remains, ‘Who defines what the people want?’

Another issue and this one cutting across all news channels, is that the news reporters never allow the guests on their respective Television shows to answer the question completely. The only words one gets to hear everyday is, "We're running out of time!" At times it is the guest who has to almost forcibly stop the interlocutor from cutting every dialogue. Why don’t the news reporters devote more time to such debates that will give an ecumenical view of the issue to the audience rather than a half-cooked pie that is indigestible? It would be much easier to just have an intelligent debate on the topic of interest rather than indulge in media – ennui. Emphasis can be laid on the issue more effectively.

It becomes necessary for me to state here, that the Media is not one- hundred per cent wrong. We have brilliant journalists conducting CNN- IBN’s Citizen Journalism, ‘The Buck stops here’ on NDTV and others but, we definitely need more such contributions in order to get the Indian Media at the top!

My intention is to bring to light that aspect that the Media does not see or does not want to see because of the much hallowed TRPs. The people want concrete, objective and accurate information and as a part of the society, I do not think it is too much to ask… or is it?

The chances of any journalist appreciating this blog are svelte, nonetheless this Case deserves a fair hearing or rather a fair thought!

Having said that, I rest my case!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

ON THE OCCASION OF FATHER'S DAY... MY TRIBUTE TO EVERY DAD ON THE PLANET!

We call him by different names: Da- da, Dad, Daddy, Appa, Abba, Papa, and so much more… But who is ‘HE’?


You were the size of an A3 sized parcel

All swaddled in lovely white cloth

When He held you In his loving hands

And whispered, ‘I love you a lot!”


When you won your first race,

When you wrote your first ‘A’

He looked at you and said,

"You know, You’re an Ace!"


When you thought it was all over,

When you almost gave up,

His beautiful voice always whispered,

"Sweetheart, don’t give up!"


When you fell off your bicycle

And started to cry

A low voice whispered,

"Could you give it just one more Try?"


When you were confused

And almost wanted to scream

He held your hand

And said, "Don’t give up on your dream!"


If your reading this Today, maybe living that dream

Stop to think….

He’s Loved you, helped, you, carried you through,

He’s given you life, and shared your strife


So, dear Friend if you love your Dad and

Connect with all that’s said

Please don’t forget to say,

“Dear God, Thank you for this wonderful person I call DAD!”


This poem is dedicated to every Dad…

My Dad’s special and so are you!!


WISHING YOU A WONDERFUL, HAPPY AND BLESSED FATHER’s DAY!


Warm Regards

Katherine. Abraham

Monday, June 13, 2011

Open Letter to all Youth Members

Dear Youth Member,

I HAVE A DREAM….

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.
You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one.
I hope someday you’ll join us,
And the world will be as one.
-John Lennon

As I sit by the riverside, this calm and peaceful morning, I ponder over these words of John Lennon a great singer and a better Dreamer. ‘Peace today is a dead man’s cup of tea.’ Ironic as it may sound the statement does resonate today's hidden truth. I believe that if people around the world recognize the need for a non violent existence on the basis of co-operation and comprehensive youth contribution, this Dream could become a Reality in the near future.

As a youth in today’s modern materialistic world, I realize that sadly members of the Global Youth Community are afflicted with the 'Who Cares?' attitude. ‘Who cares about Peace, Politics or Governance?

My point here: Are we doing our bit? If not, do we have a moral stand to question an authority that we neither supported nor rejected? Can we state cynically at the behest of some propaganda that the country's political, economic and social status is in doldrums even though we are uncertain of the facts? It is easy to criticize, rally and shout slogans, but equally difficult to practice what we preach!

It is interesting to note what Dr. Shashi Tharoor, former Under Secretary General to the United Nations and currently a leading Member of Parliament from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency, wrote on a plausible remedy on the Apathy of the Youth towards Politics and Human Rights.

He wrote,

“The only answer is to get involved! Young people must know they should not be indifferent to politics because it determines their opportunities in so many ways. We all get the political leaders we deserve, so if we stay apathetic we allow others to decide for us who makes the policies that shape our futures...”

Responsibility springs from the willingness to be an active participant in the system. The Sydney Peace Foundation, for example, started the ‘Youth Peace Initiative’ to bring about like- minded young individuals together to promote peace with Justice and Non- violence as its pillars.

An ecumenical non- violent and rational approach towards Life, The Government and one’s Environment are prerogatives in establishing a Just society. Just as how Peace cannot be an offshoot of War, Criticism cannot be an offspring of ignorance. Advocating the aforesaid values during the formative years of an individual will make him/her aware about the impending issues that we encounter. Take Sebastian Marot the founder of Friends International & Ann Cotton who received significant response from youngsters around the world to contribute to society in their own little way. These organizations aim at ‘making the World a Better Place to live in.’

As a member of the youth community, I believe that although a chance to create a phenomenal change on a global level overnight is svelte, we can and we must endeavor to fulfill this mammoth task. But the quintessential question is, ‘HOW?’

When I contemplate on this issue, I realize that primary problems faced globally include economic instability, social injustice, racism, gender bias political surreptitiousness and most importantly, Terrorism. As a member of a young and inexperienced whole, we may lack the maturity and the resources that a politician or diplomat is gifted with, but we are gifted with the opulence of one asset, ‘Will power’. Skillful use of this asset can bring about a major change in restoring World Peace.

To begin with, we need to find a permanent quick fix solution for the immediate problems at hand like poverty, unemployment, untouchability and gender bias. To uproot these four issues a group of individuals can start campaigning against them. We can achieve maximum support by using Education as a tool. For example, if two youth members have studied Economics, they must link themselves with associations or non- profit organizations especially for the development in rural areas that would need assistance in Finances. Similar attempts can be made in other fields like Agriculture, science etc.

In order to do away with unemployment, an efficient solution could be Training programs for the unskilled laborers given by experts in the field. The government could make provisions for these experts to work with the under- privileged. Community Service will foster the eradication of poverty. If we must solve these problems, we must create awareness by publicizing the ill effects of these major social concerns through responsible free media. Media support in the form of shows like The Citizen Journalist show on CNN- IBN is commendable.

Another issue that may not be prevalent everywhere but nonetheless exists is untouchability and racism. In this case members of the Global community who have had personal experiences with racism or untouchability and have succeeded in overcoming them must accompany the Youth Groups as a source of inspiration for those still suffering. Social service camps can be organized. Gender bias can be eradicated by placing men and women on equal footing in educational institutes and workplaces. Co-educational schools and colleges must be promoted to encourage a harmonious society. Volunteering at organisations like Teach For India, CRY and a lot more that work for the benefit of the rural and underprivelged urban populace.

As a young adult and an aspiring diplomat, my Dream is to make a difference by serving the poverty- stricken and victims of violence by serving the World’s Largest Organisation dedicated to the nobel mission of maintaining Peace, ‘The United Nations.’ With the help of fellow diplomats as promoters of Peace I would like to strive towards the process of reconciliation among disparate nations of the world by evicting barriers of insidiousness and deception by becoming an efficient interlocutor to instil world peace. Sustained efforts by all nations as a united global front will see the Death of Terrorism. I firmly disapprove of the dogma that the UN is merely a paper organization working only for a few Influential powers. For me, the UN is a paradigm of Universal Harmony. Although the UN has had its stumbling blocks, its ingenuity in contriving various measures through International Charters for Peace and Human Rights is commendable.

As a member of a vulnerable and yet paradoxically strong community, I urge you to re- think your stance towards the country and the government in the words of Robert Fulghum,

Peace is not something you wish for; It's something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.

I've made my choice... The question remains... Have you?