Friday, October 29, 2010

Kashmir & Arundhati Roy

Letter to Editor - The Hindu 29th Oct. 2010

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and all citizens, including Ms Roy, are entitled to it. But the right becomes invaluable only by responsible exercise. While nobody can deny police excesses, particularly in conflict zones, the statement by the eminent writer that the people of Kashmir live under one of the “most brutal military occupations in the world” is unacceptable. She has also said that Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It could not have been, for the present Indian state is an administrative unit created by the British and politically, the Indian landmass was under the rule of countless kings for ages. Calls for azaadi out of frustration, incitement or police excesses should not be mixed up with misrule by successive governments in the State.

G. Gokul Kishore,

New Delhi

Monday, October 25, 2010

Press - Time for restraint

Fourth Estate – Time for restraint
It is very unfortunate that almost all the dailies and electronic media carry snap shot of Mr. and Mrs. Dhoni taking bath in Goa [Dailies dated 25th Oct, 2010]. Publishing a blow up of couple taking bath is a shameless act and it cannot be justified by any reason.

Chasing of celebrities by shutter bugs and snapping all their private affairs have become indispensable for the press today to survive in the neck-break competition. It is nothing but a desperate attempt to satisfy the ‘taste’ of readers, to keep the flock together and to ensure revenues do not dwindle. These antics cannot sustain anybody in the longer run.

If you publish something half-naked, others are ready to pay the celebrity and publish even beyond before your print is even out. There is no end to this rat-race. The race killed Diana and it is fast catching up the Indian idols now. Unless the press imposes some self-restraint, credibility can never be redeemed. You can’t point an accusing finger at celebrities for selling all their private wares – from marriages to honeymoon - they perform anything in public for money. It is the so called Fourth Estate that should introspect and conduct itself more maturely.- GK

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ayodhya – Hey Ram!

“Religion is the opium of the masses” – This Marxian precept is always true as events rush to prove with sickening frequency. Once the addiction rules head and heart, the society gets wobbly and the line between right and wrong gets blurred. The merchants of this opium – from bigots to politicians – can hardly resist investing more and more in this eternally profitable business.

Ayodhya has been a hugely successful venture for these merchants. A fringe party got itself catapulted to the centre stage riding piggyback on this opium-peddling. A generous dose was dished out to masses – and the masses blissfully drank. The merchants basked under windfall gains by capturing power.

A trader should have never-say-die attitude. The latest judgment on the issue brings loads of malt and barrels of intoxicating stuff can be brewed and the brewing has started in right earnest. But this time, aided by neo-liberal brainwashing, materialistic vodka seems to provide more hallucination to the middle class steeped in hypocrisy. The old brew does not command major market share right now and merchants are perplexed.

But the ruling raises several questions. The demolition squad has been rewarded by giving a share of the demolished property thus providing the stamp of approval to the anti-social act. Had the structure been not razed, how the settlement scheme of partition would have proceeded, remains an interesting point. While suit of one of the parties was dismissed on limitation, it has been given a share in the property. One can put hundred questions but the fact remains – the ruling has been a perfect blend of settlement and amnesty with all trappings of extra-judicial solution. For now there is some calm – why worry about the ruling now?- GK

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Letter to the Editor - Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

By parading thousands of artists for several hours, Indian culture will not get encomiums from international audiences. Many of the artists were tired; maybe due to strenuous rehearsals and the timing of the ceremony. Functions must be brief if viewer interest has to be sustained. These “light and sound shows” degenerate into an exercise in illusory self-aggrandisement, serving little purpose.

G. Gokul Kishore,

New Delhi