I see that you begin with the anguish about debates on TV, which has turned into a loud box. Can we say the same for Student Politics. Instead of Debates, we have violent protests, breaking of barricades, unlawful assembly, slogan shouting. How is that different from what we see on TV.
We saw a glimpse of that on Feb 9 on JNU campus.
First of all let me clearly state my position – Protest is vital for “democracy”. Dissent should not be criminalised.
Students are the foundations of tomorrow. Fresh minds who would be part businesses, administration, governance, doctors or lawyers. Even we had debates in the colleges, but we never called other names or typecast people. Entering a debate with pre-conceived notion or past baggage – destroys the idea of meaningful conversations. We never accused anyone by typecasting them as a “Sanghi”, “Dalla”. There was a methodology in debate, in which ideas were exchanged. Attempt was made to win over, rather than to impose or threaten anyone by raising voice. And if we cannot win over – we agree to disagree rather than turn violent. In a democracy – there is place for different ideologies. And let me tell you – it is not difficult to win over, or fear the majority. If fact even in face of us being a minority group – it was not at all humiliating being trumped up by majority – unless ego are at play. Contrary to the popular belief more often the majority is more understanding, receptive and accommodating.
Education should be about confronting ideas you find really objectionable, figuring out why it is you find them objectionable, fashioning a reasoned argument against them, confronting the person you disagree with and trying to change their mind, being open to them changing your mind. That isn’t a comfortable experience, but it is a very educational one – quoting from political scientist Louise Richardson.
However I am aghast at what we are doing to our students.. Media, including your channel is fuelling these young minds with a different form of political activism – violence, aggravation, force. They must have spend around 5-7 years in college, and do you think they can form opinion of national issues which has been thoroughly and regularly being debated in our parliament, courts. There is a distinction between dissent and unrest. What we are seeing is unrest and not dissent. Dissent is backed by strong cause and reasoning, unrest is backed by violence, disregard of others, self or perceived idea glorification.
It is shocking that Students have formed opinion that the best way to correct our mistakes of past or ensure equality – the solution is to “break up” !! Today is Kashmir, then Nagaland, then Manipur, then Hyderabad, then Punjab, then possibly Jats land … it would never stop. This is a dangerous trend. It is a quick fix solution, and if this is the quality of politics – it would ruffle feathers. It would hurt those who have put in their blood, toiled hard day and night – to ensure the integrity and unity of our country – right since Independence. Today if flood is in Assam, it is not Assam’s problem. If drought is in Maharashtra Vidarbha, it is not a Maharashtra headache, and the same hold true for any events in Bihar or Bengal or Tamil Nadu. In trouble or success, the country has came a long way since Independence – and to go back to pre-Independence era is like going in cycles.
The role of Media is suspicious here. As they should play a sounding board for these students, and provide well researched views. But Media take sides according to political affiliations. It is even more dangerous because instead of correcting or channeling the youth anger – Media stokes the fire and be a reckoning force in the country – just like capitalists. Today Media have become power brokers – who see themselves as one who can form public opinion that can break or make empires.
I see you have taken sides, and cleverly without naming targeted fellow journalists. You all are in the same boat. Yes some were hasty enough to provide footages for TRPs, but at the same time, everyone has taken sides. Face it – none of you were neutral. Contradicting news are being played according to views to be justified.
For example – your channel – it played the a clip repeated “n” number of times, where a person is seen at around the feet of the lawyer surrounded by some others who appear amused. The lawyer seems to be pushed back and then raises a hand – though visibly not in a threatening manner that could impair someone. I also saw how opinions were formed on Feb 11 video which was fake – just like the ABVP activists video showing them shouting “Pakistan Zindabad” while they were saying – “Indian courts Zindabad”.
What happened on Feb 9 was not unfortunate. It was despicable. Yet there was an attempt to show them in different light rather than confronting them. There would be sound of them being labeled – “anti-nationals” by a section of society – but isn’t media guilty of taking sides instead of being neutral and being educative. Holding of information promotes hatred. Sharing of information promotes dialogue. Rather than having students on debates – as to why do they have these opinions – what grounds- it was media who were out to prove what is right and what is wrong. A fake video means everything is blown out of proportion – can be a hasty imposition. Are all videos fake? Everyone saw Feb 9, dancing and agitation. People congratulating Umar Khalid (who is not even a Kashmiri), including Kanhaiya been shown stopping ABVP people from taking videos.
Kanhaiya should have stood away from Umar Khalid who belonged to DSU, but is seen prominently standing beside him on Feb 11 video. Why?
Let me tell you a funny observation – where forget students – even professionals are confused – Capital Punishment. You were people in fore-front to ask for Capital Punishment for Nirbhaya Killers. Can these students confront her mother and see her eye to eye and ask her not to pursue for noose for the killers?
At peak of Communism – over 50 countries have communist government. All but 5, have given up on communisms, and even these 5 have adopted certain form of Capitalism. Have you tried to argued that – is Capitalism bad?
Let me highlight the indifference of channels – and selective cherry picking. A 15 year old boy was shot dead just a few days before Dadri incident, but was not covered. On rumour of a Maulvi being killed by Hindus – a mob of 10,000 Muslims descended on a hamlet of 200 Hindus family. Should the saving grace been none of them were killed – but why was it royally ignored? Recently a youth was lynched in front of his aged parents in Kerala. Was his killing justified and not covered because he belongs to a political party your channel is indifferent to? A candidate who fought election against a powerful party chief son – is shot in broad day light, by 8 mens brandishing AK 47s. Isn’t it a disturbing situation for democracy?
It is really surprising that how you chose when democracy or situation is in troubled times, and when it is not.
It would be great that instead of dramatics – we see neutral debates which present facts in front of people rather than trying to lead debates to a conclusion suited to anchor whims. Let opinion be formed by the people and learn to respect it.
Change is good, required. We are a different India than what was 1000 year ago, or 500 year ago, or 100 or even 50 years ago. The idea of radical change is romanticising but not practical. Change is good, would happen only by virtue of patience.