Baba? Gurmeet Ram Rahim? Gurmeet? Beast? Indian TV climbs moral pedestal
- PT MEDIA CRITIC
DEMONISATION COMES EASY to the media, particularly when the media has been an active conduit of utter trivia and shenanigans of the same man whose legal description and status was of a rape accused with a duly framed chargesheet following an extensive investigation done by the CBI.
On August 28, after the CBI Special Judge pronounced 20 years of jail for the man the judgement named as "Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh," India Today's Rajdeep Sardesai, whose self-proclaimed CV describes him as a winner of "numerous awards for journalistic excellence," made his two-bit contribution to the debate on such dera men. After asking "when will India's politicians stop romancing them," Sardesai climbed atop an even higher moral pedestal refusing to call the culprit what the CBI Special Judge and the official records call him.
Here's exactly what Rajdeep Sardesai said: "Can we start calling Baba Ram Rahim by his original name of Gurmeet Singh...rather than defile Ram and Rahim?"
(Watch the original here http://indiatoday.intoday.in/programme/baba-ram-rahim-20-year-jail-netas-godmen/1/1036004.html)
Not that anyone believed that Ram or Rahim are defiled that easily by someone being found guilty of a crime most henious, but then moral pedestals are too tempting and attract men of varying intellectual capacities.
Swaraj Abhiyan's Yogendra Yadav, who waited patiently for CNN-News18 Bhupendra Chaubey's harangue for more than 35 minutes on his programme "Viewpoint" on August 28, climbed an even higher moral pedestal when he said he will not call the rape convict by his name but will only call him Mr Gurmeet Singh. Chaubey was quick to find another higher moral platform and said, "Sorry, Mr Yogender Yadav. I will not even call him Mr Gurmeet Singh. I will call him only Gurmeet Singh."
Watch the interesting bit here
As a snub, he cut short Yogendra Yadav and never brought him back into the programme, even though Yadav had requested that since he had heard the cacophony for 35 minutes patiently, he be heard patiently. Patience, as most news television audiences in India, know, is a rather rare commodity on screen.
In fact, when Bhupendra Chaubey repeatedly played a rather ridiculous video of the convicted man, Yogendra Yadav almost reflected the sickening feeling it generated in most viewers when he requested that he be allowed to complete his point as he was not interested in watching the same video for the fourth time. "No, I will not play the video again,” Bhupendra Chaubey said, but after a few seconds, climbed what he thought was a moral pedestal even higher: "I think it is important for the people of this country to watch this video ten times!” Lucky for Yogendra Yadav that he was not subjected to the video again, but for a moment, I felt like smashing my TV screen. (For a true experience, please do click on the link in this article.)
Arnab Goswami had perhaps the highest moral pedestal uttering near profanities about the convicted man. It is a pity that no one asked him if he considered the convicted fellow a human being, since the word beast was much used on Republic screen when anything could be heard, which is a rare thing when you are in the realm of Republic.
It was finally left to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to underline that it is not immune to criticism, and asked lawyers to exercise restraint and not say anything that could prejudice Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s appeal against his conviction for rape.
Now, these were words that came from the division bench of Acting Chief Justice S S Saron and Justice Avneesh Jhingan, but imagine if anyone had said in the presence of a Chaubey or a Goswami the same thing, what hell could have broken loose?
A human rights activist has to merely say that all jail inmates have human rights, and many TV anchors will lost no time in declaring him an anti-national. After all, we have had ministers who have explained publicly who has or does not have human rights. It is time India should have a journalism award for who climbs the highest moral pedestal.
When the tide turns: A tour of Gurmeet Ram Rahim's bedroom, drawing room
When a dera baba falls foul of the powers that be, this is how the cycle of humiliation is unleashed. Will the media now raise simple questions about how such videos are being leaked? Why are the policemen not wearing gloves? Why official videography is not being done? After all, there should be forensic experts ready to lift finger prints and photograph everything since it was the premises of someone now found to be criminal and who was given to committing crimes in the confines of his place of stay. Why a proper locksmith was not there and why were policemen using the 18th century technology of incessantly kicking a door to barge into a room? A tour of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's bedroom, drawing room, courtesy leaked videos:
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