OPINION

Monthly Archives: JULY 2018


THE RAM MADHAV LESSON IN POLITICS
CHIDAMBARAM IS WRONG – The cry of Sushma Swaraj and the silence of Rajnath Singh
08.07.18 - S Pal
CHIDAMBARAM IS WRONG – The cry of Sushma Swaraj and the silence of Rajnath Singh



"Not one fellow minister or (BJP) party functionary" condemned the trolls hounding Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, claimed former Union Finance Minister and one of the sharpest critics of the Modi government, P Chidambaram of the Congress.

He is wrong. 

BJP's Ram Madhav, a man with a direct line to Amit Shah and Narendra Modi, condemned the trolls and even wrote an article in the same newspaper in which Chidambaram is a Sunday columnist.

The problem, in fact, is far more serious than what Sushma Swaraj's new found friends in different parties have pointed out. 

Not only did no union minister speak up for Sushma Swaraj, not only did Prime Minister Narendra Modi remain silent at the plight of a woman minister literally begging for support in the cybertown square as an army largely composed of men jeered her and humiliated her, not only did Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh tell her to ignore the trolls instead of taking action against them, not only did even the ignored veterans keep their counsel, but Ram Madhav actually insulted her in black and white, in a leading English language daily, in an edit page lead article.
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Ram Madhav launched one of the most vicious attacks on Sushma Swaraj in the garb of defending her.
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After uttering one of the world's oldest homilies for the trolls that could only have come from his innate maternal instincts — "Don’t do unto others that you don’t want done to you” — Ram Madhav launched one of the most vicious attacks on Sushma Swaraj in the garb of defending her.

While condemning the trolls who asked her husband to beat her up, referred to her kidney problem, and generally questioned her patriotism, Ram Madhav gave the troll army the one justification that they were looking for to seem credible.

"Whether External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was responsible for the transfer of a junior-level officer in the passport office at Lucknow, whether she did so out of a sense of pseudo-secular enthusiasm or whether the officer in question had become a victim of a secular clique — these are important questions, but they are of secondary importance," Madhav wrote.

So the questions raised by the trolls about his own party's senior Union minister are all very valid. It is just that the trolls used very bad language. Madhav basically said it was alright to question Sushma Swaraj's patriotism — just use parliamentary language.

Was Sushma Swaraj indulging in "pseudo-secular enthusiasm"? Ram Madhav says the issue can be discussed, and there could be two or more different views on it but no one should indulge in trolling.

Conclusion: People were most welcome to discuss if Sushma Swaraj is an anti-national. Just avoid bad language.

"This is not because they are not serious questions, but because they need proper scrutiny before we arrive at a conclusion," says Ram Madhav.
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Conclusion: People were most welcome to discuss if Sushma Swaraj is an anti-national. Just avoid bad language.
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This was a man close to Modi and Shah and whose word counts as the party line whether it comes to Kashmir or any other issue, and he was telling the trolls: you raised very serious issue, but can we please keep the language nice?

Ram Madhav, at one place in the article, calls the questions raised by the troll army about the transfer of a passport officer, as "genuine questions raised by some social media."

If Rajnath Singh's advice to Sushma Swaraj was to ignore the trolls, Ram Madhav undercut his Union Home Minister also by terming the trolls' concern as "genuine issues."

He then used the occasion for some Muslim bashing, a favourite pastime of top BJP honchos, and the trolls. See how the twains meet: "The case pertaining to Tanvi Seth, the woman in question in the passport row, should actually have been used against the regressive clerics who insist upon changing the name of a Hindu woman to that of a Muslim in the nikahnama."

Wow! The trolls had missed this point. Ram Madhav is reminding them. Or is he chiding them for missing a cheap shot? Of course, woebegone Ram Madhav were he to point out why women change their names post-marriage in the wider Hindu society! Or suffix their husband's surname to their name, very often dropping their own surname. Who talks such stuff? Yes, Nivedita Menon. And she is an anti-national, as everyone who has ever worn a saffron bandana knows.

Ram Madhav, of course, might never have been invited by anyone to a social occasion, or he would have noticed the ubiquitous "Mrs and Mr Sharma/Verma/Bhatia/Malhotra" scrawled on the card pasted to the Gopal Sweet Shop box.

The only other reason could be that Ram Madhav is being selectively blind, and is telling the BJP's who's who to remain blind to the travails of Sushma Swaraj. Blind, and deaf and mute.
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The trolls had missed this point. Ram Madhav is reminding them. Or is he chiding them for missing a cheap shot?
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This is an orchestrated move, and Sushma Swaraj is not the only target. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is also on notice. 

Mark Rajnath Singh's utter insignificance when it came to Amit Shah's move of pulling the plug from underneath the Mehbooba Mufti government. In that case, Ram Madhav, who was the architect of the ill-advised BJP-PDP coalition and the hatchet man for the demolition job, did not even make a pretence about Rajnath Singh being in the loop.

All this even when Rajnath Singh was the one who was to study the report of the governor of Jammu and Kashmir and was to recommend Governor's rule in the trouble-torn state.

The irrelevance of Rajnath Singh is on display in the country's capital these days. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party government won its day in the Supreme Court, but the Centre was hardly in a hurry to hand over the keys. So a 2015 notification of the Union Home Ministry came in handy.

Mounted on the shoulders of Rajnath Singh is a gun targeted at Kejriwal, but the irony is that Rajnath Singh has not given any indication that his is a willing shoulder.

He has not even issued a statement on the subject. Who wants to hand over an issue to the troll army, many of its members followed by ministers in the Modi government? 

Kejriwal himself is giving some face-saving to Rajnath Singh by saying the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) might be "confused” about the Supreme Court verdict. Poor Rajnath Singh is not saying that he is very clear about it.

Kejriwal is telling the MHA to go to the court. The Centre wants Kejriwal to go back to the court and get an explicit order that the services were under the control of the CM and also to get the MHA's notification quashed.

The MHA is silent. It was silent on Kashmir. It is silent on L-G. It has been silent on the issue of lynchings. Its man at the top has even asked Sushma Swaraj to be silent about trolls.

Rajnath Singh's advice to Sushma Swaraj about ignoring trolls is actually his problem. He is worried that not just the PM but the PMO ignores him. 
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The irrelevance of Rajnath Singh is on display in the country's capital these days.
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He is worried about opening his mouth lest he finds out that instead of the trolls breathing down his neck, they may also ignore him. That will put the stamp on his irrelevance.

But in Delhi's power circles, people know the ground realities. Arvind Kejriwal said the ministry of home affairs has directed that services power will be with the L-G. He has not said that the stand has been taken by the Home Minister. The ministry speaks. The minister does not.

When a minister speaks up, as Sushma Swaraj did, he or she may find the reality even more scary. Either no one comes to your support, or they come to justify the trolls.

"It is improper to blame the Union minister for that decision (about transferring the passport officer)," Ram Madhav wrote. "Improper?" Is that the word Ram Madhav finally settled for after considering the entire range of diction at his command?

You troll one of the most powerful people in this country, the one who represents India in its dealings with the most powerful prime ministers, presidents, heads of governments and states, dictators, owners of nuclear bombs and submarines and hoarders of illegal, illegitimate arsenals, and you get away even after publicly telling her husband to pull her away and beat her up, and the harshest criticism that a kind pracharak of the RSS, top functionary of the BJP and confidante of the Prime Minister and ruling party's supremo could muster was to term their heinous doings "improper?"

Dear Sushma Swaraj, you who wanted ten heads of Pakistani soldiers for each one India loses, you who spared no poisonous words against your opponents, you who even threatened to shave your head lest a democratic electoral verdict is respected, you who did all one must in order to further the cause of the party, you who did not decide to tweet when lynch mobs were out on the street looking for what people stored in their refrigerators, you failed one test when you raised your voice for Tanvi Seth.

Rajnath Singh is still to make that mistake.

Do not do anything improper, and you will survive. Even an LK Advani has learnt that. Nothing happened to him and he happily sits to the left of the man who picked his pocket. Hope you will take Ram Madhav's advice and survive.
 
There's nothing more calming in life than the silence of LK Advani. You may join that group of calm people. Rajnath will follow. We can always do with more path-pradarshaks. 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT







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WOOING THE PANTH
Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron
05.07.18 - kanwar manjit singh
Amarinder a little less Congressy, Akali Dal a little more saffron



PIARA SINGH WAS a little, chubby kid, studying in Class 2. His father Dilbagh Singh was a religious man. On that hot day in June, he was at Sri Harimandir Sahib to observe the martyrdom day of the Fifth Sikh Master. A grenade lobbed by the army left him injured. He was arrested and became a Jodhpur jail Sikh detenue. There was no one else to pay Piara Singh's school fee, so he dropped out of school. Dilbagh Singh died in 2012. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has cleared a payment of Rs 2.6 lakh as the state's part of the compensation amount. The Centre is in the court to contest that it should not be asked to pay its share.

Thirty-four years after that summer of 1984, and 27 years after the legal battle began, 40 of the 365 Sikh detenues, or their kin, finally received the compensation from the Punjab Government.

CM Amarinder Singh has announced that not only his government will award the same amount of compensation to all Jodhpur detenues, irrespective of whether or not they had gone to court to claim it, but will also pay the Centre's share if the Modi government failed to do so.

Amarinder Singh's government has also written to the Centre not to oppose in court the payment of the meagre compensation share.

The issue seems to have been cast aside from the headlines quickly, thanks to the drugs-related deaths and the Black Week Movement, and now the enhanced MSP of paddy and cotton, but political pundits are well aware of the potential spin this issue can give to partisan politics in Punjab.
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Time and again, Amarinder Singh is walking away with panthic issues. Time and again, the Badals have been huffing and puffing to keep pace and claim panthic territory.
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Given the fact that the Shiromani Akali Dal made the waiving off of the GST from Langar ingredients a major issue, only to find itself short changed by Arun Jaitley's clever manoeuvre, the Akalis could ill afford to lose a huge panthic issue to Amarinder Singh and the Congress party in Punjab.

Right from Harsimrat Kaur Badal downwards to the Akali Dal minions in back of the beyond villages, the party of the religion is finding it tough to convince people that the GST on Langar has ended in any kind of victory.

It is using the clergy to certify that the GST has been waived off. It is issuing statements thanking Narendra Modi and Arun Jaitley. Its apologists are finding it tough to tell the Sikh community that Sewa Bhoj Yojana and Langar is one and the same thing. It is challenging the wisdom of the entire chartered accountants' fraternity by spewing financial wisdom that reimbursement and waiver is the same thing. 

It still has to explain why the "waiver" is meant only for financial year 2018-19 to the financial year 2019-20.

If Narendra Modi had wanted, he could have allowed his cabinet minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal to make the announcement. Instead, she was left to tweet thanks to Modi after the order came from the Ministry of Culture. Modi gave something that Harsimrat had been demanding for too long, but did not allow her to walk away with any credit.

On the other hand, he left room for Amarinder to take all credit for rising to the occasion on a panthic issue. Now, Amarinder can slam Sukhbir Singh Badal and his union minister wife for failing to convince Narendra Modi that the Centre should not oppose payment of compensation to Jodhpur detenues.

Time and again, Amarinder Singh is walking away with panthic issues. Time and again, the Badals have been huffing and puffing to keep pace and claim panthic territory.

It started way back during Amarinder Singh's earlier term as Chief Minister. Making his mark in politics by resigning his Lok Sabha seat in protest against Operation Bluestar, Amarinder Singh has given the Congress party a panthic tinge in a very calculated fashion.

He brought into the Congress fold people who had had a brush with militancy, all the while fending off sharp criticism from the likes of Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and ilk. He celebrated Sikh centenaries, widened the bonds with western Punjab, actually led an official delegation there in 2004, then led a procession to install a golden palanquin at Sri Nankana Sahib, and made Harchand Singh Longowal anniversary into a state level event.

The Akali Dal patent on panthic turf continues to remain challenged, and Amarinder Singh can always hark back to his bravado in passing the Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, thus claiming credit for guarding the waters of Punjab and even challenging his own party leadership on this issue.

Time and again, Rahul Gandhi is refusing to give Amarinder Singh credit for what he has done. The Congress president has never referred to the farm loan waiver of Amarinder Singh, and his social media spin master Divya Spandna has never tweeted about any of the achievements of Punjab Government.

Amarinder Singh has projected himself as a force to reckon with vis-à-vis his party president Rahul Gandhi. In an authorised biography, he even admits/claims that he threatened to quit the Congress if he was not allowed to have his way. Compared to the Badals' near obsequious positioning vis-à-vis Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo, Amarinder Singh appeals more to the constituency that always wants to see Punjab's leadership brave enough to stand up to Delhi.

If political pundits are to be believed, the powers that be in New Delhi are playing footsie with Amarinder Singh while repeatedly tripping alliance partner Akali Dal. 

If the Congress under Rahul Gandhi emerges stronger in the upcoming elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Amarinder Singh will be dealing with a much stronger party president. Given his nature, it may actually precipitate the state of affairs. A possible outcome could be Amarinder Singh building his own political vehicle, an idea he has toyed with in the past.

Notwithstanding his earlier public statements, Amarinder Singh may want to serve Punjab yet again, and this time, he may want a vehicle that he drives himself. In such a scenario, the image of a panth-prast leader would come in handy.

Prakash Singh Badal hobnobbed with the hotheads in Sikh politics for too long. No wonder, he had to attend many yagnas, pay floral tributes to many Hindu gods and goddesses, attend many jagratas, and stand with hands folded before many self-styled holy men to cultivate a secular image and the Hindu vote bank.

Amarinder Singh does not have to do any of that. His strong nationalist view point, his diatribes against Pakistan, his consistent praise for the armed forces and his line on Kashmir that the Army be given a free hand will do the trick for him.

All he has to do is to wean away some of the panthic vote bank from the Akali Dal. The compensation to the Jodhpur Sikh detenues fits in well with his strategy. It's a blank cheque that Amarinder Singh can encash at the hustings.

It could prove to be the crucial difference between victory and defeat. Amarinder Singh paid heavily in 2012 when he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. In 2017, the Aam Aadmi Party did his job for him, painting the Akali Dal as a party of the corrupt. At the next electoral battle, with the third force weakened, Amarinder Singh would want the panthic constituency with him.

The Jodhpur detenues will make for a very potent statement. The GST on langar waiver not so much. The Akali Dal looks a lot more saffron. Amarinder Singh a lot less Congress wallah.
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The compensation to the Jodhpur Sikh detenues fits in well with his strategy. It's a blank cheque that Amarinder Singh can encash at the hustings.
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That's a spin Amarinder Singh would want. There is a palpable vacuum out there in the panthic constituency. The Shiromani Akali Dal is a brand that has been burdened by the rotting reputation that the Badals enjoy, and there is little chance that the owners will relinquish their ownership rights in order to save the brand. 

Saving the Brand Badal is a nightmare for any image consultant wizard — not just because the brand has been rubbished beyond repair, but also because the protagonists work hard every day to further erode value. Sukhbir Singh Badal’s best strategy to save the brand has been to speak even more, to take the front seat himself, to deploy a television channel devoted largely to singing praises of his wife's Nanhi Chhanv initiative and hailing ad nauseum her services to the panth.

They just don’t know how to stay away from a screen or a microphone. Whoever devises the peculiar image marketing strategy that "if people want to see less of you, you serve more of yourself to them," smokes something really strong.

In contrast, when it comes to Amarinder Singh, the chorus is that he is giving too little of himself to the people who voted him to power. They want more of Amarinder Singh. All he has to do is to spend less time on the hills, more in Punjab’s streets. Definitely a lot more in the Punjab Civil Secretariat.

Three photo-ops having langar, two visits to lesser known gurdwaras, a grant to preserve a historic place related to a Sikh guru, a chair in the name of a grand old deceased professor of Sikhism, a tiff with the Centre over increasing the number of pilgrims who can go to Nankana Sahib — Amarinder Singh can pull up any of the thousand ideas that even his tired and bored public relations department minions can suggest, and it will work. The Badals can do all of these and it may backfire. The reason? It’s the brand, stupid! 

Watch out for 2019, and surely for 2022 if Rahul Gandhi manages to suffer the Maharaja for that long. The Panth is ready. Is Amarinder, too?
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 

DEATH EMBRACING LOGIC: Drugs in Punjab

PANJAB'S EMERGENCY: FORMAL AND INFORMAL

THE KASHMIR GOVERNOR, THE TRIBUNE TRUST & ETHICS - How Journalism Fails Readers?

"Congress Sikhan Di Dushman Jamaat Hai?” —Akalis need to dump broken record, shift gears

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BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT






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NOW SHOUT: “HEY MODI JI, HOW ARE YOU? AND….”
He walked into a newspaper office and shot dead five journalists; So you should now shout a question to Modi
01.07.18 - S Pal
He walked into a newspaper office and shot dead five journalists; So you should now shout a question to Modi



"Media bik chukka hai.” From Donald Trump’s fake media narrative to the discourse in India that sweeps aside all discerning faculties and tells people that they are being served by "godi media,” the game in town is media bashing. It’s one intersection where even two unlikely characters embrace each other — Trump and news anchor Ravish Kumar, that messiah of all that is truthful.

"Ab ek hee patarkaar bacha hai jee,” enthusiastic readers sometimes proclaim with a sigh, a few of them journalists themselves.

It’s not clear if Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, would have translated the Hindi phrase "godi media” as lapdog hacks or embedded journalists, but he certainly couldn’t have been convinced to abort his nefarious Thursday plan by such a narrative. He couldn’t be bothered with writing letters to the editor, or staging a protest sit-in in front of the newspaper he did not like.

He just walked inside and shot dead five journalists — Gerald Fischman, 61, the newsroom’s editorial page editor; Rob Hiaasen, 59, an editor and features columnist; John McNamara, 56, a sports reporter and editor for the local weekly papers; Wendi Winters, 65, a local news reporter and community columnist; and Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant.

Ramos ran out of bullets and reloaded his weapon. Clearly, he wanted to solve his problem more fully.

But on this platform, we do not report to our readers about what happens in Maryland’s capital, even if it happens inside a newspaper office in Annapolis. A lot of websites and newspaper headlines would have already informed you of all that.

We are on a different point. Soon after the dead were identified, President Donald Trump found himself walking past a gaggle of journalists. This was a president who has always opposed gun control, catered to his base with the vilest language against opponents and whose anti-media rhetoric makes him a complicit in creating an environment of extreme hatred and divisiveness.
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Lest the future generations say that questions were not asked, these questions must be shouted across the lawns, over the din of the helicopter blades whirring, over the noise of ecstatic crowds worshipping a bearded man by chanting his name thrice in a row, exclamation marks thrown in.
------
As President Trump walked past, this is what he had to brave:

"Mr President, do you comment on the shooting?"

"Mr President, you aren't reacting to the shooting in Annapolis?"

"Mr President, why will you keep talking about enemies of the people?"

"Why are you walking away?"

"Why won't you come and talk to us about that?"
 
 
President Trump may be the commander in chief of the mighty army, navy and air force armada of the United States of America, but he isn't strong enough to stop the shots fired by dedicated women and men in newsrooms. Protected by the First Amendment, they do their job on a day as sad as Thursday in America.

 
Watch the video of Trump walking past these reporters who you cannot see in the frame, but whose voices you can clearlhear. This is your voice. This is the voice of a liberal or a conservative American citizen. This is the voice of anyone pained at what happened.

Now, ask yourself if you can imagine a gaggle of Indian reporters shooting and shouting questions at Narendra Modi in such a vociferous voice? Narendra Modi does not face the media. He has not held a single press conference. He handpicks journalists he chooses to be interviewed by. His choices also include Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary.

In such circumstances, how important does it become to ask Prime Minister Modi questions? Lest the future generations say that questions were not asked, these questions must be shouted across the lawns, across the road, over the din of the helicopter blades whirring, over the noise of ecstatic crowds worshipping a bearded man by chanting his name thrice in a row, exclamation marks thrown in.

But do you think there is space enough in our public discourse that enables our journalists to shout these questions?
------
The fact is that even in cases where politicians are not so inaccessible, is our media asking the right questions? (Let me ask that again, since I must ask the right question.) Is our media asking all the right questions?
------
It is very easy to blame the media corps as a pusillanimous bunch. You can argue that our journalists are too chickenhearted to speak truth to power, that they are a cohort of gutless, lily-livered, timorous hacks who can't shout out to a prime minister passing a few feet away from them:

"Mr. Prime Minister, when will Najib come home?"

"Mr Modi, do you comment on what a man in Dadri can store in his fridge?"

"Mr Modi, how about fifteen thousand, if not fifteen lakh?"

"Mr Modi, why don't you take questions from the media?"

"Mr Modi, Sudhir Chaudhary?"

The fact is that even in cases where politicians are not so inaccessible, is our media asking the right questions? (Let me ask that again, since I must ask the right question.) Is our media asking all the right questions?
 
Have you heard a bunch of journalists grilling Parkash Singh Badal on his role in the days leading to, and after the Operation Blue Star even when the community marked the 34th anniversary of the tragic happenings? Did you see them shouting questions at the Badals as they walked by?
 
Did you see journalists shouting questions at CM Amarinder Singh about the exact role and position of Rana Gurjit Singh in the Congress party?
 
Did you hear voices of journalists not in the frame ever raising any question about the contribution of Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi to the social, economic, political, cultural, religious, educational or psychological health of Punjab that left the party with no other choice but to make him a minister in the Cabinet?

One of the easiest games in tough times is to indulge in media bashing.

That's not the game we are into.

Are journalists asking tough questions? Yes, every chance they get.
------
Readers, if you yourself run into Sudhir Chaudharys of journalism, shout out the greetings. No, not, "Sir, how are you?” Use the more appropriate one: "Sir, why are you?”
------
Are they doing their job in difficult circumstances? Please don't even ask; you have no idea how muzzling, muffling newsrooms and editors' cabins have already become.

Are they already a target of ire of the self-righteous outsiders? Yes, they are, and are we not adding to that?

We get that, and appreciate that. This is not about journalists.

This is about you, the readers.

Are you creating enough demand, putting enough pressure, pressing enough buttons, writing enough letters to the editor, sending enough messages around, making enough noise on your facebook account, forwarding this story to enough people?

Most importantly, are you resisting temptation to counter hate speech with more hate speech and refusing to indulge in media bashing of the liberals because they are not liberal enough and they are not shouting out the questions at the top of their voice when they are not heard?

These are tough times. Blasting journalists is like whacking your own ears. They open their mouth on your behalf. They ask questions because you are in a school or in an office or working on a project site or changing your baby's nappies and so you cannot be there in that press conference. If fear silences them, it is your voice being silenced.
------
Are you creating enough demand, putting enough pressure, pressing enough buttons, writing enough letters to the editor, sending enough messages around, making enough noise on your facebook account, forwarding this story to enough people?
------
Ask yourself why they do not shout out questions when they are not given the room to ask them nicely.

Do your part. They are doing theirs, to the best of their abilities.

Even when they know that someone can walk into the newsroom and solve his problem in a more direct fashion. Our newsrooms are not so well protected. In some sit Sudhir Chaudharys.

So shout out your question to journalists because they attend pressers but do not hold press conferences: "Sir, Madam, why don't you shout out some real questions?"

For example, you can ask the journalists to start shouting some simpler ones: "Sir, how are you? And how's your wife?"

Readers, if you yourself run into Sudhir Chaudharys of journalism, shout out the greetings. No, not, "Sir, how are you?” Use the more appropriate one: "Sir, why are you?”
 
(A version of this story was published on Friday, June 29, 2018 with a different headline. This is a re-touched version.- Ed)
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

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