Saturday, May 1, 2010

India! Like a bird that slips from your hand! - 2.

I would like you read the earlier post -"India! Like a bird that slips from your hand!"- first, before you get on to reading this one.

I have been giving the impression I am forever critical of things here. You would think so, after you read the previous post, and I would be dishonest if I would not balance out on those views with this very pertinent, very creditable, very laudable role played by the Indian press, more particularly the television electronic media; comparable to the very best, anywhere in the world.

I follow three Indian television news channels here, Times Now, CNN-IBN and Headlines Today, telecasting in English, and very remarkable indeed, they serve as the voice of an India that values, not just a free and democratic set up, but in every news worthy instance, their views are expressed in full and factual, fearless, forthright, highly detailed exposure, and brook no nonsense !

Frank and candid opinions are expressed on the events covered, the politicians and the powerful are not spared, but the news coverage is balanced and very analytical.

Not just bad news, like Maoist attacks in the North-Eastern States, or a huge fire in an heritage building in Kolkatta, but information and revelations that prove embarrassing to the government of the day, or puts a big whig in the dock; nothing is compromised, nothing is covered up or retracted, there is no question ever of buying these guys.

Ofcourse, there is always the eye on the viewer ship ratings, whenever and at any time, when something more news worthy turns up, the old exposure is relegated to a back story and the new "Breaking News" is brought out on top.

Take the story of Sania, India's top tennis player. How the news on Sania's proposed marriage to the Pakistani cricket player, Shoaib, alleged to be married secretly to a girl from Hyderabad, is 'dumped' when, conveniently (from the TV channels' perspective, the opportunity to change news!), Shoaib divorces the lady from Hyderabad, a grand wedding between Sanai and Shoaib is shown on TV, and the channels move on to the far more 'newsworthy' exposure of the corruption and goings on in the Indian Premier League!

The Indian Premier League, India's top cricket venture, a new and dynamic idea, of teams representing Indian regions or cities (Mumbai Indians, Bangalore Royal Challengers, Chennai Super Kings) see this LINK , and each team owned by franchisees, like India's top businessmen, the Ambanis, or Mallyas, or Wadias and Bollywood actress Priety Zinta.

Brainchild of an otherwise lesser known businessman, Lalit Modi, the idea took India and the cricket world by storm, and the teams include players from Australia, UK, New Zealand, each tournament a festive affair on the American Baseball style, with cheerleaders, and crowds given fibrelights, and a lot of hoopla and night games lit by those huge neon lights.

Then, thanks to some very investigative and nosy journalists, smelling something wrong when a minister in the Union Cabinet (the Federal Delhi ministers) was caught unawares defending his girlfriend's bid to get the franchisee for one of the teams, led from one thing to the other, with the minister tendering his resignation! Lalit Modi, visibly flustered, making contradictory statements and tactical moves, allegedly brings out more dirt-corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and money transferred into foreign accounts.

The TV channels went after the whole thing as would similar media in western countries, even better, with "no stone unturned" and a full 24 by 7 coverage of the whole affair.

Similarly, every piece of news that should appall people, would be given prime time- honor killings in remote and not so remote places in the country, no matter how embarrassing it would be for the local authorities there, expose clandestine manufacture of spurious medicines, expose some absurd religious rituals one of which involved lowering children into a 'sacred' well for getting the water's blessings!

These media chaps have real guts, because powerful politicians can be expected to get back, but do not, because the awareness created by these exposes have made these politicos fear a public backlash!

Presently, a very heated debate is ongoing, through opinions expressed through SMS messages and phone calls to these TV channels, and frank and heated debates on Prime Time, on the death sentence on the lone terrorist survivor, from the 10 terrorists who held Mumbai on ransom by their ruthless attacks that killed some 166 people, in November 2008.

In the Indian judicial system, a death sentence from the lower criminal, anti-terrorist court, has to be confirmed by the higher courts. This takes time, and the angry public, ably supported by the media, are expressing their frustrations that, in the event of an Indian VIP, or someone close to power, being abducted in a new terrorist attack, horse trading would become inevitable- release this terrorist, and get your VIP freed! The public outcry is natural, to get the death sentence carried out before delay and soft pedaling by the government might lead to the whole thing taking a new turn, in the event some horse trading is required!

Right now the CNN_IBN channel is exposing foul deeds of huge and powerful foreign drug companies carrying out highly irresponsible and dangerous tests on human beings here, leading to untimely deaths or aweful side effects.

The Indian media, equal to or better than the best of it's kind in the world!

Here some more on Pune, also tweeted on my twitter geven46:

Pune-India Foreign media fooling all, ask government- give GDP growth of power, roads and water only, you'll get real embarrassing answers.

Pune India- statistical figures will show people have moved out of poverty, nobody will tell you they still get water for one hour daily.

Pune India-statistics show India GDP growth is 10%, nobody tells you the rich use inverter-alternate power,power mains get shut; the poor?

Pune India-call a guy at 4 pm, dont be surprised if he turns up at 7pm! Call up a bank for some details, promised return call, keep waiting.

Pune-India;eye opener, on property websites here, lower prices quoted on websites to attract buyer, on actual enquiry prices are higher!

Pune India-power shut down at 10 am. Will most probably be switched on at 6pm. Stewing in the aweful heat, wet with perspiration. Progress?

Whilst it's true India has far to go, fabulous wealth in grinding poverty, I don't understand why some people subject them to some form of ....................

Every world brand has opened shop in India, a huge middle class, on ground level a mindless bureaucracy, disconnect attitudes, frustrating

Pune India- wedding at my neighbors, huge number of guests, Hindu custom of leaving shoes at the door, but shoes strewn across my door!

Pune India, new, phone for a cab,good; sorry,it stops short of a good system. No record of customer address, no GPS, pl repeat address.

This is 'Wings-dial a cab' outfit. Very indifferent and unresponsive if there are no cabs available when you call; not even a courteous response on phone!

Please do not arrive at Mumbai airport before your check in time-you will be asked to cool your heels in a smelly, badly airconditioned corner of the terminal building, that too after shelling out Rs 60 ($1.50)!

India-if individuals n bureaucracy fail, ideas don't. India was one of the few places where people looking for home were welcome n thrived.

Now back in New Zealand, I am back to some blogging, some internet browsing. Sky TV has introduced "Travel Channel" and I find it very informative and very interesting. Fine serials, with some outstanding photography and well presented, on travel to Bangkok, to Cuba, to Sicily and a train journey through New Zealand's North island, green green and some superb track views and great model trains in Napier.

One particular docu. "Rajasthan" apart from pulling at my sentiments, the India that allures the tourist, makes one wonder for the millionth time how this land of forts and magic and vibrant color, rich in heritage and outstanding culture, thrives alongside the urban India of today, where the very poor smile their way through the massive wealth that has so far bypassed them!