Monday, February 22, 2010
Telangana 48: Idiotic journalism
What happens when journalists become idiots?
Here is an example of a journalist who allows his prejudice cloud his judgment and reasoning. His name is Shaik Ahmed Ali and he writes on IBN Live.
While Yadaiah's love for Telangana is undisputable, I suspect whether he willingly attempted suicide. At least I don't want to believe that Yadaiah's suicide bid was a spontaneous reaction. The authorities need to find answers for: who were all aware he would attempt suicide; who were was possessing the suicide note and why; when, how and who brought his life-size photographs in the campus and how the media representatives got access to his suicide note even before the police got it and why did he choose the place where the media cameras were present. The suicide bid was perfectly planned and timed in order to get maximum publicity. But who planned it?
Most newspaper reports and media reports already provide answers to many of these questions. There was no need for Shaik Ahmed Ali to ask the same irrelevant questions. In fact, it was his duty to answer those questions to his readers to allay their misinformed suspicions. Instead, Ali is just playing to prejudices of his audience.
It is well known now that Yadaiah brought with him a bag in which he had few bottles of kerosene, a set of photographs of himself standing next to few prominent leaders – this can be explained because he was working at video/photo studio and participating in Telangana agitation, a set of his school certificates, and a suicide note. When he ran towards the police after setting himself on fire, it is natural for anyone to look around, find a bag, open, and show it to the nearest media person. That’s how the media got access to his suicide note before the police got hold of his belongings. Media was inside the cordon closer to where Yadiah was standing while the police was outside the cordon.
One doesn’t need a hand of CIA or Mossad to explain something that is obvious, and yet Shaik Ahmed Ali wants us to believe that there is a conspiracy behind self-immolation of this leaderless, rudderless and clueless young orphan kid of Telangana. It is duty of a journalist to see the events in the right perspective. If he thinks there is a conspiracy, it is his duty to uncover it, not just succumb to his prejudices or pander to the detractors that form his audience.
So far, over a dozen students committed suicide 'demanding Telangana', but circumstantial evidences tell a different story. Almost all of them wrote similar text in their 'suicide notes' complaining of delay in formation of Telangana state.
Let’s understand this first. Every Telangana person will tell you the same story why they are upset today. They are upset because of ‘delay in formation of Telangana’. It is like asking pre-Independent India why they are upset. They would have told you the same thing – they are upset that ‘Britain is not granting India its independence’. There is no need to cook up a conspiracy theory to understand what most people want. If you had asked almost any student protesting against Vietnam War in US in late 1960s and early 1970s, you would get the same answer – they ‘don’t want the war in Vietnam to continue’.
Ask any student, any teacher, any miner, any lawyer in Telangana, he will tell you the same thing- we are all upset because of the delay in formation of Telangana. So, if every suicide note says the same thing, it is not a conspiracy, it is a testament to the cause of Telangana that all our wishes are desires are the same.
In all cases, media got access to the suicide note before the police got them. The authorities should find out if somebody was trying to exploit the sentiments of Telangana students by abetting them to commit suicide.
Only a fool who has absolutely no idea of what a people’s movement is would write something like that. Its like saying the authorities should have found out if someone was abetting young people like Bhagat Singh, Azad et al to do what they did. Right now the students are kicking away the politicians, throwing stones at their houses and cars, because these politicians have abandoned the cause of Telangana, clearly demonstrating that they are guided by the cause of Telangana more than anything else.
Committing suicide is unfortunate, but nobody is egging them on, nobody is promising them a place in heaven surrounded by 72 virgins. Many of them did not even seek media attention. They committed suicide because of disillusionment and extreme disappointment of what’s happening in Telangana. Even mature people like us get into a mood swing when we are let down like the way we are. We know very clearly that we are being played and there is nothing we can do about it. It’s the helplessness that is driving these students to commit suicide, the same helplessness a farmer in Telangana experiences after taking loans to dig bore wells and never getting water in spite of 7 attempts, the same helplessness that comes from knowing that River Godavari is only 10 km away but the irrigation scheme that got started is now left abandoned because the authorities stopped allocation of funds.
Telangana people don’t need anyone to egg them on to participate in a rally or protest. They come out in thousands at a single call. Suicides are unfortunate. It is taken up by those who think there is no hope left. We should address the current suicides the way we address the suicides of farmers. We need to rectify the system instead of trying to find out who has brainwashed this farmer to commit suicide.
Another factor that needs to be probed is the source of funding for this agitation. It takes millions of rupees to run a small political campaign, take election for an assembly seat for example. Therefore, one can imagine the kind of money that is being spent on organising rallies and public meetings in 10 districts of Telangana for over two months. It is therefore, impossible that students, who survive on pocket-money given by parents or scholarships, are self-financing the movement. There are certainly external sources of funding for the entire movement. Who are those financiers and why are they spending money to instigate violence?
Shaik Ahmed Ali has no idea what a people’s movement is. There are many organizations that exist right now in Telangana which take contributions to fund rallies and protests. While organizing Human Chain, I personally took money from friends, families and well-wishers, and there were other organizations like TDF that immediately helped us with printing pamphlets, distributing them and so on.
We organized the entire event using few thousand pamphlets and few phone calls/SMS. To send some pamphlets to Adilabad, we didn’t even have to send a person. We just gave it to a bus driver who handed it over to the right contact in Adilabad. When we went to make prints, the printer gave us huge discount because it was for the cause of Telangana. When we faxed to various media outfits the night before, the guy took only 50% of the actual price because it was for Telangana. There were times when we got things for free.
When we went to various colleges to distribute, we didn’t spend much time there. We had to meet the local JAC leader give him pamphlets and move to the next college. The students didn’t ask for anything. They didn’t even ask who we were, what organization we represented. It is well understood that we are all united in the cause of Telangana, irrespective of our political affiliations, religious affiliations, caste affiliations.
I didn’t know it was so easy to mobilize people. I was quite amazed. We didn’t have enough time. For the work we did on a single day, I thought about fifty people would show up on the Tank Bund. A friend and I who arrived first on Tank Bund were the only two people to show up. It was 9:15 AM in the morning. When only ten people showed up by 9:45 AM, we thought it would be a major disaster. We jokingly told ourselves that if nobody showed up we will just go to a movie and forget about the Human Chain. By 10:30 there were few hundreds, and by12:00 Noon there were thousands of people chanting Jai Telangana. After a while, we didn’t even have to monitor the chain asking people to stand in line. There were so many others who were volunteering.
One call to Telangana NGOs brought few hundred people. There were students, there were Muslim organizations, and there were women outfits. The student leader in Adilabad who mobilized lakhs of people to form 120-km stretch called me to say that they did it all with INR 14,000 of pamphlets.
When Osmania University campus mess was closed, a local industrialist in Hyderabad was happy to provide all the meals for few days, telling himself he has done something for the cause. This is how a real people’s movement is carried out. There are people, thousands of them, ready to chip in and contribute.
Ali’s brain is in his ass. He is not thinking properly. His prejudice is clouding his judgment. Such journalists are the root cause of many social problems in India. They create lies and they catch on because they are many detractors who want to spread it.
Back to Telangana, forcing the elected representatives of Telangana region to resign from their post is the most unique and interesting feature of this agitation. More than a strategy to put pressure on the UPA Government to concede Telangana, it looks like a tactic by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi to increase its tally in both the State Assembly and Lok Sabha. Assume that all MLAs and MPs from Telangana belonging to all parties resign (and their resignations get accepted). Consequently, either the Rosaiah Government would fall leading to dissolution of assembly or fresh polls or the President's Rule is imposed to facilitate by-election on Telangana seats. Since TRS is spearheading the Telangana movement, it would simply sweep the by-elections.
There seems to be no limit to Ali’s idiocy. The ordinary people, like us, like the students, the common people of Telangana, all of us want Telangana. And many of us are NOT TRS/KCR supporters. We all want to force our leaders to resign because we remember the promises they made on the dead bodies of students who committed suicides for the cause of Telangana – they promised they will renounce and relinquish their positions for the cause of Telangana on the designated date. The date has come and gone, they have not resigned. It is the people’s pressure that made TRS leaders resign. Back then, it was the people’s pressure that made KCR to continue his fast. It is the people who are leading this movement. To think that entire Telangana movement is to aid only one political party makes you an ignorant fool. I am amazed at your lack of comprehension of reality.
Is your community supporting separate Telangana? This question is not being asked to Reddys, Kammas, Kapus, Velamas, SCs, STs, Christians, Sikhs or any other community. But almost all Muslims in Andhra Pradesh are being forced to answer this? Those living in Hyderabad are bravely maintaining silence; a few of them living in other Telangana districts are expressing support while those in coastal Andhra are openly opposing Telangana. Since Muslims constitute about half of the total population in Hyderabad, they have remained neutral to the whole issue following the dictate of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen.
We all know that many Muslims groups are supporting cause of Telangana. Only certain sections of Hyderabad are not. That’s because of the diktat of MIM. Remove MIM from the picture and those Muslims will overwhelmingly support Telangana. So, what does it show? While rest of Telangana including Muslims is acting independent of their political affiliations, only a small section of Hyderabad Muslims are acting on diktats of their political affiliations. Who is brainwashed here, Rest of Telangana or that small section of Hyderabadi Muslims?
The only victims are the students who are being used as pawns by everyone.
Any student of history or journalism understands this – most people’s movements have been led by students. When it is led by students people do agree that it is independent of a political party or ideology. The demonstrations for freedom in Tiananmen Square in China was led by students, the anti-war protests against Vietnam War or Iraq War in USA were spearheaded by students. Many a times it’s the students who spearhead such great campaigns and bring in a change.
Idiots like you who do not have an iota of knowledge of contemporary history should not become journalists. I am not even sure how you became a journalist. If I was running IBN Live I would fire you right away – not for your bias, but for your lack of knowledge of contemporary history.