Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Tehelka's coverage is, if anything, courageous. The stings are no revelations but are definitely the best weapons against the Hindutva apologists and deniers of the genocide and the role of Modi's government in it. But to be fair, videos of people confessing to their crimes have existed. Rakesh Sharma's Final Solution was a hard hitting documentary on the Parivar and was _banned_ by the then Central Government! So, Modi banning the TV channels evoked more of a feeling of déjà vu than surprise. The modus operandi of any
right wing patriarchal form of government (right or left) has always involved control of the media. So, is it a surprise that Modi responds in such a way? But I must admit that Tehleka has done one thing - it has brought the ghost of godhra back to popular memory and right now, it seems to be the most discussed topic in the blogosphere. But turn to any TV channel and Tehelka's sting is barely in the news and it is hardly a week old. Why? Is the media working for the Parivar or is it more sinister? [note: 11 people have been convicted in one case and 29 acquitted, as being reported today].
What shocked in 2002 was not only that Modi could conduct such a genocide and get away with it but also the incredible silence from the vast majority of students in my college. Students are supposed to be idealistic and are supposed to be more sensitive to such atrocities but somehow they seemed to be completely disinterested or incredibly cynical or amazingly right wing. There were some who did express their antipathy to what happened and there were some, who I knew were the silent type, who were as disturbed as I was but somehow they seemed to be too few. I realise now that it is apathy that is the most dangerous disease affecting, particularly, our youth. The screening of Final Solution much later was sparsely attended with a part of the crowd vocally supporting Modi! I thought it was an important documentary, one that hardly got much support from the media. The only reason why the government can ban a documentary and get away with this is because of lack public support for it.
Coming back to Tehelka, the reports are terse and factual. A lot of them are old stories and in my opinion, tehelka's coverage seems to be hurried. One other thing that I noticed about the coverage was these quotes:
Tarun Tejpal says "Read And Be Afraid"
Ashish Khetan, the journo behind it all, has moments of sheer terror while working on this.
Are you afraid now?
I found the on camera confessions in Final Solution far more chilling mainly because they did not use hidden cameras and the incredible amount of security one must feel to confess to heinous crimes without fear of punishment in front of a camera is chilling. What I find more frightening is the rest of India turning a blind eye to what is going on. What I find terrifying is those people on the comment thread of digg arguing that 1000 is not enough a number to call it a genocide.
Tehelka's enduring legacy will always be its sensationalism but it still is responsible jounalism. Pragmatic because sensationalism sells and what they have done with their stings is important in the context of our democracy.
But will this spur people to action? Does this signify the end of the Parivar? Hardly. Am I being excessively cynical? Only time will tell.
But I do hope that some TV channel has enough courage to show Rakesh Sharma's and Anand Patwardhan's documentaries.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
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Friday, October 19, 2007
What do you call a movie that is full of stereotypes and hasn't the courage nor the guts to deal with reality and hides behind the mask of "Inspired by a real story"?
A Hollywood movie.
Talk to me is a stereotypical movie about a black man from the 60s. I do not know much about the history of the United States but from the little I know, the 60s were perhaps the most tumultuous times in their history of this century. And if you are making a movie about a black man in the 60s, you just cannot ignore the era and the historical context. But in this movie, the history of the 60s comes up and lives on the screen for five minhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifutes, maybe less. Amazing! Truly incredible how they manage to do that.
Now I have never heard of Petey Greene before I saw the trailer for this movie and read a little about him on the internet. From the wikipedia page:
He also became a community activist, having joined United Planning Organization (UPO) immediately after his release from prison. He founded Efforts for Ex-Convicts, an organization devoted to helping former prisoners succeed in legitimate ways. He railed against poverty and racism on his shows and on the streets, participating in demonstrations during the height of his popularity. [Link]
But this aspect of him is never shown or mentioned in the entire movie. Without this knowledge, the guy's reason for fame, from the movie, would seem to be his trash talking, "man from DC" appeal and nothing else. It would just have seemed to be a story about a ex-con who became a popular radio host.
I expected the movie to be something that it actually turned out to be.
I haven't yet seen any of Spike Lee's movies but I do have one with me that I plan to watch sometime soon.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
In a dramatic twist of sex scandal, a middle aged man who accused his sex partner of stealing his genital has now turned into an accused after the accused lady was forced by the police, on recommendation of a herbalist into another intercourse, in a bid to restore his manhood in Bassan Jiwa, Airport Village, Abuja.
"It is true that one woman herbalist was called to the station and she indicted the accused as the person who stole the man's organ. The herbalist said the accused lady used a mirror to take the man's organ away from him. However, in the laws of the land there is no provision for witchcraft and mysterious stealing of genitals. If such things happen, we normally forward the matter to the court. But in this case, I settled them out of the station to give peace a chance", he [edit: referring to Assistant Superintendent of Police, Peter Thazilza] said.
Yes, Nigeria is that country where most women's genetalia are mutilated as 'female circumcision'. But it just gets worse...