Category: Politics & Social Issues (Page 1 of 4)

Reading-Book-with-amazing-view

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: Shattered stories of our times

‘How to tell a shattered story?

By slowly becoming everybody.

No.

By slowly becoming everything’.

True to this, Arundhati Roy is able to become the shattered selves of each of the characters she pens down in the book. It is a story of one, and it is the story of others, as we read.

‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ is a fiction about current affair calamities woven together into a book about the modern conflicts. It mirrors through the length and breadth of the country’s many tragedies like a pendulum swindling across unsymmetrically.

 

I’d still rate ‘God of small things’ as a better book but this is still one amazing book I’ve read in a while. Although, full disclosure, I read only a select few. The half-read books on my shelf are now shouting, ‘Say..finish reading only a few’. However, if you are looking for a recommendation, then I’ll say, yes, go ahead and buy one!

It has been a few years since I read ‘The God of Small Things’ which was Arundhati Roy’s first novel. A Booker prize winning debut novel. When I first read it, it was a fascinating insight of Kerala, at least a little, Communism, caste-system among other things which formed the backdrop of the lives of two twins. They were central and everything else was background.

‘The Ministry of utmost happiness’ keeps the background running parallel along with the many protagonists that are scattered through the storyline.

It has an interesting ensemble of characters. There is a ‘hijda’ Aftab who became Anjum, who is central to her world of other characters, ranging from her gharana, to people who walk through and along with her, literally to the graveyard. A graveyard which gives refuge to the shattered souls of the world. Then there is Tilo, the non-beautiful dark skinned woman, who is loved by three distinctive men with shattered stories of their own. Each of the characters walks across others’ lives. Making a difference, to their own, and others they touch.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness captures the unrest in Kashmir as well as the plight of ‘naxals’. It talks about transgender lives and their conflicts, changing face of our society, communal riots, political commentary, and things which as a subject, you won’t tag as fiction.

Yes, sometimes, Roy seems to go overboard in blurring the line between political commentary and fiction, and if you’re acquainted about the happenings, appears like a view point pushed deliberately. But this happens in the case of issues, I’m familiar with, the ones I’m not; seems fascinating for the lack of a better word. But, even with this, the commentary does work in giving you an overview of the times.

The joy of reading the book was in how the characters appeared to say so much without telling it. The book is like a narration of a theatre play where the actors are very emotive, grabbing your utmost attention and giving you a semblance of happiness, grief and more importantly an understanding of their worlds.

Thank you, Arundhati Roy for your second novel!

indian muslim

When will we get freedom from fears?

Just a little over a day is left when we’ll be celebrating Independence Day. The 70th Independence Day!

If I were in school, the practice for a patriotic group song or a speech in remembrance of our Freedom movement would be what everyone would be looking at. And not to forget sweets at the end of the program. I also remember heading over to the nearby Police Station with dada to get the sweet packet from. No problems in admitting that sweets were the only motivation for the visit to the local thana.

The last time I attended Independence Day celebration, it was in 2013, when I was still a student. Although thanks to the National Anthem being played in theatres, singing the national anthem has become synonymous with movie-watching. Of course, there is no harm in standing up for less than a minute to sing along our National Anthem. And even if there was, we should just shut up. Who knows a hyper-nationalist sitting next to you might kick you out of the theatre, right?

This fear isn’t limited to a closed theatre only. Posting anything against this holier-than-thou government and their actions, might land you a few abuses, a long-never-ending argument and maybe even a trip down to the local police station. Even if I wouldn’t like to believe that, all the relatives and family friends on my timeline, make sure to tell my mother about the possibility of it.

When will we get the freedom from thi fear?

If people of the stature of Hamid Ansari can be targeted for speaking about this ‘fear’ among the minorities, then who the hell am I? I’ll be bulldozed by a mob or my inbox filled with hate! And no, I don’t even need that goddamn Sararara app for it!

Remember that time when Aamir Khan opened his mouth and got branded as an anti-national? (I had written about that here: http://reveringthoughts.com/2015/…/24/intolerance-reactions/) and if we can just change Aamir Khan with Hamid Ansari, I’ll still hold true. The reaction to the statements about Intolerance is actually proof of where we stand. This has become such a routine thing that the irony died a long time back. The backlash multiplies if you happen to have a Muslim name.

After 2 days, I’m certain to find out skull-cap-donning kids with the Indian Flag from across the country to reiterate our patriotism all over my Timeline. Frankly, only when we don’t have to show or share such images, then I’d be truly proud.

The expectation from the majority that we have to ‘show’ our loyalty is the saddest thing to witness on a day when our country got independence. Of course, how optimist I would like myself to be, I know that things are not going to change. Especially with the current narrative being pushed through mainstream media and the thousands of paid trolls.

Anyway, all of this isn’t something new and of course, there’ll be another version of this after a few months. The divide between communities and ideologies will keep on increasing.
Remember that time when we used to say, ‘Sab neta chor hain’ and almost everyone used to agree on that almost unanimously? Now, can you say that? Now, only the Congress Netas are corrupt, regional parties not with BJPee are minority-appeasement parties (as if that’s a bad thing), and only BJPee can do Vikas.

After all, 3 saalon me bas vikas hi hua hai. Hai na ?

Political Times_Nitish-Lalu

Political times: There’s no permanent Bandhan here

I’ll admit it upfront that I liked it when Nitish Kumar broke up his alliance with BJP and decided to go solo in his previous term. I loved how pulled up a Naveen Patnaik in order to become the face of Bihar. Brand Bihar.

Of course, with the ‘2014 wave’ still a phenomenon, it would have been difficult for Nitish to hold onto his seat. The elections, if fought alone by JD(U), would have suffered the consequences of incumbency. People, the world over, are pretty impatient.

Call it the fight to survive or ‘masterstroke’, the mahagatbandhan proved to be necessary. The ‘Grand Alliance’ or the ‘Gatbandhan’ helped seal a victory for him.

Notwithstanding the corruption charges, Lalu Prasad’s RJD commands a sizeable loyal vote bank among Yadavs and Muslims. And even though Congress hasn’t been quite the favorite in many of the Indian States, let alone Bihar, the BJP-fearing population still sides with the grand old party. And the calculations proved right. Nitish as the face of the Gatbandhan, an anti-BJP front, and Voila! Victory. Let’s leave the argument of whether Nitish would have won or not, had it not been for the alliance, for later.

Now, there will be people who loved Nitish when he was with BJP, hated when he went against and have started loving him since he’s back with them. Of course, the section which hated him for being with BJP, started loving him briefly and now would be back to square 1. Do you fall in any of these two categories and are trying to reason as to which side you’re on?

Nitish is a clever politician. Has always been, will always be. They don’t refer him as Chanakya for no reason. I won’t be surprised if he breaks away from BJP once more. And why should we single out Nitish? How is Mayawati, the supposed Dalit leader, any different? She was one of those who advocated for Modi after 2002! But hey, political-alliance-memory is short-lived and almost everyone has backtracked their views. Leave aside their views on policies and reforms, views of politicians about another change as frequently as the next season. There are no permanent Bandhans here.

Now, let me now go back to the vote for Mahagatbhandhan. Was that vote against BJP or not? If yes, then do you think this new combination is like going against people’s original vote?

Oh, don’t look for my views on this. It doesn’t matter. What matters is how you perceive it. My political predictions rely more on what people should be ideally doing rather than they actually do. Hence, mostly wrong.

If a good marketing campaign appears to change the perception of Yogi Adityanath, which even includes his Kurta and his barber, then anything can be done! Our media works over time if propaganda comes with corporate piggy banks like cherries on top.

Regional party-dominance is the only reason that BJP has not been able to crack many of the states. Up until now, at least.

Of course, they’re pretty determined to make that happen. If you want to know which states are their focus, all you need to do is keep an eye on ‘riots’ being covered by mainstream media. Ring a few bells?

Outrage

(Few) not-spoken Outrages

Consciously, I’ve learned to stay away from political debates on social media. Yet to perfectly follow it to the t, but yeah, sort of there.
 
I know it won’t last long but let me be happy with the thought of having mastered this.
 
But I see a lot of people on my Timeline continue to indulge in this pointless exercise of playing the game of who-will-have-the-last-word. Not complaining, I sometimes enjoy watching it from the sidelines.
 
I do get an inkling to burst all of that piled up outrage once-in-a-while, but a few deep breaths and Phew! Back to sanity.
Remember that episode of Friends where Chandler has to stop himself from making jokes? And then he had to get it all out in one go?
 
Well, I’m not Chandler. Not that funny too. But I have ended up accumulating a few things that I should get out. So, here it goes:
 
1. Please stop reacting or getting outraged over morphed pictures of your God, Prophets, Religious places. And if you really are ‘hurt’, file a case and let the law of the land decide. Oh, you don’t have faith in the law? Too bad. Take your hurt and pray to your God. But please stop with getting agitated and spend that time praying instead.
 
2. Stop confusing Beef with just Cow-meat! Most parts of India where you get Beef mostly is of Buffalo. Except maybe in North-East and Kerala. (Download and check data from Government: https://data.gov.in/catalog/stateut-wise-estimates-meat-production)
 
 
3. Please don’t share WhatsApp forwards as ‘news’ or ‘information’. Most of those come into circulation by IT Teams of different political parties. Unless you’re not completely sure of it being genuine, please wait. No one is giving you a medal for sending them that news first. I mean, educated folks still believe Kanhaiya Kumar said, ‘Bharat tere tukde honge’ and supposedly there is some video proof of that! Because, well, f*** logic! And yes, if you have that video, ‘please share it with me.
 
4. Just stop with the BS of media being presstitutes and all those, ‘Media won’t show you this’! You’ve made Media to be the way it is now. Stop watching noise-emanating-debates. Don’t give them their TRPs. And if you do, don’t complain.
 
5. Stop giving advice to celebs on social media on how they or their spouse should dress, what they should eat and what they should say. No one gives a damn whether you like or dislike ‘nail polish’ or not.
 
6. Uniform Civil Code is not possible to be implemented in India. Even if you exclude the ‘Muslims’ out of it, there’s no possibility of having a Uniformity across regions, customs, etc in India. Marriage customs in North, South, North-east, Tribals itself differ from A-Z. And no, Polygamy is not just limited to one religion or custom.
 
7. Banning Azaan? Sure, let’s ban the use of loudspeakers for a 3-minute long azaan, 5 times a day. But wait, should that be the only thing to be banned, then?
 
8. Stop encouraging our Media and those loudmouths to continuously tickling China. They’ll come and kick all our asses. And no, you cannot ‘boycott’ China. If you even wanted to, you’ll have to throw off many of the things you own. Even the phone from which you share those ‘BoyCott China’ messages.
 
I can continue to add points to this list but let me keep that for another day. Or Maybe just one last one.
 
9. Not watching Game of Thrones and sharing ‘Am I the only one who hasn’t watched a single episode yet’ does NOT make you look cool. Not that watching makes you any cooler, either. Just saying.
 
Phew! I can sleep now!
Not in my name

Not in My Name Protests: Thank You!

Just watching the protest telecast from across the country is so selfishly reassuring. I know that a lot of people, entirely unrelated to each other, felt the pain of a 16-year old being lynched to death. But I feared that it’ll subside and dissolve in the loud noise of a series of debates and social media hashtags. This being translated into a protest by people across cities speaks. Speaks louder than the TRP-driven television debates.

Thank You!

To all those who went out there to protest on #NotinMyName, a very heartfelt Thank you. This means a lot to me and many other Muslims who feel scared of what’s been happening for a while. And no, I have no shame in admitting that I did felt scared. The usual joy that Eid brings with itself was missing and was replaced with the uncomfortable silence and fear.

To those who did not go out (for various reason) but wanted to, I’m thankful to you as well. Your sense of solidarity and mere acknowledgment that whatever is happening in the name of mob lynchings isn’t right, gives us hope. Hence, thank you.

It would mean a lot if this movement brings at least a little dent to the non-sporadic cycle of violence, but this isn’t easy and I’d be a fool to wish for a quick-fix to the divide among communities. This division is not new and has exploded from time to time. However, the institutional support and legitimacy to the violence were not so visibly lent by the administration in such a large scale (and for such elongated length of time) as is evident now.

I’ve constantly asked myself as to where this hate comes from? How different would be the teaching in someone else’s home than mine? Distinctions at my home stopped at ‘how we should greet people’. A namaste to a hello to a salam. We’d happily mix it up to say ‘Salam’ to a  very dear Sitamma Nani at my Ammi’s hometown and say Namaste to an Anglo-Indian Fernandes Dada when he’d come over to meet his friend (my dada). And each of them would happily reply back with a big smile on their face.

I’m afraid every time my little brother goes out of Jamshedpur or when my father wanted to visit Surat in Gujarat sometime back. Both of them sport a beard and place a skull cap; along with the traditional kurta pyjama. I don’t want to fear this. I want everyone to travel as much as I do, but I cannot get over the fear that it entails. This fear only manifolds itself even more with every lynching incident. There have been 18 so far in the last 22 months!

Understandably, many protests like this #NotInMyName or the Black band protest on Eid might seem like the liberal show-off, but to a Scared Muslims like me, this gives us hope that we are not alone.

Thank you again to all those who went out and to those who supported them.

Eid in times of lynchings

Celebrating Eid in the times of lynchings

Zahid. Iqhlaq. Mazlum. Imteyaz. Mustain. Pehlu. Junaid.
 
I do hope that these names ring a few bells. Although I won’t be surprised if they don’t. Going by the outrage meter allotted by Media houses to any attempted subjugation that Muslims face, you might not remember any of these names.
 
But I’ll help you out.
 
These are some of the people killed by the so called ‘Gau Rakshaks’.
 
I’m still trying to understand as to what they are trying to protect. They clearly are terrorists. Of course, many would only associate the word, ‘terrorism’ with Muslims. Only a suicide bomber shouting ‘Allah-hu-Akbar’ is a terrorist. Bharat Mata ki Jay is yet to be accorded that status.
 
As I sit in the vicinity of my home while the world around me gets busy in preparation for Eid-ul-Fitr, images of Junaid’s mother refuse to leave my thoughts.
 
What are the odds of a ‘mob’ barging into my house and raiding the refrigerator to take out Beef?
 
Is there a possibility of a ‘mob’ getting into an argument for a seat on a train/bus which might lead to something ugly?
 
Is there a chance that a name on which you can put a familiar face on; might become a part of that list above?
 
Irrespective of whether your answer is a yes or a no; the thought scares me as well as almost every Muslim I meet these days.
 
If you’ve always wondered why the 14% Muslims (Yes, we are just 14% and won’t be overtaking Hindus) stay in ghettos, then this is it. Countless riots over the years have literally forced us to confine ourselves into not venturing out.
 
Chaand raat (the night before Eid) is supposed to be one of the most joyous times for Muslims but this year it just doesn’t feel right. The possibility of being a 15-year old Junaid traveling on a train and being killed by grown up men scares me. The possibility of even roaming around the northern part of my own country scares me.
 
And let me assure you, I’m not the only one feeling scared.
 
A part of me wants to outrage over the killings and ‘do something’; while a part of me looks at the rest of you and feels ashamed and helpless.
 
I do know there’s a lot of good out there but the more you ignore the reality, the more we get pushed back to the dark ages.
 
Many Muslims around the country will be sporting a black armband to the Eid-Gahs when they pray in the morning in solidarity with the families of those innocents killed by the Cow terrorists. 
 
If you think we should feel scared, then just keep your voices down and let incidents like lynching be the new normal. Let this be the ‘Acche Din’ promised to the country.
 
And if you do care, then say something. Say something to your Muslim friend other than asking them for Biriyani or Sewaiyan.  
 
Eid Mubarak!
Why we should wait before reacting to news

FOMO and Fake News: It’s a Match!

I’m pretty sure that our generation, and the plus minus one, will be referred in history books for two things FOMO and Fake News. Of course, books also have to be there, in the far future.
 
Not surprisingly, both contribute and encourage each other.
 
For the uninitiated, FOMO refers to ‘Fear of Missing Out’. Yes, an abbreviation. The fear that we might not get to do what others are doing or it might be too late. Perhaps it was prevalent since ages, but we got time to nomenclate even this syndrome.
 
Fake news, of course, is the favorite brainchild of propaganda machinery. And thanks to the mighty Internet, is everywhere.
 
Reports by NASA suggest that in every 100-meter radius, 3 out of 5 people read a fake news!
 
Can you believe that ?!
 
Well, if you did. Then you read another fake news. You see, how EASY it is?
 
Coming back to, how FOMO and Fake News go together about their business of making us restless. And Fools. Yes.
 
Fake news is exciting, controversial and prone to sound urgent. It lights up bulbs in your heads, adds or pushes you to share it as well. I mean, don’t you want to be that ‘helpful’ ‘cool’ and ‘smart’ person who shares it?
 
And you have to be the first one. At least in your circle. Right ?
 
There’s your FOMO.
 
And wow, ‘jab mil baithe do yaar, FOMO, fake news aur ek idiot behind a smartphone‘. Just as real as Bagpiper Club Sodas and Music cassettes. Come on, we all beloved they were just that ?!
 
The lack of a filter in our brain and no sense of journalistic standards in publishing stories in an age where every WhatsApp group and Facebook page with a few likes can become the ‘Source of the news’ and when opinions become facts, yes, we live in that age.
 
So now when we think of people who believed in the earth is flat as stupid. We should remember that generations later, our ‘documented’ history will reveal a lot more insight about us.

Freedom to Be

How do you feel when you hear the news of someone being killed in a terrorist attack ? Or an attack by Cow-Vigilates ? Or restrictions imposed by one religion on others ? 

If your reaction is not a uniform outrage, then you need to reason yourself why it isn’t so. Reason hard, my friend. 

And if you do get outraged over the​ acts of these lunatics, then hey! Welcome to the club!

The common connection that binds these attacks is the mindset. The mindset which thinks that they are ‘doing the right thing’. 

Be it the terrorists who kill innocent people or the lynch mob that kills people for eating beef, transporting cows and in future maybe even looking at cows, are the same. If you still cannot see the distinction then, I’ll again advice you to reason with yourself as to why they are different. 

There is no sense of guilt when people commit these crimes. In their head, they are doing ‘what is right or that they’re carrying out God’s work.

And this thought process is not about ‘religion’. The people who actually carry out these activities don’t know much about their own religion. All they do is follow someone. It wouldn’t be wrong to add ‘blindly’ as the appropriate adjective for that. 

Even when their conscience pulls them away from doing something inhumane, it is by following their supposed ‘leaders’ that they embark on the ‘right’ path. 

I had talked about the ‘credibility’ of people whom we follow and how that can harm us in an earlier post. It is quite critical to allow ourselves to be exposed to new information. To make ourselves open to experiences beyond what we’ve always known to be right. 

I’ve shared numerous restaurant tables with people where someone’s having a beer, or bacon, while I’m eating beef. Sure, I don’t like the idea of alcohol and I won’t drink it myself. But should I beat someone up for drinking ? Or should someone do the same because I eat beef ? 

It all comes down to just one thing. Freedom to choose. Choosing to eat, wear, speak whatever one wants. 

Sure, if there’s something that offends anyone, there has to be respect provided for it too. Forcing others to accept your choice is wrong and there’s no two-ways about it. 

We all have to learn to accommodate others in our lives. It can mean certain compromises too but that’s how a civil society functions and thrives. 

Concept of one-rule-applies-to-all doesn’t work in a multi-cultural democracy like ours. 

The country does not belong to one community. The country does not speak any one language. The country does not eat just one type of food. 

You don’t have to agree with others’ choices but learn to accept it. 

understanding RIGHT-TO-EDUCATION

Understanding Right to Education Act

“…to accept it (this truth) is to recognize that every culture contains itself its own doom unless it pays as much attention to the education of the mass of mankind as to the education of the exceptionally gifted people”

Professor Hogden in Mathematics for the million, London, 1942

 
I read this excerpt in Nehru’ Discovery of India and it still echoes strongly. Education has to be the priority for the masses. 
The Right to Education (RTE) bill was passed in 2009 (came into force on 1 April 2010) and since then only 8% schools have come under the provision of RTE.
Now, what exactly is the Right to education anyways?
RTE makes education as a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14. All private schools have to reserve 25% of seats for kids admitted on the basis of economic status or caste based reservations. The Central and State government (70-30 partnership, approx) will reimburse the schools for this.
I’m pretty sure many of you have forgotten that such an act even exists. Well, blame it on the poor PR skills of the previous government. And of course our amazing bureaucracy.
But we cannot solely blame the bureaucracy. If you look at the budget allocation over the years, India’s % allocation on education when compared to other countries’ is dismal. Going by data from 2012, we rank 143rd in the list of countries based on education spending as a percentage of our GDP.
Appalling!
On paper, RTE is revolutionary and could have helped in bringing more number of kid into primary education. Implementation has always been a key problem in our country and this is no different.
There has been a fair share of critique to this act because it’s a reform for the past. Focus on quality education and changing the outcome of what we currently dish out as the ‘final product’. If you consider numerous reports of humongous numbers like 50% of engineers are unemployable, it fits the critique too. What kind of education are we giving?
However, with a sizeable population, which doesn’t even have access to primary education screams louder, the priority has to be about fixing that. Everything, of course, needs to be done parallel but primary education needs to be fixed!
Access to primary education helps open doors to a new life for many families.
Sure, RTE has a lot of structural issues and that may be one of the reasons for its implementation as well. But this has to be part of ‘News’ and ‘debates’ instead of whether we’ll get to see a temple/Mosque in Ayodhya.
This is just a start to understanding RTE and reforms around education. I’d love if you have any valuable inputs to add to this. This might not be much but we can do our bit. Right?

In your Opinion ?

I’m currently watching a TV-show called, “The Good Wife” and about to finish the 2nd season. So, no spoilers, please.
The show has the backdrop of a law firm and a lot of legal jargons, courtroom dramas, etc. One of the recurring judges has the habit of asking the attorneys to add, ‘in my opinion’ at the end of each statement. For e.g, if the defense claims that the accused is not guilty of the charges, the lawyer arguing his case will have to say, ‘Your honor, my client is innocent, in my opinion’.
 
As much as it appears funnily annoying and makes the judge appear to be a jerk. It makes so much sense.
 
If you can re-imagine all the conversations you’ve had with ‘in my opinion’ you would never be taken for a ride.
 
Everything one says is an opinion. Even this piece you’re reading now, is an opinion.
 
I’ll let you in on a Trade secret. Not such a big one, though.
 
From the time I started writing Movie reviews (http://reveringthoughts.com/category/movies-entertainment/), I’ve made sure to not read its review before I watch the movie. Even though I write and want people to read my reviews, I strongly believe (again, in my opinion) that it’s so easy to form an opinion on the movie based on what I’d read prior to watching it. It isn’t like I don’t read reviews but I read them after I’ve written mine.
 
Sure, we believe someone’s opinion based on their credibility. It does take time for people to build that credibility.
And that’s why all the propaganda starts with making you agree on few aspects of the message to help build their credibility. The brainwash requires a long chain of knots, tied slowly, to chain you up.
 
People have to realize that a large section of the society, once they’ve build a sizable credibility, will try to reap a few fruits out of it too.
 
It is critical to have the filter of ‘in their opinion’ to every news, every speech and every action. In the age of cheap social-media driven PR, anyone can become a hero or a villain. The only thing that matters is, whose opinion people give-in easily.
 
P.S. In my opinion.

There’s a lot in a name

This story popped up on my Timeline a while back. http://m.hindustantimes.com/india-news/rejected-for-jobs-40-times-this-saddam-hussain-goes-to-court-for-a-new-identity/story-Npxi3VwfOC5EJl0QdpFZnO.html

It describes the ordeals of a 25-year old who faced difficulties in getting a job because of his name.

Saddam Hussain.

It reminded me of how we, as kids who were to appear for our Matriculation exam in the following year, were surprised. Surprised to learn that our friend, whose name was Saddam, has decided to change his name.

If I recall correctly, most of us were of the opinion that its just paranoia. We were kids without the knowledge of how the real world functions. I’m glad he changed his name and avoided unwanted troubles.

I also happened to know a really nice guy with the name Osama. He never changed his name and its been years’ since i met him and he will definitely have a long list of interesting stories to tell.

I do wonder what do people with my namesake are doing ? Will I be responsible for actions they commit or are even blamed for ?

Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor had to face a lot of trouble for naming their baby, Taimur. Although, I’m glad they did not change it!

Choosing a name is no more limited to auspicious time or letters. A quick Google search of all the infamous personalities is now part of the checklist as well.

Shakespeare wasn’t far-sighted enough, I guess. There’s a lot in a name. Not everything is Rosy after all.

Why we should wait before reacting to news

Why we should wait before reacting to ‘News’

Remember that time when we used to wait for that sound of the newspaper being thrown at our doors by the newspaper guy? It used to be me or Dada anxiously waiting.

24×7 news channels weren’t there back then and newspapers were the thing. The timeline of reporting was longer and whatever reached us in the morning was quite certainly a clearer picture.

With the advent of News Channels, things changed and news could reach us instantly in the form of ‘Breaking news’. In this hurry to make it reach faster and claim, ‘We were the first ones to report it’, fact-checks stopped being a priority.

And then Twitter happened and news needed to be even faster.

I don’t know how many of you have watched, “The Newsroom” but there’s an interesting episode which talks exactly about this issue. To give you some context, the tv-series is a take on issues regarding news production, news and conflicts and of course journalistic ethics. This particular episode, which I mentioned, is how a news channel decides to wait before declaring the result of an election. Even when all other news channels have already reported it, they decide to wait and it turns out all others were wrong. And they were right.

How many news-channels would do that?Running a story without fact checking seems to be the norm these days. Everyone wants a headline. The Junta too needs just a headline to react and the wait-it-out and see approach seldom works.

A few days earlier, there was a ‘controversy’ where a reality show singer has been issued a ‘fatwa’ for not singing. Everyone was reacting to it, articles were written, facebook statuses were unleashed and what was the result? That there was no fatwa! Don’t even get me started on stupid Fatwas becoming prime time news.

Few days before, when the Gurmeher Kaur issue was the talk of the town, Minister Kiren Rijju reacted to questions from journalists. Later, he himself said that he hasn’t watched the video on which the entire controversy was based!

The Issue with dangal actress Zaira Waseem to Kanhaiya Kumar, who is the face of anti-nationals, to a long-list of ‘controversies’ which could very well be a side-column of a newspaper is the front page news. Probably because everyone needs a ‘front-page’ news item every hour!

Our FOMO instincts make us share the fake news stories circulated by Political IT Teams based on our confirmation bias.

When news channels start competing with Entertainment channels, this is bound to happen.
A lot of blame also has to fall on us, who are actively living on social media. Before writing something as a reaction straightaway, let’s try to wait for a while for the story to develop and then express our ‘valuable’ view-point. Our high-degree of FOMO needs to be controlled!

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