Ever since rumours spread that the government was considering levying an annual license fee of Rs 500 on every colour TV, the media which hitherto had probably considered it better to leave well alone, has now begun to attack Prasar Bharati in strong terms. But the focus was largely on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. That the Government has since declared that it had no intention of levying any license fee has been ignored. A columnist in The Hitavada (July 15) demanded that the group of eight ministers formed to look into ways of making Prasar Bharati viable should have only one item on its agenda: Shutting down Prasar Bharati. ?This is because? said Alok Tiwari, the columnist, ?government has no respect for concept of public service broadcasting and Prasar Bharati has no competence to bring it to us.?
Shutting it down, wrote Shri Tiwari ?would be the best solution?. Tiwari compared Prasar Bharati with the BBC which later goes its own way because the (British) government ?has no say in the Corporation'sbroadcasting policy?. Said Shri Tiwari: ?It (BBC) lives the role of a public broadcaster to the hilt. Its new coverage is professional. It spends resources on making documentaries that thoroughly probe the most contentious issues. It asks the most probing and relevant questions?By contrast, what does Prasar Bharati do? How often is its first with the news? How extensive is its network? How professional and credible is its service??. The truth, is, it cannot hold a candle to even the worst of Indian private channels. Though billed as public service broadcaster, it is actually a government broadcaster. It remains in the grip of ministers and babus of Information and Broadcasting Ministry. There is no editorial independence?. In India no professional journalist would be found dead working with Prasar Bharati?.. When was the last time a drama or a serial produced by Doordarshan held us in thrall??..Why should we pay to keep the jobs of people whose sole expertise lies in boring us to death? Or in advancing the agenda of politicians in power? Prasar Bharati as it exists now is a cruel joke on us. The sooner we are relieved of this monstrosity the better it will be.?
This article follows an editorial earlier written in The Times of India (July 11).
The Government maintained a low key in observing the 1857 uprising, call, it ?A War of Independence or A National War?. The monthly magazine Jan Sangh Today (July) thought it was neither. An editorial said: ?For centuries the Hindus had suffered from Islamic oppression and knew Muslim rule as an enemy. It took the (East India) Company ? as an enemy'senemy and therefore a friend?.
The journal added: ?With the advent of the British, the Muslim was brought down from his throne to the floor and also made subject. They thus helped the Hindu to get a level playing field with the Muslim. Due to such freedom by default, the Hindu was able to achieve the Bengal Renaissance of the 19th century. In 1857, the Hindu civilian had no cause to fight the British and, by and large, he did not do so? Reading the details of what happened, it is difficult not to presume that 1857 was a revenge in which the Muslim vested interests were took by linking up with the mutiny of the sepoys?. There is therefore no need for Hindu India to remember 1857 except as a lost opportunity!?
In one of the top British Universities, they have stopped teaching Sanskrit, no doubt because India has long ceased to be a colony and there is no need to sound friendly towards Indian culture by introducing Sanskrit in University curricula. But at least the Greeks seem to still have some respect for a language that reflects an ancient culture.
According to the Marathi weekly Vivek ( June 24) then President A.P.J.Kalam was wonderstruck during his recent visit to Greece when his counterpart, President Carlos Papoliyas welcomed him in Sanskrit, saying: Mahabhagah, suswagatam yavan deshe (Oh great man, you are welcome in this foreign land!). Papoliyas told President Kalam: ?I have learnt India'sancient language in Germany and my old desire to greet the President of India in Sanskrit was fulfilled today. India'sancient language Sanskrit is very close to the ancient language of Greek Unani.?
He is further quoted as saying: ?Indian movement for freedom gave inspiration to wars of many countries for freedom. Now India has got the opportunity of leading the world in the 21st century and it is now leading the world in economic revolution.? One does not remember reading these quotes in any English medium newspaper. Perhaps they thought that the President of Greece was communal. Even conceding that presenting news is a highly subjective affair and news is what the news editor or his subordinate thinks it is, one is surprised that the comments of an independent fact-finding team headed by Justice M.Ramakrishna, former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir and later of Assam, on the killings of villagers at Nandigram on March 13-14 have not received any publicity. The team described as ?holocaust?, the killing of villagers at Nandigram.
One remembers that The Pioneer (July 8) did mention the Reports? findings which are frightening, but Buddhadev Bhattacharya has been spared. After all Buddhadev is a communist, isn'the? How can a communist indulge in a holocaust? Only Gujaratis indulge in such things, if our intellectuals are to be believed. According to the 70-page report, more than 1,000 people were injured and hundreds were killed in the violence, Buddhadev has literally gotten away with murder.
Talking to Sunday Pioneer Justice Soni described the Nandigram killings as ?genocide making the point that the inaction of the Bengal Government was a shameful act of collusion with perpetrators. He is quoted as saying: ?We were horrified to hear of the plight of the Nandigram victims. It was a most gruesome account of State-sponsored terror.? The report quotes eyewitness accounts of how drunk CPM men pounced on women like beasts to strip and rape them. The paper quotes the report as saying: ?They pinched their breasts, slapped their buttocks and injured their private organs.? Consider how the media would have pounced on the head of government if such a thing had happened in Gujarat. The Communists can do no wrong.