These days it is a pleasure to read the English print media if only for the simple reason that there is so much to read and so many opinions expressed which is the essence of democracy. The sheer number of columnists who write for the media is unbelievable. I do not think that any other country, including the United States can beat us. Practically all the columnists are experts in their own field; some of them were former ambassadors with a clear understanding of what is going on. Some are members of Think Tanks. But all of them are worthy of being read. My only dissent where the media is concerned, is the way sex is exploited by some of the dailies – do I have to mention their names – which is disheartening, depressing and disturbing.
Vast changes have taken place in the media world. Technology has to be thanked for it. Practically every day a supplement is brought out, full of ads. One wonders how much just the advertisements bring in as revenue. It must be lakhs of rupees each day. If there are sex crimes, can we state the criminals take their cue from some of our dailies? I want to know what the Press Council of India has to say on the subject.
Meanwhile, “Rahul Gandhi has been hogging the headlines of date. And no wonder. But he seems to have so few admirers in the media. For that matter Sonia Gandhi, too, seems to have few admirers. According to TJS George, writing in the Indian Express (January 12) “Rahul Gandhi has begun to lose ground in the Congress Party. If there is any dictatorship in any party, that party is the Congerss.” Says George, in his perceptive column: “Till very recently, a mere gesture from him would send shivers down the spine of senior leaders. A public disapproval was enough for the Government to reverse its stand on disqualifying tainted MPs. The hold of the dynasty was so total that it was unthinkable for a Congressman to go against its wishes in word and deed. Implicit loyalty to the family was the first requirement for advancement in the party … Outwardly that remains a fact of Congress life. But inwardly winds of change seem to be blowing in the inner chambers of the party. Experienced old hands appear to have devised ways to neutralise the inexperienced young scion of the dynasty….” The Times of India (January 18) said that “Congress is imperilled today (and) many in the party are privately predicting that it might sink to its lowest ever tally in this year’s Lok Sabha elections.” Noting that Rahul had chosen “to be a part time politician over the last decade, withdrawing from public engagements even during high-octane episodes” the paper said that “our country cannot afford a part time PM in 2014”. The paper said, in case of Rahul the fire in the belly is missing. It added for good measure: “It’s alright if Rahul Gandhi isn’t hungry. It’s alright to be a lotus-eater… But if there’s no fire in the belly to become Congress’s PM candidate, what does this say about how he would perform as India’s PM?”. Good question.
The Hindustan Times (January 18) said that at the recent AICC meeting “young Gandhi delivered a speech that was combative and well-crafted but said little about his future.” The Congress behavour said the paper “speaks of a mind-set that is defensive in the extreme, the mentality of an outfit in disarray, one that almost wants its misery in Government to end.” In contrast, said the paper, If Modi becomes PM and delivers “he may well rewrite the fortunes of his party and give it a much longer shelf life”.
The New Indian Express (January 18) said Rahul must spell out his development road map. As it put it: “He now needs to define his ideology and road map for development more clearly and be more accessible. His views on economy, international relations, national security and regionalism are not known. He should be clearer in his policy policy formulations and shoulder full responsibility for actions of Congress-led Governments.”
Even The Hindu (January 21) not exactly an admirer of Narendra Modi seemed to think highly of him. The paper said that his articulation at a BJP meeting “was important for what it highlighted and what it left out…. He came out with a ‘rainbow strategy’ of strengthening cultural and familial values, agricultural development, youth power…. etc”. From what one reads in our dailies, Rahul Gandhi has few friends and fewer admirers. The media says it all without hesitation.