Sunday, December 19, 2010

#barkhagate and so called Mutiny of 1857 the parallels

I would not waste words on #barkhagate because I am assuming that those reading this are internet savvy people and they can easily google the term.
A little background about myself, I am an amateur historian specializing in the so called 'Mutiny' of 1857 I am so obsessed about it that I even wrote a novel based on events during 1857 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of this glorious event.
Warning what you read on may sound childish and amateurish to you but it is important to me very important.
Now when I first listened in to one of the tapes of Barkha Dutt talking to Nira Radia about cabinet formation I was horrified, I never liked her for her lopsided views but this was shocking even to a cynic like me. The story broke first on twitter and I expected people on twitter at least to leave aside everything and concentrate on pressurizing the media into playing the tapes. Initially the enthusiasm was there but I found that majority of people on twitter the ones I respected and thought could really make a splash in cyberworld with their numerous followers did not participate at all in using the #hashtags #barkhagate #mediamafia #dalalmedia etc. The journalists on twitter did not participate in the process at all.
Now from the beginning something that bothered me were the similarities between this struggle to expose corruption in media and 1857 and I describe them in brief below

  • While young things people in their prime were fighting with their primitive arms and ammunition, the greatest power of their times influential people and those with resources were involved in pastimes like flying pigeons, playing chess or watching mujra you might have seen this in movies like Junoon and Shatranj ke Khiladi similarly on twitter people were talking about club football, cricket and hollywood moviesa and Sheela ki Jawani.
  • Rulers of provincial kingdoms waited for events before taking a stand they wanted to see which side looked like winning - the British or the Indians and this delay on their part resulted in lack of a focussed and overpowering movement against the British similarly we have seen in the last month that major mainstream news media are still equivocal in their response and they refrain from using names of journos involved and prefer to refer to the tapes as just Radiatapes
  • Most of the rulers did not help the so called mutineers because they had owed their very existence to the British similarly on twitter and elsewhere 'pseudo-celebs' who have been falsely glorified by media have either altogether refrained from commenting on the tapes or have brushed the whole thing away as something insignificant
  • Many people were in the employ of the British or in industries or offices directly or indirectly operated by the British and they acted as if nothing had happened like industrialists in Ludhiana and officials from Bengal in British army they neither supported the British nor supported the so called mutineers similarly some people on twitter seem to be involved in either telecom industry or media and they act as if the radiatapes expose or barkhagate does not have anything to do with them.
  • Some people did fire the first shots without thinking about results in 1857 and were never equivocal in their stand like Nana Sahab, I guess N. Ram can be compared with him in this regard who was clear in his just criticism of Barkha and Vir other journos have by and large given statements that would help them change their stand if things go in favour of Barkha and Vir so that they could plead they were actually helping them out !
  • The biggest generals of the struggle in 1857 were not war hardened soldiers but amateurs who had never even seen battle in some cases for example Tatya Tope the greatest general of 1857. They were just clerks similarly in media expose we see that it is not the real journos, politicians or activists who are leading the fight it is investment bankers, dalal street brokers, software guys, engineers, amateur writers etc. who are trying to educate the masses and lodge their protest
  • People differed on the ways to fight the British and there were lots of views finally the fight against the British was piecemeal half hearted and at several theatres and such a fight was bound to fail similarly on twitter I see some people think that using hashtags in their tweets is childish or they think they should stay away from the crowd and show their individual brilliance in their tweets consequently Barkha supporters have pointed out that there are only 10 people or so opposing Barkha greatly diluting this whole protest thing on twitter. So well don't say I did not warn you.
  • ............................................................... keeping this blank because 1857 failed but the final chapter of barkhagate or exposé of media is still to be written
My advice and plea if you have the slightest shame on you jump on to the bandwagon and expose corruption in media so that they may cleanse themselves of the black sheep and expose corruption at every scale in our country!
Jai Hind!