English TV presenters hectoring and haranguing their “nation” of 4 million—eyes glowering with rage, showing the middle finger to decency, offering cheap, ‘chai’ shop wisdom—is a gladiatorial spectator sport.
A lot like WWE’s Wrestlemania.
It is scripted, choreographed faux fighting—more entertainment than enlightenment—and the “blows” look real only because of deft camera work and nifty sound engineering.
Once the words ‘good night’ are uttered and uplinked, anchor and audience, and the assorted a-holes (including yours truly) who populated the “panel discussion”, move on to more pleasant things in life.
Like, exchanging phone numbers for offline pappi-jhappi. Or, nursing a Yamazaki or Hibiki. Or, swinging some book/speech/travel/whatever deal.
Tomorrow is another day.
Tomorrow is another “big issue”, another “big question”.
Tomorrow is another chance to spot and vicariously slay some (mostly mythical) monster which matters zero, zilch, nada to most honest, hard-working Indians.
“We, the Effete” think—we are made to think, we have persuaded ourselves to think—that our democracy is getting better and stronger because someone was made “accountable”.
Because someone’s ‘chaddi’ was taken off, live and in full colour, in front of our “nation” of 40 lakhs, which is but 1/300th the size of India, which is 0.03 per cent our population.
We think so because we were part of this “show”, as spectators, baying for the heads of the crooked, the corrupt, the criminal and the communal, slapping our thighs, blood dripping down the sides of our mouths.
Stop deluding yourself.
Nothing’s going to change except the BARC ratings next Thursday, the ad rates some time later, the designations of some, come appraisal time, a few months down the line.
Nothing’s going to change India’s relationship with Pakistan because “we said like it should be said” to some hapless ISI-designated scare crow masquerading as a talking head.
Nothing’s going to change Lalu Prasad Yadav‘s image in the rest of India because he spoke to some ‘goonda’ on the phone because when did he have one any way?
“Manufacturing Consent” has emerged as TV’s contribution to ‘Make in India’ at the hands and mouths of the imbeciles who think the big issues confronting this country are the flag, the anthem, the animal….
The real issues before us are our schools, colleges; our Universities, institutions; our anganwadis, primary health centres, hospitals; hunger, starvation, malnutrition; poverty, homelessness, joblessness—and peace and harmony.
Not yours, not at all, because you are safe, secure, smug, but of those around you, mostly of those you don’t know, don’t see, don’t care.
Your favourite primetime lecturer won’t talk about these issues because the scoreboard of those who promised to take us back to a long-ago golden age and bring heaven on earth is bare.
AD still stands for Anno Domini, bhakton, not Achche Din.
So, what do you do about these boring, oxygen-depleting, un-sexy issues of disease, despair, depravation, death?
When was the last time you—yes you, not your TV anchor—got angry and picked up the phone and spoke to your Corporator, MLA, MP on something? Or sent an email?
When was the last time you—yes you, not your TV anchor—gave a piece of your mind on what is being done to a great religion and to our great nation in your name?
When was the last time you—yes you, not your TV anchor—got out of the gates of your hated “community” and spoke up against hatred, injustice, inequity, inequality?
The Republic of India, the real one not the wrestling ring, will be a very diminished one if “We, the Effete” outsource our concerns to our brain-dead TV stations and anchors.
If we cannot speak truth to power like this man below.