Saturday, 6 January 2007
My Indian of The Year: Dr Prannoy Roy
The Indian news channels have been running silly contests on who would be the Indian of the year gone by, and some of the nominees mentioned range from the usual suspects to the ridiculous. So while there are the boring names like Amitabh Bachchan (what exactly has he done for the nation?), Nandan Nilekani (what exactly has he done for the city of Bangalore that’s gone to the dogs after the IT boom?) and Sachin Tendulkar (shouldn’t this ‘boy’ be contemplating gracious retirement?), there’s also Himmesh Reshammiya (are these guys thinking through their bloody noses?).
Ironically, the Indians of 2006, according to me, are the editors of our news channels, guys who preached AND practiced social activism like India has never seen before. And heading that list would be the good Dr Prannoy Roy of NDTV, the channel that led, catalysed and provoked public outrage against gross injustice. If Jessica and Priyadarshini found peace this year, it is mainly due to NDTV’s sustained campaign. I daresay if these guys had kept quiet, the files would still be collecting dust inside our hallowed courtrooms. They have demonstrated the power of the booming media and the burgeoning middle class in a new India that’s still mired in executive lethargy and corruption, and the way forward looks very encouraging.
People say the judiciary is the last hope of this country, I say it’s the media, led by people like Dr Roy.
My only hope for 2007 is that Dr Roy & Co stretch their energies and bandwidth to cover rural India as well, and recognise that the tragedy of a Priyanka Bhotmange is as significant as that of Jessica Lall. (Already witnesses of the Khairlanji murders are being threatened.)
I am planning on sending Dr Roy an e-mail congratulating him, and if you agree with me, leave your name in the comment box below, I will add it to the senders’ list.
Mumbai unsafe for women?
(Wrote this piece for the Mumbai Mirror, in case you missed it.)
The media has gone to town on the New Year night pics shot by a tabloid photographer. Those of a girl being molested at the Gateway. I think these Delhi-based channels have got yet another chance to trash the city as being totally unsafe for the ladies. This sort of story works for them… it’s their opportunity to scream, “Take that Mumbai, how dare you cast aspersions on sadi clean Dilli!” Well, here’s my take on the incident: Any woman who dares to hang around on city streets on a night like that, when, across the country, all the happening joints get taken over by extremely sloshed, sex starved taporis, is asking for trouble. These jerks are out to have a ‘good time’ outdoor (they can’t afford five star soirees), and some of them can, and will, take full advantage of heavy, yelling crowds. Which is why it’s perilous for ladies to be at Connaught Place in Delhi, or at Brigade Road in Bangalore, on December 31. And that’s the case too with the beaches and sea fronts of Mumbai. This is a known fact, which is why most of us keep away from these places as the year turns. Ergo, the reckless, bindaas babe who chose the Gateway to ring 2007 in, must take some responsibility for her foolhardy behaviour. Perhaps that’s the reason she still hasn’t come forth to file charges.