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Engorged on Anna, a feral media orchestrates opinion by inculcation

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Daily Mail
Sep 12, 2011
The Anna Hazard Now

Apropos of Sasi Kumar’s column Oedipus Vex, why so much euphoria for this ‘civil society’? What about those who do not come under the purview of the so-called civil ones? Every hegemonic group—man, white, rich, higher caste etc—consider “the significant other” represented by the woman, the blacks, lower castes, drug addicts, sex workers, lgbts etc to be uncivil. How can one be sure of the antecedents and biases of these “chosen ones”? Do they even represent the whole of our masses? And talking of them, how many of them even know the real content of the bill? I fear that with the present players, a “uni-dimensional” act will be the result. Hopefully, both government and civil society will know how to respect the other’s view. We can’t become a victim of ethnocentric jingoism. For dissent is the very spirit of democracy.

Nilanshu Kumar Agarwal, Rae Bareli

Obviously, being a Congress sidekick, Outlook is unnerved by the possibility of a strong Lokpal prosecuting its bosses. Don’t worry, you have lots of company. Almost the entire Engish print media is working overtime to dig up dirt on Anna. You are a worthless bunch. I am glad at least the TV media is doing its job.

Ravi Jain, Hyderabad

This is nothing but a ‘Ba ba black sheep, have you any wool’ charade.

Harikumar, Coventry, UK

The Jan Lokpal bill will only be effective when bribe-givers are also brought under its purview. I am not referring here to the nukkad-traffic-havaldar variety, but high-level corruption perpetrated by the greed of our country’s industrialists.

Aditya Jambhekar, on e-mail

The Anna team’s recent comments of not allowing communal forces like the rss to come onboard the anti-corruption agitation was extremely painful. It’s a shame that nobody, particularly our so-called ‘intelligentsia’, protested against this fascist, lopsided view of an organisation which is probably the most secular and nationalistic ‘civil’ organisation in the country.

Yogeet Sharma, Jaipur

Anna Hazare’s fight was not against any foreign government. He is part and parcel of the Indian people and, in his own words, every Indian is a ruler of our country as a responsible voter. He and his vigilant volunteers have to point out wrongs, try to correct things, show the right way. Agitation has brought him the limelight, but that alone won’t bring about results.

S.C. Srivastava, Allahabad

Aug 20, 2011
01:26 PM

"Apart from the implicit risk to human sensibility of a relentless, adrenaline-pumping media, the law of diminishing returns is bound to kick in sooner or later."

The media have the capability to develop new tricks to keep the adrenaline rush going, so don't hold your breath!

Dallas, United States
Aug 20, 2011
01:39 PM

Renuka Chowdhry told Arnab Goswami, that the nedia coverage of Hazare was like something out of Peepli Live. She later apologised and withdrew the remark That is something wchich no Congressman has done with respect to Manish Tewari's outburst.

Chennai, India
Aug 20, 2011
04:14 PM

News T.V. channels of India are dancing girl dance on TRP.If child  fall in borewell they show this drama hour after hour.Today they are making Anna Hazare`s hunger strike as a entertain comedy. They Are concern not  seriousness of fast.they want to increase their TRP.Suppose within hour most interesting and entertaining accident happen they turn their attendant from Anna`s fast to this new drama. They have only faith in TRP.Whole world go in hell long live the TRP. that give them bread and butter.They are making fool to Anna and watching viewers..

Ramesh Raghuvanshi
pune, India
Aug 20, 2011
05:49 PM


Wonder if you saw that program where Renuka C referred to Peepli Live. She shouldn't have come on the show. Made a complete fool of herself. Imagine someone beating Arnab on his own show in terms of cutting a sorry figure :)

vikas kalra
delhi, India
Aug 20, 2011
06:13 PM

Wonder if you saw that program where Renuka C referred to Peepli Live. - Vikas Kalra.

Yes I did. See post #2.

The Congress has a set of singularly inept spokespersons. Manish Tewari - the less said the better, Renuka C - Ms Clueless, Rashid Alvi - conspiracy theorist. The BJP would be better off keeping quiet on television chat shows and let these people speak to their hearts' content.I doubt if even the most sympathetic anchor can think of any innocuous questions which this  lot will not kick into the back of their own goal.

Chennai, India
Aug 20, 2011
07:10 PM

Sashi Kumar's problem is he thinks himself left out of the whole derring do. He is green with envy. So this vitriol. Media may be erring on the right side of the right idea. But telling them to keep off is an apology for the corrupt.

At the cost of repeating the cliche' , like the PM & his men, the motto is to malign & slow-poison the messanger rather take the message. This is the trend.They could not take Anna Hazare on by brawn or deceit. Bit of a brain now is being deployed. The elite & professional TV talk show guests , corporate lawyers , journalism teachers & such like are coming on in droves & would tell you they basically  support Anna's cause but would wax eloquent in threadbare legalase or in clever verbose why the way Anna is doing it would not do.

The government has by now has been  proven not only knee deep in corruption but unbeievably inept. Inept because they lost any degree of connect with the man on the street. The danger is now is from these naysayers who are out to sow subtle doubt in the fight ,  the figters & their supporters.

Aug 20, 2011
07:32 PM

Manish Tewari - the less said the better,

The Delhi constable who took Anna Hazare in custody & took him to Tihar on his own initiative is a fool. He should have taken him to Chandni Chawk & set him free. Anna said he would sit in  fast wherever he is stopped. Manish Tiwari could then come on TV & say that Anna tummy-full in succulent kebabs from Karim's.

High decible lawyears are also Prime Minister's undoing. Arun Jaitley for once   talked sense when he said in Parliament the other day that one major problem  in handling Anna is far too many glib talking lawyears are involved on government's side.

Aug 20, 2011
07:45 PM

Just understand this mornoric ramblings of this author: Don't doubt the CON gandoo worshipper's intelligence

 >> Hazare and his cohorts couldn’t have asked for a better opening to this

FIRST CALL ANNA and his team all kinds of names.

>> For the media, this is, no doubt, a delectable situation replete with possibilties. And, indeed, the generally barbed coverage fully befits the occasion.


>> The relationship between such media and their essentially middle-class consumers is becoming uncomfortably incestuous.

>> Increasingly, the channel’s role seems to be to trigger and promote a form of direct democracy by the middle class. Politics and politicos are routinely debunked. Even representative democracy doesn’t seem to cut it.



Never in their whole life they considered Parliament supreme. They thought only DIE-nasty and their puppets can pass legislation. If the DIE-nasty or their PUPPETS propse a law, not even PM (leave MPs) can make changes to it because the law has blessings of the madam SONIA. Suddenly these people remember how supreme is the Parliament.

Hyderabad, India
Aug 20, 2011
09:21 PM

If there is a sense of proportion, even a sense of morality can be dispensed with.

ashok lal
mumbai, India
Aug 20, 2011
09:23 PM

Renuka C will never learn. She was busy shooting her mouth off on NDTV's "The Big Fight". Her latest own goals. (My comment's in brackets).

Vikram Chanda. - Why was Anna taken to Tihar. surely he could have been placed under house arrest, kept in a guest house or even a suite in rashtrapathi Bhavan?

Renuka C - Tihar was most suitable because Kiran Bedi had instituted a lot of reforms there.

Again when explaining the reasoning behind the detention.

RC - You know for Independence Day the police issue a Red Alert. We (who's we) decided Anna should be detained for his own safety. We can't have people running round the streets. (Can it, therefore, be inferred that the decision was not a unilateral one as stated in Parliament,)

Comment by a panelist - But independence day was on the 15th. Anna was arrested on the 16th.

RC - The red Alert is not for one day it's for a whole week. (When it started and when it finished and when it was announced are not known).

Comment - But in that case how did the presumed threat dissipate in 12 hours.

RC -

The blank after the last line is intentional. Pity Renuka didn't maintain the silence when others were speaking. Amazing how these people continue to manufacture stories, which even the super spinmeisters avoid, and which no one believes.

Renuka was also asked to explain Tewari's statement, which she didn't even attempt. Instead she skirted the issue by trading charges with Chandan Mitra. Renuka also said that Alvi had not said that the USA was supporting Anna's movement and was quoted out of context. She really thinks people are stupid, not realising that Alvi's comment was seen and heard by everyone since it was on most TV channels.

Kanch Iliah repeated his diatribe (published elsewhere in this issue) saying that there was no Dalit or OBC in Anna's team or in the protest. The proposed selection committee of former Nobel Prize winners, Bharat Ratnas and Magsaysay award winners was designed to keep power with the upper castes. He stopped short of demanding reservation in the Lokpal and the selection committee.

The most cogent remarks were made by Shekhar Singh of the NCPRI.

Chennai, India
Aug 20, 2011
09:36 PM

I forgot. Kancha Ilaiah thinks all those supporting Hazare are "crazy people".

Chennai, India
Aug 20, 2011
10:04 PM

The Congress is SO arrogant about winning the next elections, that it does not send its top spokespersons to TV programs to win debates.

Male Unblocked
Chennai, India
Aug 21, 2011
11:42 AM

What Anna's bill proposes is a Lokpal who will dictate how all the organs of the state will work.. Some of the provisions of the jan Lokpal bill are well-intentioned but impractical, like the case of covering lower bereaucracy.. Even if you consider 1 person in lokpal department for every 100 govt employess of other department, Lokpal will become the biggest department in india, given how many different department current govt has.. Also if MPs come under the lokpal bill their action/speech in parliament, where is the independence of elected people and thereby people. Remember for every action there is someone who doesn't like it. and that person/s can attach any meaning/motive to that action and file a complaint. So MPs wont basically be able to function.. Judiciary also comes under it.. So All the 3 branches of government legislative (parliament), executive (PM & cabinet) and judicary which were supposed to 3 independent pillars of democracy lose their independence and come under Lokpal. In effect you have changed india from democracy to Lokpalshahi ( a kind of dictatorship).. and nullified the constitution of india.

USA, India
Aug 21, 2011
03:36 PM

Anna is a true resemblance of a millions of middle class in India.  Now when people have an opportunity to react, they do it in a manner which satisfies them.   What I don’t understand is that why the so called parliamentarians keeping quite on corruptions since last six decades after seeing several scandals and the country losing heavily.  Some one has to make a voice and it is hopefully heard loud. 

ramachandran nair
Muscat, Oman
Aug 21, 2011
05:21 PM

Media is doing their duty.They are not forcing us to believe they are showing us the reality.Even during our freedom struggle they had used newspapers.Now media grown.And Anna Hazare movement is not middle class but Indian's movement.How many big business people caught in 2g scam.Cos tey told if tey pay bribe oly tey ll get the license.And finally receiver and giver got punished.So india became less attractive for fdi.people lost jodb.All are suffering due to corruption.

coimbatore, India
Aug 21, 2011
07:28 PM

There is a Hazare Hunger Strike : Media (TRP) Synergism when it comes to the resultant effect of this agitation. In the process both feed on each other - increased support for the movement with increased TRPs for the channels.

R V Subramanian
Gurgaon, India
Aug 22, 2011
12:51 PM

 Sashi Kumar is a pleasing TV presence. I used to watch him (and Nalini Singh) during the hey days of Door Darshan Monopoly. The standard JNU ideology would be debated and fostered endlessly on DD News. The travails of the downtrodden, the problems in Agriculture, the greatness of our Constitution, the wisdom of The Iron Empress (Indira Gandhi), the universality of corruption, the threat from the CIA and the foreign hand, the land reforms in West Bengal, NFDCs pioneering new movies, Tabassum's minority positions, you get the idea. Watch DD news today and you'll find the same mindset among the debaters, panelists and programme anchors.

During this monopoly period, news consisted of reciting statements made by ministers,  announcements of this or that scheme named after a member of the new royal line  (Nehru-Gandhi), and weather reports. India Today had a cover page once "Tedium is the Message".  Audiences loved Chitra haar and the Sunday movie, because that was the only relief from the tedium.

There would be furious protests by the opposition when they did not get balanced coverage on DD. "Mandi House" had iconic status, like they talk about "North Block" and "South Block". Who's up, who's down, which producer gets what program etc. It was a shortage economy that mirrored our Bajaj Scooter-booking (5 years to get it after booking). You know, many Babus today miss the discretionary powers this economy gave them.

Watch Lok Sabha TV today to find constant pictures of various prominent MPs of yester-years sitting like convocation students. See the worshipfulness towards these politicians. You'll get a nostalgic kick out of it.

May be Sashi Kumar should confine himself to that. It is after all the viewer's choice to switch the channel or shutt off the TV, if he is against eyeball marketing or ill-gotten TRPs.

Tearful Onion
Jhumri Talaiyya, India
Aug 22, 2011
02:00 PM

I cannot figure out what the title (“Oedipus Vex”)  and the subtitle of the article (“Engorged on Anna, a feral media orchestrates opinion by inculcation”) mean, and  I am sure 99 % of my fellow Outlook  readers are as cluless about it as I am. Likewise, the author has made learned references to two American gentlemen, Benedict Anderson and Reuven Frank, practically unknown in India.

.It is obvious therefore that the author is a show-off who believes that it is a mark of great scholarship to liberally sprinkle one’s paragraphs with obscure words and “drop names” of seemingly important people whom few readers may have heard of.  

.The author is obviously a part of a tiny class of people outside politics who are very comfortable with corruption and for whom Anna’s campaign is a pointless, even  dangerous exercise. The author is entitled to his opinion, however odd and unrepresentative it may be. But he shouldn’t try to pull thin wool over everybody’s  eyes. For instance, he tries so hard to establish that Anna’s campaign has been  “orchestrated”  by the media –“ particularly  some TV channels” . The author is blind to the reality that it is the nationwide angst and long simmering frustration of the people that are the prime movers of Anna’s  movement.

 Tragically, the  author’s case against the media – and hence against Anna’s movement --is  very similar to the one trotted out  by Arab leaders (including Gaddafi and Assad) caught up in their countries’ Spring revolutions, namely that the uprisings were instigated by (a) the media (western TV channels and social media) and (b) western countries.





jyoti rani
Delhi, India
Aug 22, 2011
03:29 PM

Yes, Mr Sashi Kumar. you and JNU and CPM care for the poor, the dalits, the minorities. Yes the middle class is casteist and must be held to account for untouchability, atrocities on women etc. perpetrated in India at any time starting from today back upto the start of history 

On every issue, you and the the tribe, whom you represent, will point out that the dalits and the minorities are not with any movement, whether by JP or by Anna. In fact you would have liked to say the same thing about M K Gandhi except that he handed over India to Nehru-Gandhi family, which is the divine family line you worship.

The people are all foolish, who are being misled by the channels. Did you not read Bukhari's exhortation to Muslims? Do you require any other proof that Anna is being propped up by RSS? When will you use the new guns, purchased for the forces? Like Ramdev, attack at midnight. But use guns, which kill. Thereafter bring Rahul to condemn the barbarity of ManMohan Singh. Let ManMohan Singh go to jail and let the new Rahul Gandhi rule with the help of Sashi Kumar and others of his ilk.     

Ahmedabad, India
Aug 23, 2011
09:18 AM

As Antonio Gramsci once opined in his ecumenical treatise, the antidisestablishmentarianism of Judith Butler's  hypochondriacal floccinaucinihilipilification leads to supercalifagelisticexpialadocious carpal tunnel syndrome.

Back when I was in college, we called these kinds of fellows "pseuds". Is this still the name college kids use or is there a more current name for guys like Shashi Kumar?

Fedup Indian
Hyderabad, India
Aug 23, 2011
10:12 AM

Is this still the name college kids use or is there a more current name for guys like Shashi Kumar?

No they don't use the same name these days. College kids these days are straight forward sensible persons. In Hindi medium they call them chamchas, in Enghlish its flunkeys.

Btw, was Gramsci the  kind of flunkey like you quoted? 

Aug 24, 2011
10:36 PM

ba ba black sheep have you any wool.

coventry, UK
Aug 24, 2011
10:37 PM

ba ba black sheep have you any wool.

coventry, UK
Aug 24, 2011
10:52 PM

Thanks, Manish Banerjee and Fedup Indian, for opening my eyes to the great masterpiece of the genre of which Sashi Kumar is a persistent, though as yet undistinguished practitioner. May his persistence be better rewarded and may he soon at least reach the foothills of the lofty hills the Gramsci masterpiece is. Am I making sense, dear Manish and Fedup?

jyoti rani
Delhi, India
Aug 25, 2011
09:09 AM

A minor CORRECTION in my post. In line five, please insert "that" after "the lofty hills",  so that it reads: "......the lofty hills that the Gramsci masterpiece is."

jyoti rani
Delhi, India
Aug 25, 2011
12:57 PM

Arundhati Roy,and the less abrasive Shashi Kumar now, have their own views, of  the Anna Hazare movement on differing counts and hence, at varying notches. The bitter flavour is not exactly unwelcome; as the present din, brightlights and mirages swallowing the populace will make the logically ordained, final disappointment when it occurs, lead us, (including the excited middle class in action) into greater cynicism that much faster!  As elaborated in 'The Future of Freedom", all factors of life have had parallel change of standards; hence leaders, issues, media, politicians and columnists,... all have hit new highs or lows. Thus, Arnab Goswami and Shashi Kumar tend to depict differing levels of sobriety. Quite natural.

KSC Nair
Indianapolis, United States
Aug 26, 2011
09:36 AM

Despite your disapproving tone, the wide TV coverage of Hazare movement is exactly what the country needs. You must be a Congress sidekick, who is unnerved by the possibility of a strong Lok Pal prosecuting your Congress bosses. Don't worry, you have a lot of company. Almost the entire Engish print media of the country is working overtime to dig up dirt on Anna and cast the anti-corruption movemenet in negative light. You are a worthless bunch. I am glad at least the TV media is doing its job.

Ravi Jain
Hyderabad, India
Aug 27, 2011
12:18 AM

Kudos to Anna team for letting us discuss the issues of corruption. But a query haunts me. It is called a civil society. Is it not a modernist perception to talk about civil society? I stress the word civil. Why is so much euphoria for this civil society? What about those who do not come in the purview of this category of the civil, those who are uncivilized in the ordinary sense of term. Every hegemonic group—man, white, rich and higher castes etc.--- consider ‘the significant other’ represented by woman, the black, undercastes, tribals, drug addicts, sex workers,bisexuals, homosexuals and lesbians etc . to be uncivil. The term civil itself is a misnomer, as it does not include the multiperspectivist mélange of Indian society. Setting aside this argument, does this so-called civil society group represent whole of Indian civil society. How can one be assured that these social activists represent the whole of the masses? The mad rush of people on the streets in their support does not mean that they have the supp ort of whole of India. The only indicator of people’s representation is the parliament. If they have such a mass appeal amongst the Indians, why do not they get elected and pass whatever bill they like. Why do these people not ask their followers to shun their apathy for casting the votes. Indian middle class rarely votes. By this process, they can get all the bills passed according to their whims.
Next, in democracy, there is the presence of the multiple point of views. How can they say that their version of Lokpal is better than all others. They should not evade debate. Laws should be made after thorogh discussions among the diverse groups of the society and the parliament is the miniature form of Indian society. Even then, they may be allowed to discuss the issues relating to Lokpal.
Next, why does not team Anna ask his followers to stop bribing the corrupt officials? If they do it simultaneously with the Lokpal bill, it would be a great deterrent on the corruption.
If too much power is invested a single institution, who would assure that that isnstitution would noty become dictatorial in due course of time. There should be checks and counter checks on the Lokpal too. More importantly, the appointment of the Lokpal should be through public. We, the people , should have the right to elect the members and officers of this institution, otherwise it would turn out to be anarchist oligarchy with power in the hands of the select few.
At this juncture, even referendum is no solution, as public opinion, filled with herd mentality, is swayed by Anna wave. The mob cannot think; it acts as it is asked to think. So, the results of the referendum would not be objective. Moreover, how many people know the real contents of the bill. So, this bill should be passed after thorough discussions amongst the various sections of the society, otherwise Govt. may pass a ‘uni-dimensional’ act. Both government and civil society should also know how to respect the other view to avoid looking a victim of ethnocentric jingoism, as dissent is the very spirit of democracy.

Nilanshu Kumar Agarwal
Rae Bareli, India


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