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Peace March, Bangalore: A Report

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Media fuels a Louder voice that calls for War on terrorThis morning I got this email fwd from a friend in the US, calling citizens to gather at cubbon park,  and express their feeling with the terror attacks in Mumbai. Yes, the past few days I have been tracking this news across the prominent national TV channels. My blood boils, my heart broke on seeing the the Taj Palace burn.

Tears rolled down my cheek watching baby Moshu orphaned on his second birthday. I dont have words to explain the grief on hearing the story of the Muslim brother who lost his entire family at CST station and did not have sufficient money for proper burial for his family.

Yes none of us want these to ever happen to any of us and i was more than willing to go and express my feeling along with people who might have gathered at cubbon park. This time my wife too said she wanted to join me, pleasant surprise it was.

As I drove along the KSCA stadium at the signal on my left i saw a huge gathering of people, media, lights and possibly some page 3 personalities.

The Two Faces of Bangalore

Media fuels a Louder voice that calls for War on terror
Media fuels a Louder voice that calls for War on terror - MG Road
We then parked our vehicle at the cubbon park entrance and was walking across where i came across 2-3 young people that i could identify with, I asked them where do we light the candle or gather. They told me, they did not want to be a party to the media noise and wish to have a more peaceful expression of feelings.

Ahh! i said to myself there are some chaps like you and me who are here not to be on TV.

Bangalore's Calm expression of feelings 
Bangalore's Calm expression of feelings.
I wanted to see the ruckus that the media was creating and walked to the MG Road activity. I found this was a media sponsered event, and main stream national media Banners with their logos and TV cameras, Lights etc.

People sloganering shouting anti Paskistan lines, the TV crew asking obvious questions -- " are you angry tonight?"
Dammit, when you ask a question like that people will blurt all sorts of things.
I think the TV channels, all inclusive are also trying to ride high on the event and increase the TRPs.
I went along side a senior reporter for a TV channel and asked him, " Do you think we need a War?" he too said, See the people of India need a war media is only a mirror of the peoples voices. I was shocked by that answer. I asked him should War not be the Last option? he was then too busy on a phone call from Delhi.
I walked down to a more demure lady journalist who was silently watching, I asked her "Is war what the people want?"
I got a smile back she was actually on my side and even agreed that the media channels are making milage out of this calamity. We then spoke at lenght i was relived that not all journalists are bad. ( she requested me to not to reveal her identity) as it was her personal view an not that of her channels
As i left the venue I requested her to tell her channel anchors to please please please ask the right questions.

Let me tell you, am not afraid of war, but we have to remember Eye for an Eye makes the whole world blind.
Today we need to think well before we vote.
Its sad that we even have to think to choose a TV news channel to watch.

Knowing, careing & participating


kbsyed61's picture

War before a war !

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Thanks for posting the proceedings from today's Peace March. It is nice to see that more people have stepped out of their comforts to assemble at Cubbon Park.

Media. It is better to say less about them. You need to just rewind and see their behavior during their interaction with NSG DG Mr. Dutt's press conference during the Mumbai's anti-terror operation was going on. They were falling over each other, pulling each others Cameras, virtually everybody was shouting with their questions to the DG. They didn't even had the courtesy to ask their question one by one. Look at the NDTV's program "We the People" that Burkha Dutt Conducted this Sunday. Who were the panelist? All celebrities. Not one from who has really lost their love ones? Not one from survivors in CST? No one from Govt hospital taht treated tens of injured ones?

The panelist Simi Grewal went to an extent that she claimed that Pakistan's flags are fluttering in a locality. Even though one young man had the courage to say that persons like her are the real enemies of India. We can argue about this statement. But reality was she had seen some green flags on top of some houses. This she had equated these green flags to Pakistan's national flag and suggested that time for strike. Can you imagine even after making such irresponsible statements she gets away without any remorse or in the least, a correction for her statement.

You are right. For Media, its all about higher TRPs, higher revenues and more profits.

Yes, this is a watershed moment in the history of India. The moment which is asking each one of us to fight an internal war with our existing system to clean the rust that it has accumulated over 60 years of our apathy and callousness.

Praveen, we also need to discuss option of wars. We can not shy away from discussing such crucial issue. We need to understand when, why and where we should go to war with any country including Pakistan. There are times we have to wage a military war. That should be our sovereign right and it should be our own decision.

Seriously, are we ready for a war?

War is a serious business. It is not just shouting slogans and taking rallies. And seriously, we are not ready. We are not even ready for a untoward situation like Mumbai? The whole world watched how unprepared and un mindful we are about our own security. This included everybody right from PM to citizens like me.

Prajagale, before we move on to wage a military war against other countries, we have to wage many internal wars against our system, governments, our leaders and against our own selves that have been resisting any change or overhaul.

We have internal wars to fight before we venture for a military war. Lets make a begining by asking the Babus, leaders and others for better administration in our neighborhood and city. Hold them accountable for all the wrongs that you see around you and others. Unless we held them accountable, we are not going to make any progress for a stronger INDIA.


Naveen's picture

Report on Gathering

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A fine report about the gathering - thanks.

I agree with Syed - we need many corrections to be carried out within our own systems first.

kbsyed61's picture

Converting Impulsive passions into actions on ground !

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Moving forward, we should also capitalize on such gatherings that would be taking place in near future. Lets solicit the participants in such gatherings to enroll them as volunteers for Praja's various work groups that are working in hindsight.

Lets give a try to get more hands in sprinkling some water on our sleeping beauties like BBMP, BMTC, Police department, Fire Personnel, BDA, SW railways etc.


narayan82's picture

The Media!

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Praveen, I feel the media, is trying to showcase itself through such calamaties. As a media portal (web, TV or print), I feel thier duty is to convey the news, and let people form thier opinions. But, they seem to convey opinions, and make people conform to it.

The news channels think that every attack is the next James Bond Film! They go the point as to dictating what the countries next actions should be. Its scary to imagine that our country can actually run by private media companies!

I personally prefer reading individual blogs, citizen reports and other such "off beat" news rather than watch CNN-IBN or Headlines today! Watching TV news channels is like a baby strapped in a chair and being fed! He doesnt get to leave until he eats!

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
s_yajaman's picture

Media contd

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Did you see the coverage of the recent US elections.  CNN was calling the results.  Can you imagine.  I don't know if you observed, but the minute the voting in California, Washington and Oregon closed, CNN said that Obama was the winner.  It was just assumed that he would win those states.  CNN declared him the winner and a few mins later Obama made his famous speech.   No election officials - nothing.

Cut back to Dec 2004 when the tsunami hit India.  When I saw TV the tone was - the more the dead the better the news.  So questions were on the lines of - how many dead in this town, how many dead in the next town, is it in the hundreds or thousands?  Are bodies piled up? Horrible.  It was media porn.

During the Bombay attacks - Arnab kept on and on - "Is there a hostage situation - that is the question on everybody's mind" (never mind if that really was the question on everybody's mind)?  It was almost as though only that would make it all worthwhile and add to the circus.  Then he got this idea that the terrorists had set up a "nerve centre".  So the next set of questions was to get some data to support this new theory.   Then they got the celebrities - as though only they have the capacity for opinions.

Timesnow TV is like Foxnews.  Rabid and warmongering.  They think their job is nation building and not journalism.  

Watch CNBC - one more set of Pollyannas who think they can talk up the economy.  They will not talk a word about GE and its problems because GE pays their salaries.  For them all is well as long as the Sensex goes up.  They have these interviews with all the bigwigs and when you see the interview you wonder who the bigwig is.  The interviewers talk as though they have "been there and done that".


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

ananth.bangalore's picture

Freedom of Speech

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Something comes to my mind- one of the main ideas of democracy- 'freedom of speech' is the other side of the coin!

Ok, i am not a jouranlist, before i say anything more.

My humble opinion- it for the people to decide what they want. If media is the only channel in today's world where people's voice can be heard ( so ironic- we dont have a forum to get public opinion for major decisions in this digital and information era), then what is wrong in people expressing their anger on TV?

I am not saying the journalists are all angels, i am sure they are trying to also increase their TRPs, but is it that indian public do not have an articluated mind to know they are being taken for a ride and thoughts are put into their minds? if that is the case, who can help us? you want it or not, these journalists are going to be there. Democracy, remember?

There are 2 significant things that i need to point out-

a. On yesterday evening's show, when Arnab was talking to some guys (among them one from Islamabad), he comfortably dodged the point of why India is not able to provide evidence in any format that Pakistan requires. Even if the case is that in previous situations, they were given and Pak did not respond as was desirable, eveybody knows this time it is different like Arnab says himself. Even if he was not the right person to respond to this, he was chairing the discussion, so why was that he did ask the indian counterpart to answer that? So there is some amount of bad journalsim here.

b. Timesnow had interviewed some people who were gathered near the Taj at Mumbai. One of them suggested that the media should come together to be the actual voice of people. He says, Times Now, NDTV, CNBC18, Aajtak and the kinds should come together under one umbrella to see through this to the end. He was afraid, he said, that this anger is being channelised the wrong direction and this is bound to die sooner or later like all other times (only this time it may be longer.) The correspondent comfortably moved on to someone else.

So our countrymen need to use their better discretion (unfortunately we are one of the very emotional people). The people who are vulnerable to these stunts of TV channels are bound to exhaust their anger and go back to where they come from.

idontspam's picture

Indian media not completely mature

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Remember this though, without the media that peace march would have been largely ignored. In fact even in the US after 9/11 it was media which ensured people did not forget the incident. Media like TV & Internet is what brings people together. The orkuts and prajas are what makes us come together. It can definitely be misused and that is the flip side. We need to leverage the good aspects of the media to our benefit.
ramesh_mbabu's picture

All other arms(Executive, Judiciary & Parliament) are defunct

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When the other 3 arms of the goverment is complacent to take on 21st century challenges, people see the fourth estate as a light at the end of the tunnel. Nothing wrong, I don't want a DD kind of media. Thanks to these channels, all had the latest information good/bad. To watch it or not is at one's discretion. If they had done any thing wrong during the last week's event, I challenge any of the above 3 arms or general public to take legal actions against them. Many incompetent politicians saw the exit, just because they were insensitiveness. Thank god, they were exposed because of these media. They had proved their incompetency earlier also, that is a different issue. Does one think a goverment owned media would have exposed them this way? They all are good at reading speeches written by some one who is good at writing it, they were exposed when asked for spontaneous responses. Ramesh. comment guidelines

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