The death of Indian media  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

In the one week, most of the people I've come across had never heard about the explosive expose that was the x-tapes, which is now famously known as the 'Barkhagate'. For those who still doesn't known what its all about, this link might help. In short, Open magazine released a set of phone conversations that the well known PR agent Niira Radia had with various well known personalities. These include the face of NDTV Bark(ing)ha Dutt, top journo Vir Sanghvi, Ratan Tata, former telecom minister A.Raja and more. No, its not the usual talk. These people were involved in discussions on deciding the portfolios of the current UPA cabinet. And, most damningly, they played a key role in fetching the corrupt A.Raja a second term. They were also involved in the Ambani brothers fight, gas deals etc with Vir Sanghvi taking about scripted interviews and the like.

To think that our top journos are more than news gatherers is, shocking. They are power brokers of the worst kind who lobbies hard to thrust upon us corrupt leaders. The garb of patriots and concerned social activists that these people don when they talk to us from the studios is all part of the 'fooling the gullible pulic mechanism'. It all looks like a well oiled machinery which been working perfectly over the last few years. A machinery consisting of the big corporate, politicians and the media. The old days of journalists having commitment to the society are over. We all thought 'paid news' was the lowest that Indian media can stoop down to. Even this revelation might be the tip of the iceberg. Another issue is the media's anger at sting operations(a favourite tool of all these channels) when its used against them. Suddenly, they start speaking about issues of intrusion into a person's privacy and such issues. They speak of 'freedom of expression' every other day in the panel discussions. But, we all saw how Barkha Dutt sued a poor blogger and made his life difficult for writing a single blog about her questionable journalistic tactics, which put the life of solidiers into danger at Kargil and Mumbai. Yeah, 'Freedom of expression' is a dish best served at the media studios. Padmashri Barkha(wonder what all and whose all she sucked to get that Padmashri), its time to stop those hoarse discourses in your studios.

Whats more alarming than all this is the SILENCE, the silence of the mainstream media regarding this issue. Even the Hindu, one of India's must trusted newspapers didn't give much coverage to the 'x-tapes'(They did make up after 1 week with a real good editorial on the same). Not to mention all the 24 hour news channels who usually jump at the chance of the cheapest of exposes. What this points to is the fact that beyond all the rivalry between the media groups, all of them are infact together in this game, a dirty game played at the upper echelons where crores are exchanged and the common man's lives are sold to powerful corporations. So, if these guys decide, they can easily control what we should hear and what we shouldn't. The fact that only few people heard about this expose points to this. Most Indians depend on the mainstream media for news and if they decide to blackout a news item, we are sure to be in dark about the same. If not for twitter and facebook, the x-tapes wouldn't have got even the small attention that it has got now. A magazine like Open has only a limited readership, mostly in urban pockets. Same is the case with the above mentioned social networks. So, a big percentage of the public would never know about 'Barkhagate'. They will continue to blindly believe whatever the media says. And if they can blackout such a big scandal, they can also produce false news as a propaganda mechanism against someone they hate. NDTV says its statement on the 'x-tapes' that, "These are unsubstantiated, baseless and defamatory allegations and we reserve the right to take appropriate action". If thats the case, why are they all shying away from discussing the same. Why is not a single reader comment appearing under this particular statement? Even when such inconsequential things like Pamela's silicon boob show in Big boss are given 30 minute special attention on national news channels, an issue as big as this is blacked out. Not to forget, the minute details of Obama's visit which were served to us for about 1 month. And, in the end hailing the whole visit as a success for the country, when all Obama did was sell his shit in India and make some 'hollow speeches' on how India is ready to take on the world. Yes, corporate interests at play there too. I've lost whatever little trust I had left in mainstream Indian media. Here, am bidding goodbye to the manufactured news with a middle fingered salute. Only hope is left in magazines like Tehelka and Open and in newspapers like Hindu.

It badly affects the democracy when one of its four pillars is afflicted with a cancer like this. Its even more so when the other 3 pillars namely legislature, judiciary and executive are at their rotten best. All hopes of the press being a balancing force which questions the wrong decisions of the other three and acts as a champion for the cause of the common man, are dashed. Now, the common man is left to fight all the pillars himself.

pics courtesy-Open,outlook

your crusader Praveen

Baiju leaves motherjane  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

Sad day would be an understatement to describe this day-Novermber 24, 2010. On this day, Baiju, the master guitarist, who is one of the pillars of strength of motherjane, left the band. When Nikhil called me up in the evening with this news, I was hoping that it might be a prank. But then as I headed over to the band's official website and saw the announcement in big bold letters, I was sure that my worst fears had come true. Words can't describe the emptiness that I feel right now, a feeling shared by thousands of die hard Janiacs all over the country.

We've all grown up reading about famous rockstars leaving the big bands. Friedman leaving megadeth, Slash leaving GNR and more recently Frusciante leaving RHCP and Portnoy leaving Dream theater are all fresh in our memory. But, in all this the sadness was distant. I never felt that tinge of pain that makes the sadness personal. Today was different though. motherjane is one band which inspired a generation of rock fans in India. Many young bands cite their name as the sole reason for their existence. From that day many years ago, when I heard 'maya', motherjane's been a part and parcel of my life. There was never a day untouched by their music. There are young die hard fans like Hari who goes to any lengths to watch the band live. More than any of their contemporaries, motherjane managed to touch our lives and connect with us in ways the band would never know. We found a special joy in painting our faces and swaying to the strains of carnatic rock. Those were occasions for us to unleash the spirits within and discover our true selves. Vocalist Suraj Chettan asked us once, "Don't you guys even get bored listening to the same songs in concert after concert?" We just laughed then. The truth is we were left craving for more after each of those concerts.

motherjane is one band who has found success like few other in the Indian scene. But what sets them apart is that the success never went to their heads. Highly approachable, down to earth and lacking all the airs of being such talented musicians, these guys endeared themselves to us fans. And that explains why this band has such a big die hard fan base. Also, their music has a universal appeal with even my rock hating amma saying, "I like this", after listening to 'broken'. Many of the inspiring lyrics like 'walk on' brought in positive energy during tough times. And so, when this news came as a bolt from the blue, when the band are on an all time high, I found it hard to believe. It still hasn't sunk in. Though the band puts up a brave front saying its all on friendly mutual terms, we all know how hard it hurts. Yes, everyone has personal ambitions and we need to respect that. Still, we can just hope that the outpourings from fans will just bring back the man to where he truely belongs, amongst us, as the lead guitarist of motherjane. This is a plea from a true blue Janiac...Please come back Baiju chettaaa!

Its an irony that their own song 'Broken' explains it best, how we all feel right now
We’ve all, We've all been broken
Shattered, left mute with regrets unspoken
We’ve all loved and lost
Been forsaken, repented our deepest trust

We’ve all wondered why
Destiny picked us to cry
Why faith has to be tested,
And life doesn’t turn out the way intended

We’re mended to be broken
Yet human clay believes itself golden
Stunning in its courage to be happy
As wild elations tempered with black melancholy

your crusader Praveen

Lacuna Coil:Live in Bangalore  

Posted by Praveen in , , ,

This post comes a bit late than intended...
First things first...One set of clicks of mine from the octoberfest was featured in last month. All thanks to dear buddy Nishal Lama for that. Here's the link to that photofeature of the Karsha Kale-Midival Punditz performance. A real happy moment in my photography career.

Now to the post...
Lacuna coil, the gothic metal band from Italy performed in Bangalore as part of the Great Indian octoberfest 2 weeks back. As expected, front woman Cristina scabbia stole the show with her soaring vocals. And of course her looks. I wonder if this band would've ever existed without this superwoman, who was voted first in that famous list of top 10 metal chicks.

your crusader Praveen