Millennium Post

They don’t die every other day

The Press Council chairman Justice Markandey Katju is only half right in his harsh criticism of media, when he held the bulk of them responsible for making the likes of Sunny Leone, Lady Gaga, Sachin Tendulkar or Kareena Kapoor important to Indian masses; and when he rightly wondered whether a hungry or unemployed man wanted entertainment or food and employment. He is also wide off the mark, because all types of parentheses forming fancy brackets for the various categories of people who appreciate entertainment over the weighty, inscrutable, libido-dousing and never ending socio-political debates on television, or the very eloquent, soul searching news treatment of the Indian poverty scenario in the press, which offers an aspirin – ready comprehension for the average.

Agree or not, the average newspaper buyers from all stratum of society, particularly the ones, who would very utterly spend three or four rupees to infrequently buy a newspaper in the vernacular language of their choice do not get amused if they find little thrill and exciting news from the entertainment or sports industry. Let’s make a clean breast about the real choice of the masses in question, which the media, who being primarily there for business and profit, knows well; and given that Justice Katju himself has already opined that 90 per cent of Indians possess low mental abilities; one who has been there and seen it from close quarters, or has lived life in the countryside or in semi-urban or low-town city lanes, one should know what kinds of gossips in the newspapers [which all
subscribe] draw lousy tea-drinkers in the morning to these tea-joints. The main page is usually at once skipped, and the multiples of many curious eyes together search for interesting, readable news materials from varieties of fields which include sexual crimes, entertainment, sports etc. Not that there is any dearth of serious readers at all these places, but they do not make count from the business sense.

A conscious man is right in his expectations about the ethical way the media should conduct itself which is for the betterment of the underprivileged masses and the nation. Right. But to limit its scopes and approach, wouldn’t it be like a renowned technocrat saying that all kinds of education that do not offer a job should be shut down from our colleges and universities. Does not it equate to saying that since literature and arts subjects like philosophy, history, social sciences etc, which  though shape one’s mind in no less way than any science subject, offer no sure- shot job guarantee like vocational education do, are useless and redundant. An economist may agree with this view point, but not the votaries of Arts who know that while vocational education is skill-based that may offer a livelihood solution, arts is life itself.

There is no denying the fact that all forms of arts are spiritual in some dimension, even to the atheists.

To sarcastically ask how did it matter to a nation if Rajesh Khanna or a Dev Anand died is being bit too harsh on the deceased artists who served the nation in their own, illustrious ways in the fields of arts and entertainment. Even in ancient times, the kings held the artists in high esteem in their courts. What is a nation that does not care for its artists, sports persons, writers and celebrities from other similar fields? Similarly what is the media if it endorses frugality in paying glowing tributes to the heroes from fields of Arts who reign over the hearts of the millions of people in their lifetime and will continue to live in their memory for long time to come after they are no more?  They also serve the nation who act superbly in movies or play for the nation, don’t they? And they don’t die every other day.

Gurbir Singh works with the Information and Public Relations Department of Odisha.
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