India in 21st Century, Media in 20th

India moved into the twenty first century exactly 19 years ago, but the media is still stuck up in the twentieth century!

It has not improved a bit- it continues to make a mountain of less than even a mole hill, but deliberately suppresses the epoch-making changes that have taken place.

First it was the maha-story of a maha-gathbandhan of frayed political fabrics of Indian political parties trying to make a strong knot in order to take on Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, in the forthcoming election in April-May.

Gathbandhan is a ceremony in traditional Hindu marriage where groom and the bride are tied to each other symbolised by a knot to their ceremonial long scarf. It is a sacred ceremony, distinct from a contract of marriage, which is broken only at one partner leaving on the heavenly sojourn.

The political mahagathbandhan, by past experience, are nothing more than unethical political matrimonial alliances meant to be broken whenever convenient. While Indian people laugh at such valueless alliances, the Indian media is over excited at the prospects of a strong challenge to defeat Narendra Modi and facilitate a weak government which may revive the good old days of the UPA-I & II.

The reasons for such a media climate are not far to seek. Media in India is in the hands of business houses- it is not owned or controlled by intellectuals, academics, editors or journalists.

All the people working for the newspapers and the television channels are merely “employees” getting paid for their labour in an industry. Accordingly, their notions of independence, freedom of speech and truth get tampered to suit the industrialists and their interests.

The politician’s dinner for Rs 20,000 to US$100,000 is no selfless charity but well thought out investment. Together they form a chain, a nexus, a union of interests and together loot the masses, one by indulging in naked open corruption and loot and the other by putting all such news in the junk box or some insignificant place where it does not get even noticed.

Simultaneously, the news industry helps the nexus partner in maligning the rivals.

Thanks to the social media the newspapers and television channels have failed to successfully malign prime minister Modi at the behest of the opposition, with whom they have 72 years of close relationship.

What they are imagining in the mahagathbandhan is nothing more than their illusion and delusion. The mahagathbandhan is not going to deliver any good results to India. All that it can ever deliver, if ever getting an opportunity, is to push India back into the feudal times of pre-independence India. They live in the last century.

For more than 48 hours the newspapers and TV channels have been bombarding readers and viewers with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra entering active politics. Is it such a great news? Is she some high political thinker? Is she the Congress ideologist? Has she worked as political leader in the field? Has she worked as a minister at the centre or state?

But she is projected as an alternative to her brother Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate.

What a travesty?

Is the position of the prime minister of India such an insignificant office that any Tom, Dick or Harry can parachute into office? Or is it a divine right of these children of Sonia Gandhi to be the prime minister to the exclusion of every other Indian?

The old Congress guards imagine her face will remind people of grandmother Indira Gandhi, but do the millennials even know Indira Gandhi?

It is better the people of India are not reminded of some of Indira Gandhi’s controversial acts. But then, Congress beneficiaries have always looked to the family for rewards, which a Narendra Modi denies to his followers by sincerely acting on the principles of ethics:  neither I shall loot nor allow anybody else to loot public money.

Priyanka’s entry in politics at this juncture will benefit Narendra Modi.

Only 5 days ago some 23 political parties had assembled in Kolkata to form some kind of a mahagathbandhan of opposition parties to defeat, block and check Narendra Modi win a second term. They failed to elect a leader to be their prime ministerial candidate as a mahagathbandhan face to challenge Modi.

Mamata Banerjee, leader of Trina Mool Congress and West Bengal Chief Minister, who had called the 23 parties to Kolkata failed to secure the mandate for herself.

So was the case with former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, who had once suggested the name of Rahul Gandhi (knowing that Rahul enjoyed no support or trust of the people and hoping to get Congress support for his own candidature. His son H D Kumaraswami is Chief Minister of Karnataka in alliance with the Congress Party.)

HD Kumaraswami seems to have mildly whispered the name of Mamata Banerjee but there is no official confirmation.

Then there were leaders like Sharad Pawar, N. Chandrababu Naidu etc. who all nursed the burning ambition to become the prime minister.

Interestingly, Rahul Gandhi did not attend the conclave.

The design was to rope the Congress Party and launch the campaign, dreaming of a success to get elected as prime minister on the strength of the number of members of parliament and decline of the Congress Party. In other words, the plan was to hijack the Congress Party.

Rahul deciding at the last minute not to attend it, sent the strongest signal to them not to take the congress for granted and expect support if they surrendered their aspirations in favour of him (Rahul Gandhi) as the sole prime ministerial candidate of the united opposition.

The conclave posed the gravest threat to the existence of the Congress Party.

It was mistaken to pose a threat to Narendra Modi. Narendra Modi knows how to vanquish the enemy.

The Congress was struggling to legitimise Rahul Gandhi as the opposition’s face for prime minister.

The entry of Priyanka Gandhi kills the dream of a mahagathbandhan in the womb.

While the 23 parties would have succeeded in pushing their claim over Rahul Gandhi, they will be wary of Priyanka Gandhi. Mamata has got more than a match in Priyanka, who had seen number of Congress men and women prostrating at the feet of her grandmother, father and mother. Can they show the spine to stand straight in front of her now? It was her father Rajiv Gandhi, who inducted Mamata Banerjee in politics. Can she refuse to repay the debt? Can she set an example of ingratitude?

Whether she poses any genuine threat to prime minister Narendra Modi is naïve to even think. It would be more than enough if she can revive the Congress, which stands disoriented, having abandoned ideology and truth, ethics and honesty, transparency and public service.

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