Politics and Life

Educating the promises of tomorrow regarding politics in the society.

Human beings are social beings. Being a social being, I strongly believe one’s life has to indulge with politics or politics will definitely cross paths with theirs.

No one is born with full fledged  knowledge about the politics of the world. Knowledge in these matters arise from social interactions, which could and should be nurtured at a young age through healthy mediums.

Hindering the promises of tomorrow in this aspect is no different than digging an immaculate grave for all of us. In all honesty, I’d rather be informed than ignorant!

The very generation that is bound to take over in a decade’s time are often found ignorant and ill- informed about what’s what in this ever evolving world. I don’t advocate upon political affairs being sternly exposed  to such individuals. But rather the mere essence of it will equip them of the basic knowledge required to sustain their life in a society.

Without an apt source for educating them about the order and history of politics and its relevance, these young minds wouldn’t have an authentic source for learning much about it; and will grow up as idealists. 

Easily influenced by the ideals of their acquaintances and their families making them unable to have an identity of their own. 

Being an individual, the need for having a personal understanding and stand has been outright frowned upon at times.

The world is indeed a cruel place, more often than not such unnecessary restrictions  leaves them unaware of the harsh realities of life in a society. Catering to such needs will not only save them from making a laughingstock of themselves but would rather provide for a better tomorrow to one and all. 

With the forward pouncing of most aspects of society- socially, politically and economically; more and more younger individuals are growing unaware of the nuances of the world. Making the need for educating about the same more perennial than ever.

It’ll also aid an individual blossom into a being, fully aware of the concepts of the society and might even strike an interest towards it. Making them the much needed change amongst around the ones who lead a society.

A generation sound with a strong foundation of the workings of the public domain.

Change is the only constant and those who dare to stand in the way shall not prosper. For revolution is impersonal.

The New Watchdog

Mainstream media to new media- how has the shift affected political reporting

Politics is undoubtedly a game for supremacy solely played in the name of the people for evoking national interest. Fred Fedler was right then he said “journalism is built on reporting government”. The idea of ‘the watchdog’ means that the journalist, as an independent observer without any vested interest in any side of the controversy, can inform the public about what is going on, particularly if the government is corrupt or even incompetent. However, the political journalists do not play this role flawlessly. 

There is a paucity of good political reporting in India- reporting with an insight, reporting that captures in action the trouper of the political field, reporting that exposes the petty politics and the never ending hypocrisies of political parties and the conspiracies of those in power.

The grave situation that the Indian democracy is in, is that it is they who guide and shape the destiny of some 135 crore people. Lacking ideas, bereft of intelligence and character, they exploit religion and caste to stay in power. 

Most political commentators and reporters on traditional medias like mainstream news channels and newspapers have glorified politicians and never truthfully presented their failures as much as their achievements. Programmes of political parties are rarely critically evaluated by reporters of most traditional media and their flaws are never commented upon so that the people are carried away by their rhetoric or patriotic postures. The Inadequate political coverage, not judged by the quantity of the news brought in or reported but by the quality of it, brings down the credibility of the traditional media. 

The mediatization of the political news necessitates that media content is governed by media logic rather than political logic, and can be indicated by media interventionism where the journalists are in control of news making. (Esser, 2008, Strömbäck and Dimitrova, 2011, Zeh and Hopmann, 2013). 

The way we use social media today impacts what we read and how we read or listen to news. Consider politics for that matter- Political parties bank on news channels, such as ZEE News or NDTV to get their updates on how the election campaign is going. Unbeknownst to many, both of these news outlets are on opposite sides of the political spectrum. If you tune into Zee News, you will get a completely different view of any candidate than you would on NDTV and viseversa. This type of controlling what people read and hear causes a lot of misinterpretation. This is where political reporting in new media comes into, where you not just read what the journalist has to say but also what others think about it and more importantly why they think the way they do. Unlike the traditional media, you don’t hear one side of the story, on new media platforms you can view multitude versions of the same story. With the advent of political reporting via social media and news portals, journalists who act like the watchdogs are now backed up, not only by their organisation, but also by their viewers, readers and followers who make an informed choice. 

At the same time, the new media has initiated trends time and again. exposed how the traditional political reporters undercut the ideal aims of a free democratic press. The watchdog role is now played by the new media which had previously only been performed by trained political journalists who even under the worst of circumstances focused on uncovering the facts surrounding serious political wrongdoings.

Zamdoodh

I have been very lucky when it comes to ‘homes’. Now, one may ask why I am using the plural form of a word which for most people translates into love and comfort. Well, I’m a fauji brat and I have been quite fortunate for having been to and lived in so many places across India that for me, home isn’t a place where we live, it is much beyond that. More so because we usually live in places for not more than 2 years so you must understand that I have to arrive, like, love and miss a particular place in less than 800 days.

As a child while most people associated their favourite place with their favourite restaurant or say, some really good friends, I always have fallen in love with those cities and towns which were very quaint and tiny, filled with people who had nothing to do with the world outside. For them, the place was ‘ghar’ and like most Indians they had sworn to not leave their ‘ghars’ ever. We, the fauji guys were simply ‘fauji jo aate jaate rehte hain aur border par hote hain.’

Today, while having my lunch I ate some curd which reminded me of my first love story which began long back, around 16 years ago. The memory is still as fresh in my mind as a daisy. I was also watching the news, something to do with the bitter bilateral relations between India and China where Ladakh is now on the butcher’s block. Let’s not get into the news here. I wanted to tell you all about my experience of having lived in Kashmir, very near to the border. It’s a very simple one but I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

I think this was somewhere in December. My birthday is on the 27th so back then mum had decided to bake me cake. You don’t usually get a maid in Srinagar but we were lucky to have found one. Maa and I were looking for the cake tin and other paraphernalia required for making my birthday a huge success, invitees for which were me, maa, baba and my favourire- Raja Begum.

I don’t remember much of her but maa tells me Raja Begum’s name was Shehnaz. Heaven knows who named her raja and why but she loved it and didn’t like been called Shehnaz, nor ‘Raja’ or just ‘Begum’. Meticulous and organised to the tee, her routine was set. She would come, make herself do ande ka ‘aamlet’, have some tea, talk about how beautiful Kashmir is while washing the dishes, dance around with the broom for some while and then leave. I don’t know if she really helped my mother with the chores but in an awfully cold place like Srinagar with connections snapping every now and then, my wailing self to top it all, I reckon Raja Begum was a pleasant presence.

She was the one who had taught me how to walk. I was almost 2 and wouldn’t move an inch from my stroller. I used to just sit there either crying or eating mashed apple looking outside the window. My Raja Begum took it on herself to teach me the art of moving on two feet and she was very successful I must say, it’s been 19 years since and I have only improved. She took me in her arms one day and put me on the floor and as expected, I didn’t do anything. ‘Haraamzaadi, tum chalegi nahi?!, yelled Raja Begum and within no time I had started to walk to my dear mother’s utter pleasure.

So now I hope you understand what value Raja Begum holds in my life. Coming back to my birthday party prep in full swing, as always, Raja Begum walked in, made herself an ‘amlet’ and since she was loving herself a bit more that day, she used three eggs that day instead if two thus using up all we had.

‘Arey ab kaise cake banega Raja Begum! Ande khatam’, said my poor maa.

‘Usme kya beti? Zamdoodh daalo, cake ko banega.’ For those of you who don’t know, Zamddodh is curd/yoghurt which apparently is used to make cake sometimes. My mum didn’t know this and asked Raja Begum if it would turn out edible to which she replied, ‘ Kyun nahi banega accha? Raja Begum ko aata cake. Hum Kashmiri daalte hain zamdoodh. Aap Hindustani nahi istmal karte honge.’

We made the cake and it was tasty and while it has been so many years, I’ll always remember how Raja Begum felt she wasn’t Hindustani enough. She stands for the many Kashmiris who don’t feel like a part of India but alas, in spite of all the constitutional changes and the political efforts, they are still Kashmiris trying to save themselves from us Hindustanis.