Open letter to Barkha Dutt

-In response to

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. : Mahatma Gandhi

Shakespeare or any literati or philosophical figure of history can be great quote for a fanciful piece of writing. But in the age of electronic and photonic communication, fanciful and farcical write-ups eventually fail their abject motives. Bigoted classification of genuine concerns and reactions as “HATE” is nothing but playing fiddle while Rome is still burning. When journalists start to become NERO themselves, than it does prove that Rome is actually burning. Indeed social media has democratized debate and helped the wider populace to assert that there exists a VOICE different from the mechanized and orchestrated drama happening in the studios of news channels. And if it’s difficult to stonewall that VOICE, it is equally difficult to malign that VOICE. You can always use the adjectives that it is the VOICE of Chaddiwallas, Hate-monger, BJP-Walla, non-secular, Killer or of a Criminal etc etc. But you need to remember you cannot ignore that VOICE. “The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.” – Woodrow T. Wilson.

For you the liberals, scuffle with Prashant Bhushan is as abhorrent as those VOICES on twitter, but have you ever bothered about Nation? To promote views of dividing the country is not an insult of widows of those soldier who die daily to save our borders? You can slap on the face of nation and if someone reacts you hide behind the words like Intolerance. Have you ever tried to define the limit of tolerance? Can Tolerance be allowed to become impotence? And the bigger question is why double standards? We are so tolerant that we do nothing when Govt attacks peaceful protesters in the Capital, but such a big lecture on intolerance when few idiots attack a traitor.

I personally appreciate your thoughtful description of social media usages. In the age where Indians do have cerebral energy marching leaps and bounds, Twitter is godsend gift to us all. Sea of comments travelling at electronic speed flooding our TL, does enthrall us all. And we do wish to get more and more followers, unlike you known fellas, who get followers in hordes. But what makes social media truly remarkable is that we don’t need to pay 500Rs for each tweet. The overpaid journalism of India has fallen to such low levels, that it is shame to even comment about it. The lost credibility of Indian media has been the real reason of success of social media. When you watch a TV debate and openly deduce that Anchor is not debating but furthering an agenda, you come up on twitter and expose the Anchor. That is not Hate but obvious and instantaneous reaction.

Be it Bhusan incident, Rajbala Incident, Radia tapes, Scams etc, every news channels has set line to take. Same faces, same tones and same people, just different words. This drives the exploding grey matter to cast an imprint on social media. And obviously this VOICE is hard to digest by actual POLICMEN of media, so shamelessly invent names for this VOICE. Very easily you reject it as TROLL. Yes you are true, they have grouses against you people and they may be fixated to talk to likes of you. They may be abusive, anonymous online ghosts- But VOICE is real. These are thoughts vibrating inside grey matters. It may be hate, venom, love, aspersion, logic, doubt or aggression, but it is the VOICE. The VOICE, journalists sitting in glass studio never bother to listen. And if you actually examine the anatomy of that VOICE more intuitively, you will certainly get the reason for the voice – PEEPLI LIVE JOURNALISM.

It is certainly a great idea to examine that VOICE. And if it is just rants, best to ignore it. And if it is a platform of far right dogma to flourish under its hoods, your concerns might be valid. But have you ever wondered what if it is actual VOICE of the masses which if ignored can have fatal consequences. Perhaps, an early indication of anger and frustration waiting to explode? I can say with certitude that people are frustrated with obfuscated lines between liberal and anti-national, secular and minority appeasement. The subliminal fault lines need to come out from the terrain of nuances and insinuations and be orderly defined. The very quarter, journalism, which is an epitome of bipartisanship, is so lopsided in India that it would be foolish not to infer real reasons of debate. There are no real public discourses happening. And in such circumstances when people vomit out their frustration, the so called champions of public voices are threatened.

The Indian media is so used to one sided reporting that they have long forgotten the need to take cognizance of real voices. One way discourse of an IDIOT box has given sweeping powers to electronic media, which unfortunately has been exploited for all wrong reasons. And when social media is openly throwing the people’s VOICE, there is an obvious air of recalcitrance.  The very idea that people have got power to express is abhorrent to media walas. The very channels that run riots for Kashmir graves never bother to report plight of Kashmiri Pundits. For you attack on Prashant Bhusan is such a soul stirring event but Killing of RajBala is just a passé. When you are so singular in your selection who gave you right to label others non-accommodating?  The self proclaimed ability to see the shades of truth on either side doesn’t really prove it. You need to show it in actions. Internet Hindus, TROLLS, TROOPERS, whatever you call them but these are the VOICES which intently reflect your deficiencies.

You may be right that Anna Hazare movement got its energy from the engine of the social media. And those very people who supported Team Anna against corruption are against Team Anna now. But does that mean anything? Do you want to say if someone supported Team Anna for anti-graft crusade should be blind against any wrong doing of Team Anna? In fact I see this as cerebral creativity of the tweeting minds which saves them from being cult followers. If someone criticizes Kiran Bedi for supporting S Bhatt, what is wrong in that? Why so much intolerance for genuine criticism? In 2008 one Rahul Viad was arrested for abusive comment against Sonia Gandhi.  Why can’t people demand action against Prashant Bhusan for abusing the nation?

You are more concerned about the sweeping generalizations and exercises in character assassination. But no tears for real issues of so called TROLLS.  As a nationalist patriot, I want to ask how long we can bear paid journalism and personal agenda of NGOs in the name of liberal, progressive, pluralistic ethos. For 10 years media is running malicious campaign against the democratically elected CM of Gujrat but no words for Kashmiri Pundits. Is this called pluralism? People created mass movement to stop sardar sarovar dam, but no media documentary to show how same dam make Gujrat electricity surplus state.

Leave a comment


  1. Bharat

     /  October 16, 2011

    Nice article, you have hit the head of the nail –

    And honestly this paid journalism is getting beyond our tolerance levels

  2. Perfect. You tell it like it as. Most civil society on social media thinks on these lines, just that no one has bothered to tell Barkha.
    Her dated style, representative of one-sided mouthpiece journalism that India (and the world, #OccupyWallStreet) is currently plagued is in a death spiral, and such rants against trolls are last few shouts.
    People in India are relying on TV news lesser and lesser relying on social media more and more.
    ‘SOCIAL’ is in, ‘ELITIST’ is out.

  3. Very well written. You speak for so many of us in this.

    I suggest, please share with @etteth (Ravishankar)m Prabhu Chawla, Sucheta Dalal. It must reach more people. I am sure its worth publishing for them.

    Keep writing!

  4. Dr.Omprakash

     /  October 17, 2011

    absolutely marvellous.

  5. bouncyyyy

     /  October 17, 2011

    brilliantly put!

  6. Hmm another rant written by someone who is obviously a supporter of the goonda the world otherwise knows as Narendra Modi. The entire point of his article was summed up in the last 3 lines of this rant:

    “For 10 years media is running malicious campaign against the democratically elected CM of Gujrat but no words for Kashmiri Pundits. Is this called pluralism?”

    So basically what this anonymous blogger wants to say is: “”stop speaking against Modi and anyone who does is anti-national/media whore/enemy of Gujarat etc etc”.

    And Modi is the paradigm of honesty and governance!

    Yeah right! 🙂

  7. Nice article, on the mark. Only want to mention that currently people claim to be liberal, right or any ideology without understanding it. Liberal does not give non violence as a blank cheque. Liberalism gives option of choice — freedom, but with appropriate respect for the opponent. One hurt and abuse other and expect to be left alone and unpardoned. The communal propaganda is a crap after looking at disturbing economic status of the flawed policies of appeasement and the trap of more appeasement to weaker sections. Left leaned policies had brought our country to brink of bankruptcy. Every major development project is opposed by activists and funds for social benefits for weaker section urged without justifying its means and source for funds. Unprecedented Corruption in the society is the result of examples our polity and administration have given us. Wrong ideals are the prime reasons of our fall to this pathetic situation.

  8. nice article…
    just want to ask few more to eglish news channels…. bit lenghty sorry…

    . you do not invite 5 members to your tv channels talk.. only 3 and 1 is hardened leftist and 1 is commoner.. and 1 almost a apologist for hindutva..
    why so you not invite ram sena,bhagat sena like hard right wingers also into your tv channels programmes .. every time.. let each participant says his leaning on programme..

    anything more than 5 is noice making only..

    why do you not show 10 rightwingers TWITTER TWEETS IN YOUR CHANNELS SHOWS if your channels is accomodative of all views.. let viewer decide which view is true.. have guts..

    3 sena guys hit prashant .. and they happened to be tweeters …thats it.. no relation b/w tweeting and hitting ….
    why are you linking bhagat sena hitting prashant bhushan with all tweeters who say they hate you for your journalism?
    muslims quote their kuran and are bombing quite often,india, world,
    what should be your response..
    you says we should not equate islam with terrorism though muslims quote and write verses from it..
    but same you, now linking twitter tweeple hate messages with hitting of prashant bhushan …
    now do you understand.. why tweeple hate you ???


    how many tv channels especially have had programs on this 1>.2> 3> .. and how many columnists in your program tv channels have voiced such words..?
    that is the reason why anger stems.

    1>Columnist Swaminathan Aiyar said “Many critics call Modi a fascist who carries out pogroms. They do not apply the same label to the Congress. Yet, the 1984 data are more suggestive of a pogrom than the 2002 data. The Hindu casualties in 2002 were a quarter of the total, suggesting two-way violence (even though Muslims suffered far more). But no Hindus died in Delhi, so it looks much more like a pogrom.”

    2> jagannathan of firstpost has said in his article :::::: If this is the truth as seen by impartial observers who are no part of the Sangh parivar, it is time to ask ourselves what kind of secularists we have bred in this country, and how they have arrogated to themselves the right to decide who is touchable and who is untouchable.:::::

    3> earlier communist now liberal ,united kingdom meghnad desai.::::
    “”No one has been censured for praising Sharad Pawar who as Chief Minister ignored the massacre of Muslims in Mumbai in 1993. So why just be intolerant about Narendra Modi? Is this a part and parcel of Indian secularism that communal, i.e. non-Congress-led, riots are to be criticised while secular, i.e. Congress-led, riots are kosher?

    The tragedy is that in India as well, Muslims know that whatever they do is watched over by their friends, the secularists. If they decide to behave like free citizens rather than tame Muslims, they will be in trouble””.

    anti modi sanjay bhat is refrain of media.. it can just be sanjay bhat or cop sanjay bhatt or better “tainted ? sanjay bhat ” in your tv programs headline…
    this is english media real problem…?

    why do not all media people do self income disclosure.? transparency is what journalists keep saying everyday..
    why not tv channels proclaim every 30 min that opinions on this channel may or may not be true” if you are so truthful..

  9. Ram

     /  October 17, 2011

    Aptly put ! Will Barkha let her true mind to get switched ON rather than working for somebody.

  10. iamhappy69

     /  November 6, 2011

    We are so tolerant that we do nothing when Govt attacks peaceful protesters in the Capital, but such a big lecture on intolerance when few idiots attack a traitor.

    Superb…hatsoff to that line. Awesome article…

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