I write this to you neither as a great fan of Indian media that you have come to represent, nor a disbeliever of what the Fourth Estate is capable of, merely as a common Indian who is intensely perturbed by the way things are. Let me also state here, that this letter of mine is in response to a note that you addressed to Anna, wherein you raised several points on the current campaign against corruption. First up, much like Anna, TV channels deserve quite a bit of credit for making the current agitation successful. Were it not for all the news channels that are hell-bent on outdoing each in the 24/7 coverage, Anna wouldn’t have been half as effective as he is now.
In fact, your admission in the letter, that news-channel like yours did not much co
ver Anna earlier as “Ralegan Sidhi is a long way from Delhi”, was quite telling. I have so far grown to the notion that reporters and editors follow news, where it is, not give weightage to them based on personal convenience. I guess that could be a justification as well for why news channels like yours have only given lip-coverage to Irom Sharmila, who has been fasting for the past 11 years, just because Manipur is far away from Delhi. I guess, if any crusader wants the press to pick up his just cause, he will now have to set up shop at Delhi.
Team Anna realized that to get the attention of news channel, he will have to land up in Delhi. In fact, isn’t it quite obvious, that even though the government was ham-handed and brutish the way it wound up the Ramdev agitation, the channels lost interest, once he was carted away to Dehradun. Not surprisingly, in the initial days, the government was very keen to not only evict Anna from the Ramlila ground, but Delhi altogether. It knew how the Indian media functioned; out of sight – out of byte.
One of the funny things in your mail to Anna was your reference to the Marathas as a community, talking about how after the 3rd Panipat Battle in 1761, Anna has “taken the national capital by storm”. The analogy was completely erroneous, considering that the battle in 1761, was fought between two kingdoms or principalities, of which one was alien to this land. This is not a battle between two ideologies or person (in fact, even the prime minister has been emphasizing the same time and again), it is against a common evil, namely corruption. Second, by dubbing Anna, as a Maratha, I felt you were trivializing the whole movement. He is not a Maratha battling it out for Marathas or Maharastrians as Sadashivrau Bhau was fighting for the Maratha Confederacy. He is an Indian, fighting for an issue close to all Indians, from the very top in J&K to the very south in TN.