Nidhi Razdan, Barkha Dutt, Dr. Prannoy Roy, Vikram Chandra, Arnab Goswami, Navika Kumar, Rajdeep Sardesai and Sagarika Ghosh, all make compelling television. Great Indian Television!

In the last few months, television seems to have finally arrived, if only on the shoulders of the few names I've taken above. I have to say that we are getting back to where we started from in that space which had been vandalized and completely destroyed by a business which was desperately chasing TRP's, and pandering to the demands of mindless politicians who seemed threatening to the honest voice and the inner conscience of India.

Between 830PM and 11PM, you cannot ignore the set.
On the contrary you go crazy trying to figure out what you should watch.
This week NDTV has introduced a new show at 830PM hosted by Nidhi Razdan who takes you through the events of the day and discusses them with a respected editor of a leading national daily, sitting right across her table.
On it's first day, it was Shekhar Gupta, and on Tuesday it was Dilip Padgaonkar, both equally articulate and both of whom, with the depth of knowledge it requires to analyse the way Indian Politics functions, made critical comment.
From the CWG corruption scandal, to Kashmir and Mamata Bannerjee flirting with the Maoists in West Bengal, all issues that haunt India today, it was engaging discussion which made me feel like we were finally in search of solutions and bringing the guilty to book without mincing words instead of just chasing ratings with sensational content.

It gets hard to choose what to watch at 9PM because there's Dr. Prannoy Roy or Vikram Chandra on NDTV, Arnab Goswami and Navika Kumar on the News Hour on Times Now and Rajdeep Sardesai on CNNIbn.
One goes crazy switching channels because it is criminal to lose out on even a minute of the heated debates on all three channels running simultaneously, although its interesting to note regulars like Ravi Shankar Prasad, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Rajiv Pratab Rudy and others switch camera's for a perfectly coordinated appearance on all three channels in the same one hour.
Despite the fact that most of the panelists will be the same, I spend the evening figuring out which of the three I should leave for watching during the repeats, and which of the two I should watch alternately between that one hour so as to catch the best of both. It's really not as much about the panelists, as it is about the anchors because all three channels maintain their difference, respecting it as well.
Dr. Roy and Chandra are gentle and engaging, Arnab grills and wants answers right here and now, and Rajdeep has the amazing talent to present things as they are and all three perspectives count.

Come 10PM and I'm decided.
Its 'The Buck Stops Here' with Barkha Dutt for me and 'Face the Nation' with Sagarika Ghosh is my late night fix before I retire to my writing.
The Buck Stops Here took a break for sometime only to return on all week nights since last week, presumably to give Kalmadi a chance to carry the baton and try his luck with the placard on his table which eventually had to and also did fail him.
Back in her place each week night, Barkha takes you through events and discussion with ease, putting her panelists in the dock and getting more of her own tribe on board to fire at them and raise the right issues.
Kashmir is close to Barkha's heart, it is obvious.
She's spent more than a decade now bringing news from the valley to India with a certain empathy which puts her apart from the rest of the reporters who tend to make it sound like they are reporting from a war torn zone where those who die were meant to. Barkha on the other hand reaches out to people, be it soldiers and officers from the armed forces who dare the relentless battle and risk their lives, or the people of Kashmir who have now lived more than two decades in a paradise lost to violence,
Of recent past Barkha has been bringing young Kashmiri's to participate in her panel and present to the people of India an honest picture of what is going on in the minds of the people of the state who have lost all faith and hope.
It is so sad to watch students and young teachers vent their anger at the failures of the administration and not surprising that each one of them supports azaadi, the freedom of Kashmir from India.
The Government keeps harping about an economic package and an education package which is yet to be visible or seen by the Kashmiri's. Now they are trying to create jobs for the young in Kashmir to cool down tempers as well, they say.
But where is there any sign of development?
Where is there employment in Kashmir for its youth and where is there education for its young, even after the so called third democratically elected Government is in place? When there is peace in the valley, it is as forgotten a part of India as the North Eastern states of India are while the anti establishment forces lie low there.
Ecomomic, education, health and employment packages are words which have no meaning for alienated people who have no opportunity to progress on their own land. When unrest surfaces, packages are promised again.
Nothing changes.
Nothing has, since the time the Kashmiri Pandits were forced to leave their homeland about twenty years ago.
My suggestion to Barkha, bring the young Pandits and the young Kashmiri Muslims face to face on Television. See sparks fly and make them speak. Get them out there to talk, discuss and solve the problems of their homeland which concerns nobody other than they themselves and give them the space to resolve issues, because left to the Government of India, nothing will happen.
I am shocked that in 20 years, not once has anybody in India brought the original inhabitants of the valley on a common platform and asked them what it is that they really want. A mindless politics between India and Pakistan is being played out since our Independence between leaders who neither belong to Kashmir, nor will ever go there to make a life.

I believe that the media is really our last hope and each member of civil society should support it.
Ironically, Face the Nation with Sagarika Ghosh took on the judiciary for trying to gag the media on basis of a litigation filed against various channels and reporters by Dr. Talwar and his wife for having lost repute during the investigation of their own 14 year old daughters murder. The infamous NOIDA murder which rocked the country some time back.
I'm refering to the Aarushi murder case, where the 14 year old girls father is still an accused.
The discussion between the panelists was about the limits media can go to and I sat wondering why is reportage being blamed for the lack of delivery of administration in our country?
Should the media put off its camera's and shut their recorders when the IG of Police calls a press conference and insinuates an illicit relationship between a minor and her middle aged servant and also suspects her own father for having killed her?
How bizzarre is that!!!
Should the media throw those tapes out of the window which carry sick recordings of the servants and family members go through lie detector tests and what else not?
Let the judiciary question a perverse NOIDA police, the CBI and those beaurocrats who got vicarious pleasure in discussing a suspected sexual liason of a poor 14 year old and loved watching themselves do that on national television.
Dr. Talwar and his lawyers should file a complaint against all those who were a part of the investigation, not against media which only reported a most absurd reality unfolding before their eyes.

The mother of all facts is, that our media is a reflection of us.
If we change, so will the media.
If we don't want to see blood and gore, let there be none.
If we don't want corruption exposed, weed it out of the system.
If we don't want systems to fail, make them work.
If we don't want politicians to be cursed and criticized, improve the quality of politics.

It is no longer the time when media can be blamed for everything, because a committed tribe of journalists are here to expose, correct and put to task a system and politics that has failed the nation for over 63 years and a civil society out here is alert and aware of its rights.


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