Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How good is sensational exposure of crime?

When media highlights incidents of corruption, mismanagement, crimes and other social evils it is doing its rightful job for the benefit of the society and citizens. But there is a question the media- managers have to regularly ask themselves – 'Does their presentation effectively serve, as they planned, the citizen and the country or not?’ If they find that it is not bringing the desired results, should they not pause and find out why, and then be bold enough to make necessary adjustments?
In the prevailing state of affairs of law and order in the country, the perpetrators of crime get scot-free due to wide spread corruption at all levels. The politicians and bureaucrats are hardly brought to justice. The criminals enjoy all facilities even when in custody or prison. In such situation, when a crime is exposed and highlighted repeatedly, as is being done for TRP, does it really bring the criminal and the nexus between crime and corrupt administration to justice? No.
Now try to assess the impact of the repeated exposition by the media on the society. Instead of spreading the message that crime is being reduced and criminals are being punished through the exposure, it conveys that criminals are not punished in our system, no matter how strongly and vividly they are exposed. It asserts more emphatically in the minds of the common man that criminals with money and reach cannot be harmed. They are beyond the reach of the law and order machinery. This message acts as free publicity for the crime nexus to draw new apprentices from the petty criminals as well as the unemployed. It encourages the petty criminals to become bold and graduate to the glamorous level of Dons. It entices the youth in their formative years, to drift towards crime by breaking the yet-to-mature allegiance to ethical codes. If a proper study of crime scene in the past two decades is done, it would be no surprise if it is revealed that sensationalizing the crime has educated the criminals. It has in fact pushed even the fence sitters to choose the profession of crime. In these times when there are professional schools (terrorist camps) for training criminals, such sensationalizing proves detrimental to the social cause.
Why not consult social psychologists and other experts to produce a proper and responsible mix of sensational exposure and sane advise for the benefit of society?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

भीड के बेकाबू होने का ज़िम्मेदार कौन?

वे सभी मसले जिनसे असंख्य लोग जुडे होते हैं सपाट नियमों के आधार पर तय नहीं किए जा सकते। वैसा करने से मसला मात्र टाला जा सकता है और भविष्य की उलझनों की कडी में एक की वृद्धि हो जाती है। एक समूह दूसरे को गाली देता है, दूसरा जवाब देता है। समय बीतता है और गालियों का तीखापन बढता जाता है। फिर कभी सामना होने पर भीड में से एक अधिक उत्तेजित व्यक्ति हाथ चला देता है, जवाब में पत्थर चलता है और फिर क्रमशः चाकू, गोली और बम। समय बीतने के साथ गालियों और आरोपों के रूप बदल जाते हैं। हाथ उठाने वाले व्यक्ति बदल जाते हैं। देखने वाले बदल जाते हैं। कही-सुनी और बढी-चढी बची रहती है, जिसमें मतभेद अधिक, सामंजस्य कम होता है।

यह घटनाक्रम एक समय और एक स्थान पर हो तब भी यह निर्णय कर पाना बहुत कठिन होता है कि सचमुच दोषी कौन था। ऐसी घटनाएं जब सामान्य से अधिक समय तक पनपती रहें और स्थान एक इकाई में सीमित हो कर सारे शहर, प्रान्त या देश में फैल जाए तब किसी व्यक्ति या समूह विशेष को एक समय विशेष की घटना के आधार पर सारी समस्या के लिए दोषी नहीं ठहराया जा सकता। उस घटना विशेष में हुए किसी एक कार्य के लिए वह अवश्य ही दोषी होता है।

जनसमूहों के बीच ऐसी दुर्घटनाओं के विस्तार के लिए प्राथमिक और सर्वाधिक दोष राज्य व्यवस्था का ही होता है। कारण यह कि शासन यदि समय रहते सक्रिय नहीं हुआ और आवश्यक कदम नहीं उठाए तो स्थिति बेकाबू होना लगभग निष्चित है। फिर चाहे वह गैरज़िम्मेदारी के कारण हो या किसी निहित स्वार्थ से प्रेरित। किसी भी सीमित स्थान पर भीड का जुटना विस्फोटक सामग्री के बढने जैसा है। शासन के पास उसे नियंत्रित रखने की इच्छा शक्ति तत्परता नहीं है तो पलीता कोई भी कभी भी लगा सकता है। विस्फोट हो जाने के बाद दोषी की खोज और नुकसान के जायज़े से अधिक क्या हासिल होगा। विडंबना यह कि ऐसे हादसों में पीडा सदा ही सामान्य जन या सामान्य कर्मचारी भोगते हैं, निर्णय के ज़िम्मेदार शीर्षस्थ लोग नहीं।

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Recent Delhi Rape

The heinous crime of the recent rape in Delhi has rightly jolted the slumbering masses to rise and make a loud protest. It has also sent shock waves into the dilly-dallying corridors of power to extract sympathy and assurances that they will and are taking appropriate measures. But the question is, will they? They have time tested tools to counter such voices of protest —‘public memory is short’; ‘give assurances and push the matter into the labyrinth of bureaucracy’; ‘divert the issues by endless political and intellectual debates’; ‘use the administrative traps to swallow activists and force them to spend all their energy in efforts to break out of the intricate webs spun around them’; and so on. The consequence is that assurances mostly remain just assurances. Is it not time that continued effective monitoring and follow up is done by some groups of serious and upright activists?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

(What of honest answers? We do not even ask honest questions)

- Surendra Bothara

What happened to Sikhs in Delhi and Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmere, what happened at Godra and what followed in Gujarat were heinous acts. What is happening in North-east as well as Naxalite infested areas can also be put in the same class. The response of the political fraternity, the bureaucracy, and the media remains disgustingly partisan. And that of the common man is, as usual,pathetic. Everyone extracts his share of mileage, political or otherwise, out of such acts of ghastly carnage. There are indeed exceptions, but they are like islands of sanity and hope in the otherwise turbulent seas.

Any such public crime should be condemned; just condemned, without qualification. When working against evil, it is essential to condemn it unequivocally and to dissociate oneself from it. Those who respond with any reservations or conditions attached, risk the chance of being counted among those who perpetrate evil. Those who sincerely fight evil should ensure that such people are counted among the evil-doers. The die-hard and the sympathetic fence-sitters may require different medicines, but both should be counted among the sick.

All analysis, recrimination, and explanation should come separately and much later, not when the atmosphere is charged with the passions of the moment. Ironically, the so called intellectuals rush too quickly to discussion, which can lead to unpleasant hardening of attitudes. The basic purpose of any discussion should be to develop better mutual understanding of views and viewpoints. Mostly discussion on such issues tends to consist of argumentative exchanges or overly heated debate that merely propagates dogmas. Such debates by people, who are not concerned directly and immediately, have a tendency to inflame both sides and provide fuel to an already burning fire.

People in the grip of the passions of the moment would do well to avoid discussion of contentious issues, or at least should allow for a cooling-off period. This is not because they are necessarily mistaken in their opinions, but because any hardening of attitudes is antithetical to compromises and peaceful solutions.

We must realize that terrorism or any sort of extremism thrives on partisan attitude hardening into dogma. Therefore, instead of an immediate reaction, we should stop and think calmly and rationally. Throwing around accusations and instigating people to raise their voices simply plays into the hands of unscrupulous leaders.

An area is continuously doused with petrol, accidentally or intentionally. No one takes any steps to stop this process and the area continues to get saturated. No one tries to cordon off and clean the area, and then someone throws a spark, perhaps accidentally, perhaps intentionally. The area bursts into flame. Who should get the blame?

Those who sprinkled petrol say that those who threw sparks should be blamed. Those who threw sparks say that the petrol-sprinklers should be blamed. Those who remained inactive blame both. This indiscriminate throwing around of invective further inflames the fire. It also makes it more difficult to extinguish the fire. In fact, each and every group should share the blame. But they never do. Once again, the leaders are responsible because they callously continue to take advantage of the shortness of public memory.

Nowadays, leaders, politicians, preachers, and advisers--both altruistic and selfish, who themselves do not follow what they advise or preach--infest our social system. It would be good for them to recall the oft repeated incident from Gandhiji's life where he postponed advising a child not to eat jaggery till he himself abandoned doing so.

Why do none of the leaders actually go to disturbed areas such as Gujarat, Kashmere, North-east and Naxal infested areas with the resolve of staying there until peace is permanently restored?  Alas, this is not what they do; instead, they utter sympathetic cliches and consider their duty to be fulfilled by means of a short, formal visit. This is because in their hearts they consider the common people to be mere stepping stones for their pursuit of personal glory. Yes, apparently they take care of their followers but how? Not as fellow human beings, but as munitions for the artillery employed in missions of their mercenary motives.

It is time we realized how we are being used--mostly in ways we scarcely suspect--by our so-called leaders. In eyes of most politicians we are simply vote-banks and nothing else. For religious leaders we are hordes of mice who dance to the tunes of their sacrosanct flutes. For social activists we are sacrificial lambs ready to be slaughtered on the altar of their ideology for enhancing their glory. For the parasitic monolith of the bureaucracy we are simply a perpetual source of illegitimate pecuniary nourishment. For the media we are a plastic explosive that can be moulded and blown up at will, like fire-crackers. The farcical irony is that each one of these leaders continues to exploit us on the pretext of our welfare, and we continue to produce more such leaders in our trance-like stupidity.

Shouldn't we pause and ask this honest question -- Are we not mere pawns on the chess-board of our leaders' selfish games? If we find the answer to be yes, we should honestly accept this reality and make earnest efforts to dissociate ourselves from leaders who seek sacrifice without giving any. If we find that impossible, we should at least extract from them what we can with our eyes wide open.

Why kill for such people? And, yes, why die for them?