Archive for March 6th, 2007

Is blocking Sun TV a right form of protest?

6 March 2007

The Cauvery “agitation” is 30 days old today. For exactly a month now, Sun TV has been invisible in most houses in Mysore and Bangalore, thanks to the linguistic flame burning brightly in the heart of the cable operator. Tamil movies have been off cinema screens in both cities. The “ban” has been lifted in some areas, but as was evident in an assault by the increasingly (and disturbingly) aggressive Karnataka Rakshana Vedike on a theatre that tried to screen a Tamil move today, an unwritten ban persists.

Do only Tamils watch Sun TV and Tamil cinema in Karnataka? Is the blockade a legitimate form of protest? Who decides this and on what ground/s? Why is the deprival of entertainment seen as a way of driving home the perceived injustice concerning water to the State? If trains/buses/cars can go to and come from Tamil Nadu freely, why can’t the airwaves?

Since the ban is far from voluntary in the viewer’s eyes, and since all TV viewers are at the knifepoint of the cable operator, is the inability of the State Government and the Police to get the ban lifted an indication of the breakdown of law and order? Are Kannadigas following the footsteps of Narendra Modi’s Gujarat, which banned NDTV for a while, and has since failed to pave the way for Fanaa and Parzania to be screened?

If a picture says a 1,000 words, then this…

6 March 2007

Hindustani maestro Gangubai Hanagal, who turned 95 on Monday, captured in a confluence with the synonym for the shehnai, Ustad Bismillah Khan, at the Sri Rama Navami music festival at the Fort High School grounds in Bangalore in 1993.

This picture by Karnataka Photo News editor Saggere Ramaswamy (then with the Indian Express) has gone on to win many laurels, depicting as it does the warmth between two artistes who know only one language: the language of lyrical genius cutting across region and religion, caste and creed, vocal and instrumental.

Cross-posted on churumuri

What a newspaper editor told Mahatma Gandhi

6 March 2007

A car stood on the tarred road, parched land spreading endlessly away around. In it were three men, two of whom were asleep. The car had engine trouble, and the driver had wandered off on foot to find help.

In the back seat the only one of the three still awake was Anantarao Chikodi, a frail, birdlike boy, one of the workers of the nationalist movement in his area of the State. Beside him was a small, shrivelled man whose cheap spectacles had slipped down over his closed eyes and now hung from the tip of his sharp nose.

His name was Gandhi.

In the front seat, similarly buried in sleep, was another local Congress worker, Deshpande. The year was 1924, and conditions in the rural areas [of North Karnataka] were by no means secure.

Chikodi was looking around anxiously for the driver. To be in charge of Gandhi, after all, was to be in charge of a national treasure, when he saw someone else.

This was a very large, very black, very naked man with a beard. He had a live cobra coiled around his neck: his only form of attire. He looked very menacing, and he approached the car and glared at Gandhi.

Chikodi did not want to disturb Gandh, but he wanted to protect him and felt, not unreasonably, considering the size and ferocious aspect of the visitor, that he needed help. He reached over to wake Deshpande up, but Deshpande was as terrified as he.

In the midst of all this, Gandhi awoke.

He looked calmly at the beard, the bloodshot eyes, the cobra, and the naked black body of the intruder, and smiled his peceful, childlike smile.

“Don’t worry,” Gandhi said to Chikodi, “this gentleman won’t harm us. He is from Karnataka.”

Thereupon he returned to an untroubled sleep. When Chikodi looked up once more, their visitor had disappeared.

***

An anecdote, narrated by Anantrao Chikodi, then an eminent newspaper editor, to Dom Moraes in 1975. Excerpted from The Open Eyes, A Journey through Karnataka, published by the Government of Karnataka, 1976. Illustrations by Mario Miranda.

***

Cross-posted on churumuri

Honey, who killed our newspaper?

6 March 2007

It’s not the Internet alone that’s killing newspapers. It’s the equity-chasing investors and “cut-and-gut” bandicoot publishers who put outsize profits before a free press. All they are bothered about is downsizing, rightsizing, cutting costs, squeezing more, says Eric Klinenberg in the latest issue of Mother Jones.

Read the full article here: Breaking the News

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