Monday, August 1, 2011

The Hina mania

Indian media is increasingly beginning to get on my nerves. I call it Indian media and not ‘our media’ because these guys don’t represent me and I have no sense of ownership about their actions. This process of disowning did not happen overnight but the trigger is very recent - The much covered visit of Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar (for brevity’s sake I’ll address her as HRK). My irritation began with headlines that read ‘HRK has Delhi sweating’, ‘Delhi drools over model like minister’, followed by a detailed description of her accessories. To their credit the newspapers-turned-tabloids were partly correct. Delhi was indeed sweating, but out of heat and humidity, rapes & molestation cases, road rage killings and traffic jams. After exhausting themselves over such chaos in daily life, perhaps the only people who have sweat and drool left inside them for anything else are the Indian paparazzi and ‘journalists’.

I have no problem with them sweating and drooling over anything, but I just wish they would keep their stinking liquid discharge to themselves and not implicate the entire country. We, and I confidently speak for most Indians, were not standing on our heads over a pretty minister and her fashion sense. The middle class did not come out of depression and the poor did not come out of poverty during the meeting of the two foreign ministers and they couldn’t care less if HRK looked like a model or if SM Krishna, her Indian counterpart did not. Times of India, the most shrill of the English language journalistic lot stamped and sealed its idiocy by defending its hyperactive coverage the next day. As per TOI, such frenzied reportage is common in western media and we are doing not doing anything new. Quite remarkable. Since we cannot learn from the high quality journalism of some of the better western publications, we might as well adopt the trash of the lesser ones. Any stupidity is kosher as long as the white man also does it.  

If I have to use just one word to describe the condition of mainstream Indian journalism today, that word would be ‘excess’. Excess channels, excess money through advertisements and excess reporters. Any graduate who can wield a pen today considers himself a game changer in this great Indian tamasha (and the vast Indian population keeps them coming). Satellite television and easy money have given senior media persons a sense of power and arrogance which percolates down to the ranks. Journalists love to dish it out to others but are incredibly thin skinned when given back. So when HRK lashed out at journalists for turning the diplomatic meeting into a media circus, reaction was swift, suddenly she was not so beautiful, and the focus was on her credentials – ‘rich’, ‘feudal’, ‘landed’ and ‘powerful’, ‘club owner’.

Spare a thought for the young HRK, who must be wondering what she can do to have focus shifted to what she delivers as a minister (and she has a long way to go). Conservative advisors would recommend getting rid of the expensive brands and presenting a more daughter-of-the-soil image. This would be a pity and mercifully HRK realizes this, for as recently as yesterday she has said that she is not going to be apologetic about the way she presents herself. It is not a crime to look good and frankly it’s nobody’s business how much her handbag and sunglasses cost.

1 comment:

  1. Exactly!! It is no crime to look good. Waisay, she has been a minister of state (junior minister kind of thing) for finance for quite some time and nobody noticed her 'beauty'. In fact uss ki "horse-like" awaz ka mazaq hota tha yahan. All of a sudden she is being assessed for her looks even here now, and for this she needs to thank the Indian media :)