News

THE BUCK STOPPED HERE

– By Sanjay Jha

Last week was expectedly about 26/11 remembrance and the excess coverage given the monstrous nature of that calamity could even be grudgingly understood. I think we should not make media-bashing a cavalier past-time , a close runner-up to political thrashing. So here goes.

Headlines Today reconstructed the Metro-Cama hospital exchange where the trapped trio of the famous senior police officers ( Hemant Karkare, Vijay Salaskar and Ashok Kamte ) whose sudden death that night in the early hours of the terrorist attacks was the first indication that things had indeed gone horribly wrong. Using CCTV footage, audio extracts of Pakistan master-minds and juxtaposed with real-life events that unfolded that night HT seemed to make a strong counsel for Rakesh Maria , the senior cop who has got enmeshed in controversial assessments in Vinita Kamte’s book. Sure, there are plentiful loose ends, and expect this plot to have sustainable value , as years after John F Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe’s death , fresh disclosures keep cropping up at intermittent intervals.

CNN-IBN brought in some sweet, poignant stories of human relationships formed during times when one was hearing bullets whiz past and life itself seemed ready for a risky gamble. Rajdeep Sardesai got PC on the Trident roof-top near the swimming pool , and the Home Minister answered with his customary cucumber cold confidence.

On The Big Fight –NDTV one could empathise with Vikram Chandra as he literally begged BJPs Chari and some die-hard VHP spokesman if they would accept the Supreme Court verdict on the disputed Ram Janambhoomi site. The Sangh Parivar are artful dodgers and have made doublespeak their inherent trait for public utterances. But their charade fooled no one. Expect Ayodhya to make a quiet return.

On NDTVs Left Right and Centre ex-Congressman Natwar Singh was hell bent on proving his new credentials, so ambivalence ruled , but he brightened up transitorily every time the Congress blushed on ex-PM Narasimha Rao’s deafening ineptitude in handling the Ayodhya crisis. Manish Tiwari , Congress spokesman, is emerging as the new aggressive face of the grand old party who is a personification of rebuttals and rebounds. Even the canny Ravi Shankar Prasad seems rattled by Tiwari’s ricocheting attacks.

Arnab Goswami on Times Now made an exaggerated hullabaloo on India’s vote on the Iran nuclear issue as if that was the biggest foreign relations event since the end of Cold War. Even as his guests sensibly reasoned with him and Goswami seemed caught with his pants half-way down, he dramatically switched to climate change with equal vigour. Goswami’s strategy is hound, harangue and harass everyone till they all say “ You are the second most important man in India after the PM” I hope poor Dilip Padgaonkar is listening because he looked perceptibly flustered and ill-at-ease during the show.

I thought Sonia Singh Verma has a winner in NDTVs Your Call going by the omnipresent Amar Singh’s interview. Singh who is fast replacing the Taj Mahal as UP’s most visible brand was his usual affable self, but what was surprising was his drastically mellow self and a hint of impending spirituality, the scuffle in Parliament notwithstanding. Now it is Mulayam Singh’s call, I guess.

On The Buck Stops Here , I thought Barkha Dutt hugely charmed by the Dalai Lama’s looming aura almost wanted to pull at his broad cheeks as the Tibetan monk , a picture of prodigious concentration gesticulated with carefree abandon and laughed merrily at his wisecracks.

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