Monday, April 10, 2006

Shoot the Messenger

A few weeks ago there was a full-page article, in the Sunday Times of India, on a certain Raghav Mahto, a 22 year old mechanic in Mansoorpur, Bihar, who had started his own FM radio channel, which had quietly transformed the lives of the villagers, cut off as they were from the world, ironically because of the public broadcasters, AIR and Doordarshan. He was giving them their programming, in their language and about them. The article commended the actions of the young man and gave him as an example of how a small idea can bring about a major societal change.

Yesterday, while reading “Men and Ideas”, the weekly column by Gurcharan Das, again in the Sunday Times of India, I came to know that “Two weeks ago, on March 27, his station was closed and his equipment seized because he broke two laws, he did not possess a license and he gave news on FM Radio. A formal complaint has also been lodged against him”

My simple question to Mr. Mahto is, What were you thinking, giving the people what they want? How dare you try to take on AIR, which has the sole right to rule the airwaves in India? And news, have you gone mad, Instead of giving excerpts of a daily diary of the minister of state of agriculture, you give local news? Insane, I must say.

So, a criminal you are and thou shall pay the price for it.

And so shall shooters Samaresh and Anjali Jung. You shall be seeing less and less of them in the future.

Their crime, they dared to speak about the Sports Infrastructure in India. (To their credit, they did steer clear of any comments on their own federation, and they also did not directly make any comments on any other sports federation) But when they stated the simple facts about the conditions of sports camps - ill-kempt toilets, mosquito-ridden sleeping quarters, poor training facilities, power problems, unhygienic food and official apathy, what they left unsaid actually said a lot. So do you think they will get away with it? I doubt it.

As they say, if you can't stand the message - Shoot the Messenger (or may be in the second case “Shoot the Shooters”?)