Saturday, June 22, 2024

Heart is for Written Word… But we can still hate Journalism

Nirendra Dev
Allegory is a story or a poem…that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning.
This is an era of the internet, ‘Digital India’ one can take the risk of saying so in the election season.
Ideally, ‘May 29th’ (2024) should have come after June 4th. One could relax a bit and pen something more captivating. Nevertheless, as journalists, our hearts do not really belong to spouses or even girl friends (or boyzz). It is locked to the written word. Once that happens – you are hooked and enslaved. So when the invite came – one could not give up the opportunity – the Temptation.
Coming to the internet; surfing allows you to open up before a world of good books, etc.
I was lately excited to read about Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci.
During her 1972 interview, Henry Kissinger agreed that the Vietnam conflict was a “useless war” and he compared himself to “the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse”.
Kissinger later wrote that it was “the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with any member of the press”.
These lines left me touched. Will SC Jamir, KL Chishi or even Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio ever say: “Oh, this was the single most disastrous conversation I have ever had with the journalist from Delhi”?
Imagine that happens. Will that be a prize or a critical verdict from a political stalwart?
Five years back, Nagaland Page completed 20 years of publication and I had written a piece
‘I am obliged to inform, hence I am a journalist’. (May 29, 2029)
Five years after, nothing much has changed. But Journalism has changed a lot. It is no longer about ‘informing’ the readers ~ we are now self-anointed game-changers or even stakeholders.
Here lies the biggest crisis. In fact, that’s cancer today. Or is it just a paradox?
In political circles, people tend to debate that every democratic party believes in free speech for everyone in the country except its own members. Who will challenge this paradox?
Now some similarities and differences between Fallaci and journalists of my era or scribes like me.
Fallaci began her journalistic career in her teens. This applies to me also.
Fallaci was shot thrice, dragged down stairs by her hair, and left for dead by Mexican forces.
Well, none of these happened to me. Actually should not happen to me. And especially the second thing ~ ‘dragged down by hair’ ~ cannot happen to me ever. I have lost hair pretty fast and pretty early in my life that even the lady wife – Tripura damsel – at home could not get that pleasure.
What can one write when journalism overall faces credibility as well as financial crisis. Will there be a 2029 for us?
Thus, to look back at the profession in circa 2024, one can say ‘oh no, all my lost decades’.
My daughter has entered a critical stage of her life. She passed class 12 CBSE on May 13 this year. Paradoxically, a day after my wedding anniversary. Was that symbolic of any bigger message? I am not sure. But what I am sure is ~ she should not become a journalist ever.
The other day I asked her — to repeat an Amitabh Bachhan film dialogue: “Nafrat hai mujhe
(I hate to the height of it..” … A smart daughter of a smarter mom that she is ~ Tanvi added: Journalism.
Well, my Big Picture message was clear. If someone says everyone comes to this world with a mission or a purpose ~ we journalists, especially of my generation ~ really do not know how to react.