Monday, December 14, 2009

"We the people"

Ok, I have a confession to make. When NDTV was the only private channel on air, I always used to wonder whether I will ever get to see Rajdeep do a "Big Fight" or ever get to participate in Barkha Dutt's "We the people". Well the former thought will never fructify, but the latter thought turned into a reality last saturday!

All the initial excitement of being on the show evaporated into thin air (or should I say cold air ;-) ) when I heard the panelists! The political panelists were either plain uninspiring or simply distressing. KCR's son KTR was at his rhetoric best, using every available opportunity to inspire only hatred and spread more negativity around. Add to that, there were about 10 hardcore supporters of his who were clapping at the drop of hat further irritating me!

MIM's Owaisi came to the show with a single point agenda. He sounded like he really doesn't care which way the state goes as long his "community" interests are protected. Now and then, he keeps saying that Hyderabad belongs to all and we should all respect constitution, but anyone remotely associated with Hyderabad politics know very well how much Owaisi respects law. On the show he even got angry at a section of the audience calling them a mob and telling them "when it comes to mob mentality, you very well how we are"! As expected this was not carried on TV.

J.C.Diwakar Reddy, MLA from Rayalseema and a hardcore factionist seemed very out of place and really did not care much, even asking us to learn from the example of Russia! Congress MP Madhu Yashki Goud just repeated his oft repeated stance;indutrialist B.V.R.Mohan Reddy represented the IT industry while Jyotirmayee sharma represented the academic world. Mir Alam Khan completed the list.

The debate went on for about 1 hour and 20 minutes and at the end of the show, neither did we learn anything new nor did anyone have the satisfaction of pushing the panelists into a corner. Before the audience could lap upto a point, the next point was being debated. The debate was never centred around why there is a demand for the state of telangana; what, if any, steps have been taken to address the concerns; do these concerns really warrant a new state; how fair is it to equate a violent agitation as a movement; how the congress blundered in giving into blackmail tactics; what kind of precedent does this action by UPA set etc. Instead the discussion centred around what will happen to India if smaller states come;what will happen to Hyderabad; what will happen to IT industry; what will happen to muslim community etc.

I believe the plot of the debate was lost the moment it started centering around Hyderabad and India. As one enlightened member of the audience rightly asked- Why are we talking only about Hyderabad. Barkha immediately picked it up and in no time was the discussion veered away from that topic! Barkha has this knack of picking up a line from the panel and then quickly moving onto another point. Unfortunately this topic was too serious and warranted a much better discussion than what actually took place. Added to that, there was this loud batch of about 10 people who were just plain restless in trying to voice their opinion. With such kind of agitated mentality, do they actually expect us to listen to their arguments?

The "icing on the cake" was Saina's interview. I guess that just summed up the whole mood of the debate: It took place because it had to. Nothing more. Nothing less.
PS: The link for the debate is here. I get to ask a Q at the 51st minute :)