The concept of Swami Bhakthi is simple. It means Devotion to one's Master. For some it is God; for some it is their parents; for some it is their teacher; for some it is their mentor; for NDTV it is the Gandhi family!
The above statement might sound as an exaggeration if looked in isolation. However, let's just look at what happened two days back. India and Pakistan played in the Cricket World Cup semifinal at Mohali. Sensing this as another opportunity to further his redundant peace agenda, our Prime Minister invites the Prime Minister of Pakistan to view the match. So there you go - two big news items. An India-Pakistan semifinal and the two PMs meeting.
But...but NDTV had different plans. Apart from covering these two events, it decided to give some more prominence to showcase Swami Bhakthi again. Sample these:
News item one: "Rahul Gandhi watches slog overs from non-VIP stand" - This is a Press Trust of India report, but given the barrage of Rahul's coverage, what was the need for NDTV to have this too?
News item two: " A billion voices thank men in blue" - This is a slide show put together by NDTV. Picture 1 is that of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Pictures 2 - 5 are titled "Rahul's various moods at Mohali". Really? In a slide show that is titled "billion voices thank...." you devote 4 slides to your master's "various moods"? And what are those "various moods"? "Rahul Gandhi watches the semi-final match between India and Pakistan." - This news item was covered in the first slide, so why repeat the same inane stuff again?
Next - "Rahul acknowledges the crowd." What does acknowledging of the crowd have to do with the "mood" of the person?
Then - "Looks worried about India's fate.". You know what - we are truly worried about India's fate, should this man hold any, I repeat, any position of responsibility. Perhaps we need to concentrate on our worries too, but then that's too much to ask from NDTV.
And lastly - "Rahul Gandhi poses for a fan.". Again - what does this have to do with "mood"?
Now you must be thinking that two news items are more than enough. Here's where NDTV stumps you -
News item three: "Sonia, PM, Gilani at Mohali. " And ofcourse, again Rahul Gandhi's picture in the accompanying collage. However, that is not the issue here. There is an order of preference one needs to follow while talking about those who hold public office. Sometime back, in a headline, The Hindu wrote, "Manmohan, Kalam condemn killing". Two days later it clarified that the headline should have read "Kalam, Manmohan condemn killing" because the President gets precedence over the Prime Minister. A "breach of protocol" was accepted by The Hindu. Now let's get back to what NDTV wrote. "Sonia, PM, Gilani at Mohali" - this is not breach of protocol? Sonia Gandhi gets precedence over the Prime Minister in NDTV's headline, thereby showing where the devotion lies at. It might have been an innocent mistake on the part of NDTV, like that of The Hindu, but then where is the clarification? Where is the correction? Too much to ask I guess, for then the display of devotion will be diluted.
You must now be thinking we are done! And NDTV again decides to stump you! Immediately after the victory, NDTV puts up a collage of our victory and guess whose picture is included in it? No points for guessing.
After outrage by folks on twitter, NDTV removes the picture of Rahul Gandhi from that collage. The word sycophancy got a whole new meaning with this display of devotion by NDTV.
Just realised that today is April 1st. What better day than this, to blog about Rahul Gandhi and NDTV :D.
Note - The following picture has been added on April 3rd. A day after the final, when India won. On NDTV's home page, is the following image. ""Rahul Gandhi in aam aadmi's stand". "Sonia celebrates on Delhi streets"."
Also, if you are wondering that NDTV's devotion is limited to Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi - you are again mistaken. Priyanka Gandhi gets unlimited amounts of that. An old blogpost, talking about a slide show by NDTV here. Pasting it below for a comprehensive view of Swami Bhakthi.
Ladies and Gentlemen. Presenting to you, from the stables of NDTV, Priyanka Gandhi - The new Indira.
Text accompanying picture number 4 in this NDTV link:
"Possessing the same grit as her grandmother, Priyanka has never hesitated in putting her foot down.Much like how Indira took major decisions that eventually altered the course of Indian history."
What are the instances when Priyanka has put her "foot down"? What decisons of hers are comparable to that of Indira Gandhi? What is Priyanka Gandhi's political experience? Running campaigns in her mother's and brother's parliamentary constituencies? Isn't this approximatly a month's work once in 5 years? Given that the constituencies from which they fight elections have traditionally their family bastions, there is really not much scheming and planning involved. Working in an environment where you know that victory is yours, really doesn't qualify a person to be compared to how Indira Gandhi, as Prime Minister took "major decisions", right?
But you see my friends, logic and NDTV don't seem to be very good friends :D
Moving further (photo 5), NDTV also emphatically declares:
" 'Mass appeal' is one among the many qualities that she inherited from her grandmother. Priyanka's popularity drew crowds from far and wide as she often accompanied her mother and brother to their constituencies of Rae Bareilly and Amethi. "
Far and wide? As in from other constituencies? Other states? Other countries? No - we are not supposed to ask. They will just write whatever superlatives fit into the sentence - facts ain't a concern here, you see!
The gem - Text accompanying photo 7:
"Priyanka is reputed as being a good organiser and is believed to be her mother's "chief advisor" on political matters."
What are the events she "organised" to earn this "reputation"? More importantly, can we start holding Priyanka accountable for both successes and failures of political decisions of Sonia Gandhi ? Will NDTV start asking political questions to Priyanka Gandhi from now on? Oops - did I just ask for the moon? :D
The Diamond - Text accompanying photo 8:
"The dressing style of both ladies has been quite similar too.Many manage to catch a glimpse of the iconic leader specially when Priyanka is seen donning starched cotton sarees.Looking impeccable, of course."
Seriously NDTV? This is NEWS?? starched cotton sarees is what is attractive?? Seriously, NDTV?
The bestest is reserved for the last. Text accompanying photo 10:
"Irrespective of the constant comparison between Indira Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, no one can deny the fact that Priyanka's aura is truly her own.Her poise and elegance sets her apart from all others who hail from political families. Truly, a radiant personality who is willing carrying the Nehru-Gandhi legacy forward, but in her own unique way."
Each word smacks so much of sycophancy. Each word is aimed at selling the idea of Priyanka Gandhi as the next Indira Gandhi, when she does not have a single success to boast of. Frankly, it is not surpising that NDTV has stooped to this level to hype up a member of THE family. What is shocking is the openness with which they do it, and yet claim that they are unbiased in their "reporting". Surely, the country deserves better.