Saturday, 7 January 2017

When people suffer we shout, when we suffer we sob

Sorry mates. 
But you are journalists. Nobody will be agitated if you lose your jobs. Doesn't matter if thousands of you are served pink slips just like that. Nobody will be stirred if you are in office in the afternoon on the roads by the evening.
Alas! It's no news if hundreds of news-givers are thrown out of jobs one fine morning.
"It has been decided to shelve some of our other editions-- Kolkata, Bhopal, Indore, has (also) been decided to shelve Hindustan Times operations for Allahabad, Varanasi, Kanpur," Hindustan Times sends this unequivocal e-mail to its employees. And these editions are off the press come Jan 9. And most of the journalists working there jobless.
There are talks of ABP group sending sorry-email to hundreds of its employees.
Now imagine such pruning in any other industry.
Journalists would have thrust mic to the industry captains' throat. Newspapers would have gone mad, anchors maverick.

But can you find the HT, ABP sacking news anywhere in the mainstream media?
One unknown website carried the news saying one thousand HT employees will lose jobs. Another, equally known, website says HT has “reportedly” shut its editions.  
Why the mainstream media has chosen to ignore this news? Completely.
May be because all of them are planning similar steps. May be because they don't want to name the organisation which belled the cat first. And may be because few of their own HRs are busy writing hundreds, if not thousands, of such e-mails, with sugar-coating.
"They have asked me to look for new job. तुमको अपना सीवी भेजता हूँ. कुछ पता चलेगा तो बताना." I received this phone call from a very senior former colleague of mine. He used to design the pages I edited when I was with the Hindustan Times.
He is of my father's age. 
I know he has liabilities-- EMI on home loan, school and tuition for two teenage kids. Never had he sounded so low to me. It is such a difficult situation to be in. 
I wish if I had not received this phone call from him.
"There are many who have mentored me. They never gave me any wrong suggestion in life. There are gem of a person. I have learnt journalism from them. Now they are jobless," says a colleague of mine talking of his former HT colleagues in Ranchi.
But for us, the mediapersons, our plight is no plight. Our problem is no problem. 
We don’t complain when we have no holiday on our festivals. 
On National Holidays, we have to reach office earlier than every day. No compensatory offs. No complain!
We take it as our duty. A sense of responsibility keeps us going.
Everybody says, we have countless flaws. (Which profession is flawless by the way?)  But our biggest flaw is ignoring our own pain.
Every time media persons are hit, they themselves ignore it—as if they have been hit on the unmentionables. Off limits!
We are the voice of the people but not our own. We shout when people suffer, but we sob in silence when we suffer. We sulk. For us our stories no stories.

ये सूरत बदलनी चाहिए.  

Friday, 28 August 2015

In wars military may win peoples always lose

First and foremost countries should not "celebrate" their perceived victory in wars. And if at all they want to they should hold solemn memorials rather than indulging in brazen chest-thumping and hollow 'loud-speakering'.  
They should remember the martyred souls and pay respect to those who lost lives because of some senseless political decisions and reckless military adventure.
They should meet the women war-widowed and children war-orphaned. 
They should talk to them and try to understand if they share nations' sense of "victory" or do they still pray if the war had not happened?

1965: Indo-Pak War 

When we (India and Pakistan) have decided to "celebrate" our respective "victory" in the 1965 war we should tell the citizenry there were no clear victors. There can be none in a war.
Who one regards as victor depends on which national anthem one sings, which flag one hoists, which day one celebrates as Independence Day: Aug 14 or Aug 15, and which man one regards as nation builder: Bapu or Quaid-i-Azam.
Who you regard  as victor in 1965 Indo-Pak war depends on which country you live in, which flag you hoist and which day you celebrate as your Independence Day: Aug 14 or Aug 15.  
If we have to "celebrate" our "victory" in the war let's tell our both countrymen 6800 army personnel (3000 Indian+ 3800 Pakistani) lost their lives. 
Since we hoist the Tri-colour and live on this side of the border let us tell our people and the world we were the victor. 
But let us also tell them the war widowed how many of our women, orphaned how many of our children and destroyed how many of our families.

What do we celebrate? 

What do we want to celebrate after all? 
The fact that we held some 1,800 sq km of of Pakistani territory and they held just 540 sq km of ours? Okay let's tell the citizen this fact.
But let's not stop here and tell them the end result: that after the ceasefire was agreed upon, with UN intervention, the two sides met in Tashkent. 
An agreement was signed. Both the armies, according to the terms of the agreement, relinquished the captured territories and withdrew to their respective pre-war positions.
Our then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastry did not return after signing the USSR-mediated agreement. He died in his hotel room there. 
So when the two countries "celebrate" their respective "victory" in the 1965 war they should tell their citizen: In the war 6800 families were destroyed, Indian Prime Minister lost his life (not in the war but just after it), tanks, aircraft were destroyed. 

What did we achieve? 

And all this achieved what? Kashmir remains unresolved till date. It was the prime reason why the war started. Pakistan gained 000 km of Indian land; India gained 000 km of Pakistan land. Back to square one. 
So if you want to celebrate the "victory" in this war tell the two peoples nobody won in 1965. "No one wins a war. One side just loses less." 
And if this sounds rather cliche let's tell them, "When two nation-states go to war one military may win but both peoples lose." 

Friday, 17 April 2015

तुम्हारे सिगरेट मेरे दारू

"यार बहुत सेक्सी लगती है. जब तुम सिगरेट सुलगाती हो. और कश खींचती हो. तुम्हारी आँखें बंद हो जाती है. और गाल पे डिम्पल. बहुत अच्छे लगते हैं."   
वो उसे कहना चाहता था. लेकिन कह नहीं पाता. 
सिगरेट नहीं पीता था लेकिन मार्किट जाते समय दो-तीन बार वो उससे सिगरेट लेन को बोली थी. लड़कियों को मुश्किल होती थे सिगरेट खरीदने में उस इलाके में.
"चलो तुम सिगरेट पकड़ो मैं लाइटर जलाता हूँ." लगभग एक हफ्ते सिगरेट लेन के बाद आज पहली बार वो उसे बोला.
वो हंस दी.
"तुम भी पिओगे क्या आज?"
"नहीं. मैं नहीं पिऊंगा. मैं तुमको बस पीते देखूंगा."
उसे उसके बाल भी अच्छे लगते थे. छोटे थे. लेकिन ऐसे कटे थे कि देखने से पहले उसे अपनों बालों से आँखों को आजाद करना पड़ता था और कानों पे रखना पड़ता था. वो ये भी नहीं बोल पाया था.
लास्ट सेमस्टर था. क्लास की एक गेट-टूगेदर थी.
"सुनो. आज मेरे पास सिगरेट है. तुम लाइटर जला दोगे? " और वो उसे खिंच के बालकनी में ले गई. 
"ये क्या हो गया है तुम्हें. हिल क्यों रहे हो? पी लिए हो क्या?"
"हाँ मेरी जान. पी लिया हूँ. और तुम भी पीयो न. लाइटर मैं जलाता हूँ. बहुत सेक्सी लगती हो जब पीती हो. आँखें बंद हो जाती है तुम्हारी. और गाल पे डिम्पल पड़ जाते हैं."   
वो जोर से हंसने लगी.
"तुम हंसो मत डार्लिंग. आई लभ यू."
"अरे ठीक है बाबा. आई लभ यू टू. लेकिन तुम जाओ अभी सो जाओ."
"जब दारू नहीं संभाल पाते तो पी क्यों लेते हो?" अगली शाम वो पूछी.
"अरे सॉरी. सॉरी. पता नहीं क्या क्या बोल गया कल. नशे में."
सेमेस्टर खत्म. सिगरेट का सिलसिला खत्म. 
एक ही शहर में नौकरी करने लगे दोनों. और एक दिन मिलने का प्लान हुआ.  एक रेस्त्रां में.
"एक बात पता है?" वो लाइटर जलाते हुए पूछा।
"मुझे तुम्हारे बाल बहुत अच्छे लगते हैं. जब तुम उन बालों से अपने आँखों को आजाद करती हो, कान को उनकं ग़ुलाम बनती हो और देखती हो. मेरी तरफ."
"तो आज तक बोले क्यों नहीं?"
"क्यूंकि डरता था."
"किस चीज से?"
"दिमाग में स्टीरिओटाइप बैठा था. लड़की है. सिगरेट पीती है. दारू भी पीती होगी. मुँह्फट होगी. कुछ बोल दिया और उल्टा सीधा मान गयी तो गरियाये देगी पुरे कॉलेज के सामने." 
"तो तुमको क्या लगता है नहीं गरिया सकती तुमको मैं अभी?" अपनी याद में पहली बार आधी पी सिगरेट उसने पानी में डाल दी और बालों से आँखों को आजाद करते हुए बोली.
"चिरकुट लड़का. पहले बोल देते की मेरे सिगरेट पीने के अलावे भी तुमको मेरे में कुछ अच्छा लगता है तो बिना मतलब हर शाम अपने फेंफड़े नहीं जलाती. अब चाभी दो."
"किस चीज का?"
"मैंने तो गाड़ी की मांगी. चाहो तो घर की भी दे सकते हो."
चल दिए दोनों. साथ में. घर और गाड़ी की ही नहीं अब तो तिजोरी की भी चाबी वही रखती थी.
उस दिन जो बील पे किया सिगरेट और दारू पे दिया गया उन दोनों का आखिरी बिल था.