This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

‘Can We All Grow Up A Bit Please?’ Rajdeep Sardesai On The ‘Tamasha’ That Is News Today

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Rajdeep Sardesai:

Last night, prime time news television (or a section of it to be more accurate) found its villain of the day to explain India’s World Cup loss: Virat Kohli and his girlfriend Anushka Sharma. The same Kohli who till just weeks ago was being acknowledged as the finest batsman in the world, being compared to the legendary Sachin Tendulkar after a remarkable test series and a hundred in the first World Cup game against Pakistan.

rajdeep_sardesai (1)

Kohli played a bad shot and got out. Had the same ball been top edged over the keeper’s head, he might have been on his way to take India to victory. On such small margins, are big games decided. But forget the cricket logic for a moment: most news anchors haven’t held a bat so to expect them to talk cricket is perhaps asking for too much.

More perplexing is the targeting of Anuskha. An actress goes to watch a match in Australia and is suddenly seen as a distraction for her star lover. The same Anuskha was in Australia when Virat scored four hundreds in a series: did anyone raise a question? Then, she was a lucky charm, now she becomes the ‘villain’ (or is it vamp) to explain a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the best ODI team in the world. The fact is, Dhoni and his men were good, but just not good enough to retain the World Cup. Australia are playing like champions at home, like we did four years ago in India. Why not acknowledge it and move on to the ‘real’ story?

We won’t, because the tyranny of TRPs insists that we find a villain/mujrim every day to ‘roast’ in a kangaroo court that passes off as a TV studio. We need to put noise above news, sensation above sense because ‘manufactured outrage’ has become a formula for some just like naach gaana was once ‘sold’ in cinema. Why do we rarely see sane, moderate, intelligent voices on television? Because sanity spreads light, doesn’t generate heat. Because we want television screens to ‘burn’ the mind, not illuminate it, because we believe that the audience wants a daily soap opera and doesn’t really want to understand the finer points of the news. So, let’s paint the world in black and white, look for shrill, extreme opinions, get them to screech at each other like fishwives and enjoy the ‘fun’. Who wants the ‘truth’ when we can get ratings? Television news for some is box office, not an opportunity to raise the bar of journalistic inquiry. And it’s done with a conviction that is frighteningly successful.

So, if even an innocuous actress like Anuskha Sharma can be made the villain of the day, then so be it. Public memory is short, Tomorrow, we’ll find a new target: some hapless spokesperson who will have to answer for every sexist remark made by a Sharad Yadav-like MP, some retired Pakistani general who will be held guilty for every crime committed by a Lashkar terrorist, maybe even an RSS leader who will have to answer for every church attack in this country. Like lambs to a slaughter chamber, they will come, be heckled and berated, and then the lights and cameras will be switched off without any attempt being made to actually arrive at the ‘truth’. And some of our viewers will have their evening ‘fix’ of entertainment masquerading as ‘hard’ journalism. My grandmother who passed away last month would call it ‘tamasha’, a rather coarse form of song and dance. She was, as always, bang on.

Post-script: to call India’s defeat in Sydney, the ‘shame of Sydney’ is shameful in itself. We should be ashamed when a farmer commits suicide because his crop is destroyed and he is exposed to usurious money-lenders. To lose a cricket match is a defeat, not a national shame. Can we all grow up a bit please? And start doing some genuine journalism again?

This post was originally published at rajdeepsardesai.net.

Also check, Who Is The Real Narendra Modi?” – In Conversation With Rajdeep Sardesai.

You must be to comment.
  1. ABs

    What an absolute joke. This is the man whose media house did a live coverage of the 26/11 attacks, and gave the terrorists vital information regarding troop movements and operations. This guy was thrown out of his job because of his partial news coverage.

    https://thetruthaboutliars.wordpress.com/about/

    1. Ritesh Anan

      @ABs – Don’t you get it my friend, all that makes him a ‘respected journalist’. The man who created a Tamasha out of 2002 to build a media empire, who later writes a book on the ‘Tamasha’ of 2014 election, which basically mocks the majority of the country for believing in something that he DOES NOT, blames his failures on ‘strategy by Modi to discredit media and me’ is calling News – “Tamasha’ today. Irony and its heights 🙂

      I would have written the ‘TAMASHA’ routinely done by his better half too, but then the FEMINISM brigade will start coming with their accusations and take this argument on a different track, so I’ll leave it to that.

  2. Arastu Zakia

    Besides the post and my fundamental agreement with it, Rajdeep consistently writing Anushka as “Anuskha” is interesting

  3. vaspri

    May be I am the only Indian who does not care about Cricket, but I have always wondered why we spend so much time, money and effort in watching an event, the outcome of which has absolutely no bearing on our past, present or future? I understand that people can be passionate about a sport, but it is ludicrous to associate with national shame or pride. India, as a country has a lot more to show for than its talents in Cricket. Eradicating Polio, for instance, in a country with a population of 1.1 billion is a stellar achievement to say the least. Does anyone care??

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Debarati Sen

By Be a Bridge for Change - BBC

By Suranya

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below