Team Anna as the group including Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Kiran Bedi, Prashant and Shanti Bhushan, Santosh Hegde along with Anna Hazare among others is called achieved the unachievable or so we have been asked to believe. They were able to mobilize support for the Lokpal Bill riding high on Anna Hazare’s non violent methods. Support which was unseen and unheard of throughout the country.
An educated middle class which doesn’t vote but criticizes, doesn’t stand up and be counted by joining politics themselves but criticizes, doesn’t want to be the change it wants to see but criticizes joined this movement like never before. They were out on the streets, on Twitter, on Facebook, in company chat rooms everywhere rooting for the man himself as well as the cause he was fighting for.
The jury is out on what was the reason for the success of the movement. But there is no doubt that the media’s continuous coverage of the movement day in and day out was a big factor in people getting ready to join it. “India’s second freedom movement”, “India is Anna and Anna is India” and many more statements by everyone from Aamir Khan to Om Puri to Kiran Bedi were beamed on our channels every day.
But now everyone from Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Kashmir to Irom Sharmila in Manipur want him to help them in their movements. Mirwaiz has asked Anna’s support to find the truth behind the number of unmarked graves in the Kashmir valley. Irom on the other hand has been fasting for the past decade against the application of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the North East which allows them to arrest and shoot anyone at sight who they consider suspicious.
Our media has always steered clear of reporting anything much about the North East at all. If at all there is any reporting, its about floods or the insurgency. And that’s why when I went there once, I felt as if I am not in India not because of the problems there but because it felt so cut off. Anyways let’s leave that for another time.
Kashmir on the other hand as an issue doesn’t really interest the media anymore. Obviously it has to do more with the fact that today’s generation doesn’t really have too much interest in this. And this is the reason jingoism doesn’t work anymore. Yeah the problems in the valley last year were all over the newspapers. But then what happened. Nothing. No news except when soldiers are killed on the border outposts? This is a sad reality we all have come to accept.
Corruption is a national issue which interests everyone from the media to the postman to the CEO of a company. Everyone has faced it sometime or the other in his / her life. But issues with the army are there only in pockets of the country which remain unstable or where insurgent groups have tried to create instability. Why would the media be interested in this? Or shall I say why would the masses be interested? This is not to say their cause is wrong. But then it really won’t interest even the media because they wouldn’t get their TRPs.
And finally, how many of us have been to Kashmir or the North East? I am sure the oldies among us would have visited Kashmir for sure. But how many youngsters have gone their? Though the insurgency has weakened pretty much over the years, I really doubt if many of us would have actually visited the place. As for the North East, I am sure if we ask 10 people, a good percentage won’t even know the names of all 7 sister states. A sad but true story.
My point of visiting the place is just to show that if we have not visited a place, how can we know what the people go through? Why will the people support a cause which they can’t empathise with? Why will they canvass for something when they have not seen the suffering of the people?
Anna fighting for the other causes is well and good. But him kindling the interest of the media as well as the masses in this is going to be a real tough nut to crack.
I myself support Irom Sharmila’s cause but I doubt the millions out there would be really interested.
What do you think? Will the media and masses fight the same way for Irom or Mirwaiz?