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Book Review – Tales From Shining And Sinking India

Published March 15, 2017 by vishalvkale

Image result for tales from shining and sinking india amaryllisTales from Shining and Sinking India is a series of deep fascinating and interesting stories covered by a journalist during the course of his career. The selection is stupendous, meaningful, and a great value add, besides being interesting and largely of current interest. The eclectic selection includes stories on the Naxal problem, massive floods in Bihar, the 26/11 attack and its Media coverage, Air Accidents – YSR Helicopter accident & Mangalore, Chandrayaan, Tibet, A visit to Pakistan as a Media professional, West Bengal and the fall of the Left, and the two best ones – Anna, and a lovely article on Festivals of India
Tales from Shining and Sinking India is a book by a Media Personality – Akash Banerjee; it has its many good points; but let me depart from my convention, and first point out what I felt were its negatives. I want the readers to leave with a positive impression of this excellent work, so for once let me get into the negatives of the book before I delve into the positives. There aren’t very many, to be honest.
Image result for tales from shining and sinking india amaryllis

First and foremost, this is an out and out defense of the Media, start to finish. That is the impression I got from it. Now, that is not necessarily a bad thing – the other side of the story does need to be told, especially in an atmosphere wherein the Media is often called up for its ways. The US example is present in front of all of us – and that is why, despite me calling this a negative point, this book needs to be read by all. Credit where credit it due. That said, the points raised in at least one article, maybe two or more, failed to impress me, especially the article on 26/11 Media Coverage. I didn’t buy the arguments put forward, sorry. But as this is a book review, I leave it at that. Read it yourself to form your own opinion. Suffice it to say that I remain singularly unimpressed by the defense stated.
Furthermore, the second negative – the point in the Epilogue on Paid Media, well – let me just say that I don’t buy it as an individual. The points raised by the author, while pertinent, do not tally with what I have experienced. I have read one-sided views on at least two scientific topics, with the brunt of the articles being on one side of the argument only. The other side – well covered in more than several researches – didn’t see the light as often as the other side. Now this may be due to opinion as well – not paid news; but unless these and such instances are analysed and explained, I just don’t buy the entire segment in the Epilogue, as it seems to me one-sided. I can also spot many other examples from memory, but science is fact-based, so I choose only science.
Moving on to the positives, let me start be saying that there are so many that it will be difficult to list in a small Blog Article. The subject matter this book contains is so pertinent and varied that listing all pluses is not feasible. So let me just focus on the main points I noted. First and foremost, the depth of coverage of each article, and the entire presentation is excellent. This makes for riveting reading. Since these are personal experiences, depth refers to the complete experience of the Author, and the attention to detail. That is remarkable.
Next, the choice of articles and the subject covered deserves a special mention. You get a view of the on-ground scenario in a variety of contemporary and vital aspects of public importance or interest, ranging from Pakistan,  Natural disasters, Accidents, Terror aspects, Media, Politics, Science – topped off with a delectable number on India’s Religious Festivals. It is this top-notch mix of articles that make for a fascinating, riveting read; giving the book a lovely flavor – this is a very highly balanced book indeed!
Third, the articles, or rather memories, are so well presented in the book, that you get a birds-eye view of the entire scenario as it plays out. The follies as well as the good points have been fairly narrated, with a full coverage; this tends to lend authenticity to the work. The coverage is fairly in-depth, and it gives us an idea of the entire scenario. The articles on the Tibet situation, India’s Festivals, Bihar Floods, Naxal Menace, Anna – and The West Bengal Left’s collapse are the best of the lot.
Fourth, and perhaps the most significant, it gives us, the audience, an inside look at the career of a Journalist in the modern high-pressure world of constant 24*7 news, the pressures they work under, and extent of the hard work, trouble and hardships they have to go through to get us that vital news-bite. This is, in my opinion, vital – as the 24*7 atmosphere is here to stay; and rather than blandly criticize the Media, or take it for granted, we should all be aware of what they go through. This book is a significant contribution in that realm. All in all, a class book truly worth reading for all bilbiophiles, indophiles, current affairs followers and Media persons… 

UPA/ Gandhi Vs NDA/Modi… Ek taraf uska ghar, ek taraf maikadaa…

Published June 28, 2013 by vishalvkale

Zindagi ek hai aur talabgaar do
Jaan akeli magar jaan ke huqdaar do
dil bataa pehle kiskaa karoon huq adaa
Ek taraf uskaa ghar ek taraf maikadaa
Is talluq ko main kaise todun zafar
kisko apnau main kisko chhodun zafar
meraa dono se rishtaa hai nazdeek kaa
Ek taraf uskaa ghar ek taraf maikadaa

The immediate aftermath of the sad Uttarakhand tragedy has highlighted aspects of both sides of the political spectrum which are disturbing; while you have the Modi phenomenon with the much-touted “help-Gujarati only” approach, with intervention in the middle of a tragedy; and Rahul Gandhi and his Z-Plus security visit which forced a closure of an ITBP location… leaving me wondering: who to choose, on whose side to go, who to vote for – or is it that none of these is deserving of my vote… the only weapon I have to express my desires and my aspirations!

First, let us take the famous Modi rescue mission. Having read both sides of the “equation” – I have but one query for the NDA, and one for the GoI. If indeed Mr Modi did rescue Gujaratis only, then my question is : aren’t the other victims deserving of rescue? As a Maharashtrian Indian, am I now to be treated differently from Gujaratis Indians? It pains me to write these words, but in the light of what I have read online, this is a pertinent query. We are all Indians and are equal in front of any State or Central Government, and this blatant discrimination – if true – is disturbing.  Very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very disturbing. And if this is false, why hasnt anyone denied this and clarified with an equal amount visibility? I certainly haven’t read any rebuttals!

Narendra Modi lands in Uttarakhand, flies out with 15,000 Gujaratis

Uttarakhand: Narendra Modi targeted by Yashwant Sinha

This, sir, is not acceptable. This way lies anarchy: should residents of Maharashtra now start looking to their State Government above the Indian Nation? Is a state more important? Should MP domiciles start looking after MP-ites only, to the exclusion of all else? This is just not acceptable. Till this happened, I was looking forward to the US response in case Modi takes over as PM… their snootiness towards Modi would have to take a back seat! It was a tantalisingly delicious prospect and dream of meeting those holier-than-thou geniuses in the US of A. Not anymore; I am no longer with Mr Modi or the NDA. Not after this Gujarati-only approach. I am only an Indian : my language and my state-hood are not in the least important. I demand equality: and give equality. It is also my right!

Coming to Mr Gandhi and the GoI, first of all – how has this much touted visit by Gandhi (which was after the Modi visit) helped? Was it a genuine help effort, or an attempt to stem the slide caused by Modi and his Gujaratisms? What practical good was achieved? Answer: 

Page on Bhaskar

ITBP DG denies officers evicted from Gauchar mess to accommodate Rahul Gandhi, says they were relocated

And the DG of ITBP says Rahul Gandhi’s security was of paramount importance! More important than even saving lives, is it? And the officers were not removed, they were relocated!!!!! Pray tell me what is the difference? And removal of officers – howsoever temporary – must have caused some problems. That is simple logic. 

So, my dear GOI, tell me – a simple, powerless citizen of India – is Rahul Gandhi more important than saving thousands of lives? And how is it that a rank-outsider like Modi can just waltz into a disaster area unannounced and without clearance and organise a Rambo-style rescue? Insofar as Uttarakhand tragedy is concerned – outside of the Armed Forces, Uttarakhand State Government and Central Government – everyone else is persona-non-grata. How did Modi pull it off? Why did Rahul’s security demand vacation of a rescue camp in one of the worst natural disaster hit areas in India???? Who gave them the bloody guts to do that?  That means there is no control of any kind: every man for himself, is it? What a positively fabulous way of running a government! Awesome: you have my personal congratulations! 

That leaves me with 2 options: on one side, a party that fields a Help-Gujarati-Only man as a prime candidate; and on the other side a party who places personal security over and above the convenience of people engaged in rescue work, a party that mismanages this whole sick episode…

Who do I choose?  Maikadaa chunoon – yaa “Uske” ghar jaaon?

Maikadaa ==> bar
Us: in this example above: I have taken it to mean “the other woman”

Both are dangerous!!!!

Ai gham-e-zindagi kuch to de mashvaraa
Ek taraf uskaa ghar ek taraf maikadaa
main kahaa jaaoon hotaa nahi faislaa
Ek taraf uska ghar ek taraf maikadaa…