Between the Devil and the Deep sea …… By Rashmi Talwar

Caught Between the Devil and the Deep sea[/caption]

I agree with Mr Shujaat Bukhari on the role of the media in Kashmir during the conflict that started in 1989 onward.
It is also true that many newspapers emerged during that time as the writer points out ” from eight to 800″. The media in Kashmir unfortunately was caught between the devil and the deep sea. Also many sane voices who had a vision of Kashmir’s dangerous paths and liaisons were smothered, and a popular sentiment took over and was intensified by the culture of the gun.
When Pakistan as a country was being doled out aid by US and other countries during the Afghan occupation by USSR , it looked flushed with joy ! A joyous time — accrued out of money that poured by Foreign lands ! and Kashmiris felt one with them, owing to religiosity, culture etc but when it was seen that the stoking country Pakistan was turning into a failed state , some of the hawks and hardliners changed their lingo to ‘Azaadi’ or Freedom for Kashmir.

Why didn’t they think of Freedom for Greater Kashmir including the areas in India as also occupied by Pakistan or China?

In my opinion no solution can be solved by the gun, many like me too vouch for that.

After having stoked fires of hatred and communalism in Punjab , Pakistan had tried its utmost to get a separate Punjab by the name of Khalistan and thus cut off the main route to Kashmir through Punjab from the rest of India.

I know the price Punjabis paid in blood and lives in Punjab during the mid seventies and thereafter till 1989 . However the Roti -beti ka rishta (the relations based on sharing food and giving or taking a daughter in marriage between the two communities of Hindus and Sikhs) finally prevailed to save the situation. It is not merely that the people came to their senses one-fine-day. A heavy hand was used and many lost their near and dear ones and our Golden Temple saw the ignominy as a mute spectator to its devastation and desecration ..
Discrimination prevailed for the entire community for the fault of a few. Many sikhs were blacklisted in foreign countries too and are still in the same category.

Coming back to the role of Media then, in Punjab …. the newspapers made it a point to be inclusive of saner voices alongside the separatist ones. Many sane sikhs stood out against these daily attacks. Media-persons faced the same fear of the gun of a terrorist or of a policemen, lingering over their heads as of journalists in Kashmir.
Many media persons were sacrificed for speaking in favor of terrorists or against them , between the two warring sides.
However in Kashmir the situation aggravates as along with being a Kashmiri the dominant community there has been unfortunately been labelled according to the world situation on religious lines. The Kashmiri Journalist therefore has to take a double blow.
It is like in a family situation “When a father , mother , son or daughter commits a crime the whole family faces the brunt

I feel Good Newspapers must be encouraged by Govt but in turn these papers must also bring in saner voices to sound balanced and guide the people to prosperity , progress and peace, but most of them err on this aspect instead flying on the wave of sensationalism just like the many TV channels these days . Media has to act responsibly and ”seen” to be acting that way by the general public .. otherwise media cannot blame the public for forming opinions in which public blames the media for stirring the public in ungainly directions . … Dear Writer this is only my Humble opinion …



6 responses to this post.

  1. Rashmi, its well written. Fact is, not only media, we all are caught in fussy situation.

    One thing we all have read that a pen is mightier than a sword but when its a state of utmost anarchy and confusion all over, sometimes even swords take the lead. As it was case of Punjab, the varied forms of terrorists, some fighting for their so called us and state sponsored one. We were not sure, what was being done by whom. The media plays its role but again like civilians they are under pressure, toward whom to tilt might of the pen.

    Like any pillar of power, there could be some rats in media too, the fact which we can’t ignore. We can pray that this situation of “Caught between devil and deep sea” is properly handled by those, in power so all can live in peace.

    Keep on highlighting such issues. Best wishes.



    • Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 8, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Dear Daljeet ji , even though media veilds its pen and power , they are but only like other people who just like the normal public can get swayed by popular sentiment ..In this scenario the gate-guard of the media i.e. the editors must act responsibly and tone down the rhetoric for greater public good .
      When we visit a sight of mayhem as media persons, we are bound to be affected by being witness to the gory sight. Many media persons thus try to sensationalize the activity , and here is where the upper rung in the media organizations should act sensibly.

      Especially in cases where a lot of population is going to be affected in adverse ways by the story.

      Let me quote you and incident when Togadia -the vitriolic Hindu Fundamentalist visited Amritsar ….he tried to stir trouble by saying Sikhs were part of Hindus and quoted examples … although we know that was true, but to throw it in the face of sikhs was in bad taste especially after nascent steps out of militancy-ridden state of Punjab .
      I remember I toned down his speech and reported a softer version of it. I was reprimanded by my senior in Tribune as well as HQ in Chandigarh …but I stood my stand …and said “Togadia will come and go back safely and what will happen to our Punjab ..Tribune is afterall a largest and most authentic circulated daily .Do we want Hindus and Sikhs to fight again, stoke the fires of Hatred?” ..
      My staffer was silent … I know the rest of the newspapers did exactly what was expected and sensationalized their stories … but thankfully owing to subdued reporting in Tribune it did not cause much damage …. Thank v much dear for visiting this blog and writing about ur feelings …:)



  2. Posted by Dinesh Sibal on July 9, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    May I take a very fundamental view of the malaise that surrounds all humanity, not only Kashmir?
    Acerbic/violent attempts to assert an identity, with or without geographic/political greed is not a 20th Century phenomenon. Nor is the reflection on various institutes; when it comes to establishing roles which sustain human happiness, growth and safety for all.

    While rebellion has historically existed across races, times and geographies. So has the fruitlessness of violence if/which is towards mindless goals.
    Time after time.

    History does not have a single example of lesser goals having won a long term goal/victory through violence.

    If that is the lesson on hind sight, then is the role of media (and many other institutes) defined automatically?

    Spread the awareness of the same outcome. During times of peace as much as, during times of strife.
    That it is fruitless to use violence for goals which are not fundamental to human race.
    Peace. Health. Happiness.

    The awareness that Vitriolic voice and violent threats may disturb but will always never succeed in helping the same people it is trying to rally or protect or project.

    For now I will keep it simple or limited to just the above.
    In case of a feedback or a rejoinder, I would be happy to develop this thought to its conclusion.

    Peace. Health. Happiness. Forever.



    • Posted by Rashmi Talwar on July 12, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      Dear Dinesh … Ur words “Vitriolic voice and violent threats may disturb but will always never succeed in helping the same people it is trying to rally or protect or project….say it all … Thanks dear for visiting this blog and commenting on it



  3. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Rakhi Shah: gud one rashmiji



  4. Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Autar Mota: very well written



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