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Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Fourth Estate of India

Posted by: danish Ahmed 1:23 AM

ANGRY.
Thats the one word that sums up the prevailing mood across India in the aftermath of the horrific terror attacks in Mumbai. Terror attacks have evoked similar sentiments in the past but every time the emotion have died out in a very short period of time, especially after the political parties and the media are done extracting the mojo from it. But the sentiment this time is far more vehement than it has ever been which is quite understandable considering the magnitude of the attack both in terms of devastation as well as audacity. Talk to the common person on the street, 9.9 out of 10 people would hold politicians responsible for the attack on the nation’s sovereignty, and it is not just the politicians in the government that are being blamed, the people have been quite emphatic in holding the entire class of politicians as responsible. This sentiment is quite understandable when we see politicians squabbling among themselves for a share of the pie bought from the hard earned money of the tax-payer. What is worse is the fact that even after coveting the people’s property, politicians do not seem to realize that they have certain duties towards the very people whose money they are squandering away.

The recent terror attacks in Mumbai has actually catalyzed the situation so that the debate now goes beyond this dastardly act to the various commissions and omissions of the ruling class all along at the expense of the welfare and security of the nation. Martyrdom of the Mumbai terror attack like Hemant Karkare, Sandeep Unnikrishanan and others who in many ways represented the middle class Indians served as rude reminders of the fact that unless the common people take the charge, their basic security was at risk.

As the world continues to condense into a thoroughly connected global village, intellectuals, the tax-paying middle class, the students and even journalists have found on the Web and the TV, ways to express their anguish and call for a change. Social software tools like blogs, microblogs, syndicated content, forwarded emails etc and mobile penetration have provided not only a platform to participate in the social and political processes, voice their opinions but also form communities with like minded individuals. This is the Fourth Estate of the Indian state, the child of the information revolution, powered by information and communication technology of the 21st century.
This section of people is more dependable and least susceptible to corruption (in any form) simply because there are no personal gains or losses for them. No wonder, political that "lip-stick wearing, coat tie wearing" Indians should be entitled to political opinions. Naqvi may have belled the cat but he represents the deep-seated resentment that a lot of politicians across party lines have towards educated middle class Indians taking interest in politics. What more evidence do we need? Is it a coincidence that a Leftist CM of Kerala and National Vice President of the BJP, a Rightist, were speaking on the similar lines on the same day? In the past, we have seen all political parties bury differences and come when the question involves a raise or a decrement in salary and other perks granted to elected representatives. Even yesterday i.e. 03/11/08, when asked (by TimesNOW) why such a significant portion of the nation's security asset including the NSG commandos were being deployed for personal security of political leader who apparently had no serious threat to life, politicians from all parties were found to be defending the decision unanimously. Yet, a couple of minutes later, Arnab Goswami of TimesNow was left begging for a consensus between political parties (the Cong and the BJP) on how to deal with this latest terror attack.
There has been at least one positive outcome from this tragedy and that is the galvanizing effect it had on the people, rousing them from slumber and forcing them to stand up and take initiative. Turn on the TV and you could be witnessing a watershed moment, this attack can be taken as a wake up call to rouse a nation from its self-induced slumber.
Prasoon Joshi's poetry, "Is Baar Nahi", TimesNOW's slogan "Action not words", rallies in Mumbai and the chatter across nooks and corners of India indicate the growing assertiveness of a section of Indians. The Fourth Estate of India.



Prasoon Joshi's poem reflecting the sentiment of the aam Indian post Mumbai terror attacks.

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