Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Need for War Correspondents Courses

In the old days, there used to be War Correspondent courses for journalists. I don’t know if they still have them. Perhaps such need to be reinforced and made absolutely compulsory for our loquacious TV commentators.  These ‘journalists’ fall over each other to make revelations of what is happening on the front, hoping to later claim credit for having sparked off another Indo-Pak war …... complete with hectoring of the Armed forces and the administration  on how they should handle situations that they have been trained for, cocksure in their belief that they and they alone know how any and every situation should be handled!!  Obviously opposition leaders cannot afford to be left behind  in hectoring and making absurd demands which, if anything, exhibit how far from reality they actually are.

This morning’s Indian Express Op-ed page (August 13, 2013) carries a very very rationale argument “A Competitive Pseudo-Patriotism”  by Rtd. Lieutenant General  V K Nayar  reiterating that there are laid down procedures for the armed forces to deal with whatever happens at the front, which need not become fodder for competitive newshounds and political spokesperson to make war on TV, to be beamed to millions who do not know of how the Armed Forces operate;  and have been operating for the past 66 years to keep the country safe, except when politics overtakes defence needs.  

The full glare of media, at all times, with its damaged integrity and blatantly incomplete reporting  may end up negative for India’s national interests.  If everyone is always looking over the shoulder to wonder how some action may appear to a novice reporter unaware of the nuances of the situation, very little would be actually done in national interest alone.

Is it not time that we accept that there is a role away from media coverage for operations at all levels in matters that have to be conducted with some confidentiality, whether defense or diplomacy?  

Saturday, August 10, 2013


?s around couples …..

“Palaces have a strange virus.
They echo, quite maliciously, the unspoken word.”
The author of a book that recounts a unique relationship in an ancient tale in poetry format, that is highly evocative and passionate, questing and loving, acknowledged his wife in the writing of the long, long poem during long winter evenings. 
Twenty years down the line, the same author lives up to his bureaucratic biases to bring out learned tomes, dry as dust on assorted suggestions for policy change.   There is no mention of the wife any more.  What does that hint of the relationship two decades on?
Couples, especially long lived ones, do evoke unspoken queries in our times with its rising sensitivity to man-woman relationships at all levels.  Question marks often surround senior couples seen in public parks and gatherings:
Is that eternally smiling grandma faking it?
Or that smirking hubbie?  That quick hug, was it for external consumption only?
An old couple raises the thought: Which face is more lined?  Is the old woman’s smooth cheek symptom of her never having held any reins in her hands or made any decisions of her own?    
See that Aunty there, she’s wife of a retired big wig, may be an IAS babu … that official style of dressing, everything matches. Her earrings not only match her purse but also husband’s pipe!
There’s her opposite.  Bindaas Buddhi with loud prints, skirt and horribly unfeminine but comfortable slippers, positively dressing down.  That one couldn’t care less how she looks. Why? There  can be many valid reasons …..
She may be beyond marriageable age and actually relieved that the hunt is over and the family off her back finally -- dress to please herself and her comfort, rather than prospective in laws.   Showing off the wrinkles and smiles with her eyes.

She may be genuinely bindaas, loves the freedom.       Or it could be a form of rebellion from the pressure of conform, to look good. For What ? to attract a male ? but  she  doesn’t want to attract any male. Can’t stand them? Or to spite?  That pressure from her man to “ look good, don’t make me ashamed in front of the others”… Few men want their women to stand out in the crowd.  They want that their women should look good. Bas. Other guys should envy but not pant after their women.   
Don’t  Women ever dress to please women and themselves?