A Happy Dusshera to you all...and a happy reading.
Junkification of Newspapers: For quite some time I have been marking a change in the way our newspapers look these days—we have on the very front page full-page ads of those products that can afford such a pride of place; there are advertisements (advertorials?) with copious text looking like multi-column news items just to brag about the success of engineering colleges engaged in collecting capitation fees and supplying cheap labour to the IT firms and BPOs; separate special supplements that look like handbills inserted in the middle announcing a sale or the inauguration of a shop in the street corner, etc. Somehow I find the idea of devoting the entire front page for advertising is weird, almost verging on infringement of readers’ right to read. It has been practice since the day modern newspaper came into existence, to present the best and the most newsworthy material on the front page. Readers have come to expect this as a matter of right, not something which can be taken away by the newspaper fellows just for earning extra bucks. It is a sort of unwritten understanding between the readers and the newspaper publishers. But nowadays most newspapers love to flout that…and nobody protests.
Do we need an Anna to organize a fast for this too? With the roaring bonhomie between media and Anna prevailing, this is the least one can expect at present. So, we have to learn to live with the junkification of newspapers.
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Anti-Tourism: Is it necessary that people should move about places so frequently and in so large numbers? Yeah, we call it tourism, wanderlust, or whatever way we may name it, I wish there should be a bit of anti-tourism in our thought too. It is time we thought about this. We had better thought of this. Who doesn’t like to gain a distinction of going onto the top of Mt. Everest even if it requires airdropping him? Even gods and goddesses chose hilltops to live and, in the process, further religious tourism! The place to be visited has to be less trodden upon, virgin area, and blah, blah, blah. Big people should go to big places, brag about it. Is tourism about bragging? Howsoever great it may appear as an instrument of dissemination of knowledge, the big question is can we afford spending so much fossil fuel, spoiling the spots otherwise clean and tidy, pampering people as guests at the cost of rightful inhabitants, and spreading diseases and so forth? Even a separate stream of jurisprudence is evolving in the process: A crime against a foreign tourist is more heinous than a crime perpetrated against a native!
Or, alternatively, should we have a controlled tourism? Say introducing a qualifying examination to pass before dreaming of visiting the leaning tower of Pisa or meeting Shompen at Campbell Bay of Great Nicobar Island?
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Political Dream: This time I had a political dream (Not political ambition, I say!). The dream was that in a certain constituency in UP election, the contestants are Baba Ramdev and Anna Hazare. Was it a fasting competition or what! Who can interpret my dream? One thing is sure, nowadays I read newspaper but rarely, watch television only when the cable fellows disconnect it. So, who will have such weird political dreams if it is not me?
A. N. Nanda