destination india

Thursday, February 24, 2005

the world of con stars

Once again we have been taken for a ride.

Some times back it was a gentleman who claimed that he could produce petrol from water. The papers were full with news about him. TV crews descended on a tiny unknown village to interview him and, hopes sprang in all Indian breasts – at last we had the Power to control those oil producing Nations. We could start dictating the prices of the barrels, not leave it to the whims and fancies of others. After all, we also need to stand up and be counted once in a while. That gentleman provided an opportunity to our leaders to picture, for a moment, a world where we reigned supreme, where we controlled the world, where we are invited to be a part of the world decision making body. Instead of us begging for an entry, we visualized an invitation coming our way – to accept and join the big league! Alas, someone pricked the balloon! And, we were back to square one with our begging bowls. Whatever came our way was gratefully lapped up.

Recently, a kid from another village took us for a ride again.

He claimed to have become a topper in a so-called prestigious examination conducted by an august body known the world over for its supremacy in the field of Space research. Again, our news hounds descended on the scene with the TV crews – the media once again whipped up wonderful sentiments. Indians are excelling in whatever field they desire to. Maybe we are not bringing back medals from the Olympics, but we certainly possess the mental brilliance to conquer distant planets. We gave to the world one Kalpana Chawla, we can give many more. No matter what people may say, our education system produces wonder kids!

Alas, once again the balloon has been pricked!

The media is obsessed with such sensational journalism – so long as it is confined to stars of the screen, small or big, the common man does not mind. Neither do the celebs involved – to them, every little bit of coverage gained is a plus point over a rival. But, when it comes to such news, the journalists need to check the authenticity ten times over before uncovering them. That way, their credibility will soar.

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