Saturday, April 11, 2009

Punjabi antenna
Fight for light
Randeep Wadehra

Daljit epitomises today’s youthful idealist journalists
Daljit epitomises today’s youthful idealist journalists

Remember last year’s Divali eve Deewe Thale Hanera—the expose by PTC News’ Daljit Singh on the Punjab administration’s failure in stopping unauthorised manufacture of crackers? As most of the ‘manufacturers’ come from poor and vulnerable sections of society, the journalist had pleaded strongly to the administration to help them earn their livelihood in a legitimate and safe manner.

The documentary had touched the common viewers’ heart and soul, but did it do any good to those who bring sparkle into our lives every year and yet subsist in darkness literally?

Irked by the ‘inaction’ of the officials concerned that reportedly resulted in an explosion in the residential area of Amritsar’s village, Annagarh, on March 9 this year —which is said to have killed two children—Daljit Singh has filed a PIL in the High Court. Obviously, Daljit epitomises today’s youthful idealist journalists. But will his idealistic efforts help banish darkness from the life of the underdog?

Talking of idealism among the youth, one came across an absorbing discussion on Zee Punjabi’s Khabarsaar. The panelists, moderated by the seasoned journalist SP Singh, seemed to be of the view that the current political scenario India has failed to give today’s youth a dream or an ideal to cherish. After all it is idealistic pursuit of pre-set goals that help a society to evolve.

They also lamented the lack of vision among the current crop of young politicians, who are mere beneficiaries of the political legacies bequeathed to them by their respective parents—themselves the progeny of political dynasties. Has the ongoing global recession spelt doom for the free market economy-based

General Elections, 2009, too, have stirred up a lot of interest among Punjabi channels. PTC Channel’s Davinder, the anchor of Lok Bani, took to the road to assess the public mood. The result was a m`E9lange of viewpoints, including expectations, disappointments and complaints.

Then there was the talk show Mulzima nu ticket? The panelists harked back to the 1984 anti-Sikh violence and pointed out how the Congress was still giving the ticket to the likes of Sajjan Kumar, while another panelist alluded to what BJP CM Narendra Modi’s Government had done to the minorities.

Although lots of heat and a bit of light have been generated on television, let us hope things will become clearer as the election-related debates gain momentum.

DDJ’s various programs often highlight the region’s social, economic, political and cultural issues. Currently environment and female foeticide are being focused upon. On March 26 there was an interactive discussion on its Sajjri Saver morning show. A viewer phoned in to point out the lack of care after saplings are planted under one scheme or the other. Consequently, only a negligible number of trees survive.

On the other hand indiscriminate felling of trees continues. Some viewers phoned in to protest smoking in public places in violation of the law. But it was the talk on female foeticide on the channel’s regular TV show Women’s Helpline that animated the panelists as well as the viewers.

There were equally strong arguments for and against dowry—some looked upon it as the girl’s legitimate share from her parental property, while others described it as a booty that the bridegroom’s parents appropriated as their son’s market price.

However, there was near unanimity on labelling dowry as one of the most powerful but largely unstated causes behind the soaring rate of female foeticide in Punjab. After all both dowry and bhroon hatya are largely middle class phenomena. The correlation tells its own story, doesn’t it?