Focus on floods
came across three interviews on television that provided us
glimpses into the lives and thought processes of three
contrasting personalities; naturally, the conversational styles
varied, too. Dr Satish Narula on Tirchchi Nazar
epitomised the ideal of knowledge wedded to humility. Widely
known in the region as Dr Green and Green Guru, Narula talked of
his early life and his father’s dream of getting him educated
at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.
The details of
various prestigious projects handled by him were impressive
enough but what really endeared him to the listeners was his
modesty. Baljit Balli, known for his non-intrusive interviewing
style, did not interrupt the flow of the narrative unless really
Charming anchor Baljit Johal (above) seemed subdued while interviewing singer Raj Kakra
In contrast we had
another Baljit with the surname Johal on Pindaan Vichon Pind.
In two episodes, she interviewed Sunita Dhir and Raj Kakra,
respectively. As usual, Baljit Johal started with a couplet, and
then introduced Dhir — a filmstar and theatre personality
known for her leading role in the hit Punjabi movie Chann
Pardesi. Her smiling visage couldn’t hide the struggles
and pain in her life. She had joined theatre over the objections
of her mother. Dhir’s marriage and subsequent family
responsibilities kept her away from theatre. However, her
husband’s death made her reconsider her decision to stay away
from theatre. Like everybody else, Dhir, too, acknowledged
Punjabi theatre’s status as a perennial Cinderella, but she
pointed out that theatre had provided some very good creative
talent, including actors, to cinema and television.
In the second
interview Raj Kakra — lyricist and singer — came across as a
man passionate about his vocation. His confidence in his craft
and his rather overweening pride in his achievements did not
jar. Instead, his transparent honesty endeared him to the
listeners. Now, Johal — who was ebullient in the company of
Dhir — seemed quite a bit subdued while conversing with Kakra.
Gone was her trademark wah-wah raised-hand — part
Punjabi, part Lakhnavi — gesture, and the tendency to come up
with a cogent verse in praise of the featured artiste. Was this
deliberate, or was the anchor in awe of Kakra?
The recent floods
in the region have provided more than enough grist to the mills
of our news-based talk shows. Both Khabarsaar and Masle
brought in the region’s politicians and retired civil
servants/technocrats and thinkers to have a look at the reasons
behind this unusual phenomenon. "Unusual" because the
rains have not been so heavy as to warrant such destruction. So,
more than the natural causes, the manmade ones have proved to be
real culprits; lack of maintenance caused the breaches that have
led to the floods. But other factors were discussed too; the
harnessing of Ghaggar’s waters, for example.
experts, the building of smaller dams across the tributaries
wouldn’t cost more than Rs. 200 crore each, and would prove
beneficial to agriculture and be economically feasible,
rewarding and eco-friendly, breaking the vicious circle of
floods-and-droughts in the bargain. But, who listens?