punjabi antenna
Season of love and politics
Randeep Wadehra Randeep Wadehra

Seasons have perceptible effect on television content; unsurprisingly, the advent of sawan saw DD Punjabi come up with delightful folk songs, including Amar Noorie’s song and dance numbers. It is always a pleasure to watch DD Punjabi’s quaint shows celebrating Punjab’s culture and tradition. However, although the dominating theme was love, with various songs depicting a mutiyar’s longing for her mahi, there was also the perennial theme of saas-nuh tussle.

As the anchor pointed out, yesterday’s daughter-in-law becomes today’s mother-in-law. Accordingly, her attitude and role metamorphose, keeping the sass-nuh tension perennially in tact. Some things never change. This is proving true of Punjab’s politics as well this sawan.

DD Punjabi comes up with delightful folk songs, including Amar Noorie’s song and dance numbers
DD Punjabi comes up with delightful folk songs, including Amar Noorie’s song and dance numbers

The Manpreet Badals of this world may do their utmost to impact the state’s political scenario but the SAD-INC equation remains familiarly adversarial. The bitterness between Captain Amarinder Singh and Parkash Singh Badal and family endures. Both the political stalwarts are equally dismissive of Manpreet while reserving their most biting invectives for each other. Their verbal fusillades can now be witnessed by a wider audience as each adversary has a dedicated platform to launch ballistics from — PTC News for the Badals, and Day & Night News (DNN) for the Captain. The other day, on DNN’s Fair & Square, the Captain repeatedly pointed out the failures of the SAD-BJP Government even as he took credit for whatever Punjab has achieved in the past few years.

On the other hand, PTC News is giving live coverage (as it did on July 22) to the various public meetings organised by the SAD-BJP leadership, wherein the speakers never tire of telling the tired Punjabis of what a paradise Punjab is going to be once they got voted back to power, viz. 24-hour power supply, sewage and water facilities for every house in the state. Of course, they seldom fail to point out what a horrible thing it would be if the Captain’s INC is voted to power. Now that the state Assembly elections are nearing, we are increasingly going to see hyperbolic invective and related un-civilities.

But the battle for the forthcoming ballot does not end with the mutual exposure of warts and moles. The combat spills over to the media space, too. It is a well-known fact that the PTC group of television channels has a stranglehold over the Punjabi infotainment world. They are ahead in popularity stakes simply because PTC has exclusive rights to telecast Gurbani from Harmandar Sahib. DNN chafes at this monopoly. In September the contract between the SGPC and PTC is due for renegotiation. With the possibility of elections being held in December, there is a sense of urgency on the part of DNN to ensure a level playing field. But the odds are stacked against it because, reputedly, PTC has the backing of the ruling party. So, even though it is being alleged that PTC is not paying all its dues as laid down in the contract, there is no way it is going to be shown the door by the SGPC. Interestingly, MH1 is having exclusive rights to telecast Gurbani from Hemkunt Sahib.

Among other issues, Khabarsaar of Zee Punjabi discussed the pros and cons of the recent reshuffle in the Manmohan Singh government’s Cabinet. Masle (PTC News) dealt with the controversy between Punjab and Haryana over the building of a concrete wall across the Ghaggar; subsequently, it also held a discussion on snakebites wherein the invited specialist said that not all snakes were venomous. But, frankly, with so much of political venom being spewed by homo-sapiens all over the small screen this sawan, the reptiles stand no chance in attracting viewers’ attention.