July 26, 2012

What ails Team Anna in 2012??

Anna Hazare and his team have started their agitation again! I am surprised by the lack lustre response by the media, this time. India’s channel, as claimed by Arnab G has decided to skip their 24/7 live reporting of the fast and even the print media are not interested.  Funny, how the headlines read this time, one paper even calls it as Anna Hazare’s circus in Jantar Mantar!! This same paper went gaga over his earlier fasts and agitations.

So, what’s the reason for the low turnout to Team Anna this time round??

Here is my take:

Anna Hazare is a very nice and well intentioned man but the movement per se lacks the collective focus and intelligence to carry it through to the logical conclusion of an effective Lokpal. Besides, his team members seem to be having divergent agenda and methodology, right from campaigning for state elections, taking an anti- congress stance, transparency within the Team Anna committee meetings and focus. Besides, formulation of Lokpal bill needs some wisdom, maturity and balance, mere sloganeering and social networking skills aren’t obviously enough.

The media did their bit in whipping up passions and emotions ran high with 24/7 reporting on TV in 2011. This helped them grab TRPs and the media barons were happy with Anna and his team. But Team Anna, instead of consolidating the gains and the ‘free’ support from media and youth, frittered away their chances. Many of the members became as brash and annoying as the congress leaders they were fighting! Thus began the beginning of the end. Today, media is quite apathetic to Team Anna as there is probably something better for them, to grab TRPs. They have realised that Indians like armchair activism and the likes of Satyameva Jayate programmes generate more revenue for the media houses and are easier to support (I mean politically correctJ).

The second theory of mine is that Anna Hazare movement was a media creation, in the first place. Media decided to back him and his team, and got the urban youth to rally around them and when the media didn’t back them this time, the same urban youth have gone missingJ

Prahlad's story - my eternal favourite

Even as a child, I always was fascinated and inspired by the story of Prahlad. I rarely attend discourses but I somehow seem to manage to listen many people speak on Prahlad! Just listening to his short life story of 4/5 years, somehow has an indelible impact on me.

Although, I grew up listening to the story of Prahlad from parents, Shri. Santhana Gopalachariar, mythological movies and Amar Chitra Katha, my understanding of Bhakti and Prahlad’s exalted status among other devotees of the Lord, has matured or rather evolved (or so I would like to think!). Recently, within a span of 10 days, I found myself listening to the story of Prahlad from two people, Smt. Vishaka Hari and Shri. Nochur Venkataraman. Listening to both of them gave me so many new insights about the ways of the CreationJ and quality of Bhakti that Prahlad had. Apparently in the Bhagawatham, Prahlad’s Bhakti is likened to how a fish gasps and pulsates when removed from water, similarly, Prahlad could not be removed from feeling the presence of the Lord, even for a moment! Such was his devotion and unshakeable faith in the Lord that he never experienced fear, even at the ferocious sight of Narsimha emerging from a pillar that brought alarm to the rest, including the mighty Hiranyakashipu. I have heard Guruji, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji say, fear is absence of bhakti or faith in the Lord. Prahlad is probably therefore the best example of Bhakti.

I realised that I really love listening to his story time and again! In lighter vein, I remember coaxing my brother and sister to name their sons Prahlad, with no successJ. I guess none wanted to be the Hiranyakashipu in the family!

July 19, 2012

Can we recreate the magic of the 70s?

As I watched the TV last night, I was surprised by the play of emotion on me, watching the most memorable dialogues and scenes from Rajesh Khanna’s films. I guess that kind of sums up the feelings of Indians who grew up in the 70s, an era of innocence, idealism and romance that Rajesh Khanna carried with great élan. I can hardly be described as a movie buff and yet news on Rajesh Khanna’s passing away took me to those yesteryears.

I certainly have no idea on what kind of person he was, off screen, but he simply was the best we had on screen. He belonged to an era when films did well if people went and watched them in theatres and spoke about it to their friends. There was no promotion of the stars, nor the movie, there was no news programme on “making of the film” by the lead actors, gushing inanities like they do, today. At most, we got to watch the songs on “Chayageeth” for those of us who were lucky to own a televisionJ. The only other exposure was on Vivid Bharathi on AIR where these songs became immortal.

Listening to people who worked with Rajesh Khanna, sharing their interesting tidbits and anecdotes got me thinking about life in the 70s. for these movie stars. I guess if you were successful in the 70s, with very little media at your disposal and not much of brand building and hype, it must be cakewalk for them, in today’s world. I mean, these people, be it the actors, the lyricists, the music composers, directors, had awesome talent and were so original. There were movies that were grossers by the sheer strength of the songs it had. Or a superstar like Rajesh Khanna could carry a movie on his shoulders and deliver a hit.

If only we could get them all back, they can easily push the current stars into oblivion, permanentlyJ