Shooting ‘Stars’!

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Your Honor, but!?

What exactly had been said:

For the last six to eight months, there has been a growing despondency, I would say. Kiran (wife Kiran Rao) and I have lived all our life in India. When I sit at home and talk to Kiran, for the first time she said, ‘Should we move out of India?’ Now that’s a very disastrous and a big comment to make to me.

What happened next was unprecedented. The actor, Aamir Khan, had become the most sought after discussion on social media news feeds and, yet another scapegoat for media houses nationwide. His statements had been in many a places misquoted, misinterpreted and served as a mouth watering appetizer for millions. What followed further were aggressive debates, discussions and so called ‘in depth’ analysis as to what the actor ‘might have’ intended. All of this in turn only strengthens, the actors remarks on the state of growing intolerance in the country that seems to be on the boil with each passing day. The statement that was made was only a concern that had been raised in public. He had never made a mention that he was indeed leaving the country nor does it point out to any anti national comments in any regards. But, the disastrous means by which reporters of various news channels had misconstrued his statements for rise in viewership is nothing but a new low as far as the ethics of journalism in this country is concerned. This indeed had been many a times highlighted; be it the case of the Nepal earthquakes earlier this year, or the disastrous turn out of poll predictions for the Bihar elections of 2015.

Earlier this week, in an interview that the Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani had given to Barkha Dutt; she was asked to layout her thoughts on these statements made by the actor, to which she had responded stating:

Aamir Khan is a brand ambassador for tourism in our country – Incredible India – and that what’s incredible…that he can be a brand ambassador for our government and he can be on a platform in front of the Information and Broadcasting minister (Arun Jaitley) and speak his mind shows that free speech thrives.

With all due respect madame Minister, but, the way in which the whole situation was allowed to spiral out to such extremes has in itself, a scent of intolerance in every step of the way. But, what is more ‘incredible’ is the fact that how an individual who had filed false documents pertaining to her educational qualification still continues to hold on to her portfolio as a cabinet Minister in New Delhi. And, more bizarre was how the reporter had never touched upon these topics for the chance she had for this said interview. This again, reiterates how journalism is more or less being streamlined alongside those issues that are currently in trend in the present tense.

Aamir Khan is perhaps, the latest in a series of celebrities from the film fraternity who had been targeted for speaking his mind out. But, if this is the plight of individuals who hold such esteemed positions in society, it is rather easy to value the voice of the ordinary citizenry. Times have turned around so much so that, the Prime Minister of this country is eligible to carry out his ‘Mann Ki Baat‘ on national radio, unquestioned; and the rest finds themselves in a position were they cannot. There is certainly no doubt that there is an air of intolerance prevailing in the country. But, the manner in which facts are distorted and how news feeds are tailored to suit the taste of the end user is bound to have disastrous implications in times to come.

– Breathe.

A Date with, Hypocrisy.

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We stand by you Paris. None the less.

A summary of what exactly had transpired on the 15th of November, 2015:

  • 21:20 CET: A series of well orchestrated and planned terrorist strikes rips apart the heart of Paris, France.
  • 21:21 CET: The whole world takes notice.
  • 21:22:00 CET: Mark Zuckerberg does his part by putting up a brand new photo filter. What else can the man do? He had to do something, right? Admit it. Facebook isn’t as cool as it once was. He had to do something! He had to cash in. And, he did.
  • 21:22:01 CET: My entire news-feed page gets soaked in blue, white and red. They had to follow suit. How can they not?!
  • 21:23 CET: Modi tweets! A million others re-tweet!

In the end, around 120 innocent lives were lost; leaving many others wounded.

My question here, is as to why only the rich kids, in the block always seem to garner all the attention? Earlier this year, when Paris was previously attacked by the same terror outfit; that had claimed many a lives, on account of the clashes in views with the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the media was on a rampant reporting spree. What went unnoticed however, was how, another faction of such extremists, the Boko Haram with ideologies that are in parallel with those of it’s Paris counterpart had carried out a massacre of almost 2000 people in Nigeria. The world went unnoticed. Nobody bothered to paint their faces with the Nigerian national flag or no media bothered to report the state of affairs in that country. The simple reason being that, Nigeria sadly wasn’t ‘sexy‘ enough for mainstream media or for it’s viewers as a whole.

The same can be sited for the state of turmoil that had gripped South East Asia, where, a number of Muslims living as minorities were beheaded and massacred in cold blood by radical Buddhist Monks in Burma. Such riots and genocides have been a ritual taking place in that country for as far back as 1997. No one bothered. None. Then, why this special status for Paris? My argument should not be misunderstood with the view that terrorist strikes or any activity for that matter, that violate basic Human Rights should not be condemned. But, opposed to this, I argue that all such, should be condemned and responded to, equally on a war footing, as in the likes of Paris, as it is happening now.

Examples, such as these are in abundance, if one simply turns his/her gaze on to the African continent where millions upon millions die and perish each year. Are these breaking news anywhere? No. Did Facebook come up with a filter? No. Is this the definition of Hypocrisy? Yes.

– Look around Paris. You’re not alone.

On the Question of the Sexes.

Yes, she can.

Yes, she can.

A point in time where opinions and remarks can get easily twisted, and where social judgments can be made to sway in favor of viewer-ships for mainstream media houses; this, probably is one of the most touchy topics of the present age; second only to those on the grounds of theology, perhaps. The question that I would like to pose is not on who’s getting it right and who’s not; but, rather on the very question on the idea of the ‘equality of sexes‘, for, I find that it lacks a sense of conviction and a direction as far as gender equality is concerned. In most debates and discussions on the acts of sexist views and on the grounds of equality we find individuals fighting it out to make themselves heard and mixing up the discussions with their personal emotions of hurt or despair rather than highlighting as to what the course of action needs to be.

My question is rather very simple, and straight forward. Equality literally translates to ‘the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities’; this is what Google had to say and, I believe it has a point there. Ironically, I feel that this is not the case when it comes to gender perhaps. Why? I’ll quote a small instance for example, to validate my point. In every hostage crisis that takes place, what do you think is the first demand put forth by authorities to strike a common ground? Does this ring a bell? As always, the demand would be to first let go of the women and children who are held captive. But, why ‘women and children‘? Why not men and children for a change? I mean, Isn’t that the very essence of equality, as to what Google teaches us? Isn’t this pure broad day light discrimination on the grounds of the sex to which one belongs to? In literal terms, yes (mind you, I said literal). The argument that would be posed immediately by those opposed to this would be the fact that, men are physically and mentally more prepared to handle the trauma that would unfold in such crises than women are. The counter argument that I would like to pose in response to this would then be on the question of the demand for reservations for women in the armed services of this country where, the argument raised by the same individuals revolve around the lines that women are in no way subordinate to men in terms of carrying out tasks which is demanded of them. This can be in all terms treated as hypocrisy, none the less. Such double standards do not go hand in hand, if a consensus has to be attained.

The ad that you’ve seen above was part of Del Monte Ketchup’s 1953′s ad campaign. The gist of the campaign was to highlight the fact that their new bottle of ketchup’s were far easier to open up as in comparison to the conventional ones at the time. This had invoked a lot of hysteria at that time (as what sources from the internet points out) stating that theirs was a campaign of sexist vandalism. Agreed. But, not during the 50’s perhaps. I would agree to this notion if this ad had been released in the present times, where women are more well versed with opening a bottle of beer with their bear teeth than men are, which is a good sign (mind you, on the context of opening a bottle, not turning alcoholic ). The point I wish to make over here is that times are changing, and fast. But, so needs the quality of arguments. Acts such as undermining the achievements of Dr. Matt Taylor, the brainchild behind the Rosetta mission and the scornful media outrage and spats against him for wearing an offensive t-shirt are not worth appreciative. These can be bluntly stated as shout outs for garnering attention by isolated so called ‘feminists’ who portray themselves as advocates of female rights who wished to be heard and those who later joined the chorus and later on promoted by media houses owing to its ‘trending’ status.

Social injustice exists. I have never said no to that. I have not touched the topics of rape, molestation and other forms of injustice that is predominant against women, especially in India, and those that needs to be addressed in the strictest of means. The idea that I would like to garner here is to put an end to using equality of the sexes as a mere excuse and as a tool to gain mileage in arguments. Be it political or personal.

– Mind you.