Narad Muni --The first Indian Journalist

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Who is the first Indian journalist? Understand from Justice Katju

Narad Muni
Narad Muni

By Justice Markandey Katju

Vishnu Bhagwan was lying on the great serpent Sheshnag in the middle of the sea having in his four hands a lotus, a mace (gadaa), a shankh (conch) and a chakra (wheel), when the first perpetually peregrinating Indian journalist Narad Muni came to see him. As usual, Narad was carrying a Veena in his left hand, and wearing a saffron dhoti and with a garland of orange coloured flowers around his neck.

"Narayan, Narayan" said Narad on beholding the Lord, and he bowed and folded his hands.

"Vatsa Narad" said the Lord, "Nice to see you again. How are you ? How are you doing in your profession of journalism on earth ?"

"Narayan, Narayan" said Narad, "Lord, it is for this very reason I have come to you. Please grant me a pension as I wish to retire from journalism.

The Lord showed great concern. " Why, what has happened Narad ?"

"Lord, I cannot face the competition anymore with these new Indian journalists."

"Oh come on Narad" said the Lord " You are such a senior journalist. How can these newcomers create a problem for you ?"

"Narayan, Narayan" said Narad, "Lord, it is not journalism anymore. What exists in India today in the name of journalism is not journalism but magic, and unfortunately, I have never learnt magic.

There is a new medium called television which never existed in my time. It is truly magical. The job of this medium is not to inform but to create public opinion, by whipping up communalism and casteism, polarising society, and serving political interests

Most T.V. channels, hungry for higher T.R.P. ratings, and convinced that rabid demagoguery is profitable, are falling head over heels over one another to make people angry, frenzied and hysterical. For doing this everything goes : half-truths, downright lies, sensationalism, trivialization, etc. and anchors who instead of being neutral and objective, aggressively give a slant to a story, rudely interrupting and not allowing those invitees who disagree with their views to speak, and insulting them, and a meticulous search and empanelment of ' experts' and 'opinion makers',

It was said that religion is the opium of the masses ( to prevent them from revolting against their miserable conditions ).

But in India, one opium is not enough. The media is another, to be administered to Indians continuously, to keep them drugged, by showing petty politics, cricket, lives of film stars, etc.

The Roman Emperors used to say '' If you cannot give the people bread give them circuses ".

In India, the TV shows promote communalism and casteism, backward ideas and superstitions like astrology, etc, highlight building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, babas, caste census, etc, and divert people's attention from the real issues of poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, etc, to keep people drugged.

"And what about the print media" asked the Lord.

"Narayan, Narayan" said Narad, "It has largely become advertisements. Many leading newspapers really begin on page 3, the first 2 pages being advertisements. And the print media is often led by the nose by the electronic media with its 'breaking news'.

Paid and fake news is so rampant in both print and broadcast media that there is no point even talking about them.

Most of the media, whether print or TV channels, are owned by businessmen who treat them as a way of making money, or helping their other businesses, by pleasing our politicians.

The huge salaries which many top media employees nowadays get (some are said to get packages worth several crore rupees annually, often linked toTRPs) enables them to lead fancy lifestyles with huge cars, houses and bank balances, thereby making them docile hirelings of their corporate masters, who in turn kowtow before the political rulers.

Nowadays most of our media is focused on the elections in 5 states in India as if whoever wins will make a difference in the massive poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, etc in their state

Lord, please give me a pension otherwise I will go mad in the company of these great Indian journalists of today."

"Tathaastu" said the Lord, and disappeared, and now Narad Muni is sitting in padmasana in a Himalaya cave with his eyes closed, and praying for nirvaana !

(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

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